Amidst sand and surf

Travel tales

Amidst sand and surf

My husband and I had the opportunity to visit Indonesia recently, a trip that remains green in our memories. Our flight had taken the Bengaluru-Chennai-Singapore-Jakarta route and we had a layoff in Singapore before our connecting flight to Indonesia arrived. We made the best use of this time by going on a city tour organised by the airport authorities and had a fair glimpse of the city.

On reaching Jakarta, our first visit was to the Buddhist temple Borobudur in Java Island after which we went to a place called Yogyakarta which is famous for another temple called Prambanan, known for its architectural marvel. Later that evening, we watched a ballet based on ‘The Ramayana’ which was enacted by the local folks against the beautiful backdrop of the temple.

The next day, we trekked to Mount Bromo to view a volcano. It was a remarkable sight which brought back memories of the volcanoes I had studied about in my geography classes. Our next stop was Bali, the land of beaches. We had to travel in a barge to reach the place and this was one of the most exciting rides that I have ever been on. In Bali, one can see that the streets are named after  different characters from ‘Mahabharata’. In fact, in many circles, you find statues of these characters.

We covered the Bali Island on a two-wheeler stopping at different places each day. It was my husband’s idea to have a back-packing kind of a trip. We marked all the places to be covered on a local map and headed on. While in Kuta, which is a place in Bali, we hired a two-wheeler. It is the most happening place I have ever been to. Its beautiful beach is popular with surfers.

We stayed there for a day and then proceeded to a village called Ubud the next day, where terrace farming is quite popular. We resided at a homestay and a conversation with the lady who owns the place gave me an insight to their culture which I felt was very similar to Indian culture.

The ways of worship in Bali are quite similar to us, yet very different. For instance, they have the practice of giving offerings to the God but their offerings can be anything like biscuits, toffees, etc. (To my amusement, I found one of the shops in Kuta had offered toffee-cigarettes to God in a platter made of leaf). We then went to Uluwatu, which is a steep cliff, on top of which is a temple and below, the sea. The view is just outstanding from this cliff. After this, we travelled to Padangbai but couldnt cover the distance, so had to stay midway in a place called Tulamben.

To our surprise, the beach in Tulamben had a scuba-diving spot. Scuba diving was an unbelievable experience and we even saw a wrecked ship under water! It was a US ship named ‘Liberty’ which was wrecked by a Japanese torpedo in 1942 World War. We were told that due to volcanic movements, the wreck had drifted all the way to this place.

Then we went to the picturesque Padangbai beach in the morning and to Tannahlot, where a temple is built on a lava rock on sea. Tanah Lot’s beauty is majestic and mesmerising at sunset. Back in Kuta, we did some shopping. And before returning our two-wheeler, our last visit in Bali was to the Nusa Dua beach. Here there are two stretches of beaches, back-to-back. The  place between the two stretches of beaches had been developed with parks, fountains, statues etc.

Soon, it was time to head back home and wrap up our 15-day-trip. I have still not found the most appropriate word to describe this place. Such is the beauty and such is the memory.

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