04.12.2011 - 10.12.2011 30 °C
We left The Netherlands on an overcast grey to head off on honeymoon to Indonesia . The flight itself began with a thunder and lightening storm. The nose of the plane was struck but the pilots announced that the plane was operationally still fine to continue the rest of the journey and that no emergency landings were required. When we touched down in Singapore to swap passangers and for a refuel but they said that because of health & safety with the lightening strike they had to check the complete plane before taking off again, so a longer then usual delay but no sweat, we’re on holiday anyway
So anyway we arrived in Den Pasar around ten thirty pm to a blast of heat and what felt like 100’s of taxi drivers screeching about their ‘deals’. For Ubud we were offered taxis for various prices ranging from 300,000 – 500,000 rp, so ignoring them we headed right after arrivals to the official taxi (taksi) centre (kiosk) and got one for 195,000rp. Ubud is about 1-1.5 hours away from the airport depending on your taxi driver and the traffic. By the time we got to our prebooked accommodation we were running very late. The place was in complete darkness with no one around. So we checked into the place across the road for one night, Nicks hidden Bungalows. It was great to wake up and see the pool in the morning but at 450,000 rp a night it was double the cost of our previous choice so after breakfast we moved to Keketung Bungalows which was 225,000 a night. It was situated in the middle of the rice fields away from the noise of the town. The manager told us that he waited last night as long as possible but with a pregnant wife he couldn’t wait too long. On a side note his wife had a baby girl on the Friday, they named her in reference to the new moon as they saw it as a good luck sign that she was born the same time as it was .
So the Ubud Summary:
The artist is described as the local Dali. To be honest at the start I couldn’t see this. His paintings were nice enough but not really ‘out there’ with imagination. The museum is set in his original house, on entry the first thing you see is a photo of the artist grinning with Michael Jackson whom he had met years ago. It was at the exit of the museum where you have his final room of paintings that the Dali connection becomes more clear. This room contains many paintings/collages with attached comedic erotica poetry. This guy was hilarious at times and completely crazy at others. We couldn’t take any photos inside the museum so below is the garden ones.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary:
So in this forest the monkeys run free and are the bosses. They showed us quite quickly that this is the case. As Arjan was taking his camera out of his bag one quick monkey reached in and took the plastic camera rain sleeve. I tried to grand it back but received a hiss and was nearly attacked but I jumped back out of the way. Good thing I’m a coward and jumped away ..These were not nice cute cuddly animals but wild animals well used to humans being in their world. They were reaching into people’s pockets and bags for food, tearing at materials if they could smell banana’s etc… there were people selling the fruit outside so they were used to being fed and would assume everything was for them. At one stage I took water from my pocket to see a large older monkey getting ready to jump on my backpack to check if it was for him. In the park they also have a temple of the deceased were they hold daily ceremonies, there were some fires lit here, the monkeys stayed at a distance from this part. The park itself was very nice and was interesting to see the monkeys but I’m looking forward to the next ones. We did go looking for Arjan’s rain cover just in case the monkey thief dropped it but it was long gone.
We spent most of Wednesday walking around the town and visiting various temples. There are a lot of them, mainly we were still trying to get used to the heat.
Originally we headed here to watch some dancers but with schedules etc it didn’t work out so we checked out the museum itself. The gardens are nicely laid out and are very peaceful. Part of your entrance fee includes a welcome drink in a nice terrace in the grounds. We decided to walk around the artwork first. Not everything was to my style but the artists life stories were fascinating. After this we went for a free tea and chilled. While there a man joined us and told us that he had just received the latest magazine to add to the collection for guests to read. This particular issue was all about the culture of Bali and how to preserve it while still moving forward. The man was very friendly and it was interesting to talk to him. It was only when we left that the ticket guys asked us if we recognized him, emmm sorry but no, out comes another magazine with an interview of the museum owner and a photo. He was a friendly guy and I don’t think that the conversation would have been any different if we’d known who he was earlier.
This was our trekking day, the day of lets get to know the countryside. The original plan was a few short walks and lots of breaks, of course our map wasn’t the most accurate and we ended up combining about 4-5 walks in one and spent most of the day walking. It wasn’t all hard walk as a refreshing lemon juice saw us relaxing in a great café:
In the evening we went to see traditional dancing at Pura Batukaru for Kecak fire and trance dance. The dancing is accompanied by music provided by human voices rather then instruments. The story itself is a fragment of the Hindu epic, Ramayana. It was an amazing production and totally blows you away. No descriptions I give will do it justice. I will try to load the videos at some stage so that you can see some of it.
Friday saw the arrival of Arjan’s birthday. For the day he wanted to see some more of Bali and the easiest way without joining a tour or risking driving ourselves was to hire a car and driver for the day. The owner of the place were we were staying worked out a deal for us with his uncle that undercut every other offer we had offered in town (including after we had negotiated them lower), so happy days.
We got out of the car at Jatiluwih rice fields to stretch our fields and take our tourist photos. Every car/motor and person that enters has to pay a small fee to enter the main road through here as they try to maintain the area and keep it clean.
Pura Luhur Batukau:
This is a state temple and probably the highlight of the day. While we were there witnessed a traditional ceremony. A man in traditional clothes explained that the group had travelled from his village to the temple over a number of days to celebrate the fresh spring water which is related to the god who overlooks their homes and who’s temple this is. Though we didn’t understand the ceremony itself it was obvious that it was quite spiritual to the group. They allowed us to accompany them on their walk around the grounds as long as when it came to the final words that we stayed outside the central temple area for their final celebration. It was really nice to see and when we returned to the car to talk to the driver he was surprised that it was going on as he said normally they wouldn’t have allowed tourist visits on those days.
On the way back to Ubud the driver brought us to Tanah Lot. He thought we might like it as it is one of the most important sea temple on the island. Its also a major tourist trap and our worst stop of the day.
During the day he also brought us to see traditional Bali coffee being made. Basically the coffee beans are eaten by an animal, then after digestion and excretion the bean is extracted for use. It is heated to change the colour and enhance the aroma.
Through the day we saw a royal castle, lots more temples, the national forest and lakes. These were just nice additions by the driver so that we could stretch our legs and see a bit more.
The driver also explained how to recognize if something was a temple or a private/family shrine, this is in relation to the entrance being either two open arches or a closed archway. He also explained about the offerings to the spirits to look after the houses and people within them.
All in all it was a nice day and we got to see quite a bit. That evening we went for some good food and then to a bar. The bar had a really funny mix of people. It had a reggae rock feel. There was a local band playing with their star groupie being an aging Australian hippy who lost himself in the music. I think he had one of the bar’s special cocktails, no clue what was in them but the sign had mushroom images so…….The hippy guy was dancing most of the night inbetween looking for a woman, looking at the variety of women he approached you think that finally one would give in, lol…..I ended up talking to Gloria from Venezuela. She’s been living in Spain for the last few years and is dating the lead singer of the band so spends a lot of time in Ubud. Arjan and I spent of the time giggling, drinking and dancing. It was a good end to his day
Not much to say about Saturday really. It was the day we left Bali to fly to Sulawesi.
so this was written in a hurry so there are typos...sorry !! Will correct it a later date