Monday, December 31, 2007

Warm Sun and Mtn. Biking in Bali: Day 6 & 7

Day 6:

I have discovered the yummiest cafe and bakery in Central Ubud! Its a place called Casa Luna. This bakery serves a delicious range of fresh bread, pastries, cakes, and more. Its the perfect place to just chill and people watch while sipping on a Cafe Latte. The Balinese people are very nice and the customer service is excellent. Way better customer service in Bali than in Saipan. Why is that?

Anywho, the highlight about this Casa Luna is that it offers Balinese cooking classes. Everyday of the week is a different meal that is taught. The first thing you do is tour the Ubud market place for your ingredients and then head back to the restaurant where Janet de Neefe teaches you how to cook an authentic Balinese meal! This is a must do in Bali if you love to cook! I am enjoying eating out here more than shopping =)

The sun finally came out today and I decided to be lazy and relax by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Good news is that I finally ran into my friends, Rebecca and Ben, and we had dinner together with some other friends at a place called The Lotus Cafe. It was so nice to see familiar faces in Bali.

A few words about this restaurant is that the food wasn't all that and it was pricey. The only thing I enjoyed was a traditional Balinese dance show that you can see right in the back of this restaurant. The dance show is called Chandra Wirabhuana. Great entertainment and exquisite costumes! Loved this show.

Day 7:

My friends and I decided to go on a three hour 45 km mountain bike excursion from the top of Kintamani all the way down towards Tegalalang. I was suppose to meet my friends at their hotel at 8:30 am but I was late! By the time I got there it was 9 am and they had already left. The tour company sent a young fellow to shuttle me up the mountain on a moped! This was the only case where tardiness paid off because I had a blast riding on the back of the moped racing up the curvy roads like the locals do.

By the time I got up there Rebecca, Ben, Autumn, and Ana had just finished their breakfast on a terrace that had an amazing view that overlooked the active volcano Mount Batur and the lake. I was so glad that I came up here again because last time I came up it was too cloudy to see anything.

Now keep in mind that I thought this was suppose to be an easy downhill and fun bike ride. I only came to Bali with my flip flops. We started down the road and passed through a lot of traditional villages and through the countryside. The kids from the villages would come out and give us high fives as we zipped on by!
They were so cute. It was beautiful scenic ride until we hit this steep hill that looked exactly like Navy Hill. We had to walk our bikes all the way up this hill. We tried to race through some muddy pathways but ended up walking in the mud. Normally I wouldn't be complaining about this but I didn't exactly have the right shoes and gear. Wish I had my bike here.

To make a long story short I was racing and peddling really hard up this one hill. My bike chain popped off and my foot crashed against the street. I'm only wearing flip flops mind you. Ouch. I stopped and realized that I bashed my big toe really bad that it was bleeding. They ended up taking me to the hospital so I wasn't able to finish my bike ride =( This bike ride was fun but it was alot more technical than I thought.

So the damage was that I didn't quite break my big toe. I just really bruised it and 3/4 of my toe nail practically was hanging off. The doctor had to yank the broken part off. That part hurt really bad. So now I'm walking around with a white big bandage on my big toe=( So sad. But the good news from my doctor is that I will still be able to dive!

I'll spend New years Eve in Ubud tonight with my friends and then make my way up towards Tulamben and the Gili Islands in a couple days. Until then, Happy New Years! Cheers to a new chapter and exciting adventures to come in 2008. So far this was the best year ever!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bliss in Bali: Day 4 and 5

Before this solo trip to Bali I never really understood why people choose to travel alone. I just thought it would be tragic to be in such a beautiful place and not be able to share that with someone. But there is so much to gain from traveling solo.

Bali is truly a romantic destination for couples. There are couples everywhere! They're strolling hand in hand down the streets. They're sipping lattes and laughing in a cafe together. They're nestled in a corner having a candlelit dinner. I'm not jaded rather I think love is wonderful when its with the right person. A year ago this sight would have made me really sick but I am actually quite surprised that I feel content on being alone in Bali.

Traveling forces you to be more outgoing. I made a friend while having breakfast by the pool. Her name is Lisa and she was backpacking Bali on her own from Taiwan. We chatted a bit and she mentioned she was going to Lovina!

I asked if we could share a driver and a hotel room in Lovina which was three hours away from Ubud since I was going there anyway. She was fine with it and off we went to Lovina.

Our driver, Nyoman, was really nice. He only charged 300,000 Rupas ($30 usd) to take us from Ubud to Lovina. If I would have done it over again though I would advise backpackers to just take the perwista bus. Its only 70,000 rupas($7 usd)and it takes just about the same amount of time. We passed through the countryside and up the windy roads through the central mountains. It was still cloudy and rainy so there really wasn't much to see on the way there. We stopped at a great restaurant on the mountain called Ngiring Ngewedang. It serves great tasting Balinese food at a travelers fare. We did get to see the famous temple on the lake, Pura Ulun Danu and the Hot springs, Air Panas Banjar.

When we arrived in Lovina we checked and then walked around. Lovina is a beach town that people come to just chill out at. It's got black sand beaches and great little eateries along the beach. Mostly it was just a place to walk and relax. We had dinner at a restaurant that the Lonely Planet Bali Guide suggested called Waru Bali by the beach. I had Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and veggie spring rolls. Excellent service and prices were cheap.

