Saturday, 7 February 2015

Appearing a little fruity ...

And so it was yet another day starting with yet another train journey. And this time it was a train journey to be taken after a sleepless night of scratching mosquito bites and an upset tummy from Dragon Fruit Overdose! ! All I can say is thank goodness Sally had pre-warned both TC and myself that the fluorescent pink dragon fruit NEVER loses its colour (if you know what I mean). Which actually makes for the weirdest yet most attractive 'powdering of ones nose' you will ever experience!

We got to the station with just enough time to catch our breath and take another 'pink' toilet break before clambering over two sets of railway tracks, (easier for those of us with back packs but not so easy for poor little TC with her wheelie case!), and eventually reaching the train that had just pulled up on yet another set of tracks on the other side of the platform.

After managing to clamber on board, the train immediately started moving, which meant we then had to struggle through three busy carriages towards our allotted seats without falling onto some poor unsuspecting Indonesian commuter.

As we made our way through the train, the other passengers stared at us, (nothing new there), and shouted out "Hello", as well as various other comments in Indonesian whilst giggling like little kids. We just smiled back and nodded, praying that no one would ask to have their photo taken with us, because, at that precise moment in time, we really were not in the mood!

At one point, I caught the eye of an Indonesian man lounging on one of the seats, he grinned up at me and then I heard him say: "Hello Rumbuting", after which he and everyone else in the carriage burst out laughing!

Trying not to feel too self conscious I sat down in my seat and waited for Sally to join us then asked her what he meant. She smiled and said: "He didn't say 'Rumbuting' he called you 'Rambutan', it's a tropical fruit, that's red and hairy".

I wasn't sure whether or not to take that as a compliment and then TC turned to me and said: " Well calling you a 'Rambutan' is better than calling you an 'Orangutan'!"

Oh I don't know reader, you decide!

We settled down in our seats, TC turned to me laughing and said "How cute, people are laughing at you not with you ..." I threw her a look and turned to stare out of the window, wondering why she felt that comment would make me feel any better?!

As the train trundled along the tracks I noticed three Indonesian women and their children sat opposite us, who were not trying in the least to be subtle about talking and staring at us. Then one of them signed to me that she wanted to take a photo of us all. TC and I nodded and the next thing we knew, the kids were plonked on our laps, the two Jos were leaning behind us and the three women were happily clicking away on their camera phones.

I signed back at them, asking to take a look at the picture and immediately one of the phones was placed in my hand. TC and I looked down at the screen and laughed when we realised they hadn't taken snapshots, but videos of us all just sat there, grinning back at them jiggling their bemused looking children on our knees!

After about an hour and a half, this 'little rambutan', (I've decided I prefer that to Orangutan), and her friends arrived at Ketapong where we caught the ferry for a ride that took under an hour, to cross the Java Straight over to Gilimanuk in Bali. Thank goodness, that for once, the rain had held off and the sun was shining down on us!

Once we had reached dry land, our driver for the next couple of days - Marlie (from Bali) - met us in the mini van and we were off on a five hour drive to Pura Tanah Lot in West Bali. Thank goodness for air con, because by now it was really hot and humid.

Unlike Java, Bali is not predominantly Muslim, but Hindu, with thousands of Hindu temples all over the island - most people have one in their homes as well as a different one for every ceremony in each village. With Hinduism brought over by the Indian traders a couple of thousand years ago, yet again, the practise/beliefs of this religion have metamorphosised slightly from the original and now includes a touch of ancestor worship and animism. And as you walk down the streets; unlike back home in London where it is advised to watch where one steps for fear of standing on a piece of sticky gum spat on the pavement (or in fact just the spit), in Bali one must watch where one steps for fear of standing in a tiny offering to the gods, placed daily on the pavement outside every shop, hotel or home.

Tanah Lot is the most visited and photographed temple on Bali and we were off to watch the sun set over it (apparently a must for all tourists). The hotel we were to be staying, the Dewi Sinta, was right in the heart of everything.

We checked into our rooms; luckily ours met with TC's approval and she laid down for a little cat nap,  still feeling the effects of the now infamous Pink Dragon Fruit and a touch of heat exhaustion - we still weren't used to all this lovely sunshine! 

Looking slightly paler than usual, she said that she was obviously much more sensitive than I was, to which I explained, yet again, (as I had done in India three years ago and Mexico last year), that all she needed to do was cut back on her OCD hygiene rituals and eat more dirt. That way she would build up her constitution and bacteria in her gut. She looked up at me, unimpressed and said she would consider it next time she was gardening!  

Eventually we stepped back out into the glorious sunshine and joined the two Jos for a meander down to Puna Tanah Lot, where we planned to check out the 17th Century temple where locals go to pray for a successful harvest, (bit like 'The Wicker Man' but without the human sacrifice), then wander around the shops before finding a table at one of the restaurants above to watch the stunning sun set, (as I mentioned before, this is apparently a 'must not miss' event).

There were hundreds of tourists around, so after taking a few snap shots we headed up the narrow path towards the overlooking restaurants.

On our way up we happened across a coffee shop selling… Luwak coffee! Obviously we all sniffed and started to walk off with indignation when we realised that asleep on the counter and a couple of the tables were a few Lewaks themselves! And hanging from a bar in the corner of the cafe were a couple of fruit bats.

I asked the owner if they were his, he smiled and introduced us to 'Morgan' the Lewak fast asleep on the counter top and assured us he had adopted them and that they weren't kept in a cage or force fed. I pointed to the fruit bats and again he assured us they were well looked after; at night they fly off for food then fly back in the morning to sleep. I asked what the bats were called, he said "Petat and Bollok". I turned to the others and sniggered. Then as if on cue the male bat stretched out his massive wings and casually yawned and I saw why he was called 'Bollok'!

Our next stop was the restaurant at the top where we could have a nice cold and refreshing drink and watch the sun set.

We found the perfect spot, sipped on our drinks and chatted away exchanging holiday anecdotes, slightly aware of the temperature dropping and the clouds building up above.

Within half an hour, the sun was obliterated by the massive grey clouds and the heavens opened. Yet again, we were completely and utterly drenched! 

So much for the 'must not miss amazing sun set', we may as well have pulled out a canoe and paddled back to the hotel!

All I can say is: "Bollok!!!"

No comments:

Post a Comment