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  • Writer's pictureseimaistato

“Good morning” to the volcanoes with a last-minute companion

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Bali, Indonesia, August 2018

We had already spent a week discovering the island of Bali, Indonesia, hopping here and there between must-sees and less touristy spots: now it was the turn of an inland valley to the east of the island, little-known and totally quiet, inhabited by farmers and herders.

The village of Sidemen has remained in my heart because it is a green gem - with rice paddies and jungle - outside the traffic and crowded bars of the south coast. We spent a few days enchanted by that slow pace, the dedication to work in the fields from the crack of dawn, the spirituality of the people who never lacked a smile or a kind and welcoming word, and the beauty of nature that enveloped the place.

The last leg of the trip, an accommodation in a nature reserve northwest of Bali reachable only by boat, was a five-hour drive away but there was no cab driver on the horizon, not even Grab. On the last day in Sidemen, a gentleman was selling gasoline in big bottles (this is completely normal) to refuel the scooter at the village crossroads. We asked for advice on how to get to the harbour, and from there on the story is painted absurdly: Jiwa offers to accompany us and gives us the most spectacular ride ever.

The next morning at dawn we were not sure if he would come by, but instead, he arrived all happy with something to munch on the route. On the way he stopped at a mountain village, "colder, colder," he tells us: cool, biting air, people were wearing ponchos and steaming drinks on the stoves in the street to warm themselves in the early morning light. With a proud look- which I will never forget- he showed us the two volcanoes we were saying good morning to: Agung and Batur.

A mix of Peru and the Pacific, he takes us to this covered market where a few women offered us a cup of hot tea and handed me a sarong to visit the Ulun Danu Beratan temple.

We continued on our way to the small harbour, where after a couple of hours a small wooden boat showed up to reach the reserve.

We greeted Jiwa with a warm hug and thanked him.

What a sight!

If you'll ever stop by Sidemen, @cepikvillasidemen is highly recommended!

Viewpoint of the village of Sidemen

Sunrise at the temple

Good morning volcanoes

Pit-stop "colder, colder"

Balinese dinner in Warung (local restaurant) Cepik, in Sidemen village

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