Bali – Ubud

Our drive to Ubud was filled with breathtaking scenery.

Bali’s rice fields

Bali’s rice fields

We stopped for lunch again in Candidasa where we took a few shots of the passing motorists (we never tire of seeing how many people they can fit on a motorbike) and went for a walk around a little lake where some of the local boys were fishing. We came upon a little sliver of a bay of turquoise water where a family was hanging out in a hut surrounded by boats.

Note the one kid who’s fast asleep – not uncommon!

Family on bike in Bali

Lake in Candidasa

family in Bali

Boat in Bali

Girls on a bike

We arrived in Ubud without managing to get lost (a great feat when armed with a vague map which forced us to rely on street signs for directions) but once there, it was very difficult to find where we wanted to stay. Ubud is filled with narrow streets which often have “do not enter” signs posted that lead you to believe a two way street suddenly becomes a one way (which was further confusing when you saw motorbikes ignore them or people start suddenly honking at you). We had picked our spot for the night from our travel bible – the Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a shoestring. Once we found it (Sama’s Cottages), we settled in and were pleasantly surprised when the owner brought us a big thermos of tea to enjoy on our patio.

After our tea, we set off to explore Ubud, determined to see as much as we could with our only night there. We went to the rice paddy walk first, wanting to stretch our legs which were still extremely sore after our climb, and also because it was free. Free entertainment is always welcome.

The rice paddy walk was great. A trail through the rice paddies for as far the eye could see – we were surrounded by green and flocks of ducks. Locals who had been working in the fields passed us on their way home for the evening.

Me in Ubud rice paddies

We came upon a restaurant in the middle of it all and were intrigued by it – they served only locally grown food that was either grown right there in their garden or their neighbors gardens – and it was organic when possible. We decided to have dinner there and were delighted with the freshest pesto sauce ever – enjoying chicken pesto pasta and fruit smoothies. The sun went down and a huge orange harvest moon came out to bathe the paddies and light our way back along the trail after dinner. We had to step off the path whenever a motorbike approached and Curtis commented that one of us was going to leave there muddy. We were almost out when I stepped aside for a bike and right into the mud. It took me several minutes to be able to remove my foot without losing my flip flop – the mud was sucking me down into it’s boggy depths. It was a flashback to one of our hikes through a Costa Rican rain forest – where I had also emerged with one brown foot.

We made it back to town in time to see one of the shows – which is all that mattered. This was our last chance to see a Balinese dance performance. There were several performing that night and we picked one that sounded good.

I personally didn’t care for it. The music was too high pitched, the incense overwhelmingly cloying and the”dancing” just plain weird. It mostly consisted of them doing hand gestures while bugging out their eyes to convey their feelings. The costumes were about the only redeeming quality. I was following along with the program just waiting for it to be over. Curtis seemed to enjoy it though – he got a kick out of taking pictures.

Balinese dancer

Balinese dancer

After it ended, we went for a drink and then back to our room. The next day after breakfast was served to us on our patio, we had about an hour before check out to go in search of a kite.

Ubud is a mecca for anything arty that you want to buy – think Granville Island times a hundred. Ceramics, carvings, paintings, jewelry, clothes and all sorts of other things. They have a market so we thought that would be the best place to go in search of a kite. We wanted a dragon kite like the one we had seen in Sanur but our search didn’t turn up anything nearly as nice and we left empty handed. The market itself was buzzing with activity and we were sorry not to have taken our camera along. There were people dressed up carrying all sorts of things on their heads (it looked like they were having some sort of offering or worship service) right alongside the tourists and shopkeepers trying to hawk their wares. We saw one old lady shopkeeper who was dressed in only her skirt and a bra – no shirt.

On our drive out of town, I did manage a few shots of some them along with a hidden gem we had passed tucked away behind a restaurant. That’s the thing about Bali – there are all these quiet beautiful spots tucked in with the chaos.

Hidden gem

Carrying thing on their heads

We left Ubud wishing we had more time there. There was so much to see and do and we promised that we’d definitely go back. We found our way back to Kuta to return the jeep and spend our last night before an early morning flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

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