We had an appointment in Ubud, so Dave found us a Grab Car and we headed inland to the forest. Most Balinese talk about Ubud as the garden spot of Bali and, based on my limited experience, I think I would agree. We found a great guesthouse where they served breakfast on the terrace and had a spa onsite. After our meeting, we wanted to do a bit of touring, so the owner of the guesthouse arranged a taxi to drive us around for the afternoon.
We started at the rice terrace. It was a bit more commercial and tourist-oriented than I was expecting, but was very beautiful. We climbed around on the terraces enough to get me sweating. Of course, that doesn't really take that much.
Next was a Hindu temple that sported pools of "holy water" for bathing away your bad...stuff, I guess. We wandered around taking pictures and then Dave asked, "So, are you going to get in the water?" Of course, that's why we came. "Because I don't really want to." Now that is just wrong. I know, I'm supposed to be a good friend, but when my friends don't do what I want them to...well, how am I supposed to deal with that. After a little bit of pleading, Dave agreed. "OK, but I am only doing this because YOU want me to." He was a little whiny about the whole thing. Still, we both donned our sarong over our swimsuits and took turns in the water.
I wasn't exactly sure how to do it, so I asked a local who seemed to know what he was doing. "OK, the first thing you do is go meditate for a while. Then, you create this offering of food and incense. Then, you bring it here and make several wishes before you offer it to whatever God you believe in. Then, you get into the water." I wasn't sure what to say, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to do all of that junk. So, when he said, "You want me to show you how?" I said, "Um can I just skip the mediation and offering part?" He tried not to be snippy, but it was hard. "That's fine. If you don't want to do it right, then it doesn't matter. Just get into the water and do what you want." Hm. Great idea.
I was starving when we got back to the cab and the driver had a place in mind for our dinner. I think Dave would have passed, but the place had rice, so he was happy.
Next stop was the elephant cave. OK, I'm not real sure why it is called an Elephant cave. There are no elephants. It was kind of a cool cave, and I'm thinking had some kind of Hindu meaning, but we didn't really find much to do there.
Finally, we were going to the sacred Monkey forest. There were some guys carrying these giant things that looked a little like May Poles into the forest. We watched them dancing along with their poles. The guard told us it was too late for us to get into the Monkey Forest. I tried to get Dave to join the guys carrying the May Poles in, but he didn't seem to think they would be very accommodating to us as participants. I mean, we had even lost our sarongs. So, we headed back to the guesthouse.
Saturday was Dave's last day. He would be on an overnight flight to get back to the Philippines in time to lead worship. After our breakfast, the owner of the guesthouse had arranged for her boyfriend to take us to Mengwe to see a temple there and then to take us on to the airport. The Mengwe Temple was something special. We had a great time touring around. As we rode, we tried to compile our notes of the interviews and experiences we had had. I'm not sure that I learned enough to publish anything, but it will be useful information as I teach my classes related to ministry and culture.
I hated to say good-bye to Dave. I had totally enjoyed the time with him. We talked about trying to do something similar in the future, but it will likely not be for a couple of years. Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with friends from other places, but not nearly as satisfying as putting an arm around their shoulders.