Day 154-156: Denpasar to Ubud, Bali

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July 1st 2009
Published: July 1st 2009
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Denpasar to Ubud

June 29th

After breakfast Talita went into high gear and quickly arranged a rental car for our stay in Bali. The public transport here is too expensive if you're a tourist (because the rip-off factor is pretty high here). It's a little more expensive but much more convenient to have our own car because we want to travel all over the island and be able to stop and take pictures whenever we please.

Later we went to the Internet shop to catch up with some blogging, but Travelblog was having issues so we went walking around town. At one point we were lured into a temple where they dressed us in traditional sarongs and then tried to extort a large amount of money from us. Angry at their way of doing things, we left. We really resent it when the locals take us for rich fools.

After a brief rest in our room we walked around again, this time looking for a place to eat. Eventually we found a little place on a quiet street and after lunch we walked through the bird market. This is a funny and sad place. They sell hundreds of different kinds of birds. Also crickets, bats, monkeys, squirrels, fish, lizards, turtles, dogs, cats and neon coloured chicks. The Green Peace Activist in us just wanted to run through the place and set everything free! It's too sad to see all these gorgeous creatures cowering in their cages.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Internet shop again, but we still couldn't blog. At least we were able to catch up with some emails.

At home we enjoyed a couple of beers while sitting on our veranda and planning our route for tomorrow. After a nice warm bath we had a huge and delicious dinner at the hotel.

Today's highlights:
1. Arranging a rental car.
2. Ice cream at the quiet restaurant.

Thought for the day:
Too much of the wonder of life gets lost in the hustle and bustle of our working, sleeping, everyday life.

June 30th

After breakfast we realized that we'd been living in the past since arriving in Bali. Because we had to set our watches back an hour when we arrived in Surabaya we thought Bali was in the same time-zone. Apparently not. So, we had to set all our
Neon chicksNeon chicksNeon chicks

Imagine what their parents look like!
stuff an hour forward again.

We were very excited when we took possession of our little Suzuki Jimny rental car. We packed the last of our stuff, checked out of the hotel and fired up that little beast. We drove in the direction of Ubud, a town about 25km from Denpasar, widely considered to be the center of Balinese culture. On the way a friendly local chatted to us while we sat in traffic and suggested we visit their silver shop (from the moment he talked to us we knew he wanted something). It was on the way and we decided to stop and have a look. Talita got a silver necklace and hair-clip. Ferdi was bored (shiny things don't interest him) so he sat outside reading.

On the road again the guy kept following us and wanted to take us to other places. Annoyed at his persistence we stopped to tell him off. Once in Ubud we drove around until we found a spot on the map we recognized, then went to the restaurant we'd read about. It's called Warung Enak and is decorated in a kitch but strangely attractive way. They had a huge selection of veggie food and Talita was glowing.

After a delicious meal we stopped by a book shop to get a proper road map of Bali. We also found a SE Asia fish identification book. We've wanted a proper one for a while because we really enjoy getting to know all the fish we see while diving. With map in hand we drove to Sama's Cottages. Set in a beautiful secluded garden, these cottages are gorgeous, private and has a pool. There's an unexpected and much appreciated attention to detail about the place and it doesn't break the bank. We didn't expect there to be availability but we were in luck.

After dropping our bags we headed into Ubud to look around the town. It's a little like Knysna or Clarens on Speed. The old and the new built almost on top of each other. This town is primarily an art center. Galleries abound and we were suffering a little culture shock. We hadn't seen this many tourist since climbing Mt Kinabalu.

We bought tickets to a traditional dance show this evening. Talita was very excited. She's wanted to see this kind of dancing since the very start of
Sad monkeySad monkeySad monkey

Humans suck!
this trip. We walked on and soon we got sucked into a market and were eventually spit out with a kite and 100m of string (Talita negotiated like it was her job). We also visited a watch shop and a clothing store. We managed not to buy anything, although we were sorely tempted. The jackets they have were amazing and we need some warm stuff for our New Zealand trip. We decided to sleep on it.

Back home we had a quick shower, then walked to the theater so we could get good seats. We were early and got the best seats in the house. The setting, called the Lotus Pond, was spectacular and the performance amazing. In the beginning the music was just noise, but as our ears got used to the instruments and the way the songs are composed, we started to hear and enjoy the foreign melodies. The dancers and their costumes were beautiful. Talita was ready to clap and jump up 'n down during the performance. Even Ferdi enjoyed it. Lets just say, we'll do that again.

We had a late dinner in a romantic restaurant on the way to our cottage. We enjoyed amazing vegetarian food and warm mint tea.

We had done grievous bodily harm to our budget today and promised to behave ourselves tomorrow. This place is just sooo amazing! It's got the most beautiful and interesting art and we'd love to one day come back here on a shopping spree for our home. Being in such a cultural place, yet with all the western luxuries, is wonderful after the drought we had the last month. The only annoying thing is that there's more "taxi's" than you can shake a stick at and it's hard to walk 5m without being hassled.

Today's highlights:
1. Getting our Jimny.
2. Getting a cottage at Sama's.
3. Traditional performance.
4. Romantic dinner.

July 1st

We woke with tea waiting on our veranda. When Ferdi poked his head out a waiter was there to take our (included) breakfast order. They served a wonderful breakfast right on our own veranda. Sama's is amazing! We feel like we're on honeymoon again!

Eventually we dragged ourselves out of our nice room and explored a different part of Ubud. We had decided to buy those jackets and before going to lunch we went to pick
Our rideOur rideOur ride

Suzuki Jimny
them up. We had to ask forgiveness from our budget, but we have to have a few warm items for NZ.

Lunch was a tasty affair. We shared a starter of Nachos, Ferdi had really tasty grilled chicken and Talita a fresh Greek salad. So fresh in fact, that a little protein (in the form of a worm) was enjoying the salad with her. Now that's a fresh salad!

We braved the market once more in the hope of finding a few pieces of long clothing but had no luck. We returned home and had a shower and a snooze.

Dinner was at a really nice Italian place with wi-fi where we enjoyed lasagna and blogged a bit.

Today's highlights:
1. Breakfast on our veranda.
2. Got funky cool jackets.
3. Lasagna for dinner.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


We're free!We're free!
We're free!

Happy couple
Warung EnakWarung Enak
Warung Enak

Strange decorations - Great food!
Our bedOur bed
Our bed

SAMA's Cottages
Negotiating for my dragon kiteNegotiating for my dragon kite
Negotiating for my dragon kite

I've always wanted one
Skull artSkull art
Skull art

These people love skulls and in this case, so do we!
Lotus PondLotus Pond
Lotus Pond

What a setting for traditional dance
The Bird DanceThe Bird Dance
The Bird Dance

Traditional dance

Traditional dance

Traditional dance
Rabbit DanceRabbit Dance
Rabbit Dance

Traditional dance

2nd July 2009

I might have to stop reading your blog - it was great being inspired for our Borneo trip, but now you are elsewhere...!! We just want to get travelling again and see all these places for ourselves! When are you hitting our shores? How long are you here for and are you planning to head north?
2nd July 2009

Auzzie land in sig
Hi julle, oulike pics van die dancing in die low light. As ek op julle map uit zoom sien ek julle is net so klipgooi weg van Australie, nogals cool. Wys ons bietjie julle Bali jackets dan wys ek julle Melinda se Paris hoed. Deal or No Deal?
13th July 2009

Groete aan julle, Kom nou net terug van Mosambiek en het weer begin duik na al julle stories. 3 duike van ongeveer 36meter gedoen. Lekker na ongeveer 10jaar van toe ek laas geduik het. Groete Skip

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