Monday, May 5, 2014

Jatiluwih Rice Fields | Bali | Indonesia

When planning my drive to Ulun Danu, I noticed a spot on Google Maps marked Jatiluwih Rice Fields. I was intrigued and since it was on my way back to Ubud from the temple, I decided  to wind that way. I was undoubtedly on the receiving end of quite a few bewildered stares. While winding down the mountain through villages on a one lane road, I encountered a bit of traffic, which I later discovered to be a religious procession heading in the same direction.

After pausing a moment to ponder where these people might be headed, since it was rather remote, I continued on my way. This deviation from my original plan was definitely worth it. The rice was sprouting a vivid green in every direction as far a the eye could see.

As I was admiring the scenery, I caught a glimpse of the same procession, which had apparently reached its destination, immersing themselves in the valley's river.

On a sidenote, I quickly discovered that rainy season was still in full swing on the island of Bali. Since I was on a rental bike, I did not have any of my rain gear with me and as a result, had to stop no less than four times at little shacks on the side of the road to wait out the ferocious bouts of precipitation. When I was about 20 minutes away from my hotel, it began to pour. I stopped at the first empty shelter I found. I had been there for about an hour when I saw a motorbike make a u-turn in the middle of the road and drove straight for me. The man jumped off of his bike and ran over to me. From under his plastic cover, he produced a brand new, silver and neon yellow poncho.

What he said next was one of the most suprising and kind things I have heard in all of my three years here. He told me that he had passed me awhile ago and since he knew the rain wasn't going to stop any time soon, he went to the nearest store and bought me a poncho. He worked for a hotel and was used to helping tourists. I was almost speechless. This complete stranger was on his way to work but stopped and actually turned around to help someone in need. In a place like Bali, where tourists are constantly taking advantage of local people, this was really the last place I expected such an act of kindness. He even stayed to make sure that I got everything covered up and knew directions to where I was headed. Since he wouldn't accept any monetary thanks for his kindness, I would like to take a moment to promote Hotel Mulia near Ubud, at which he works and note that if they hire people who care so much about their work to take it to the streets, then it must be an upstanding establishment. 

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