Day 4/43: Northern Bali, Sekumpul Waterfall
FYI : The numbers that title the blog are the number of days I have been on the Bali tour and the second number is how many days I have been traveling all together.
We all definitely woke up no problem in the morning with the four alarms we had set for the same time in the cute little bunked room at the homestay. Haha. I laid my clothes out the night before, so I waited for everyone else to use the bathroom and then brushed my teeth and headed down many many stairs to the restaurant. We pre ordered breakfast last night so that our breakfast would be ready when we got there. I ordered two hard boiled eggs, but they forgot to make them and was showered me with apologizes. I kept telling them it was no big deal, but they made me a breakfast box to take with me full of delicious fruit, one that’s brown and looks like snake skin, and a nutella banana pancake. Well… ok… I can’t say no to Nutella
We drove to the beach about 45 minutes away. We were divided up into three vans. I arrived to the vans last and no one was in the front seat of one van, so I gladly sat shotgun. I get pretty car sick.
Along the drive I saw a woman driving a motorbike while breastfeeding a baby, one hand cradling the baby and one hand steering. Multitasking at its finest. I saw a man on a motorbike with about 25 or so dead chickens stacked and roped down on the back of his bike. I asked the driver how they killed them and he said they slit their throats and let them bleed out.
Traffic completely stops and we let what looks like a parade march by. I ask the driver what is going on and he says it a funeral. We can see now the people carrying a big photo of the man who has passed and they have the mans son hoisted up on a seat. I don’t know if they do this for everyones death or maybe this particular man was a priest or something.
I notice we pass traffic on the right and the left. The motorbikes zig and zag. There aren’t any stop lights, but somehow its 100% organized chaos. I start thinking about America and road rage and how basically its a persons over reaction and offense to someones actions, like someone moving in front of you is a personal attack on you or like a fuck you. No one has road rage here. There is just sort of this understanding that everyone needs to get somewhere and it’s not personal and that’s it. They do ‘beep beep’ but that’s more like a ‘hey I’m right here’ kind of notification.
We get to Lovina Beach that is known for black sand and dolphins. I sat at the restaurant by the beach and drank coffee the whole time. It looked like a beautiful beach, though, no black sand or dolphins from what I could see. I remember going to a black sandy beach in puerto rico. it was charcoal black.
A few of the girls went swimming at Lovina and one girl said she saw a toothbrush floating by and another said she saw a womans bra.
I took one picture.
Alec and Derrick joined me for a beer and a snack and we talk about tsunamis. Derek said he’d run for a boat in the ocean, Alec said he’d pay a guy on a motor bike to take him as far away from the shore as possible, and I decided I’d say right where I was and enjoy the rest of my coffee.
Alec just got over Bali Belly, which is what they call a specific kind of food poisoning in Bali, I guess? He is being super strict about not eating any fruits or vegetables. I have been at all. Rut roh.
There was a sweaty guy with a jewelry case who incessantly tried to sell us a pearl necklace saying he will light it on fire to prove that its a real pearl and not plastic. People love burning real things to show they aren’t plastic! I didnt want a pearl necklace but I almost bought it just to support the guy and all the effort he was putting into making money to feed his family. I decided to give him money because I am a sucker like that, but he must have given up on the Lovina Beach spot because he hopped on his motorbike and moved on.
We drove a half hour to the Banjar hot springs. The owner of the homestay said pretty much one thing about this, and that was to make sure not to wear a white bathing suit because the sulfur from the springs will discolor it. I wore my white bathing suit because that was all I had and hoped for a magenta.
The Holy Hot Springs water was luke warm, murky and pea green. Imagine super thin split pea soup you forgot you heated up in the microwave. It certainly smelled like sulfur. There were dragons fountains spitting out much hotter water.
The sun was hot at this time and we all burned our feet anytime we stepped on the rocks that weren’t in the shade. Once we all got in the pool, I joked about my chakras being fully balanced and aligned and my impurities exercised. They were selling ice cream for $1 but I passed, as I had eaten my Nutella banana pancake on the way. I also tried an actually passion fruit for the first time! It was slimy in the middle and the seeds were super crunchy!
