A Travellerspoint blog

Four Months Three Weeks Down - Seven Weeks To Go

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Before specifics, let me say, Bali itself is a highlight. The island is lush and green. The Balinese people are very friendly. (Jim has made friends with the elderly lady who runs the small store next to our villa. He buys beer from her and she keeps track of us as we head out walking each day.) Speaking of walking: we’ve opted walking or hiring a driver rather than renting a motorbike. Neither of us has much experience driving motos and spending time in a Balinese hospital is not high on our “to do” list.

We’re spending a month in Ubud which is the cultural area of Bali. Ubud and the small towns in the area are known for different art disciplines such as: music, painting and drawing, wood and bone carving, batik and beading.

13 January 2012

Four hours to paradise!!! Oni (our driver from Villa Kembali) meets us at the airport and we make the one hour drive to Ubud (actually Penestanan) and arrive at our villa. It looks just like the photos!! We check in with Steve (the owner) and are introduced to Upik, our house boy. During our stay, he will be making breakfast and cleaning the villa each day. Oh my, this could become addictive.

We were a little tired so we decide on Bayu’s Kitchen for dinner. It’s owned by Steve and his partner, Bayu (hence the name) and it’s right next door, convenient and the food is pretty good!!

14 January 2012

After a really good night sleep, we’re greeted by Wayan, it’s Upik’s day off. Breakfast is tropical fruit, toast (bread from Casa Luna bakery), coffee and/or tea, just what we need to start the day.

We’re here for the month, so our first day was a bit of a “housekeeping day”. Not that we had to do the housework but we got laundry together (Wayan took it to the laundry), made a trip to the grocery store (Bintang Grocery Store) for munchies, beer, tonic, etc. and just getting familiar with what’s around us. Note: We got the heads up from Henry prior to our trip. Alcohol is pretty expensive in Bali, so we made a stop at duty free in Bangkok. This is definitely G/T weather.

Jim headed out for a walk while I worked on the Myanmar narrative portion of our trip for the website. I started on the task of documenting almost a month of Myanmar travels. He found a place to get his haircut and with a shave - $5USD.

Not far from our villa is Warung Mendez – warungs are small cafes/restaurants. It was recommended by Barbara and Henry, so we headed there for lunch. There are so many restaurants in Ubud that we really want to try as many as we can but I think Mendez will become one of our “go to” places. The food was really good. Our afternoon consists of a swim, some rain, a nap. All is good!!!

This evening, it’s Sari Bamboo for dinner, also really good. Sorry Myanmar, but Bali has it all over you as far as consistently good food.
There is a reason it is so lush here…rain!!! Similar to Florida or Hawaii, it rains a bit every day.

15 January 2012

About 0815 and Jim headed off to a cooking class this morning at Paon Cooking School. We agreed it’s good for both of us to have some “me” time. For me, some more website time.

Jim’s class went really well. The small group headed to the market, rice fields and a temple for a little Balinese culture before class. Fortunately for me, most of his classmates were staying at hotels so Jim got to bring back enough leftovers for our dinner. Yum!!

16 January 2012

Off to check out Ubud today. Our villa is about a 15 minute walk outside Ubud in Penestanan. The walk into the actual town is along a fairly busy (with small cars and motos) small road. Once in Ubud, we find the post office and checked out a place for me to take batik class. We also stopped at the Tourist office to see what information they could offer. Boy, they could sure take lessons from the NZ i-Sites. This location was probably the worst tourist office I’ve been to on our whole trip. Both people (a man and a woman) working there decided that they would much rather read the newspaper than give us any type of help, which is really odd because we’ve found most Balinese people to be extremely helpful.

Back in Penestanan, along a lovely side path (which is used as a main walk way to many different villas), we find Yellow Flower Café. It seemed like the perfect place for lunch. The location is very tropical, the food especially good and as we chat with Aday (the owner) we find out he knows Barbara and Henry very well.

What to do this afternoon??? Eve’s Spa is less than a one minute walk from our villa and we decide to take advantage of their inexpensive services. Note: Bali is heaven on earth for someone who enjoys a little pampering. For less than 300K Rp ($35), Jim and I both had 60 minute massages and I had a manicure. This could become habit forming!!

