Monday, March 17, 2014

HOT in Ubud

Monday 10 March

SO hard to leave Padang Padang. We REALLY liked it. Honestly, though, I think we’ve felt that way about everywhere. If we hadn’t bought around the world plane tickets…we’d probably still be in New Zealand. ;) So, good and bad things about booking in advance.

Me and Leilani

Preston and Made

We said goodbye to all our new friends. Made, a second Made!!, the owner of the hotel drove us on the 2 hour ride to Ubud.

Ubud is a city recommended to us by MANY. Lots of other people traveling have told us that this is their favorite place in Bali. This is also where Elizabeth Gilbert lived and later wrote about in “Eat. Pray. Love.” It’s often called the cultural center of Bali.

Ubud is a congested city teeming with people in the foothills of central Bali. It’s such a contrast from the sleepy area of the Bukit, that it was a bit overwhelming at first :D

We checked into our new hotel. I booked this place rather quickly while we were in Augusta (over the rental car cleaning debacle) and misunderstood that it was not $30 a night, but $30 TOTAL for three nights. Ha!! The place had good reviews, nonetheless, but is very basic. No matter…rooms are for sleeping, mostly. :)

Hehe. Ok the bathroom looks like a prison.

We dropped off our bags and headed down Monkey Forest Rd…one of the main roads in Central Ubud. It’s so crowded here!! We just can’t get over it. There is a definite mix of modern and old---high end boutiques surround the trash-filled streets and beggar women cradling their babies (tho---after visiting India a few years ago…I’m a skeptic. Are those even really their babies??).

Our hotel really is in a great location. It’s just off the main road, but is, itself, a little garden oasis away from all the craziness.

On our hotel grounds 

The sidewalks are absolutely treacherous. No texting and walking here!! You’d fall in a deep hole!! The sidewalks move under your feet and are broken and open into deep crevices. There’s trash everywhere. About every thirty seconds a man sitting along the road will ask you “Need taxi Sir? How about tomorrow?”—rehearsed like a scene from a play. It gets pretty obnoxious pretty quickly. We kind of wanted to make a sign to wear around our necks that said “NO WE DON’T NEED A TAXI!!” :P

Despite all this, I can see why people love this town. There’s a charm here…as with all of Bali. The flower blessings litter the streets and people smile as you go by, statues of God’s are hidden in every corner. There’s a heavy focus on organic food, natural well being, yoga, etc. Everyone is dressed in flowery, flowing clothing. I wish I’d brought more hippie stuff ;)

We did the loop down Monkey Forest Rd to the entrance of the Monkey Forest (a sanctuary for monkeys and holy ground) and then back up Hanoman St.

We stopped for some lunch along the quiet central rice field.

Saw this fella

We spent some time on the porch of our room and thank goodness for that, because our room is ungodly hot. I mean, it is stifling. There is NO air. There’s a ceiling fan, but it’s doing NOTHING and a window that is mostly blocked off except for a few slates. Downfall of a $10 room :-/

We got dinner at a place called Bali Buddha. Thirty minutes after ordering, the waiter came back and asked if we could change our order because they were out of rice. Lol. Good grief.

Sleepless night in our hotbox of a room.

Tuesday 11 March

Can’t say we didn’t wake up a little cranky. I think we slept a little bit? It takes A LOT for me to be hot and Oh. My. God. It is HOT.

Our room comes with a free, fresh breakfast served to us right on the porch. It was quite tasty-made from eggs laid by the hens right in front of our room and fresh fruit. Yum.

They let the hens out to play :)

We decided to take a nearby hike and get out of the room and out into the open air. It was a muggy day threatening rain.

Walking to the trail head

We chose to do the Campuhan Ridge hike. It was just outside of the town center and offered views of the river below, small villages and rice paddies.

The hike was a gentle (by real standards…not by NZ standards :P) uphill climb along the ridge. It was beautiful and did not disappoint.

The trek culminated at a little artist’s village. Small huts lined the road where artists sat creating their craft. We stopped at a recommended restaurant for smoothies. The views were incredible and we relaxed in the soft breezes before heading back down the hill.

We got lunch at a restaurant outside a temple with great views of the temple grounds.

Since Ubud is supposed to be a cultural center, we decided to check out one of the art museums---the highly recommended Puri Lakisan.

Honestly, it was pretty boring. I’m not much of an artist, but I generally enjoy this kind of thing. This museum was quite small and plain and most of the paintings looked the same to me. The entrance cost us $15, which is pretty expensive for Bali, but came with free tea and cake. It was for a good cause, because despite my opinion of the art, I believe it’s important to preserve these things.

