Elephant Cave, Rice Paddies and Rain!

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December 23rd 2019
Published: December 26th 2019
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Today has two key activities, first we leave the beautiful views of Mt Agung and Lake Batur for our guest house outside of Ubud. Then we sadly have to say good-bye to Paige who has to head back to her home in Budapest. We have so enjoyed having her with us the past few days and wish she could hang a little longer, but real life prevails.

After a banana pancake served along side fresh fruit, we packed up for the short trip down the mountain. Our driver (not Gooday this time!) picked us up and in addition to checking into the guest house, we decided to do the Goa Gajah (elephant cave/temple) and then a cool place over looking the river for lunch. Since the guesthouse was before the other two, we stopped there first to unload our bags and check it out.

This guesthouse is through Home Exchange, which we are members of ($150 a year) and it has been a great way to see the world and not pay for a hotel. The basic premise is that you do swap homes with another family, although now you don’t have to do it at the same time. If someone stays in our house while we are gone, we earn points which we can spend on an exchange someplace else. To date we have enjoyed a beautiful home with a pool in Costa Rica, 2 exchanges in Victoria BC, this one in Bali and an upcoming week in Kauai….all for free.

Where we are staying is the Swallow Guest Hous (http://swallowguesthousebali.com/guesthouse/) owned by Suzanne out of Vancouver BC and run by Wayan who is the smiling host who has been so gracious since we arrived. We have a beautiful 2 story, 2 bedroom villa overlooking spectacular rice terraces (no tourist trap here!), with the sounds of roosters, frogs and birds as the sound track. One bedroom has AC, which has been great as the afternoons do get very hot and sticky. To get to the house, there is small path that winds through the rice fields that you can only walk or via scooter.

After we dropped our bags, it was back along the path to the car to head to Goa Gajah, a short car ride away. This was our first temple and it is required for both men and women to have their legs covered by a sarong, as well as women’s arms covered by some type of garment. We donned the sarongs and headed into the temple area, where there was a large elephant head as an entrance to the cave. It was very small and nothing inside but a few offerings. We wandered around the rest of the grounds, which included down some steep steps along a small waterfall and a lot of lush green foliage, which was the best part of the visit.

Now it was time for lunch at a Pramana (https://www.pramanawatukurung.com/restaurant.htm), which had an incredible view overlooking the river. The menu was Balinese and is known for their seasonal items harvested close to the restaurant. As we were enjoying our meal, the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. And then, not only did it fall…it poured, and poured and the poured even more. This wasn’t the Seattle drizzle, this was an outright rainstorm that didn’t show any signs of stopping. We waited in hopes of some relief, but finally used the provided umbrellas (which weren’t much help!) and ran to the car.

Finally, as we drove through Ubud, the sun came back out and we were able to stop at a grocery store for food supplies. One of my favorite things is to check out the grocery stores when we are traveling to other countries. This one was large and had a great selection of stuff we needed for breakfast and snacks, as well a decent wine selection which is never a bad thing!

We headed back to the house, where we read, tried out the pool and generally hung out enjoying the views of the rice paddies. Eventually it was time for dinner, so we used the local delivery service “Bali Buda” (think Uber eats) to bring us two pizza’s for a great price of $12 total including delivery fee!

Soon it was time for the driver to take Paige to the airport for her midnight flight to Budapest. We walked her down the path to the car and sadly said good-bye. She had a long trip of about 19 hours, but was landing in time for Christmas Eve!

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