Harvest Festival CeremonyFriday 25th June 2010
The master of ceremonies included us in the fun.
At 4.15am Judy's phone woke us from deep slumber but reception was such that we lost the connection. Another call a few minutes later gave the same result causing us to be most concerned as there was no indication who called. A few minutes later we received a message from Judy's mother asking if Judy was trying to contact her. We returned the message that we hadn't and that all was ok. Little more sleep was had after that before our 7.30am breakfast.
The mystery was solved later in the morning when Judy contacted her daughter who in turn got in touch with Judy's mother. It appears as if she must have dreamed the whole thing.
The trip to Ubud was quite boring with the continual climbing and sharp turns, broken by a stop at Ulun Danu Beratan a temple set in tidy gardens besides a large lake. We walked around this and several people, including Judy, bought several articles at one of the stalls there who were charging very reasonable prices.
Lunch was in Ubud at, we were told in the program, The Cycling Pig Ibu Oka. This turned out to be
the Suckling Pig but was so busy that we passed this up and went to another place where we had a smoked chicken meal.
The heavens opened about this time and the water came down in torrents. This continued when we reached the Taman Harum Cottages, our hotel for the stay, and we all got a little damp entering into the reception area. The only reason we are in this hotel, which is In Mas, some distance from the Ubud, is that Rags mentioned that he and Judy had been there before 12 years ago to Wayan when he was planning the trip.
The rooms were ok, except for one which is badly designed. As there was no alternative Roger and Julianne asked to be upgraded to the Honeymoon suite at extra cost. Not the best solution but they seemed happy enough. The wet floor tiles are very slippery, Pixie already slipping, we'll have to be aware of that.
“The Dirty Duckling” or Bebek Bengil was the venue for our next culinary experience. Here we had the specialty, half a crispy duckling with potatoes. Their specialty "Crispy Duck" was very dry and sometimes rather tough but certainly
One of the delicious meals we had.
an experience! This was followed by a custard pie in a coconut pastry topped with egg white cream. Judy thought it was the best Bali sweet we'd had so far. Everyone was tired so bed was the favoured option when we returned. Saturday 26th June 2010
Breakfast at this hotel wasn't as good as previous, rather than a buffet we had to order individually from the menu with limited options and no deviation from it was allowed. Even the portions were rather measly, nothing like the past.
By 8am we all met in the carpark, today we were scheduled to ride to Tanah Lot Temple but the fact that this would fall on a Saturday when traffic is horrendous in the area hadn't been considered until a few days ago.
Instead, we were transported to the carpark of the temple and from there set off on a ride through quieter towns and through rice fields. This was enjoyed by all as the terrain was not as hilly and the pace wasn't on. Even so, traffic was heavy in spots, us bumping our way through muddy tracks between cars, motorcycles and even buses. Any points of
Tanah Lot meaning 'Land in the Sea' in Balinese. At high tide it becomes an island.
interest were stopped at to take photos, the best being a ceremony outside a temple which is a harvest celebration held only twice a year on the full moon. The locals were most friendly, the main performers including us in the performance and everybody pleased that we were interested.
At one stage we think the tour leaders were a little lost, the 30kms or so stretching out to about 40kms. The last section was through rice paddy fields and most of us got covered in mud, several of us, including Rags, nearly losing control of the bike, luckily recovering before either ditching into the mud, or worse.
Judy had chosen to visit Ubud today and between showers explored the town and shops! She decided to try the special at the Ibu Oka (Suckling Pig Restaurant) which we had missed yesterday and really enjoyed it.
Luckily Judy had taken limited cash with her because she spent it all. Her last purchase was a few DVD's. Being busy counting out her last rupiah she didn't check them until her return to Taman Harum. Here, she discovered 3 of the 4 cases were empty. All had a laugh at this!
Wayan, our tour leader, always cheerful, always obliging.
A tasty, simple meal awaited us in the restaurant near the temple, after which we walked along the clifftops to view the temples, some of us climbing down to the black beach to view it all from a different angle.
Dinner was at the Taman Harum. The set menu was ok but Judy says she would prefer to choose from the menu! Sunday 27th June 2010
Heavy rain and thunder woke us this morning and the rain continued after breakfast.
The program was to drive to the village of Susut and from there ride about 24kms up the mountain and then return. Instead, as it was raining, we continued up and about a kilometre beyond the summit where we stopped in clear conditions overlooking the terraced rice paddies.
After a suitable break we walked back to the summit where we then continued on the bikes, all downhill. After about 20kms of this, on a variety of different road/track surfaces, we came to the village of Susut. Wayan explained that this was his village, where his parents still lived, and that he lived here until he went to high school in Denpassar at age 15
Good quality bikes made our exertions a little bit easier.
In the centre of the town we saw the large, covered community area where a few men were doing some carving, a group of women were cooking delicious little food parcels for a religious ceremony (but we were invited to taste them all) and a larger group were making baskets of various sizes.
