I can’t remember the last time this happened to me. Maybe never. I was denied access to a place because I was underdressed.
We got up early on Boxing Day, and the sun was still bright. Maybe Bali’s rainy season is over. We stayed in the villa all morning. I had some work to do on a feature and spent a couple of hours on it. I agreed to work a little during this trip because I ran out of vacation days. So technically I am working while traveling for a few days. I have some interviews set up with Singapore officials who are involved in the country’s push to establish itself as Southeast Asia’s premier venue for research and development. I know. Too much information.
Anyhow, we decided to go for a walk to a Hindu temple called Pura Petitenget, which according to a guide to local sights, is about 500 meters from the villa.
Christmas Day on the elephant was balmy, so we figured a walk would be easy. Not so.
The heat turned on that afternoon with a vengeance. I was wearing a cotton shirt over a T-shirt. No jacket. Just a hat against the sun. That was the longest half-klick I ever hiked.
A lady at the villa had wisely written the name of the temple on a piece of paper for us. Just to make sure we weren’t about to waste any energy, we stopped three times on the way and showed people the paper.
We had to drag around three sides of the temple before we found the way in. The gate was open at the head of some steps so old they had been weathered and worn uneven. We had the temple courtyard to ourselves, except for a short-legged dog looking for a shady place to sleep.
There were some colorful parasols sticking up in a separate section, behind a wall.
This may have been the inner courtyard, which I have read is sometimes restricted. We went up the steps to an open door.
There was a man in a Nehru hat who vaguely resembled Mohandas Gandhi standing inside the inner courtyard of the temple. He was all in white. He pointed at my legs and then pointed down.
I didn’t even get it at first. He was wearing sandals, so I guessed my bucks were all right. He had a hat on, and so did I. Besides, he wasn’t pointing at my head or his own.
After three tries, I finally caught on. He was shaking the hem of his sarong. I wasn’t allowed into church because I wasn’t wearing a kilt. Fantastic. It was the high point of my time in Seminyak.
The temple is next to a beach, which according to a sign, is sacred to Hindus so swimming is restricted. It didn’t seem to inhibit anyone. There were food vendors lined up to feed the bathers, so I guess sacred or not, the beach is pretty much open most of the time.
We stood on the edge of the beach holding our hats in the wind for a minute or so, and then I had enough beach.
The street and the bar on the corner are also named Petitenget. So I guess I had another beer at a bar named for a church.
We stopped at a convenience store for more beer and finally got back to the villa abut 10 pounds lighter than we left. I had one more beer and passed out on the couch.
We ordered room service for dinner. The Kunja doesn’t have a restaurant but instead has menus from several local places. You call the desk and they deliver it to your door. We were in the mood for some comfort food. Joanna had linguine with clams and I had a pizza Margherita.
That was it for the day.
Friday morning here (still Boxing Day for everybody back in the States) I was finishing my editing of the feature and sent it to New York. Next step is that Jeff reads it for sense before I send it back to the author.
We checked out at noon and the hotel gave us a lift to Seminyak Square, the section of town we explored a few days ago.
The heat was strong, but not as strong as the day before. I was dressed to go back to Singapore, so I had a jacket on. I carried it over my shoulder for a time, but also was able to wear it for a while.
We stopped in a surf shop to take advantage of the air conditioning. We walked a little more, and then turned back. We stopped in at the same surf shop to get some fruit juice they were selling. We were desperately craving fruit juice. Or at least, I was. We had cocoanut juice with slices of lime.
This break strengthened us enough to get to a restaurant where we had more fruit juice and some chicken and noodles. Mine had aloe, pineapple, other stuff, and bits of fruit. We also polished off a pint of water.
We took a cab back to the Kunja, which let us use a room for a couple hours rest during the heat of the day before we left for the airport.
I am waiting for the plane to start boarding right now. It may be tomorrow morning before I get to send this.
Our plane is delayed. It was due in Singapore a minute before midnight. I’ve already e-mailed the hotel to tell them we will arrive late and to hold the room.
I’m glad I came to Bali, and I’m glad to leave.
The Kunja is gorgeous. You have privacy open to the sky and a sanctum where you sleep in a mosquito tent. There’s a huge rotunda, maybe 30 feet, maybe a hundred, with fans that keep you cool and the mosquitoes away if you sit out at night.
Somebody from the staff comes to cook breakfast for you on your patio. You want anything, including a ride, they get it for you. People come to spray your room and prepare the mosquito netting around 9 each night.
The beach is the big thing in southern Bali. But I’m not much of a beach person.
I am told that there are other things to see in Bali, but as we learned from the two-hour drive that covered less than 30 miles, everything is hard to reach.
A temple full of monkeys is still on my to-do list.
In the meantime, we will be going back to Singapore for a week. I’m eager for that.
Be well, all.