Monday Wayan came to pick me up at 9am for a day of touristing. Our first stop was Goa Gajah, The Elephant Cave Temple. This temple is special because of the cave, which is relatively shallow but remarkable for the stone that it is carved into and the deity statues, Ganesh, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma are all in attendance inside the cave. The demon face entrance is really stunning and worth the trip to see. The other big attractions here are the trees, huge gnarly and beautiful trees that are centuries old.
From here Wayan took me to Gunung Kawi. This temple is also carved out of stone but it was likely made to honor a Balinese king and his family rather than Hindu deities. On one side of the river there are five Candis each standing a bit over 20’ high. These are thought to represent the Balinese royal family of the time. On the other side of the river there are four Candis one source says that these were erected to honor the king’s four concubines. This led to a fun conversation where I tried to explain to Wayan what a concubine is.
Next we stopped by an agri-tourism spot. So many tourists apparently were stopping in the fields to photograph the various orchards and coffee crops that some enterprising folks decided to make a one-stop-shop for all things locally grown. This includes, and is perhaps headlined by, locally grown and roasted coffee. The king of all coffee, if royal lineage and cost per ounce are interchangeable, is Luwak. Incase you have never had the pleasure… there is this animal called a Luwak who eats only the absolutely finest of coffee beans. He then excretes the beans, in a sort of fecal brick which looks remarkably like a Payday candy bar, the beans are collected, roasted and sold for an ungodly amount of money. Of course I had to check this out for myself.
And then we reached our main destination for the day the volcano Gunung Batur. Batur is flanked by Gunan Abang a 2100+ meter mountain and Danau Batur the largest lake in Bali. We arrived in time to see the volcano for about 15 minutes before the clouds rolled in and hid her from view. It was actually cold at the overlook and when the clouds came in it felt like fall had arrived.
The drive home took us through some beautiful farmland and the main woodcarving villages in the area. It is taking every bit of yogi restraint I can muster to not buy a wood carving from every vendor we pass. There is so much talent here and I am a sucker for a good Buddha. Fortunately the high cost of shipping and the size constraints of my luggage are keeping me mostly in check.
After touring my next engagement was a yoga class with Mantra, the Guru I had met the day before. Mantra lived up to his name. His class was an hour and a half of Asanas (postures) and mantra chanting. I had never been to a class like his before, but I loved it!
I am beginning to think that I have picked the best place on Earth to be while focusing on making yoga an everyday part of the rest of my life. This community is so perfect for anyone looking to expand, explore or generally find the meaning of their life. Really, there seems to be a yoga class, Guru or metaphysical practitioner around each and every corner. You can’t escape it.
Begin at the Beginning
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