We rented a motorbike from our friend at the Purnama House and rode out to the Greenschool to make it to our 9am tour. We arrived at 8:30 and found the tour was already sold out, and I had not been able to make reservations online. Luckily, some of the other reservations didn’t show, and we were able to take their place. The tour was a little overpriced compared to the rest of Ubud, but we were later informed that proceeds made from tours are used to help Balinese students pay for tuition.
The tour started promptly at 9, and lasted about 2 hours. We were lucky enough to visit during summer break which allowed us to wander into all of the classrooms. Multistory classrooms, dorms, bridges, and all other buildings on the campus are constructed from bamboo. The tour was diverse, gearing equally towards parents of potential students and architecture buffs alike. Definitely try to book ahead, but if you are unable to, try going anyway! You might luck out…and if nothing else, you’ll get quite the scenic drive. You have to cross a wide stream from hundreds of feet above on a wooden bridge. Secondly, brings some bug spray. I recommend it for everywhere in Asia, but I got eaten alive at The Greenschool…
After returning to our hotel following the tour, we had a large portion of the day left over. We grabbed some lunch and then headed out to Tirta Empul, a Hindu temple famous for it’s holy spring water. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular, but I was in for a surprise.
Although crowded with visitors, the temple felt calm and neutral against all the energies of the people inside. At Tirta Empul, tourists are allowed to plunge into the the fountain where the supposed holy water flows (only after purchasing your own sarong of course). At first I chalked it up to a money making gimmick, but decided I couldn’t leave without at least having tried it for myself.
I pulled my hair back and wrapped my red and gold sarong around my hips before sliding into the waist deep water. The water was lukewarm, but still felt refreshing against the hot humid air around me. Large koi fish swam between my legs as I made my way over to the fountains. I held my hands together in prayer against my chest and held my breath as I bowed under the flowing water. The water poured over my hair for seconds before reaching my scalp…but when it did, I could no longer hold my breath. Uncontrollably, all the air from my lungs felt like it was being sucked away and my body was powerless to replace it. I could not breathe but I also didn’t feel like I needed to. The feeling remained, it pulled at my throat and chest long after my lungs had emptied.
It all happened within a matter of seemingly endless seconds, as I stepped away from the fountain I took a breath. I could never put into words what it felt like. I was not gasping. I was not out of breath. But the air in my lungs fulfilled me and renewed me in ways I have never experienced. Not sure I could ever explain the experience to it’s full content, I persuaded Sam to go in while I dried off. Low and behold, he had the same experience.
Maybe the lukewarm water felt shockingly cold, or maybe Tirta Empul’s supposed healing powers worked their wonders on us. Either way, it was a magical way to spend the afternoon.