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Published: December 27th 2019
I have rolled two days into one, as Tuesday the day after Paige left for home, Ken and I pretty much did nothing. Ok, we did walk through the rice fields to the laundry shop and then continued to check out the little village. There were a couple of little grocery shops (and I mean little) and a small fruit/veg market, as well as some of the normal vendors needed to keep the village running (housewares, fuel, etc). Even though it was about 9am, by the time we got back to the house we were both sweating and ready for the pool.
Before our walk we had enjoyed a nice breakfast from the stuff we got at the grocery store, of toast, avocado, local jam, mango and banana. And of course the local Balinese coffee, which is much like Turkish coffee…dark, strong and leaves a footprint of mud in the bottom of your cup. The rest of the day was spent reading, sleeping, hanging in the pool and relaxing. Something neither Ken or I have much experience doing, but we did quite well! A local massage person came over in the afternoon and we each enjoyed an hour-long massage on
the second floor, with birds chirping and a soft breeze (amazing deal for $10 each!).
For lunch we did some leftover pizza and were happy to have dinner served by the Swallow team on our patio. It was an amazing selection of chicken sate, fish wrapped in banana leaf and some sautéed local vegis. Along with a local wine we had picked up from the market, it was one of the best meals we have had in Bali and an awesome Christmas Eve dinner.
On Christmas Day, we did a repeat of the breakfast from the day before and got ready for a morning in Ubud, about 15 minutes away by car. Ubud is known as the art and cultural center of Bali, and yet when we drove through it was bumper to bumper traffic, but we are going to give it a shot.
The driver dropped us a block away from the large Ubud market, but our first mission was to get some cash. In the more rural areas we have been, credit cards are not accepted so we have been burning the rupiahs. Although to put it in context, 1.5million rupiahs = $100 and that
lasted us several days, as everything is cheap. For example, the large bundle of laundry we dropped off yesterday was delivered to our door this morning and the total was about $3.
The first ATM we tried rejected my card, which caused me concern. We had used it twice before and had no issues, so why now is the bank declining? We saw a Starbucks, which we knew had wifi so headed in there for our normal coffee order where I tried calling Capital One and as it was Christmas Eve in the US, they were closed. Ken saw another ATM across the street, so I headed over to give it a shot and whewhooooo it worked! Back in business.
Behind the Starbucks was the beautiful Royal Palace of Ubud, which gave this Starbucks the award for the most incredible views from their patio! The intricate carvings and ornate statues was what you envision Bali being all about.
From there we wandered down main street that was full of shops for clothes, tours, restaurants of all kinds and “art” galleries, along with a guy every 10 yards asking if we needed a taxi. After about 1 mile,
we got to the Monkey Forest, one of the signature sights in Ubud.
And yes, there are monkeys...lots of them. After our unfortunate experience in India, where a monkey came within inches of biting my sister Karen, I have had a healthy respect for the distance needed between me and a monkey. But, figured we would give the Monkey Forest a go and we were glad we did!
It was a very peaceful haven compared to the chaotic road we just walked down to get to it. The monkeys were well behaved and swang/ran/hung out amongst the temples and jungle. We wandered the paths, watched while the park caretakers fed the monkeys sweet potatoes and corn on the cob, which they loved. The most fun was watching them enjoying a pool, where the monkeys would climb up in the tree and then do cannonballs into the water….run up the tree and repeat. They were splashing each other and looked just like a bunch of kids playing in a pool.
After our fill of monkey fun and a peaceful jungle walk, it was time to head back out to the street. We planned for lunch at Nusantra by
). Locovore is one of the most famous restaurants in Bali, which is known for their tasting menus and incredible food. Nusantra is the less fancy location, but still has great reviews…just not so high-end, which was perfect for us and a great way to spend a Christmas lunch.
On the way there, we had to kill some time before they opened, so took advantage of the AC in various shops to cool down. By the time we arrived for lunch, we were hot, sweaty and hungry! Luckily, Nusantra’s AC was working well and the menu had so many interesting items. We picked a couple of small dishes, one of a green papaya stir fry and another of smoked mackerel. Then a larger dish of chicken, some brown rice and stir -fried fern tips. Much to our surprise, they brought us a large round dish (pictured) of various Indonesian street food, with a small card that explained each dish. It was so yummy and what a great way to try some of those dishes we have seen on the corners, but petrified to try!
Our lunch was incredible and with the unexpected complimentary appetizer, we ended up
ordering way to much food. Luckily they have to-go boxes, which they happily packed up for us and wishing us a Merry Christmas as we headed back out to the steamy street. After wandering through the tourist stalls at the Ubud Market, we found our driver and drove back to the peaceful confines of our house.
Our first order of business once at the house was to hop in the pool to cool off, then nap, reading and relaxing the rest of the day. The leftovers from lunch were a perfect way to end Christmas 2019!
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