Indonesian Chronicles – Day 11, 23/8/2018 Impressions, Facts & Stories

A little before 7 am the earth trembles under our feet. It takes me a few seconds to realise that this is an earthquake, one of those many which have hit the region in the past couple of weeks. We learn that this one is in Bali, and of magnitude 5. It is a sharp and deep tremor, which recedes quickly.  T. and A. are still fast asleep.

We wake us under a beautiful sky with giant clouds of all shapes. A. calls them photogenic. They are. We decide to hike from Ubud to the famous terraces of Tegalalang. The beginning of the journey is a lovely walk by the river, along spectacular ridges and dense jungle. It crosses little villages. After 2 kilometres, we are back on a main road, along rice terraces with giant scare crows which look like Calder’s mobiles. The traffic is dense, with motorbikes and tourist vans brushing against us. We walk in a single file, in silence, in the heat of the day. We try some detours, going through villages where dogs start barking at us continuously. We cross women carrying offerings to the temple. Schools with kids in blue batik uniforms. We go back to the main road. After a couple of hours, we decide to stop in the first place we find to escape traffic, take a break. Having realised we are still 1 hour away from Tegalalang, we even contemplate finding a taxi to finish the journey. There are a few small shops along the road but no suitable place to stop. After some long minutes, we walk past what looks like a secluded hotel. We explain our situation to the porter. He lets us in. We go through a sinuous road which takes us into a strange complex, nested in the jungle. We have a light lunch in the most spectacular post-colonial place which, we discover, does not want to be called a hotel…This is an ultra-luxurious tented camp and wellness retreat nestled within forested terrain and sloping rice terraces.