Thursday, June 5th, I awoke from a dream with the sudden desire to go to the temple on the lake. I held this sense and awareness throughout the day, curious to see if it would pass by the time night arrived. That evening, I was on the internet searching google maps for the directions to this water temple I was summoned to. It was necessary for me to go the following morning, Friday, June 6th.
Morning of June 6th:
Arranging my money in my pouch in a way that I would not flash an abundance of bills to the eyes of the Balinese, I wondered why it was necessary for me to place a 50,000 bill in a pocket that held my passport, license and motorbike receipt, instead of amongst the 10 and 20K bills. I knew not to argue with my intuitive insights; perhaps I would find out later in the day.
I headed north on Jl. Raya Andong, in anticipation of my journey – I will be answering a summons to Dewi Danu at one of her floating temples. Forty-minutes into the journey I began searching for the sharp right turn-off that was indicated on the map. I silently prayed for an indication as to where to turn because I honestly could not tell where I was; no idea how far or close I was to the mountain, let alone the lake. I did not have a smartphone or a handheld gps.
A Balinese man pulled up alongside me on his scooter to inquire about my destination. “Lake Batur”, I yelled. He smiled and nodded, pointing to himself to indicate his familiarity with the area. He then waved towards the side of the road to suggest I pull over. So I did. He introduced himself as ‘Ayoman’, and proceeded to give his sales pitch with a little bit of personal history. Ayoman showed me a picture pamphlet of his coffee plantation and suggested I follow him to try the coffee. The temple would not be opened until 12:00 pm, and it was not too far from his plantation – so he said. Seeing as I was not sure which direction to go, I went ahead and followed Ayoman.
The route he took was a maze – I prayed that I would safely find my way to my destination and a more straightforward return route. I tried my best to memorize the turns – a left here, a right there, and could not align them with any landmarks. I saw the signs for “Bali Eco Village” and hoped that I would eventually see the signs for Kintamani or The Ayu Kintamani Villas. Those were the landmarks I memorized from the map on my tablet the night before. They are very close to the lake.
The road eventually straightened out, yet was at a steady incline. In the very least, for me I was on a mountain. Now to be done with the coffee tour and be on my way.
Ayoman suggested I take pictures during the tour of his establishment. He offered to hold my helmet for me; I declined his offer, and he took it anyway. I took a few pictures as he spoke about the infamous Luwak coffee, the way it is processed, how the tea is processed, and how beautiful the view is at the end of the tour. I honestly was not into the tour; I‘ve already experienced one from the owner of the villa I am renting – it was a much larger plantation, more appealing, and the teas were priced at a more reasonable price for the quantity [which was much more than Ayoman’s plantation]. Besides, I really wanted to get to the temple.
We sat at a table and a Balinese woman brought over a small assortment of brewed teas, coffee and one cup of hot cocoa. The Luwak coffee was brought over in a slightly larger cup and was not available as a free sample. It was 50,000 rupiah for this one cup. Hm, now I see why I separated my money the way I did earlier that morning.
I sipped my coffee and participated in small talk with Ayoman. He’s an artist, studied traditional Balinese dance, and could not help but repeat at how ‘sexy’ my body is shaped. He liked that I enjoyed the Ginger tea since, to his knowledge, it helps with obtaining and maintaining a sexy shape.
After I finished my coffee, I prepared myself to leave. I strapped on the one liter backpack I borrowed from Bella [villa-mate], grabbed my helmet, and sought to pay for my coffee. I had no interest in purchasing anything else.
My bill for the coffee was waiting for me at the counter – so too was a small container of ginger tea. I briefly browsed the shelves of the small shop, paid my bill and proceeded to walk towards the exit. Of course they insisted I buy the ginger tea; I declined, and kept walking. Ayoman caught up to me and…attempted to seduce me? I don’t know what one would normally call his behavior [making a pass at…?], but he gave me a shoulder hug, which I was okay with. He then tried to give me a full hug, whispering words of how lonely he was, adding that he’s single. I did a dodge and push-him-away action, and stated “That’s nice. I have a boyfriend”. Ayoman then said ‘But we are both artists, so it is a good thing”. I responded that my boyfriend is an artist as well, and that he is currently in London composing music. Ayoman laughed and gave me a look as if he didn’t believe me. I reassured him that I do see my BF often enough; my time in Bali was my vacation time for me, but that I looked forward to seeing my BF again. Ayoman said okay; I am glad he dropped it – I did not have a picture readily available to show him the BF I do not have. And if I were to gain internet access, I would be able to show him a picture of my friend that is not my BF, yet no pictures of us together. Of course, that would raise the creepy factor beyond the level it was already at if he insisted on seeing pictures.
On my scooter, ready to go, I point in the direction I am assuming the lake is in, which is opposite the direction we arrived. He nodded, and suggested I follow him. Thirty-seconds into the drive, he pulls over and proceeds to light a cigarette. He says that he’s coming in a few moments, but that I should go on ahead of him. I said okay, a thank you, and pulled off, not caring if he caught up with me or not. All I wanted to do was get to the temple. My 45 minute drive was not 45 minutes…no need to delay any further.
About five minutes later, I come across a police check-point. Please let this go smoothly…I just want to get to the temple on the lake. I’ve heard horror stories of foreigners and the Polisi. I hoped that my experience would mirror that of when I was in South Korea – pleasant, serene, easy going and laid back.
I was asked to pull over and to hand over my license and registration.
“Registration for what”, I asked.
“The bike”, he said. Thank goodness I left the rental receipt in my pouch. I handed him my state license and the receipt. He looked at them, handed them back and said “Okay, have a nice day”. I asked if Lake Batur was ahead and he said “Yes, yes, Lake Batur, go”.
That was easy. Exhaled a big sigh of relief, said thank you and zoomed away!
I began to see road signs and got really excited! I was almost there!
…Thirty-minutes later I’m still driving up a mountain. Where the heck was the lake!?
to be continued…