Archives for posts with tag: Lovina

Lovina.

I wake up 5 minutes before I’m supposed to be there, I’ve slept through my alarm, shit. I brush my teeth, throw on some clothes and run out the door. Thankfully I have my trusty moto. I speed to the meeting point taking 10 minutes to do what usually takes 15, granted it is early morning and traffic is light, still I go fast. Arriving at the Indomart about 10 minutes late there is no one to meet me, I’ve missed it. But I ask a worker and he yells out a name and from 2 doors down a man pops his head out and say, “you late”. Yes I know, I’m sorry, can we still go? He grumbles and wants to charge me more money, a lot more, almost double. I’m not really in the mood for this, it is 5 am after all and I haven’t had any coffee, and he’s not just grumbling he’s being really attitudal. I snap at him, either we go on this trip which I have already paid for or I go get my money back and you don’t get paid at all, what would you like to do? He agrees to go and we start to walk to his boat, he’s grumbling the whole way until I tell him I don’t like his attitude and if he is going to be like this the whole time then we can just forget it. We can either be happy with each other or we will not go. I guess he sees that logic in this, seeing as we will be stuck in a boat with each other for the next hour, and his attitude improves. Mine too.

At the last minute a middle aged local woman decides to come along for the ride, she hops in the boat, cackling wildly. This should help lighten the mood.

We’re going to see dolphins as the sun rises, this should be magical right? Not so much. As we make our way across the water I see more and more boats up ahead, I’m not sure I would be exaggerating if I say there were 100 boats. And these boats aren’t just hanging out in the water as the dolphins cruise by on their morning feed. No, these boats are actively chasing the dolphins, getting really, really close. Also these boats are cutting each other off, gunning their engines to make rapid turns and generally being a menace not only to the dolphins but to each other.

This is crazy. I feel major tourist shame. What are we doing disturbing this lovely animal as it tries to go about its business of eating breakfast? Why isn’t there some respect by the guides in their maneuverings? Why did I think it was ok to give money to someone to perpetuate this problem? In my defense I had no idea it would be like this, and quite frankly I am appalled. I ask the driver to back off, to not chase them, I don’t think he understands me and the lady behind me seems to be loving every minute of it so it continues. Resigned, I sit, I take the mandatory photos and I feel shame.

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With so much time on my hands while waiting for the visa extension and a motorbike that’s already paid for I spend my days in Lovina exploring along the main coastal road and also up into the mountains.

On one trip I drive way up into the mountains to see the view over two neighbouring lakes, on the way I pass lots of rice paddies.

Rice Paddies

It becomes apparent that some of the main agricultural crops of this mountainous area are mandarin oranges and hydrangea flowers, they are being sold from roadside stands all the way along the road.

Orange Trees

A roadside shrine catches my eye, the colours of the umbrellas brilliant and crisp against the (briefly) blue sky.

Roadside Temple

Offerings

It’s cold up here, really cold, and I am unprepared, shivering in the wind and fog on my moto bike. I make a brief stop near one of the highest points overlooking Lake Tamblingan. I buy a cup of horribly strong and sweet tea from the roadside stall and have a rest, trying to warm up, teenagers playing Balinese pop music on one side of me and serious motorbikers dressed in leather drinking the same tea and smoking copious clove cigarettes on the other.

Lake Tamblingan

I drive down the other side of the mountain and down a dirt road beside Lake Buyan to find a small temple complex and some fisherman doing their thing in dugout canoes.

Lake Buyan Temple.

Fisherman at Lake Buyan

On another day I make it to Lake Bratan, it’s misty/foggy when I go to take the mandatory photos of the temple sitting on a small spit of land jutting out into the lake, I like the results. There are some musicians playing traditional Balinese music in the large complex, the colours of their clothes is fantastic. Also a large pond with many water lilies, a subject I can never seem to resist snapping a photo of.

Lake Bratan Temple in the mist

Lake Bratan musicians

Lilies at Lake Bratan

Another random stop is the magnificent Meduwe Karang Temple, however the mandatory suggested donation is $10.00, I’m feeling cheap this day so I skip going all the way inside and content myself with photos in the free areas.

Meduwe Karang Temple

Meduwe Karang Temple

As I discover this area of Bali I watch as more and more Panjors are built and erected in honour of the upcoming festival. Panjors are tall bamboo poles with simple decorations are placed outside the entrance to every house creating a festive atmosphere. They are made by weaving coconut leaves into the bamboo and they are then decorated with fruit, cakes and flowers.

Panjors lining the streets

Panjor

I really enjoy the explorations of this area of Bali. It’s still busy with tourists but doesn’t have the same sort of crazy feel that it did down south. I’ve adored having the motorbike with me, it’s an indescribable feeling of freedom that I really enjoy, being able to go anywhere at any time, I love it.

Driving further up north on Bali I arrive in Lovina, land of black sand beaches (which are apparently what all the beaches in Bali would look like if they didn’t import the pretty white stuff from elsewhere). I find a place to stay and, after some conflicting internet advice, figure this is where I will get my visa extension done.

It’s an unnecessarily complicated procedure, requiring 3 visits to the Immigration office. On your first visit you apply, on the second you come back and pay your fees and on the third you get to pick up your passport again. In a good week this will take 3 consecutive days, unfortunately there are an awful lot of holidays in Bali and I’m told when I apply that it’ll be 7-10 whole days until I can get my passport again. I’m not down for that and sweetly ask the man who is helping me if there is any way that money will make the process faster. Turns out it will and $50.00 later I’m told I can pick up my passport on Friday. As it’s Monday when I apply and the next three days are holidays this is considered next day service. Thankfully when I show up on Friday it’s all ready to go, yay for Balinese bribery, bureaucracy!

In the meantime I spend my days exploring some of the surrounding areas, more on that to come.