Our craziest experience yet...
February 15, 2020
Stripped down to nothing but our underwear, soaking wet, and being gently swatted with ferns by a complete stranger in the middle of a jungle ravine… wait… how did we end up in nothing but our skivvies with a complete stranger in tattered boxers carefully whacking us with ferns? Read on… 😂
So I’ve been bad about giving updates, but we’ve been busy! We finished out our stay in Bali, but only after a few interesting experiences! Most of our time was spent around our own neighborhood, relaxing, working, getting caught in rainstorms, doing yoga, and trying out amazing food… but we did a few actually interesting things too!
The weekend after my last post, we woke up at midnight (as always, ha) to start our hike up Mt. Batur, an active volcano with a spectacular view, by 3 am. We met up with our guide and another hiker, a gal from Korea who had never been hiking before… and she did amazing. Alan even opted for us all to do the harder trail. We scrambled up the side of the volcano. The hike was pretty challenging because a lot of it was loose volcanic rock. We made it to the top after an hour or two, where our guide cooked us breakfast and we had plenty of time sitting in the cold before the sunrise! We caught an amazing sunrise, got to play around in the volcano’s steam, and had a much easier hike back down. Afterward, we visited a tourist-trap coffee plantation, but they didn’t charge and let us try a bunch of different coffees and teas! My favorites were the avocado coffee (it was so weird but soooo delicious!) and mangosteen tea!
Ok, now that we’re back in chronological order, I can finish the story I started out my post with. We were exploring the neighborhoods around our own and walking back toward home after lunch. We bumped into Gustis (pronounced Gusti), who was sitting outside of his tiny art shop. Gustis somehow just knew Alan was feeling stressed out that day and offered to take us to a sacred healing spring for a Balinese/Hindu water healing ceremony. We weren’t exactly busy, so why not? We started down a nearby trail toward a secluded ravine… where we picked up Canang sari (small basket offerings) and picked flowers and plants as offerings to the gods and for use in our ceremony.
We left behind all of our belongings in the middle of the jungle and stripped down to nothing but our underwear. (You hear so many stories, I’d be lying if I said the fear that we’d be robbed for our camera bag and left in nothing but our underwear didn’t cross my mind 😅) Gustis meticulously batted our entire bodies with the ferns and had us follow along with many stretching and breathing exercises. He led us to swim in the river, had us bathe in a waterfall, and performed a final cleansing from the spring. He finally gave us a bottle of water from the spring for later use.
I never thought I’d hike barefoot, jump in a river in Southeast Asia, or be hugging my closest loved one while soaking wet and in nothing but my knickers while being whacked with ferns by a stranger in tattered boxers… but here we are. 😂
That was a long story but it was just the weirdest and coolest experience! Gustis insisted that we don’t give him any money and was very kind-hearted. It definitely lifted our spirits and left us glowing after a stressful day! We ended up visiting him shortly after to support his art… we just so happened to pick out a hand-drawn piece by him (not a print!) that he said was of their water healing god! What a coincidence!
The following week we booked a driver to visit a few different sites. We went to the Tegallalang rice fields (the ones in all the photos)… and they were the picturesque rice fields you would expect… After we visited the Tirta Empul temple, where we arrived before opening time, but our guide took us in early. This place is normally a tourist trap, but we had a really nice morning where they led us through a different type of water ceremony/healing, and we got this beautiful and very serene place to ourselves!