Finally got the photos in again!

Iwent fishing with Geoff  from South Australia the day before we left Candi Dasa but we only got a bit wet and caught no fish.  It was good fun surfing the swell.

Komang took us on a wonderful drive from Candi Dasa to Ubud through the hills to Sidemen where from the Mahagiri restaurant and resort where we had lunch you get a lovely view of Mt Agung.  We could see down the valley but the mountain was covered in cloud so Komang showed us where it should be.

 We drove through the mountains and over rivers where you can “white water raft” and the scenery was spectacular.

I never get sick of the views of the layered rice terraces which are beautiful and very green  at the moment.  Most of the roads through the mountains have clear water channels running by them with people bathing and washing clothes.

Ubud is very busy with tourists compared with Candi Dasa.  It is also a major centre for Art, Yoga, Meditation, shopping – virtually everything somebody would want but we are lucky as we are staying in a hidden away part where there are not so many tourists or shops.

Our villa with plunge pool is very private

 and quiet most of the time except for the Toke (giant gecko which likes to give about four loud calls in the middle of the night and also the roosters(really fighting cocks- cockfighting is illegal but it still goes on) that are just behind our villa and like to start their crowing about 4.30 in the morning but they do stop so you can go to sleep again.

There is a very good supermarket for westerners here called “Bintang”( like the beer)  where you can buy vegemite, tim tams and a lot of western foods.  You can even buy the old fashioned Kraft cheese in the rectangular packet wrapped in alfoil and it tastes like the old version that we used to get and the prices are cheaper in most cases than at home.

Maurice was getting some moisturizer for himself and a girl came up to him and suggested a new one on the market with whitening properties.  Maurice did say that he didn’t want to be any whiter and if anything he could do with a bit of a tan and the girl saw the funny side with that and couldn’t stop laughing.

We have had some lovely walks through some very green rice fields and some rice fields ready for harvesting and seen the poor women slaving away threshing and winowing the rice – they get two crops of Balinese rice a year compared with the other variety grown here where only one crop is grown.

Other women (some of whom look at least 70 but are probably 50) cart large metal bowls of stones and soil on their heads to building sites, most of which are only reachable by small pathways.

There are more and more villas being built here which is understandable as people like having the privacy (as we do) for only $60 a night with fruit/toast breakfast included and the villa and pool cleaned and looked after. Most of the men are either building the villas/shops etc or are sitting at the side of the road with signs saying “taxi” or saying “do you want transport”.

At least the balinese landowners are making money and improving their and their childrens’  lives.  The little warungs (home cooking style small restaurants) around us are very cheap and the food delicious and are run by the few women who manage the place and cook there.  You can get eggs on toast for about $1.50 and a whole meal for 2 with drinks for about $10 so I haven’t been cooking apart from one omlette.  Nothing is too much trouble and all done with a smile.  Some of the menu items are funny – the Indo-english is as funny as the Chinglish.  They have meshed potatoes, creeps, pameloes,smocked duck and rubber apple pie! 

 The map of Ubud shows the “Four Sessions hotel”.

We  have a beautiful spa about 20 paces away  and most of the massages/facials etc only cost $9-$10 for an hour.  We are making the most of that.  The Australian owner of our villa owns 9 others and is in Sri Lanka on holiday at the moment.  We have a lovely Balinese chap called Lopo looking after us at the villa.  His wife works at the spa.

Komang took us up to the Botanical gardens today which are very spread out and you can look down on Lake Bratan.  As we got out of the car the first thing we saw were Bottle brush bushes all around us!

We walked through some of the gardens and drove through other parts.   It was cool and misty there and Komang was ready to put on a jumper.  There were no western tourists there only busloads of tourists from Java having picnics on the grass.

The vegetation everywhere here is so varied and lush – we are talking about changing the garden into a tropical one when we eventually get home.

We had to stop on the road for a cremation procession going past with men banging  cymbals and the coffin carried along on a platform up high.  The whole village usually turns out in  their traditional clothing to transport the body to be buried and then it stays in the ground for a varying period sometimes 3-4years until only bones are left and then they exhume it and have the cremation ceremony.  Komang commented that there were not many people in the procession so this person was probably not well liked or the whole village would have been there!

We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the mountains and valley and then went on to Mengwi which I had been wanting to see for years.  It is a temple and garden built in the 17th century with a moat for the royal family of Mengwi.  It was featured in the 80 best gardens of the world series and was beautiful.  A very tranquil place with perfumed shrubs and fruit trees covering about 4hectares.

We then went to a coffee/cocoa plantation where we tried several types of coffee – Bali coffee and Ginseng coffee and lime (which they call lemon)  tea – and lemongrass infused tea which was delicous.  The most expensive coffee there was Luwak Coffee – the luwaks are small animals a bit like large ferret. They eat the coffee pods, pass it through their system and then it is processed and packaged for tourists who pay $30 for 200gms.  We just bought some lime tea which tasted delicious there but has more sugar than anything in the packet we brought home.

Friends Frank and Raema came up to our villa for the day and we had a lovely time.  Komang took us to a wonderful restaurant at the edge of a rice paddy where the rice was ready to be harvested and we all had grilled duck which was delicious.  We then went back and sat in our plunge pool and then went to dinner all together and Komang and his wife Putu came to the “Bridges” restaurant which is owned by a French Canadian who is very welcoming.  The food is western and Komang and Putu asked if they could also have rice as there was none on the menu and the Balinese don’t feel as though they have had a meal unless they have rice.  If they have a noodle dish they have rice with it.  Most of us settled for the Barramundi which was delicious and the service was exceptional.  A great find for a special meal.  Still about 1/3 price you would pay in Australia.  The only thing we didn’t have was wine which was very expensive and not as thirst quenching as the delicious juices or beer which is very reasonably priced.

We have been in Ubud a week and have one more week here before flying to Singapore for 1night and then get the train up to Bangkok for 5nights and then onto Chiang Mai for 6nights before heading to Laos and up the Mekong river.

Hope all is well with everyone. 


Teresa and Maurice