Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ubud

And again we rented a bike to do a loop around Bali, mainly to get away from the tourist trap, but not before surrendering our passport for another month visa extension.
There is a lot of police on the way, mainly to stop the poor tourists for road "mistakes" and of course ask for a bribe. I almost convinced Kostya to dress like the Balinese people do: long pants, long sweaters, gloves in the 30 degree weather, just so that the police won't see our skin color... or to do a fake police report for $20 that everything's stolen, including our wallet which contains the international driving license. But unfortunately it was Saturday and this office was closed till Monday, we decided to risk it, rented a bike and off we went to the under-explored, under-visited beautiful Bali, Bali that unfortunately most people skip due to fear, alcoholism, club-ism, shopaholism ... or rather fortunately for people like us that such conditions exist.
The police didn't stop us thank god, but somehow we stopped near the police to look at the map. I quickly flipped to the map of the area and immediately asked them how to get to some temple, to get their mind off the idea of a potential bribe. Then they shook our hands, wished us a great journey, and through clenched teeth I repeated to Kostya quickly "Drive off now, quickly, quickly, start driving!" ... feeeeewf!
Ubud is a cultural town as opposed to the party town of Kuta, and on the arrival we started seeing lots and lots of sculpture, glass, paintings galleries. We stopped at one, but it had so many birds in cages that I felt like I was in a bird prison, I told the owner that I feel uncomfortable being there and we left.
Ubud is beautiful! There are a bunch of temples, gardens, it's super green, galleries, jewelry shops, cheap and amazing cafes with nice decors and unordinary menus. It's so beautiful, so detail oriented, so relaxing, it's amazing.
In the evening we had a smoked salmon salad with rocket, potatoes & capers for $2.50. Then we went to get culturally submerged in a Balinese dance show. It was all fun for 20 minutes, but then I got bored. There were about 70 men sitting in circles chanting and waving their hands, while in the middle some guy chases a beautiful woman with popped out eyes and completely unemotional face in an ever slow motion.
Next morning we went to the monkey forest. I'm officially scared of monkeys! And they're everywhere, alone, in couples, in groups, sleeping, eating, playing ... and who knew that monkeys are excellent divers. They were all chasing each other around a tree, doing back flips into the pool and emerging at another side. It's fun and all, but I'm feeling anxious and all I want to do is get out.
After the park we went for a LP recommended walk around Ubud, into the center of traditional lifestyle. Maybe for a regular traveler it would be interesting, but for us nothing new and nothing special, and way too hot!
A few hours later back in Ubud, I visited 2 museums, but again, left disappointed. Except the view in one, and an old photograph of Bali in another, there was nothing special.
In the evening we bought local wine, chocolate, grapes, nice cheese, sat in our garden porch listening to soft music having the best dinner ever. "Indonesia wouldn't be Indonesia without you" ... both of us say this. So easy when both of us have the same taste in almost everything. Hotels, restaurants, activities, same schedule, same interests, same limits, get off the tourist track desire and get your nose into trouble characteristic :) I think we started fighting less, that's the only problem, sometimes we don't understand each other. Say one thing, mean the other thing and understand something completely different. I think it's the Canada/Russia mentality difference.
We're moving on. We have a long way to go, and unfortunately due to time constraints we only picked half of what we wanted to see. I guess the other side of Bali will have to wait for the next time. Had an easy road to an ancient monument. 10 shrines are carved into rock face, it's ok as a midpoint stop, but nothing too special. A local lady motioned us to "come here" and took us through rice fields to a small waterfall. Lifted her shirt to show her breasts (go swim naked). It was hot, there was no one in site and the nice cool water looked tempting, she moved away a little bit and gave me thumbs up while picking through the bushes to encourage me :)
Next was a temple with holy/magical springs where people get blessed just like in India, and put rice on their foreheads, behind the ears and drink the holy water. It was alright, but the best thing was the ginger coffee that we tried, highly recommended to try at home! And the steep manicured lawn on a hill with a modern house on top which looked cool amid the temple roofs. The holy man was walking and picking through the offering plates, and I see him picking rice, egg, cookies. So good to be a holy man, live a life for free.

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Ubud#

1 comment:

  1. Yana

    Great pictures
    I always go through them more than once.
    It seems everywhere you go, it gets more
    interesting and beautiful.

    Ken

    ReplyDelete