CELESTIAL WATERS

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Bali might be known as the ”island of the gods,” but let’s face it for most hedonistic western tourists, a possibly greater attraction is its heavenly swimming pools. As you might have gathered from pictures in earlier blogs, we are renting a pretty divine one in a village north of Ubud and it comes with a nice house as well. However it has been eclipsed by one we have experienced in a small and otherwise unremarkable resort on the island’s north east coast.

First impressions were not impressive

First impressions were not impressive

Jill booked the place online and I must confess to misgivings as we trudged up the steep path from the road. The dry grass was overgrown and there was rubble and bits of half completed, but abandoned buildings all over the place. Depressingly there were more semi-structures to see across the road in the space between it and the beach.

A bed with a view

A bed with a view

The resort has only seven rooms, four of their cheapest down by the road and ours, one of three individual losmen up the hill. The room was only OK, the air conditioning was hardly up to the task and the structure and furnishings were a bit shabby, particularly the handrail up the steep stairs which was missing in places. But it it had a great view over the sea and was right next to the pool, and what a pool!

We were told the resort’s owner had flogged his wife’s jewellery to help pay for it. Now that is serious. She must have had a lot of the stuff or they are heavily in hock. The pool was shaped a bit like a figure of eight and on the sea side where it spilled over the edge, it had an underwater seat where you could either sit and admire the view, or sit and talk. From this point, on a clear day looking east, you can see the northern end of the next island, Lombock.

A pool with an even better view

A pool with an even better view

Water comes into the pool out of the top on a buddha statue, via a waterfall. The water that spills over the horizon edge, sparkles about three metres down a round stone wall into two smaller pools at the bottom where you can sit and be splashed by the overflow from above.

Under the waterfall

Under the waterfall

In the upper pool on our first day we met a young couple from Belgium, Lieze and Thomas, and we spent the next morning in the pool talking to them. They both had interesting jobs back home. The next day we joined them snorkelling, first at the Japanese shipwreck further around the coast at Aas, and then at the little bay near our resort known as Jemeluk. (See previous blog “What lies beneath.”)

Jemeluk Bay with its coral reef and Mt Agung behind.

Jemeluk Bay with its coral reef and Mt Agung behind.

Leize and Thomas

Lieze and Thomas

The place we stayed is called Bedulu Resort, in the area known to tourists as Amed.

Just for reference I have included a photo of the pool at the place we are renting near Ubud, at its divine best. The lady in the picture is a local villager who we assume is paid to come around and attend to the property’s supernatural needs.

A pool with spiritual safety

A pool with spiritual safety

She comes in a kind of trance and usually doesn’t acknowledge us. She looks after the household shrine out the back and lays offerings and incense at auspicious spots around the premises, with a hand gesture and muttered incantations as she does so. An offering is also always placed by the pool. Presumably this will help us avoid drowning or at very least, sunburn.

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