Amlapura

by Andrew Stein

After 1 pool dive, 6 ocean dives, 4 quizzes, 1 exam, and numerous breaths underwater, I received my PADI Open Water Scuba Certification, and was ready for my next adventure. I wasn’t expecting the next adventure to come in the afternoon following my last dive. This was the afternoon that I hopped on the back of the motorbike with Dive Master Ketut and took off towards Amlapura. As soon as we exited Tulamben, the atmosphere surrounding the road and the vibe from the people felt more natural and more authentically Balinese. During our trip we stopped for a late lunch at a place run by some of Ketut’s friends and I tried some Balinese cuisine along with an Avocado smoothie. I was skeptical about a savory smoothie at first, but Ketut had one, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Motorbike

Katut and I on his motorbike

Motorbike view

The view from Ketut's motorbike

As if riding on the back of Ketut’s bike wasn’t adventure enough, soon after we started, it started to rain. Luckily, because of the humidity and warmth, I was never cold, but little rain droplets hitting my arms and legs at 40 km/hr is not a completely painless experience. When we got to our first destination, the Water Palace, where the last king of Karangasem used to vacation, the rain had stopped and I explored the grounds of this Palace, which had ornate water ponds where most palaces might have gardens. After lunch, we continued on to the Water Garden, the spot where the king and his family would venture for day trips, and I jumped in one of the pools that was said to contain the equivalent of holy water and should bring me good luck.

water palace

The Water Palace in Amlapura, Bali

Before heading back, I purchased a durian, a type of fruit native to Indonesia that looks almost like a spiky pineapple. The edible part is the fleshy area around the seeds. I had heard that the durian can give off a very strong smell, and I later had the opportunity to experience said strength for myself when I left the durian in my room for a while. When I returned, the smell in the room was overwhelmingly strong. I then learned that in some cities, the taxi drivers will not allow passengers to carry a durian because of its strong smell. It had the texture and taste of a slightly sour banana. After realizing the smell was coming from the durian, I promptly placed it directly outside my room for safe-keeping.

durian

The infamous durian fruit