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June 27th 2006
Published: July 24th 2006
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I'm still fretting and faffing. When will I relax? I'm driving myself crazy with worry that I'm out of my depth over here, not planning my travelling well enough or watching my budget closely enough....

Anyway, I jumped on the shuttle bus upto Ubud to escape the mad-touristyness of Kuta and am settled in a nice-ish hostel (losman), "Brata 2". Quite why I've been given a double bed and a single I don't know, but for 3pounds per night I shouldn't complain.

That's another thing - the money here is driving me up the wall! I can't get my head around the currency at all and every time I go to pay for something I spill out a wad of notes from my wallet - the combined total of which is never enough (and we're talking thousands here!).

Managed to post home a kilo of books, (Lonely Planet really should publish a lightweight Oz and Nz guide), but I still need to lighten my bag if I'm to make travelling any easier. Thinking about ditching my sleeping bag and rollmat, but I'm such a hoarder it's hard!

After wandering the gallery-infested streets for hours I managed to get directions off a lovely gay couple to a local walk - (it's odd, I expected it to be very quiet on the scene, but the Pink Pound, or rather Pink Rupiah is definately flowing here). Some 45mins and 50 locals later I found the track and had a good few hours wander: "Campuan Ridge Walk" wound up a steep, narrow hill with rivers either side and offered beautiful views of the layered rice terraces. The route is oddly dotted with silversmiths and yet more galleries exhibiting local artists' work, completely incongruous to the junglesque trail. I put the pictures on the previous blog and it's not easy to transfer them here.


I've still not sorted out what I'm doing, although I would like to get to two temples west of Ubud:

and climb either Gunung Batur (1717m) or Gunung Agung (3143m), the latter being Bali's largest volcano and sounding the most challenging and fun however I'm being held back because I haven't got an International Driving Permit and although I could hire a bike without it, if stopped by the police they'd be a steep fine or necessary bribe on the cards, so I dont think I'll risk it. Tomorrow I'm going to get a lift to Denpasar and sit a test in order to get a Tourist Bike Licence for Indonesia, however since I dont even have a UK bike licence and know nothing about bikes let alone how to ride one I'm not sure how it's all going to work, but still, I'll give it a go...wish me luck!

28th July

Licence Aquired and there was no test! yipppeeee! Although the price has jumped to 350,000, which the local waitress says is more than her salary! So tomorrow I'll do the two temples and then the day after try and get transport from Ubud to either Selat and Duda (to climb G.Agung) or Toya Bungkah (to climb G.Batur). The latter is probably the easiest to begin with, since I can get a connection from Ubud to the Kintamani region (12,000rupiah, 2.5hours)

I've been lying in bed thinking about an early night but decided there was no way I could sleep through all the music echoing across the town.

It's a good 12 years since I last played in a Gamalan musical group, (ok, so it was only an afternoon field trip for GCSE music, and I haven't really reached maestro status...), but I figured I could quickly pickup the gongs, drums and nipply-pans that they play so got dressed and went to investigate.

I found the group at the local temple playing their soft, lulling tunes and although one of the bystanders said I couldn't go in without sarong and headscarf, I stood by the split gates enchanted by the gilt costumes, rhythmic drumming and children playing chase around the Hundu Gods' offerings. Magical. The apple strudle I bought from the old toothless woman outside wasn't bad either.


5th November 2006

isnt there anyway with basic gamalan facts!!!!

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