Sunday, June 7th, 2009
Today we set out on the Campuan Ridge walk, listed in Lonely Planet. The first section of the walk was uphill in the sun through elephant grass fields. We saw workers cutting down the grass and enjoyed some stunning views.
The next section of the walk was through rice paddies where we also saw workers. We met a painter named Wayan Rana in Sebali Village and stopped to chat with him for a while. His paintings were much cheaper than we expected – first price 50,000 for a small framed one. A local guy on a motorbike stopped and tried to sell us some carved bone buttons. We politely refuse and he went on his way, hassle-free.
Then we walk on road back to Ubud and saw some residential life. On the way home we stopped at the big Bintang supermarket and got our first beers of the trip for 11,300. The cashier tried to shortchange me but I corrected her. Ryan resisted buying a 5 gallon bucket of strawberry ice cream for 22,500. We went to a super cheap street in middle of Ubud – Jl Goutama, and ate at place called Biah-Biah where I got Sayar Urab for 3,000 and steamed rice for 4,000. It was so good and filled me up. We were lazy for the rest of the day and just used internet and Ryan ate dinner at Pundi-Pundi again.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
Today we took a tour around the central / eastern area of Bali with a company called Jalan-Jalan for 150,000 each from 9am-4pm. We had a driver and car which we shared with one other american guy who was unfortunately an annoying complainer.
The first stop was Goa Gajah (elephant cave temple) which was alright, kinda lame, not bad as a stop on a larger tour but I wouldn’t make it a destination. There were lots of school kids there, we took pictures with them throwing gang signs, it was a riot.
Next we went to Tampak Siring (the Holy Spring Temple) which was prettier and more interesting. There were lots of school kids there again and a group of boys followed us around asking me for kisses! The temple has a hot spring that worshipers bath in. You can see the spring and it looks cool – black sand bubbling up in the water.
On the way to the next stop we went to a local coffee roaster / spice farmer’s place called Sai Land where we sampled some of THE BEST coffee I have ever had. Our favorite was the chocolate and coffee mix but we also tried ginger tea and pure coffee. While there we talked for a while with the owner about the harvesting and roasting process of the regular coffee and the civit cat poop coffee, as well as more personal topics like the upcoming naming ceremony for his almost-3-month-old child! I bought a box of ginger tea from their shop for 35,000 because I thought it was so delicious and I’m sure it will be glad I have it the next time I have a cold.
After the holy spring we went to Penelokan where we stopped for a lovely view of Mt. Batur and Lake Batur.
Next stop, Besakih (mother temple), the biggest and most important temple in Bali, located on the slope of Mt. Agung. It was pouring rain the whole time and I was car sick from the windy drive up, but it was beautiful so I enjoyed it. Because this temple is so important only worshippers are allowed inside but tourists can go on the outside stairs and peek in the doorways. There are a fair amount of ‘guides’ trying to scam people around the temple, telling you that you need their services when you don’t, or telling you they can get you in the temple when they can’t (if you do get in you risk being slapped with a huge fine). It’s no big deal, just say ‘no thank you’ to everyone and keep walking.
After the mother temple we were taken to a restaurant at Bukit Jambul for an amazing view of the rice terraces – and an amazingly expensive buffet lunch (I skipped the food and Ryan ordered something less expensive al la cart).
Our last stop was Klungkung, aka Semarapura, which used to be the center of an important kingdom in Bali. We didn’t see many other westerners here so we were getting some funny looks, but we did see more police and military than we have seen anywhere else. Here we opted to skip the temple and instead sat on some stairs at the Puputan Monument and watched school kids learning drill-down type exercises and an informal soccer game.
We headed home pretty worn out. For dinner we wandered to Pizza Bagus which had fast wifi, a mellow atmosphere, and cheap not so great pizza, but we hung out and split a big Pizza Ricotta Spinaci with chicken added to Ryan’s half for 45,000 and two small Bintangs for 23,000.
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
For breakfast at Artini 3 today I had an egg Jaffle which I originally assumed was just waffle spelled wrong, but it’s actually egg or banana between two pieces of toast. It came with fruit and was pretty yummy.
We got a ride to Ganesha Bookstore but didn’t buy anything because it was much pricier than we expected. We walked around and found another bookstore and bought a used copy of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone for 35,000. We needed a book to read because tomorrow we are leaving for a very sleepy town called Amed on Bali’s East coast where we hear there is great snorkeling and diving and… peace and quiet!
We bought a t-shirt each at the market for 35,000 total, and then I bought a beautiful dress in a shop for 180,000 which is spendy for Bali but this dress rocks and would cost a ton at home. It looks fantastic on me so I figured what the hell.
We ate lunch on our favorite cheap street again, this time at a place called Dewa Warung. I got Gado-Gado (mixed veggies with temphe and peanut sauce) for 8,000, Temphe Satay for 10,000 and a coke for 4,000 which turned out to be waaay more food than I needed but I ate most of it because it was delish. The place had a nice expat backpacker vibe to it and the food was great and dirt cheap.
The evening was spent lounging in the pool, doing laundry by hand in our bathtub, and hanging out at Pundi-Pundi drinking coffee for a couple hours while we researched hotels in Amed for tomorrow. We booked the same driver from Jalan-Jalan that we had for the tour yesterday for 250,000 total for the drive.
I have enjoyed Ubud a lot and plan to come back at the end of our trip. Now on to Amed!