Dinner tonight is at Bubu’s. We were going to go to a place along one of the paths but we left our flashlight at the villa. Being very narrow, the paths are quite dangerous to walk along after sunset with no flashlight. Our lack of lighting was actually good luck for us. Bubu’s was really good, especially their “award winning” black rice pudding with coconut milk. I’ve got to make this when we get home!!!

17 January 2012

Before breakfast, I headed off for an early morning walk along the back paths and rice fields. Morning mist still in the air and very few people, it was so peaceful.

We headed back up to Ubud and stopped at Highway Connections to check out what we’ll need to do to get our Visas extended. VOA (Visa on arrival - $25USD at the airport) is only good for 30 days and since we want to stay a little more than six weeks, an extension is needed. We know that it will be more expensive than the VOA but we’re not sure how much. Highway tells us they can do it for 900,000 Rp (about $100) each. Whoa – didn’t realize it would be that much. We can do it ourselves but we would need to take a car back to Denpasar (about 500,000 R/T) plus the cost of the visa. We had heard that the Post Office was another possibility and since it was just around the corner – off we go. Well, it’s actually an agency inside the Post Office but they can do the extension for 600,000Rp (about $65USD). As Jim would say, “then that would be less!!”

After handing over our passports we wander down to Ibu Oka for lunch. Ibu Oka does one dish and they do it really well – suckling pig. It’s been on a couple of TV shows (No Reservations being one of them) but you would never know it. There is a fair amount of both tourist and locals enjoying the wonderful food. We each got the “special” dish which includes, pork, some crispy skin, rice and a bean side dish. REALLY GOOD!!

It’s that time again and on the way back, I stop for a haircut at a little shop. It’s always a little unnerving for me to have someone I don’t know cut my hair. Add in the fact that English is a distant second language, I generally point and hope for the best. But as usually happens, with her skills and a little direction on my part, it didn’t turn out too bad. I did laugh though, when I first walked in, she had a local man in her chair. She had cut his hair and was dying it black but without hesitation she told him to move and sat me right down.

Dip in the pool (which we find we’re doing a couple of times a day), dinner and catch an episode of Haven that aired after we left in August.

18 January 2012

Morning was spent with me continuing to work on the website. I’m still having problems downloading photos. Sometimes I can get a few downloaded and then they just seem to stop. Aghhh???

We decided to start looking at the last couple of weeks of our trip and think about what we want to do. Right now the plan is for some beach time - five days on Gili Air (an island off the coast of Lombok), five days on Nusa Lembongan and then three days back here at Villa Kembali. We’re hoping that Steve will let us leave bags here and we’ll just take the basics: shorts, swimsuits and sunscreen.

Lala Lily for lunch and Warung Made for dinner: both nice little places along the same paths near Yellow Flower.

19 January 2012

I started a class on batik today day. After checking out a couple of schools, I decided to take a class offered by I Nyoman Warta. I really like his approach. Having the advantage of a long stay, my class would not be just one long day but a few hours one day and then a few hours another day until the piece is finished. Works for me!

Walking from the villa, to Ubud I realize that it’s only when the buses arrive around noon time, that Ubud really becomes busy. Even the Market area was fairly quiet. I get to Nyoman’s home and find I’m the only student. In addition to the batiking portion of my class, I learned a bit about basic drawing, the initial stages of setting up the piece (I’m doing a scarf) and became familiar with some of the tools I’ll be using. Nyoman helped me draw the outline on the fabric and then how to fill in with wax using a tjanting. After applying the first layer of wax, then came the first colors: yellow, green and blue. It already looks beautiful to me but this is only the first step. I’ll be coming back next Monday for “part 2” – more detail work and we’ll be adding some red.

In theory, this is very similar to the Ukrainian egg (Pysanky) coloring class I took at Sharon Miller’s house. Color doesn’t adhere where the wax has been applied – wax on….wax off!!

Jim met me for lunch and we ended up at Black Beach – had my first sandwich in a very long time- it was pretty good. I’m in desperate need of some new clothes – especially lightweight cottons – I found one shirt today.

Dinner today is one that Jim’s been looking forward to – it’s Goat day at Warung Mendez – so off we go for dinner. Like any good carnivore, his goat is served “meat on the bone” with a really tasty sauce. I opted for soup with goat meat that was also wonderful.

It’s that time of year…. as any good AI fan knows. We head back to the villa so I can catch the season premiere – yes, “this” season but we get it about twelve hours after the US.

Posted by pjburke 19:22 Archived in Indonesia

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