First Week in Bali

We just arrived in Bali, and it feels like getting beamed into another universe. Ancient Hindu culture. Beauty everywhere. But this is NOT Indian Hinduism…it’s something more akin to shamanism. We first went to the Temple of Petitenget in Seminyak to pay our respects to the Gods. That was the right thing to do, as since that day things have been going very smoothly. Then we went to visit the Temple of Death, which was also very amazing.

We took a taxi to Ubud, a city one hour away from Denpasar, to check it out for a possible living area. We saw Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the Temple of Death. YIKES! It was a rainy day and a powerful downpour all afternoon. This temple was amazing.

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the Temple of Death, is located in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in the southwest part of Ubud in central Bali. It is used for worshipping the God Hyang Widhi, the personification of Shiva. This is one of the three temples in the Monkey Forest.

Standing at the door to the Temple of Death. The Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple complex is the refuge of the powers of darkness and evil spirits. The entrance is guarded by statues of the witch-widow Rangda. Everywhere we see sculptures symbolizing the world of the after-life.

The spiritual purpose is not to frighten. On the contrary, it is to invite humans to stare into death without any fear, to accept it as part of life, and to understand that everything we see with our senses is impermanent.

Pura dalem, the Temple of Death, was built in the fourteenth century during the Pejeng Dynasty. The temple plays a central role in community life. It is dedicated to Rangda, the Demon Queen. She is the personification of evil, often depicted with pendulous breasts, fangs and ratty hair. Rangda, the Demon Queen, loves to snack on innocent babies.

This temple is in the sanctuary and natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed monkey. About 1049 monkeys live here. It was raining pretty hard so we didn’t go into the forest to see the monkeys.

I’m trying vegetarian sushi at the Earth Cafe in Seminyak.

Canang Sari (pr: chaNANG sarEE), is a sacred Hindu offering that Balinese people make every morning to the gods. These beautiful offerings are everywhere in all homes and businesses.

Today we’re on our way to Nusa Dua to look for an apartment to rent. Lama D. waits in our hotel lobby.

We arrive in Nusa Dua, perhaps the most beautiful beach in Bali. But it is empty. The whole world is shit down, as the airport closed for the coronavirus the day after we arrived. We have the entire beach to ourselves, except for a very few Australians and Russians. The staff anxiously awaits customers, and cheerfully serves us lunch.

We searched for an apartment in the Nusa Dua beach area. The average price of an apartment in this area is around $200 per day. Eeek! Today I brought a list of the very least expensive places from airbnb, ranging in price up to $30 per day.

After visiting several apartments, we chose a very clean furnished room with kitchen on the edge of a jungle. We’ll try it for a week and extend our stay if it works. The unbelievable price is $8.50 per day, or $10 per day including electricity. We will be able to cook and live in peace five minutes from the beach and 30 minutes away from the crowds of Seminyak and Denpasar. Fortunately Lama D is an wonderful cook! Oh yes, this will definitely be an exercise in simplicity.

One of my last breakfasts at our hotel consisted of traditional Balinese sesame chicken, stir-fried tofu with veggies, fresh peas. And the bok-choy wraps with sesame seeds were amazingly delicious!

Morning time always includes a Canang Sari, sacred offering in every temple and home.

We bought a tripod in a camera store so we can do videos and classes online. Not sure yet what they will be – stay tuned! This tripod is tall enough to do a standing video. And it will fit into a suitcase!

Lama D gets a haircut in chic area of Seminyak. I requested a “Bruce Lee” look.

Well, he came out looking more like Jackie Chan. Now he’s at the Earth Cafe, tasting coconut ice cream for the very first time.

The temple Uluwatu is located in SW Kuta area of southern Bali.


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