Gazing into the distance I finally saw it. ‘Right there!’, a macaque monkey jumps skillfully from one palm tree to another. It’s 6 in the morning and we are standing on top of a hill, peering over an infinite landscape covered with rice paddies. The rising sun is trying its best to dispel the fog, which adds a hint of mysticism to the view. At the foot of the hill we find the house of the kind man where we could stay for the night. He already saw us coming, because on the porch are two glasses of coffee.
Last night we arrived in Pupuan. On the map it seemed the biggest village of central Bali, but at arrival it appeared that people don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia here; only Balinese. That was a problem. Luckily the manager of the local supermarket spoke some Bahasa, and after some small talk he offered us a place to spend the night. He proposed to show us the local market first. His cousin showed off by serving us his biggest catch of the day, transformed in a delicious spicy fish satay.
Balinese people are true masters when it comes to openness and hospitality. ‘Aren’t you going to be cold on the motorbike?’. Wayan looks somewhat disapprovingly at my khaki shorts. I point at my full and small backpack, ‘No room for long pants’, I explain. Shaking his head with a big smile on his face he walks back into the house, to come back a moment later with a pile of sarongs. ‘Here, tie this around your waist’.
We depart at six thirty from the mountainous landscape in northern direction, to arrive at the Munduk waterfall two hours later for a break. Munduk is only 25 km away from Pupuan, but to get there we drove over snake-like roads through the mountains. A time-consuming yet beautiful way to spend the morning. The route treats us with gamelan music from Hindu temples, small rivers in which children play, bright green rice paddies from which I can distinguish pointy straw heads of working farmers and the smell of clove that is laid to dry in the sun along the road. We are the only ones at the waterfall and I use this opportunity to step into the water. The cold water gives me goosebumps and wakes me up. Once I stand under the splashing water I look up and see two birds continue their way. What a beautiful day to be alive…