Rice walks and Tree tops

Sunday, June 17, 2012

After finding a travel agent I’m able to book my flight for a ‘bit’ more than the online price and then go for a walk along the Campuhen ridge. I’m not much for hiking, and I don’t know that this qualifies considering I’m sporting flip-flops… There are supposed to be scenic rice fields, after an initial missed turn I make it passed another temple where dozens of men are preparing for a festival onto the paved walkway trail through some fields (that are not rice paddies) and up a hill.

Ten minutes later I still don’t see any rice fields and am beginning to think how much I’d rather be sitting at a coffee shop how scenic this still is.  I’m definitely not wishing one of those ‘Taxi guys’ was here now.  After a bit the trail turns into a dirt road and I realize it would’ve been possible to take a car (how lazy am I???)

A number of small brick houses and more courtyard-style homes are scattered along the road and then I see a few rice paddies, which means I can turn around what a nice view. A few of the structures along the road house small one or two room studios and artists sit in front painting and calling to tourists to come view their work, I oblige in exchange for some photos, there are even a few restaurants claiming in writing to have the best view designed to capture the picturesque view.

I’ve been debating this morning if I really want to go to Uluwatu, well I do, the internal debate is if I really want to sit in traffic for 2 hours each way inhaling the exhaust. I’m sure it’s beautiful, I’d love to go, the dancing is supposed to be really great… but I could take another picturesque ride up past the volcanos and to the botanical gardens where there is a tree top adventure park, which sounds pretty fun. It’s not exactly the ‘cultural’ tourist thing to do, but it is my holiday and I’ll be seeing several more temples in Yogyakarta… the debate rages and swinging from trees wins out.

I walk up to the guys who always sit in front of the guest house and ask how much for a ride up, we haggle a bit (I’m really not good at this haggling) and settle on a price I’m happy to pay. I go don my Lara Croft wear, complete with scarf sarong and we are off.

Once again whizzing past villages and people where old traditions mix with new. The air turning cool as we ascend. It’s about a 2 hour ride up and I’m glad we are on a bike as we pass giant bus after giant bus emblazened with the word ‘parisiwata’ (tourist). Bali rips at the seems with the number of tourist activities but still seems to maintain so much of their daily rituals, again, I wonder how much of that is also to attract tourist or how long it will continue like that. Younger generations of Balinese will no doubt want to have more and more modern ways of life and won’t want to farm rice fields like their parents.

At the beautifully manicured Botanical park my driver escorts me to my destination. A quick intro to my equipment and I’m ready to tackle the red and then the black courses. Two regular locking caribeners and a third pully-style one are attached to my harness. It’s so much fun, you climb up rope ladders and walls, hooking yourself along the way to make sure you don’t fall, then across cables or swinging bridges and logs of various sorts, every so often there is a flying fox. I’m so glad for all the tortuous push-ups in aerobics. After the red course I move onto the black course the scariest is the rope swing which first you have to let go of the really high platform to grab the swing and then, totally against your instincts, you have to let go of the rope swing to grab the net so you can land like a spider. Angelina Jolie, G.I. Jane don’t have anything on me!

Tonight dinner is in a Cuban restaurant, La Havana, it’s good – live band and dancing…my chachacha skills are very rusty.

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