We look at a menu of the restaurant we are going to for lunch and we write down our orders. The guide takes a picture of the order and sends it to the woman at the restaurant so that they can get a head start. We drive about an hour to the entrance of the waterfall and walk about a half a mile to the restaurant, down a hill. We get to the restaurant and sit down on the rooftop over looking the mountain. Theres a trellis above us covered in passion fruit, unfortunately green and not ready to eat. I find one that is a little brown and ask my Sri Lankan giant friend to grab it down for me. We break it open and give it a try, but it is too sour and definitely not tasting like the one I had in my breakfast box.
Our food starts coming out. I had such little cash on me all I ordered was a side of fried mixed vegetables and a fried egg. They ended up cooking me four fried eggs, and stacked one on top of the other like diner pancakes. Hawaiin pizza was a popular order amongst the group, and the young lady from Sweden ordered hers with banana and created quite a bit of controversy on top of an already controversial topic (pineapple on pizza). I don’t love warm pineapple, but I don’t mind the pizza. Not so controversial to me. Outside of the restaurant they had two caged rabbits and I asked the guy if they were pets or if they were going to eat them. He said, Like dog, Feed. So I don’t know if they are pets like dogs are pets or if they feed the rabbits to the dogs.
They also had a caged luwak. The cat/monkey animal that you feed coffee cherries to, he digests them, and then poops them out. Some of the most delish and expensive coffee in the world, so I hear. He seemed so sad and tired and lonely. Probably because he literally works twenty four hours a day.
We walk down 300 steps almost 1.5 kilometers to the waterfall. We stop along the way to take pictures. We pass by people on their way up and they look completely gassed, so we prepare ourselves for the way back.
The Sekumpul waterfall is known as the most beautiful waterfall in Bali, and I would have to agree! The water is freezing cold, the cold pool to our hot tub spring. We walk up stream to the pool and can feel the mist from the waterfall. We play around in the natural pool as the huge powerful fall pummels into the water. I am speechless. I stand and stare up at the massive waterfall and I can’t even process its amazing beauty. I take a few moments with my eyes closed to just listen. One of the members of the group had a drone, so I am interested to see what that video looks like.
The group heads back in one direction and I go in the other and follow signs for the other waterfalls. I get there and remember I have no money, so cannot go in. I cross the bridge and start my long hike up the mountain to the parking lot. at one point, I do not recognize my surroundings at all and I imagine myself being lost in the jungle. I continue up, because I know ”up” is at least the right direction. There are stairs some of the way but the majority is just a steep steep concrete narrow road. Some members of the group take a ride on a motor bike back.
At the end of it though, I was grateful for the exercise, grateful for my physical ability to endure all those stairs.
The ladies who own the shops around us, hard sell me dresses and pants. It’s like they know I’m a sucker. I have no cash i tell them, assuming that is my honest and easy way out, but they throw a dress over my shoulder and tell me to borrow money from my driver. Awwwkward.
Sweet Norway boy Oliver does not feel well at all, so I give him the front seat of the van, and lucky for all of us that I did, because just a few miles down the road homeboy rolled down the window and upchucked like a frat boy at a keg party. I felt so bad. We pulled over. He was embarrassed but said he felt much better.
We get back to the homestay and have time to rest before the cooking class and dinner. I opt out of the cooking class, and accept the fact, that sometimes I am on the outside of things, because I put myself there. I am content with my decision. I don’t have to do everything. The older I get the less I feel like I am missing out and the more I feel like I am listening to my body’s need to recharge. My tummy hurts too and I have motion sickness even sitting still. Also, I’m just not that into cooking. See my need to defend my decisions? Yeah, I’m working on that.
I eventually go down to dinner. Chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce, mixed vegetables with peanut sauce, fried tempeh bits, fried rice, coconut pudding with mapled honey and coconut shreds. They also offered plates and plates of lychees and the snake skin fruit I had for breakfast.
There was a four man band is our cute little restaurant and they covered american classics in a playlist I would have named “Adventurer“ or “living your best life” playing with songs like, Time of your life, Leaving in a Jet Plane, Take me home, it’s my life, don’t worry be happy, etc etc. The lead singer did an amazing job singing English and I loved how he smiled while he say as if to say “I am so excited to be here and to be doing this right now.” One of the drummers grabbed the mic and started beat boxin. It was great.
A few of the guys busted out a bottle of jack daniels and everyone ordered another round. I was so pleasantly full and contented with my day. The Waterfall was so beautiful!!!! I said goodnight and walked the stairs to our cozy bunked bedroom and fell asleep before the rest of the girls came in. We head to UBUD which means yoga tomorrow! I’m ready!!