Arrival day – Sunday 30/8 – Sydney to Jasri village, just east of Candidasa (Part 1)
Up at stupid o’clock because I’m too anxious to sleep. Final packing done, my family drives me to the airport. I meet up with my lovely travel buddies and we grab a quick champagne at 8am! Flight was great. Take-off and landing were the smoothest we have known. VOA & immigration quick, bag collection ridiculous! Took far too long. Out through customs, changed some money – 9800 idr per aud. Only 5k off what I knew it was on the street yesterday! Very happy with that for the sake of convenience. Then out into the sea of faces to find our drivers. Took a bit of help from my travel buddies driver to find mine but we did in the end and I farewell my friends as I was whisked off into the afternoon by my driver, Nengah.
Traffic is pretty slow out of the airport, then we take the new freeway which I have never been on before. It was fast! We hit quite a bit of traffic as we drive past Sanur. Once we get onto Jalan Professor Doctor Ida Bagus Mantra (so love that name!) it thins out. The country side through here is so interesting! Beautiful rice paddy fields with cows in their tin roof shacks, kites flying high in the sky, Nusa Penida in view as we see the blue of the ocean just metres from the road. We stopped at some lights & I see an elderly woman walk briskly across the four lanes of traffic, she is elegant but walking very fast with a four foot long chunk of hard wood on her head! Everyone gives way to her even though the lights have changed. I know I’m in for a treat this trip.
On we drive through townships & rice paddies. All of a sudden there she is! Mount Agung stands right before us at the end of the road, no clouds, just mountain. It was just like magic! (I wish I had asked to stop & take a picture!)
There is a small cremation ceremony – traffic stops to give way to the men walking along – the body wrapped in material being carried by stretcher above their heads, music and drums loud.
The landscape changes from rice to coconut groves. Lots of families out and about, finishing their day. As we pass through the villages their streets are lined with penjors. men are out hosing, women out sweeping. I feel alive.
To be continued…