After the extended hot bath and massage in the previous night, I was full of energy when I woke up in the morning. Toni was a bit more lethargic because of his diarrhea, so we decided to set an easy tone for the whole day.
We walked out of our hut and saw a few workers standing on the top of a semi-finished house. Their motion was so slow that I nearly thought that time was warped in this space. Over the course of half a minute that we observed them, I only remember seeing one brick being lifted and hearing two knocks on the nail. A group of villagers were gathered at the bottom of the house and watched the construction progress silently. Their children ran around and played with each other. No one was working at the rice fields. The chickens roamed freely. My perception of peacefulness was redefined.
We followed the road out of the village and came across all sorts of street shops and resort-style houses. Some of them were empty and ill-maintained, some were grand and handsome, some were small but exquisite.
Figure 7: we had sweet tea in a nice garden cafe
Since Toni had not fully recovered from his diarrhea, we decided to turn back and rest in our hut. As we walked past the entrance to our village, we saw a small road leading up to a hill. Even at his weaker self, Toni was immediately turned on by the possibility of an overview from the top. As we climbed up the hill, we saw more and more rice fields and villages deep in the mountains.
Figure 10: caught in action!
We came upon a shop hut on a flat area and what seemed to be the backyard garden of the hut. The garden was spread over the ridge of the hill with a few wooden structured shelters and benches. We decided walk to the peak and enjoy some coffee at the hut thereafter, but Toni’s stomach summoned him to the toilet before we could reach our destination~~
Figure 11: I saw groups of such bugs while waiting for Toni outside the toilet
Figure 12: an ugly bull frog in the toilet
The view at the peak of the hill was mind-blowing. The rice terraces lined up asymmetrically and formed a mosaic backdrop for the tiny village huts. They were interlaced with patches of banana trees, coconut trees and jungles, which added an exotic tropical flavor to the entire panorama. Our breathes were taken away, and we lied down under one of the shelters to enjoy the tranquility of this idyllic place.
Figure 15: looking like a postcard
After a long rest (and more toilet trips), we sat down at the shop hut and ordered some coffee. A middle-aged man came over and joined us. It turned out that he was none other than the owner of the entire hill! Even though he was born in Sumatra, he fell in love with Gunung Halimum Salak and settled down with a local wife. He chose this hill not only because of the stunning view but also because there was a natural spring which he believed had some healing power.
Figure 16: natural spring from the hill
He then offered to bring us to one of the famous waterfalls, and we magically ended up in the same waterfall where we had fish spa with the French couple on the previous day. This time we did not even have to pay for the entrance fee because the owner seemed to be one of the influential political leaders as well. He bought a packet of crackers and started eating and feeding the monkeys at the same time.
Figure 17: feeding monkeys
We also went to his restaurant, which was just opposite the waterfall, where his wife cooked lamb soup with carrot for us.
Figure 21: huge jack fruits outside the restaurant
After dinner, we followed the owner back to his hill to enjoy the last sunset. A thick fog had settled in, which made everything a bit more mysterious.
Figure 22: sunset in the fog
Before it got dark, we went back to the hot spring and took a bath with the tiger man again!