Sidemen Valley - August 13th 2015

Awoke to more morning rain. The valley again shrouded in clouds and looking stunning.

An interesting fact is the cost of living like this. Did a calculation last night and to stay here eating 3 meals a day and a Bintang or two costs about A$150 a week less than the current Australian Government aged pension for a couple! That means one could live here indefinitely and still have spending money left over. I am not suggesting that we would as there are too many other places to explore but it is interesting how far your money goes here.

Set off with our driver to explore the Sidemen Valley. Drove towards Selat along a winding road surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Paused at Iseh to view the many rice terraces which cover this fertile valley. Passed many Chilli farms with women picking the last of the crop before the rice is planted. Smoke has been rising in the valley each day as they burn the old Chilli plants in heaps after pulling them out. We are witnessing a way of life that has basically remained unchanged for centuries.

Saw many roads covered in rice drying and the farmers had no problem with us driving over them slowly.

Turning off at Muncan we headed south towards Angkan Gunung. It is a small village that specialises in growing and drying cloves. We found a street devoted to drying them and we learnt from the farmer that he picks them by hand by climbing the trees and it takes up to 5 days in the sun on the road before they go brown and look like the ones we buy in the supermarket. Women were tending them with wooden rakes, turning them over to make sure they dry evenly. The air was filled with a heady aroma of cloves!

Temple of Puri Bukit

Temple of Puri Bukit

Above the village of Sangkan Gunung, lies the mystical Temple of Puri Bukit. We can see it from our cottage window. Erica decided to wait below on account of her knees and the driver and I headed up. I am not sure of the number of steps but it was the most I had ever climbed! Reaching the top I donned a sari and entered the Puri Bukit Temple alone. This was a wonderful experience as the site is unrivalled looking North to The Sacred Mount Agung and to the south east to the sea. It also has vistas over the Sideman Valley including one over the area where we are living. Probably one of the best Temple sites I have experienced and well worth the climb.

Now we headed down towards Klungan that we had visited on foot over the broken bridge. Stopped to take a pic of Sidemen Village in the distance. We then stumbled on The Villa Idanna the haunt of the rich and famous including our great friend Graham from Coorabell in the Byron Bay Hinterland who has graced its halls on more than one occasion! Erica posed outside, as close as we will ever get to it!

On returning to our cottage the driver spotted his 7 year old daughter walking back from dancing at the Festival taking place in Sidemen this week. The girls looked beautiful in their golden attire as we passed them.

Sitting in the pavilion writing this after a wonderful drive. Life does not get much better than this.