Hot cui­sine at the scorched earth cafe

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - THE BIG STORY -

Steam­ing soils warmed by fiery Mt Batur of­fer one of the most in­ter­est­ing – and spir­i­tual – places on Earth to cook up a quick feed, write Christa Lar­wood and Oliver Smith

we’d read about. There were Hindu tem­ples – stat­ues smoth­ered in moss and creep­ers cas­cad­ing over the stonework, mak­ing the holy build­ings look as if they had just sprung out of the earth. A thin film of mist clung to the rice pad­dies. From time to time a vol­cano ap­peared as a hazy hump on the hori­zon.

Even­tu­ally we stopped at a beach where teams were prac­tis­ing ahead of the an­nual kite-fly­ing fes­ti­val.

Kites in Bali come in ex­tra­or­di­nary shapes and sizes. It’s not un­com­mon to hear a whirring sound and look up in ter­ror to find a life-size ship, or a bus, or maybe a shark hov­er­ing di­rectly over your head.

For a while we watched a fish-shaped kite thrash about in the warm on­shore wind.

A few young boys were hold­ing the string on the dunes down be­low, look­ing up to the sky with an al­most de­vo­tional con­cen­tra­tion.

It didn’t sur­prise me to learn that in Bali some kites are be­lieved to have souls.


Mt Batur rises jaggedly out of a cra­dle of fo­liage. From a dis­tance, the scene is em­i­nently peace­ful – puffs of cloud gen­tly graz­ing the peak, all re­flected in the cool, cres­cent-shaped Batur Lake to the east. But come a lit­tle closer and the fiery heart of this moun­tain is re­vealed.

Bali is a tec­ton­i­cally lively place, with 129 ac­tive vol­ca­noes and, at 1717m tall, Mt Batur is among the big­gest. It’s far from dor­mant. Just over a decade ago it erupted, spew­ing ash 300m in the air.

To­day, vol­ca­nol­o­gists re­port

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