In the morning aboard the buses again for another excursion, this time to another Barong dance further away from Ubud than the first one we saw. We enter an open building with bench seats that slope up from the stage. Highly and professionally decorated, the stage has the gaudily garmented gamelan players positioned to the left. The dancers cavort to the center and right. An absolutely beautiful setting, an absolutely polished professional performance.

Although our group sits in reserved seats down front, I choose a center aisle seat 3/4ths of the way back and up, so I can tape the performance. Unfortunately, I have no tripod. So I do my best to steady my elbows on my knees, made slippery from the sun screen lotion I had lavishly applied earlier. My elbows keep sliding slowly down my thighs. Muscles cramp and complain, lungs want to fill fully and jerkily. But somehow I conquer all and endure fairly steadily through the performance. I miss the lush colors that the rest of the audience experiences and the visual vastness of the performance, because the tiny size of the black-and-white monitor constricts my experience.

Since, to get to the Barong performance on time, we had to go past the village of Mas in which we were supposed to visit the woodcarvers, Don takes us on to Denpasar, Bali's capitol. We'll see the woodcarvers on our way back.


We first visit the Bali Museum. Laid out like a temple complex, this museum delights the eye outside and inside. Separate buildings house separate exhibits. Each building has its own microcosm with its own walled courtyard, lushly planted and gated in the manner of the temples.

Inside one building I photograph magnificent costumes of the Barong dance, ancient gamelan instruments, a Garuda bird. We're allowed to use flash here, as this building contains only costumes, carvings and other items not harmed by the intense bursts of light.

Lovely paintings hang in another building, but I can record them only in memory, as no flash can be used here. At the end of the room, enough natural light falls on a few paintings. So we shutterbugs try our luck on these.

Outside, Don spots a statue of a monkey grooming lice from another monkey. Don quickly hands his camera to me, grabs Joan's arm and pulls her over to the statue, telling her to sit with him and pretend to be picking through HIS hair! I hear other camera shutters clicking away and I gleefully focus and click away with mine. An impromptu "monkey see, monkey do"!


On board the buses, we head for the southwest shore. When we climb off the buses, the heat and humidity here seem to smack us in the face. It's much worse than in Ubud and the interior of the island, which are at higher elevations. A round restaurant greets us. When we climb up to the second floor, the breezes sweep some of the ground level heat and humidity away.

We order and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more! Finally, the group at one of the other tables gets served. Another wait, and my table gets served. And so on for the rest of our four or five tables. Two hours pass from our arrival until the last table gets finished eating! Don goes downstairs and gives the management a dark piece of his mind for their inefficient pokiness.

Joan and I seek out the restrooms. Over a small lean-to type room at the back of the building, the restaurant has proudly hung a sign that says they've been given an award for maintaining modern and clean restrooms! Great, we think! Inside, we get quite a shock.

There's a hole for sitting on. Next to it is a higher, tiled square basin full of water and a dipper. This is how this "modern" toilet gets "flushed"! To our civilized senses, this facility doesn't look or smell very clean. If this place got an award, what on earth do the other places' facilities look and smell like? We're glad we don't have to find out!

It's so very hot and muggy that we elect not to make the half-mile trek down the dusty road to Tanah Lot Temple. So we just sit for a while in the light shade of a small tree. Then we brave the shady side of the street to look at the vendors' stalls. We see nothing interesting to buy. But due to the stifling heat and humidity, we're probably just not in the mood. It's too hot to even think. Half an hour has never seemed so long. When we hear the drivers start up the buses and their air conditioners, we're first on board!

Tanah Lot Temple is located on the southwest shore on this map of Bali.

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