From here we visited Wayan's house where we were greeted by his mother. The house consisted of three buildings, one the kitchen and sleeping area, another a recreation/sleeping area, with the central one set aside for visitors. Everything was neat and tidy, most of it tiled with garden all around. At the front of the block was the family shrine, 5 generations of the family have lived there and Wayan, as eldest, was expected to take over eventually.
His mother had prepared a dish of steamed sweet potato and yams and we were offered a sample.
From here we rode, still going downhill, for quite some distance, on one of the smoothest roads we have experienced so far. Lunch was at a local establishment set in the middle of a rice field with some murky green pools of water next to them.
This was where our lunch was coming out of as it was a fish nursery! A few comments were made regarding where the fish were bred but this was soon dispelled when each of us had a plate with a whole cooked fish put in front of us. Rags reckoned this was one of the best lunches he has had this trip, the fish being cooked crisply on the outside with the flesh still moist. Too often the food has been overcooked, this possibly a Bali way of cooking.
Judy elected to catch up with her uni work this morning but at lunch time requested the hotel shuttle for transport into Ubud. Here she found lunch after a long walk up Ubud Main Street and after collecting the missing DVD's. Murni's Warung, located next to the Campuan bridge, is built on several levels between the road and the river, and she had a great view of the river gushing below. After once again spending her limited Rupiah she returned by shuttle to find the riders already back. Monday 28th June 2010
After another hour or so journey in the bus we set off from near the town of
Jatiluwith. This was a very picturesque area with its rice terraces reaching from the hills to the coastal area. Everything was very lush and we made our way through the paddies and gardens until we reached a town where we stopped for lunch.
Wayan had discussed earlier why food was eaten using the fingers only (right hand) he intimating that it was to prevent you burning your mouth. Outside he hinted that the meal was to be traditional.
It was, with no cutlery being given out. After a few clumsy attempts and a bit of laughing we all got stuck into the food and managed to eat with our fingers. Looking around at the locals we knew that we were both messy and clumsy in our eating habits but all persevered.
Back in Ubud visits to the local markets had most with a few things to take home, the prices being very negotiable and not as much a rip-off as in Kuta.
Dinner in town that night, was enlivened by us watching geckos stalking and catching moths on the ceiling. Tuesday 29th June 2010
The last day, how time seems to have flown, yet we have
done so much.
Today, Judy has joined us, as a spectator in a vehicle, on the trip to Lake Batur. This is the widest lake in Bali and lies at the feet? of Mount Batur and Mount Abang. Mt Batur looked most spectacular, with the summit ringed by cloud.
We rode about 20kms alongside the lake, having our first casualty of the trip when Julianne skidded in the gravel of a carpark. She lost some skin off her shoulder and a leg, this very quickly tended to by the well-prepared Dunno and Lost. Not a good way to end the the trip.
The ride ended at the top of a very steep hill, only 'Little Wayan' riding all the way, with some of us finding it difficult to even walk up it. The return was very sedate at first,with the steepness of the slope being such that both brakes needed to be applied with the rider leaning back as far as possible to avoid going over the front. From there it was a bit of a sprint behind the support vehicle, Rags finding a shortcut through a group of houses when he lagged behind.
Wayan wanted us
to see a “Believe it or not” temple. We left the bikes and walked about 2 kms through a lava flow, meeting trucks on the way carting crushed lava to use on the fields and for making roads. The black lava made the trip stifling hot but we persisted until finally reaching our objective. A deep hole was in front of us, we standing on lava, and below the lava had originally flowed around a temple (now removed). Over the years trees and vegetation had grown, making a green patch in the middle of the acres of lava.
This patch could be seen from high up the side of the mountain where we had our buffet lunch at the touristy restaurant overlooking the lake and giving us views of where we had ridden from a different perspective.
Some riders wanted to ride the 40kms or so back down to Ubud but as the bikes had already been packed on the truck, and Wayan obviously reluctant for us to do it from a safety aspect, this idea was abandoned. Some tours have this option but they go on back roads and this had not been planned for us.
Opposite the Tourist Bureau where we were dropped/picked up by the Taman Harum shuttle
Dinner was at a restaurant where there was traditional dancing, unfortunately it was too far away to see, and only a few seemed interested enough (or had enough energy) to walk to the front of the stage. The group presented Rags with a local model bicycle memento in appreciation of his organising the tour, this followed up by Rags presenting Wayan with a similar memento but of a racing bike rider. Wednesday 30th June 2010
The last day. The morning was spent by all except Dunno going into Ubud for a final shop before we left. Checkout was at midday and we were all transported to Kuta.
As Rags and Judy were staying on for another 3 nights we were dropped off at the J Boutique Hotel where they were staying. Dunno then booked a room for the night and 11 lots of luggage was stored in the 2 rooms before the bulk departure at 10pm.
Foot massages, facials etc and some shopping of course, filled the rest of the day. The final meal together was at the hotel, this being reasonably priced and no-one had the energy to go looking for food anywhere
else. Judy has picked up a cold so only wanted to rest, especially after the walk into Kuta.
Farewells at 10pm with all, except Pixie (whose family is coming up to join him) and us, leaving. Its going to be quiet for a couple of days!
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