With his assurance the sea temple was on the other side, My Traveling Troop started walking through the maze of market vendors selling everything from clothes and jewelry to masks and paintings.
With the sun blazing high above us, we stopped to buy the kids water and Bintang for the grownups. After all, it's important to stay hydrated. :)
Finally, we started seeing signs — or rather, statues — indicating that we were getting close to the temple.
Just when we were about to give up, a kind Hindu man came to the rescue.
He grabbed my hand, and I in turn grabbed my daughter's, and off we went! The water started off being ankle deep, but ended up about thigh high by the time we reached the temple.
We were so thankful for this man's assistance and the blessings him and his friends bestowed upon us as we reached the foot of the temple. First, they asked us to wash our hands and faces in this fountain.
Then, they proceeded to place a bit of rice and a dab of water on our foreheads. They also placed a flower in our hair.
True story: We tried so hard to keep our son dry, because of the stitches he had on his forehead (he fell at a playground the week prior). Before we could say anything, he got blessed with the water right on top of his stitches. Oh well! Perhaps the wound will heal faster now that it's blessed!
We were not allowed to walk upstairs and see the rest of the temple, but that was okay with us. We were touched that they let us go that far and for the experience.
Once we waded back to shore, we decided to take a closer look at the maze of shops in the market area. The kids found a cafe serving kopi luwak, which is coffee made from the droppings of a catlike animal known as a luwak or civet. The children were attracted to the animals in the open-air cafe, while the parents were curious about what kopi luwak would taste like. Alas, we didn't get a chance to taste test. We were all too busy gawking at the animals, which included luwaks, a bat, and a dog.
Don't worry! No tails were pulled in the making of this blog post!
Once we finally convinced the kids to leave the cafe, we explored the market a bit more and then headed to a nearby hill where the kids could run free in the gardens and the parents could enjoy the view.
At one point, I spotted two Balinese ladies dressed in beautiful lace. I asked if I could take their picture; they suggested we take a family photo. How sweet! I'll always cherish this one.
By this time, we were hot, tired, and starving. We should have planned ahead and researched places to eat, avoiding the grumpiness that ensued as we wandered around and tried to find a restaurant we would all enjoy. A couple laps around the market later, we finally found a restaurant overlooking the water with a menu that suited all of our tastes and tucked into some local fare. Our meals were delicious, cheering us up once again.
Looking back, My Traveling Troop's visit to Tanah Lot was part spiritual and part adventure - a definite highlight of our Bali holiday over Thanksgiving weekend. If you ever find yourself in Bali, I definitely recommend you visit the temple in the sea.