While still in Southern Bali, I stopped a local tours stand and decided to pick my next destination. I looked at a map and saw the name Candidasa on the Eastern coast. For whatever reason the name called out to me, and I knew I had to go. I booked the shuttle for the following morning knowing nothing about the location.
After a 3 hour shuttle through the winding, jungle roads of Bali, I finally arrived at my small, one street, seaside town. I was dropped off on the one and only road and set off to look for lodgings. I found one guest house..private room..pool..and amazing view of the sea for a little less that $12 US a night. Not only that, but I found a guide at the same time to take me to a traditional village, local market, and hidden beach for just $20 US the next day. I thought this was decent price for an entire day, 3 stops, and a local guide/driver.
My first day here was just lazy, hanging by the pool, going down to the beach, and reading. I had a delicious traditional Balinese dinner for less than $5 US..and retired early. This morning, I started my journey at 8 am and headed to the traditional Balinese village called Tenganan.
The people of this village live just as the did hundreds of years ago. The make everything from the natural resources around them and make beautiful handicrafts to provide an income. I found out that they grow almost everything..so the money is used for building houses for men who just marry, on land they already own. They have very strict rules about outsiders marrying in or villagers marrying out. Only a handful of times, outsiders have actually stayed in the village..but they are allowed in every day for a short walk around..as I did today.
Upon walking around, I went into one of the villagers houses to see the clothes she had made. I found, through translation from my guide, that she is a widow and her only daughter married outside of the village. Because of this, she had to pay a fine of 220,000 rupiahs or approx. $30 US to the village. This may not seem like a lot to you or I..but to her it was a lot..and the public shame even higher. She lives quietly now, in her home, alone..selling her handicrafts and performing her duties within the community. After talking to her for an hour, I was invited to a traditional wedding ceremony the following day (tomorrow) and there she will introduce and ask the head of the village if I can stay with her for a few days or even a few weeks..helping her sell her clothes and learning the ways of the village..There are no words to describe how I feel about that..for now I’m just grateful to attend the wedding ceremony. We’ll see how the rest falls into place.
The day was shaping up to be an excellent, unforgettable one. After leaving the village, my guide took me to a traditional market where I got to try local fruits and snacks..fried coconut and chile..fried long bean seed..a gelatinous black rice dessert served in a corn husk..to name a few. I liked the market, but it was a local one and I did feel a bit unwelcome there. Women were pushy and the stares could cut through you. I just smiled and enjoyed the experience and hospitality of its people.
Next was a scenic drive through winding roads, past rice terraces, the jungle, and small villages..down to the sea to a hidden beach called “white sand beach.” There are only about 5 locals restaurants here, no hotels or rooms, and a handful of beach chairs. The water was the clearest water I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was in Gilligan’s Island. The color slightly comparable to that of an electric blue lollipop.After some local noodles and veggies..an ice cold glass of fresh watermelon juice (my newest obsession)..I headed back to Candidasa for more lounging and reading.
Tonight there is some live, local music at my guest house..and then in the morning I will go to the traditional Balinese wedding..draped in Tenganan’s finest traditional wear. Wish me luck!
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