Monday, March 4, 2013

Ulun Danu Beratan

We took another daytrip by moto north of Ubud, up winding roads overlooking gorgeous, terraced rice paddies, past volcanic peaks shrouded in cloud to the temple on the shores of Lake Beratan: Ulun Danu Beratan. With the crater wall in the background, the view of this lovely temple is truly magnificent. Even better seeing it in person than on the 50,000 rupiah notes! We sat and watched the clouds roll over the razor-sharp ridge and continue along their way (to threaten us as rainclouds later).

We explored the manicured gardens on the grounds and happened upon a setup of birds and mammals that you could pay money to be photographed with. Several kinds of owls, from tiny saw-whets to large horned owls, hornbills, eagles, about a dozen fruit bats, and a couple of pythons. Yes, for a fee ($20 bucks for the snakes, $5 for the bats, or $3 for the birds), you too can manhandle an animal! There's big business in pimping out animals for a profit, and it's indicative of a larger system of problems (unemployment, corruption, lack of social programs, etc) that won't change overnight. It's tough to make a living here, but until tourists stop feeding the demand for such gimmicks and spectacles, this isn't likely to change.

Soured a bit, and frustrated, we continued on to see if we would get a view of the north shore of Bali from the ridge of the crater (spoiler: we didn't), but along the way, saw a bunch of macaques running along the guardrails and sitting perilously close to the road because yet again, you could stop and pay money to feed them.

I apologize that this is a bit of a downer of a post... I knew when coming to Asia that we would see animal welfare rank low on the list of priorities, but it's frustrating and heartbreaking to see time and time again, and I feel powerless to do anything about it, because it's not just a simple fix. It's hard to reconcile coming from a place where it's a luxury to have a pet and wild animals are often protected. But the reality is I don't have to worry about having enough money so my kid can go to school instead of selling postcards on the street to tourists.

For the right price, you can hold the bat by his wings. We watched
one woman do it, and the poor bat looked so confused and distressed.

For the ladies...


  1. Very sad. Those poor animals. Who would want to distress those beautiful owls.

    On a lighter note: for the ladies? Hilarious! Why? And had they not written that, would we have thought they meant for the gentlemen too? lol

    katelin xo

  2. Yeah, that's troubling to see with those beautiful creatures. I don't understand who would even WANT to do that.