Monday, November 27, 2006


After Ubud I continued North to Bedegul a small village which the bus pass through on the way to the North coast. I decided to spend a couple of nights, arriving around lunchtime on the first day I got of the bus at Strawberry Hill which looked like a nice guesthouse perched on the hills with extensive views across Bali. Only one problem, it was closed for renovation. Oh well, setting out on the road, about 1km with the backpack into town proper up and over the peak of the hill. Arriving sweatily into the main area I had another couple of choices and so settled in to have a look about. A couple of kilometres away lies Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a Hindu Buddhist temple built on the edge of the lake. I jokingly crouched down and asked for “Anak” (Child) at the ticket office and the guy smiled and let me in for half-price. Though I noticed I didn’t actually get a ticket and the money went straight in his pocket, still they would be closing soon. The temple itself has a couple of small buildings with Buddhist style layered roof stacked on top of one another. Always an odd number of levels. In the pleasant gardens surronding the temple I came across a strange statue of a pig looking a bit out of place.

The next day the plan was to rise early and have a go at climbing the mountain beside the lake, but… Well I never was a morning person but I set out after breakfast (Yes, before lunch!) After skirting round the lakeside I passed the caves as mentioned in the guidebook and then that’s where problems started. The trail got fainter and fainter, merging into the beach, and then the beach merged into the forest, and soon there was nowhere left to go. I retraced my steps but couldn’t find a clear trail. Oh well I gave up, and never even got above lake-level! A guide has offered his services the day before but he wanted $30. Maybe it is a bring-your-own-machette-to-hack-your-way-through-the-jungle trek, rather than a clear path up that I anticipated. So I fell back on a hastily created plan B, I would take a bemo over to the next town and have a look about there. After a while I was bouncing along to Pancasari. However, it turned out to a tiny place no bigger than the village I was staying. There was a rather dirty looking market, a school and the bus stop. As well as a few houses and the omnipresent mobile phone shop. So I just strolled back into town, stopping off for a tasty strawberry milkshake as the area is the strawberry capital of Bali.

Off for some dinner in a an empty restaurant. I opted for some fish from the freshwater lake, ended up with a plate of gourami. These places here cater for the day trade, where people pass by on their way to somehwere else. Maybe a bus will stop and everybody will wolf down lunch before hopping back on the bus and zooming off. Rather strange when everybody else leaves making it feel a bit of a ghost town. Sitting at table for 12 people, and I seemed to be the only tourist in town. Still at least there was a bar tucked away in the corner of the market, but this caters only for lunchtime drinkers, as it was shut before sunset, not much of pub with hours like that! A quiet night then and then next day it was North again to the coastal town of Lovina.

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