By 9am I was already high in the hills enjoying breakfast as some home stay looking out over the rice paddies toward Mount Agung, one of a handful of the inactive volcanic mountains and the tallest peak in Bali. I thought about hitting the "Mother Temple" that was located at the base of the mountain, but was even more curious about this little road leading up hill to a little temple icon-symbol on the map. When inquiring if it was possible to get there a local told me it was much better than the original destination because it was not swarmed with tourists.
The drive felt like I was going straight up the mountain. I thought I was heading into some rain for a while until I popped out from the clouds just a hundred meters before reaching the Puranas Passran Agung temple. Other than the two fellows doing some maintenance work on the structure I was the only one there. Clouds swirling below me and the last couple thousand feet of volcano rising above me in an adorable open air rock temple... I would love to romanticize it by throwing in some blissful sound of birds and geckos, but the truth is that the maintenance men were using some sort of electric stone cutter making a tremendous racket. Still, the view was breathtaking as the clouds would open up for moments giving glimpses of the jungle valleys far below. There was a point where the mist was moving up the hill as if trying to carry me to the top.
As I approached top step crowning a long zigzagging flight down to where my scooter was parked, I looked through the swirling fog and saw a procession of people, all dressed in white, carrying fancy boxes and baskets of fruit and flower offering on their way to do ceremony. Another stunning sight. Nearly all of the maybe fifty people, men, women, and children had smiles and kind hellos as I passed them by. I did not stay to watch, my instinct told me that this was their and theirs only.
Just two hour later and I would be experiencing the opposite end of the spectrum. Down from the cool serene forest the coastal lowlands were hot muggy and I was certainly not the only one there. I stopped at cheap shack on the shorefront along the road where I saw some retired, no shirt, heavily tanned, chain smoking foreigners with a sign above saying, "Monster Aussie Burger!". The chatty old crew from down under whipped me up a huge burger that had everything you would ever normally throw between the buns along with loads of bacon, fried eggs, and beets. How could I not have a small beer with that.
To be continued... or maybe not