Temples, Talking, And Touts

By Jane Mountain | July 3, 2014

15,706 km so far.

Slowly, we are re-acclimating to a lifestyle which does not involve constant exercise, perpetually dirty clothes, and profuse sweating. I know, it’s weird, right?

The Civilised World

Today we were lucky enough to get to practice our social skills amongst Amy Petty’s great group of yoga retreat students. They were gracious enough to take us along on their excursion to Pura Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi, two ancient Hindu temples in the region.

It was refreshing today to get a chance to chat with native English speakers. It really doesn’t matter what the conversation is about, though it was interesting to hear other perspectives on what we were seeing around us.

Storm clouds over the rice fields, Bali.

Storm clouds over the rice fields, Bali.

Just getting to talk without having to speak slowly and choose the simplest words is such a relief. I’m glad to see I haven’t lost my English language skills in a year on the road.

There were plenty of beautiful sights to be seen at the temples.

The natural setting of Gunung Kawi was pleasant on this cool, overcast day.

bees Gunung Kawi, Bali

If you check your mail here, you’ll find a lot of bees, at Gunung Kawi, Bali.

Carvings of all shapes and sizes are prevalent throughout the many temples on the island.

The thick black thatch is made from fibres from the sugar palm, and can only be used in temples.

Tiny offerings are a part of everyday life on Bali, and these can be seen scattered at temples, on the sidewalk, throughout homes, and in the street.

temple offerings in bali

Giving to the gods at Gunung Kawi, Bali.

And of course, there were plenty of tourists, both foreign and Indonesia, enjoying the temples.

Pura Tirta Empul, Bali

Photo op at Pura Tirta Empul, Bali.

Constant Commerce

One of the most interesting things, from my perspective, was the plethora of women selling all kinds of goods, the density and volume of which we have not seen since we were at Angkor Wat.

As we walked past stalls and stalls of marketeers, all calling to us, telling us we could get this sarong or that shirt for a dollar, we reflected on how much more comfortable we are in this type of situation than we were a year ago. Instead of cringing at the contact, we smile at everyone, laugh, talk to them as we wander by.

Even the most persistent sellers, a few of whom grabbed my arm to pull me towards their racks filled with batik parachute pants and crocheted bikinis (yes, really), didn’t bother me. I just say “no, no, no thank you, no” with a big smile on my face.

It helps to think about the life story of each of the women: how many children does she have at home; what does her husband do, if there is a husband; what she’s going to spend her earnings on? It also helps that we rarely want to buy anything.

Travellers’ tip: Be nice and treat everyone with kindness and respect for the hard work they do. If you know you’re not going to buy anything, never say “maybe” or imply that you are interested, just say “no thanks” and keep on walking.

A lot of people say being nice to marketeers makes them more persistent, but in our experience, it’s the rude tourists with a scowl on their faces who get harassed the most.  

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