Sunday, January 4, 2009


Today was my 'National Geographic' moment in Bali, where I witnessed the Hindu purification ceremonies at the holy springs at Tirta Empul, about 30 minutes north of Ubud.

This morning after breakfast, I took off on a motorscooter that I rented for the day ($7 !) and headed for a tour of my own, first stop the temple at Gunung Kawi and then onward in search of the holy waters.

At Tirta Empul I descended a long steep stone staircase to the narrow grotto below, where the Balinese lined up patiently waiting their turn for a brief worship ceremony at the shrine and then on to the holy cascade for a ritual dousing. Bare chested men cavorted in the streams gushing out of the rockface (no bare chested women--it wasn't the 8 year old boy's fantasy Natl Geo moment!!) and the grounds were packed wall to wall with a very festive crowd. I stood perched on a narrow cliff above the shrine and drank it all in.

These unscripted unplanned chance encounters are the joys of travel that I live for. How grateful is it possible to be?!? Loving the moment and also wishing my family were here to experience this divine island with me.

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