After arriving in Denpesar and waiting what felt like forever to get our visa and go through passport control we found some little man who ripped us off to take us to our hotel. After a pretty scary ride, almost knocking people off their mopeds and running over about 20 dogs we arrived safely in ubud where we are staying. The driver insisted at the airport that he knew where our hotel was, but when we got to Ubud we spent a fair amount of time driving up and down one road trying to find the hotel. When we finally got to the hotel, noone was to be seen. I got it in my head that I would be sleeping outside, but soon a little security man found us and took us to a very nice room. It was about 1:30am, so we got straight to bed.
We got up and went for a wonder around Ubud, first visiting a small tourist information centre and almost being attacked by a monkey! Ubud is full of art shops and boutique type shops, I really like it. I could spend a fortune here, although it is really cheap. We went to the market, but decided that our first day we would just look, what a challenge that was to get through the market without buying anything! We sat by the pool for a couple of hours and then in the evening we went to a temple up the road. The Balinese women were performing, with a couple of men too. It was really good watching the dancing and the music was excellent too. A lot of the movement was with hands and they had pretty scary eyes. The clothes that they were wearing were beautiful, loads of bright colours, gold, turquoise, yellows and reds etc. We left the show and went for some food, I'm finding it very hard to believe how cheap the food is and it's really good.
Tuesday we went to the monkey sanctuary, they were so funny. It amazes me how much like humans they are. It made me laugh watching them inspecting eachothers hair and bottoms! They were playing around in the water and jumping off concrete statues, hilarious to watch. I really enjoyed seeing the monkeys, although I did manage to get eaten alive by mozzies which wasn't much fun and I itch like crazy! We had some lunch and then in the afternoon we went and looked along a different street, Ubud's much bigger than I thought it would be. We went to the market and I started bartering for a few things. I feel sorry for the people though so although I'm getting things cheap, I think I could get them for a better price. I did go back to a woman and buy some trousers as the day before she said i would have bad luck if I didn't buy anything from her....didn't want to be cursed forvever so I went back!! She did recognise me! We spent the evening having another nice meal and a few drinks.
We went on a tour on Thursday, booked on the day before and we were the only ones, so basically had a guy drive us around to different places for the day. First we visited the rice terraces which were totally spectacular, such beautiful scenery. We visited 4 temples which were all fairly similar, the Holy Water temple was my favourite though. There were hundreds of school children there bathing in the waters and the teachers just taking their clothes off (imagine that at home!...you'd lose your job no questions asked) They were just standing there in their bras and with no tops on! How rude, it was great to watch though and all the children were so excited and so polite to us, kept saying 'hello Miss', 'hello Sir' I felt like I was back at school again!
It amazes me how these people base their life around religion, 3 times a day they make offerings and burn insense, we visited one temple and there were literally hundreds of people decorating it ready for a celebration. There were people riding along on their mopeds in the rain with their offerings on their head, not forgetting 3 other family members on the moped! Talented! It was a good day out, we got to eat with a view of Butar volcano (the most expensive place we've eaten so far), but it was a wicked view.
Since we've been relaxing, I've read another book, had the most amazing Balinese massage and a not so great pedicure! We went to Kuta on Saturday, the tourist enclave, and that is was. We arrived in a taxi which took an hour from Ubud and it seemed to be pretty quiet. we hoped to spend some time sitting on the beach, but seemed little point with so much cloud! We looked around yet more shops and markets and spent more money...but not too much for the amount we bought. Ian's really getting into his bartering now and is getting good at walking away and people will follow us down the street asking us to come back. The most interesting part of the day was when we returned and had a sit on the beach. We were surrounded by about 15 Indonesian School children wanting to practice their English. We had to write in their little book and tell them that their english was good...it was like being back at work, writing 'well done, tries hard'! They then all wanted their photo taken with us, I got one too though. From then it seemed we attracted different people on the beach, people were staring at us. As we were leaving a group of people asked if they could have their picture taken with us...how random! So there we were in the middle of this family having our photo taken, anyone would think we were famous. Don't get it! So, we stayed in kuta for the evening, treated Ian to watch a football game as didn't know if we could see it in Ubud. The funniest part to the day was on the way home, the taxi man didn't know how to get to Ubud, we were trying our best to give him directions through the back streets of Bali! Anyway, he stopped to ask some locals directions, got out of the car and forgot to put the handbrake on, so Ian and I were in the car slowly rolling back down the hill. It was hilarous and we both did a sychronised dive into the front to reach the handbrake...luckily we didn't roll too far and it was funny rather than tragic!
Sunday we just lazed around, went to the market again and tried to dodge the rain for the best part of the day. Ian had a call in the morning to say that he'd won a holiday and a woman wanted us to go to Nusa Dua, in the south of Bali. After confirming that it was time share we decided not to go. In the evening the woman rang back and Ian gave in and said we'd go down today. Last night we went to watch another wierd and wonderful show in a temple at the top of Ubud, we were running a bit late and were speed walking up the road when a lovely Balinese boy offered us a lift....on his moped! So we hopped on and had a very safe ride, it was great fun! The show was good, slightly strange and one guy particularly crazy, he was walking through coconuts that were on fire...lots of pain I can imagine! This show was mainly men like the other show that we went to last week and I managed to count about 80 men, can't believe how many there were.
So, this morning we got up and went down for the timeshare talk in Nusa Dua. When we got there the guy realised as Ian said on the phone that we weren't interested. So we had our free breakfast, got the money for our car down there and Ian got his free accommodation pack and off we went without listening to anything! The best part was the fact that they paid for a driver, so we stopped in Kuta again on the way back, so we could do a bit more shopping!! The ride home wasn't great as it seemed to take forever, but we did get to see some more of Bali, Legian, Seminyak and a few other places. It's quite good here for the villages, every village has a different trade, so we drove through villages of kites, stone works, wood carvings, roof tiles, wood wind chimes and other random specialist villages.
So, our last night in Bali tonight. Ian thinks we should stay up until 4am to watch the Villa game, but I'm not convinced! Tomorrow we fly to Singapore and then have about 6 weeks to get to Bangkok, travelling through Malaysia and Thailand.