We knew day 3 would become an action-packed day, but I had no idea just how much it would turn out to be. We just went on one of those many adventure tours available to tourists in Bali. First stop, we were going white water rafter at Ayung River in Ubud. It was a long drive, we fell asleep many times and still we never seem to get there. Finally we did get there, quickly put on our gear, and started a long winding trek down snaking rock stairs that seem to go on forever:
It was such a LOOONG way down, and the stairs were high and wide, that my knees started to hurt with jabbing sharp pains with some steps (insert “matanda ka na” joke here). Then we realized: if this was such a steep and endless descent, will we have to do the upward equivalent when it’s time to go back up? We thought that maybe at the end of the river, we’d be dropped off at street level, so we don’t have to climb the impossibly difficult amount of stairs. More on that later. After what seemed like an eternity, we eventually started seeing the river, which turned out was still a long way down, much to our chagrin, but even then it was already a sight to behold.
By the time we got down to the river bank, our legs felt like jello. Our boatman pumped air into our raft (partly by machine, partly by hand pump and partly by blowing manually using his mouth!). He gave us instructions like how to paddle when he yells “Forward!” and how to paddle when he yells “Backwards!” He told us how to lie back when we needed to go under a fallen tree. He told us what to do in case we fell into the water (lie on your back until rescued). The list was long but we listened intently on the do’s and don’ts. And off we rowed.
I took out my waterproof camera every now and then to shoot photos or videos, but I quickly put it in my pocket whenever the boatman required us to row. Some rapids were mild, but some were outright scary. Things were going swimmingly, until we hit one particular rapids, which was really rough. We were going full speed down a steep slope, when our raft suddenly hit a large boulder. The sudden stop hurtled me forward, and to my utter shock and disbelief…THREW ME OFF THE RAFT AND INTO THE RAGING WATERS! Time suddenly seemed like it was in slow motion. I vaguely remember seeing the raft get farther and farther away from me, and then suddenly feeling engulfed in an ice-cold watery embrace. Next thing I remember was being like a sock in a washing machine, tumbling head over heels, smashing into rocks left and right and up and down. Two fears were racing through my mind: I could easily drown (it was useless trying to swim in that current), completely powerless as the water pulled me up then down, making me drink mouthfuls of water as I tried to gasp for air, or I could be smashed senseless into the jagged rocks all around me. Suddenly I remembered the instructions: “If you fall, don’t panic, just lie on your back”. When the waters calmed down a bit, I was able to lie face up on the water, and next thing I knew, I felt a hand yank me up onto the boat. The boatman was able to fish me out using one hand, while the other steered the raft. My hero!!! I swear, I owe this guy my life!
Then I realized, all that time, from me falling into the water nearly drowning until fished out by the boatman, I was holding on to my camera! Even through brushes with death I protect my equipment with my life! So I escaped with cuts and scratches and bruises, but my camera was completely untouched. I was shaken, but I was able to complete and even enjoy the rest of the ride. The river was fascinating, all throughout the banks, were carved images of the Ramayana story.
We also stopped by a waterfall where we could enjoy bathing under the powerful pounding waters or take pictures.
In the end I had painful bleeding gashes and a huge bruise on my left thigh, but I was just happy to be alive and in one piece. And just when we got to the end point and I thought my sufferings have come to an end, we got our answer about the climb up: yup, we were climbing the same amount of steps going up. I swear, I had to stop many times because my legs were already wobbly and my lungs were on fire. It was doubly difficult climbing up! But like many trials in life, it came to an end. We took a shower, changed our clothes and proceeded with the rest of the tour. I was like, “That’s just the FIRST stop?!?” We had lunch at a nice restaurant overlooking Kintamani Volcano. It reminded me so much of Tagaytay and Taal, with the weather also being chillier than usual
The view was breathtaking, the weather lovely and the food all vegetarian (which I loved!). After that, we went to another stop which again reminded me of another Philippine landmark, the rice terraces at Ubud:
Then for our last stop, we visited a water temple, where people worshiped, and it was a sight to behold, very serene and filled with ritual significance:
Saving the best for last, we visited a coffee plantation, one specializing in the Bali specialty, luwak, or coffee taken from civet poop. But the star of the show wasn’t the coffee, it was this fruit bat:
I chose the safe photo, because once we got there, he immediately got an erection, then he started licking his engorged bat-penis, which grew so long it went all the way down to his mouth, hence the licking. To see it, is to believe it. I have pictures, but I’d rather not have bat porn on this post. It was the weirdest thing to see! And funny, after that self-licking extravaganza, he started covering his face, as if he suddenly realized that he put on a porn performance for some humans:
I just find this picture funny because I wanted to tell him if he could understand: “Nagtakip ka nga ng mukha, pero nakalabas naman yung etits mo!” And since he was some sort of celebrity in the area, I decided to have my picture taken with the bat porn star. And what should he do when I was in striking distance? He reached out and scratched my face!!! Actually the photo caught the split second right before his claws scratched my face:
Finally we were driving home after what seemed like a lifetime’s worth of adventure. Then I realized, yesterday I was knocked off my feet by a huge freak wave, dragging my bare torso on the sand, then today I get thrown off the raft, almost drowning and bashed against the rocks, then I pose with a fruit bat and it scratches my face! What is up with that? Then I looked down and see my right hand on my lap, and on my middle finger was…THE RING. I swear, I was convinced that the ring was trying to kill me!!! I told myself that once we get to the hotel, first thing I do is to turn in the ring.
(to be continued…)