We walked through the city some more and checked out the local market. I feel like we are in the trinket capital of the world and Preston is the trinket King. He is having the hardest time EVER not buying every little figurine, and shirt, and hat, etc. haha. He’s a total shopaholic :P

We are already over on weight (and being charged for it!!), so this plus the strict budget we are on just doesn’t allow for souvenirs. I can’t deny that I’m not tempted by much of the cheap and great stuff we see, but we just can’t take anything with us. I think I’d be set on Christmas and birthdays for life if we could!!

We walked way back down Hanoman Rd to the Yoga Barn to take a class. We were just in time for the last class of the day—Yin Yoga.

I’ve never done Yin Yoga before and it was quite the experience. I feel like we paid $10 to take a 90 minute nap :P It was quite relaxing and just involved a lot of deep stretching, mostly laying on our backs with our legs in weird positions and our eyes closed. I’m still holding on to my slight cold, so it felt great to me!! The location was just beautiful.

We had a yummy dinner at Kafe (Nasi Goreng-the local dish of fried rice) and headed back to our oven room :P

I sat on the porch for as long as possible before the mosquitoes chased me inside (let’s hope I don’t regret not getting those malaria pills ;)).

Wednesday 12 March

It was a bit more cloudy today. We spent the morning again on the porch.

We organized some stuff to be mailed home. I can’t rationalize getting rid of any clothes, because I’m wearing ALL of them, but we did find some stuff to send back.

Our list:
Journals (Preston brought like 3 leather bound HEAVY books. What the heck??)
Wetsuit (done surfing for a while)
Water purifier (kind of a pain to use b/c you can’t hook it up to a sink )
SECOND first aid kit (I brought two, why???)
Surf fins
The duffel bag (you served us well for a few weeks buddy)
A bunch of electronic stuff we aren’t using (namely the 7 ipod/pad/phone chargers we brought between us. Um…coordinate much??).

We headed with our lot to the post office.

It was a weird experience. First we were instructed in broken English to go in the back and find a box and pack it. Luckily, one of the workers took pity on us and cut our box down to save us some money. All in all we had 10kg (which is like 22lbs, wth?). We chose to send it by sea cargo, which cost around $70 and was said to take 2-3 months. Hehe!! The girl took our money, but our box was still in the back…completely unmarked. She didn’t seem to think this was an issue, but Preston returned to the back to get it sorted. Who knows if we’ll ever see that stuff again, but I hope it saves us on the airline fees.

We walked the streets some more and got lunch at a side street café. A rain shower sprinkled down on us as we were eating, but we stayed outside because it was so refreshing :P

We headed down to the Monkey Forest and paid the $20000 rupiah each to get in (about $2). 

It was fun to watch the monkeys run and play. They have a great life on this blessed ground. Visitors feed them bananas and they are well looked over by the staff.

We watched baby monkeys playing in the pool. Thunder rumbled in the distance and we were in awe of all the statues.

We left the Monkey Forest and stopped for a coffee back in the town. We MAJORLY splurged on $4 mocha frappes…which were the most expensive thing on the menu. It was totally worth it.

We made it back to the room just in time for an unbelievable downpour. I really enjoyed sitting on the porch and watching the storm. Video here.

We’d sent some clothes to the local laundress, because we couldn’t avoid the need for laundry anymore. It’s too hot here!! In NZ and Australia, we were able to do our own laundry, but it’s not really an option here. The clothing came back smelling wonderful and neatly pressed. 2kg for $3. An awesome deal.

I tried to wash the clothes we were wearing today in the sink…but it was disastrous. It was really hard to get them clean (serious respect for the women of yesteryear) and the water smelled terrible :-/ The stuff never dried due to the humidity and we had to pack it damp. Yuck.

Having tried so much Indonesian food, we went to a highly rated Mexican restaurant for dinner (hehe!!)…figuring it will be all Asian food from here on out.

Our room was slightly cooler tonight, but that’s not saying much.

Some final thoughts/facts on Bali:

Overall, Ubud was charming, but the Bukit remains our favorite!!

You need a visa to get it and is an easy $25US at the airport

The people are very friendly!!

'Gas Stations' in the Bukit involved a roadside wooden shelf with old liquor bottles (like Absolut) filled with Petrol. You paid per liter and they poured it in your bike. I wish I could have taken a picture of this!!

The surf is fantastic (Or so I hear)

It's very cheap!!

The food is delicious

It costs around $30US to leave the country

Many people speak SOME English-enough to get by.

You need an International Driver's License to drive a one gets one but you may be stopped and fined.

Lots of Americans/Australians

Tomorrow we are off to Vietnam!!  

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