The highlight of this trip was going out at 6 am the next morning in search for dolphins! I'll have to post pictures when I get home from my trip because the sunrise was spectacular. We saw tons of dolphins everywhere!
I just kept thinking how lucky I am to be here in Bali to experience this. Being out here is pure bliss. Next adventure is diving the shipwreck in Tulamben and the Gili Islands in Lombok! Oh, I'm so excited!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Off the Beaten Path in Bali- Day 3

So I'm such a terrible traveler! I forgot to check the weather before I came here. Doh! I packed my bikinis and beach wear thinking I would catch some rays by the pool but it's rainy season till Feb. In fact, its been so windy and rainy that the power has been on and off throughout the island. Whatev. I'm more amused than pissed since stuff like this happens in Saipan all the time.

Ubud is charming but is still too touristy for me. I asked Mendra to take me where all the locals go to eat and shop at. He took me to a favorite local Balinese restaurant where everyone stops at if they're headed for a long trip to the mountains. The restaurant is called Nasi Ayam Kedewalan right off JL. Raya Puputan Rd. This place is nestled in a quiet garden and there is only one plate featured on the menu! For lunch I had SPICY chicken, rice, and long beans. Balinese food is so simple yet very tasty. Meals are like 150,000 Rupas ($1.50 usd).

After lunch we zip passed a lot of rice fields and lush rice terraces featured in my trusty Lonely Planet Guide for Bali. The rice terraces are breathtaking.
Another thing that I love is how the Balinese drive! There are only two lanes but many times those lanes don't exist! There could be as many as three cars or motorcycles on the road going really fast in opposite directions! They are constantly over passing each other. It's madness! It's amazing that there are hardly any accidents.

The first panoramic view Mendra takes me is at Cahaya Dewata Resort Spa. If you are standing in the restaurant it over looks the Ayung River and beautiful rice terraces. The Ayung River is where many people go for white river rafting.

I decide last minute that I want to see the volcano Ganung Batur (2 hours from Ubud)even though its a little cloudy. On the ride up we drive on Tegallalang Road which is the longest road in Indonesia (5 miles long) that features all kinds of handicraft shops. I'm pretty sure the stuff you see in Kuta and Ubud you can get here at whole sale prices. We also zipped by a dozen of fresh fruit stands! I miss fresh fruit like mangos, mangosten, rambutan, papaya and passion fruit!

My travel plan to the beach town Lovina in search for dolphins is affected due to the mudslides and bad road conditions towards the central mountains. I decided to hire Mendra to take me around the outskirts of Ubud for one more day. By the time we got up the mountain to see the Volcano it was freaking cloudy. I saw no Volcano or lake. I advise all travelers not to even attempt going to see Ganung Batur on a cloudy day even if your driver says lets try.

Anywho after that lame attempt to see Ganung Batur, Mendra made up for it when he showed me this really cool temple located in Tampaksing. There is this Holy Springs temple called Tikta Empul. When I walked into the hot springs there were people bathing in different areas. If you need something healed you bathe in one section and if you have done something wrong to someone you bathe in a different section. I guess it is sort of like a purification process. Pretty interesting to see. Here's a picture of one of the gods.

Our final stop on the way back home was a coffee and spice plantation called BAS Agrowisata. (moreno you would have loved this place). The aroma of all the different spices (vanilla, chili, black pepper . . . etc) was pretty amazing. On the terrace they served us free hot ginger tea, lemon grass tea, Balinese coffee, and Hot chocolate to try. I met a couple from South Africa and we chatted about our travels. The best part about traveling is the interesting people you meet along the way. Coffee and great company was the perfect ending for the day.

Next day . . . Lovina here I come.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Zen and Healing in Bali: Day 2

Bali is a spiritual and deeply moving place. Ninty percent of Bali is Hindu and the other ten percent is mixed with Muslim/Christian. This is my first exposure to the Hindu religion and I find it absolutely fascinating.

Whereever I go, I chat with people and ask them to teach me about what they believe. I ask why every street and shops are filled with fragrant flowers and burnt incense. They tell me that everyday they give thanks for the blessings and life that they were given. They tell me that everything (plants, animals . . .) has meaning and purpose. Their passion for life and how strongly they believe is inspiring. I want to know more.

I stepped onto the street this morning without a plan. I'm going to wing one more day in Ubud before I make my way through the countryside through the rice terraces and towards the hot springs in Lovina. I can't believe I'm here!

On my second day I spent the morning at Zen Bali Spa. Four hours to be exact. Bali is infamous for getting five dollar massages and four dollar pedicures. I really splurged and got a package. Before I tell how much I paid I'll tell you what I had done. This package included a one hour body massage, Milk and floral bath, Cucumber and honey facial, manicure and pedicure, hair creme bath and lunch. It was heavenly. So I only paid $35(USD)! That was a sweet deal considering I used to frequent Burke Williams in the states and a hour massage alone would cost well over a hundred. After my visit I felt like a goddess. Ok,I felt more like jello after relaxing so much=)

After lunch I went to a couple of musuems and called it a night. Tommorow I leave Ubud and backpack up towards Lovina. Until then . . .

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bali Revealed: Day 1

At the Guam airport I ran into some friends that were on the same flight as me! I met Rebecca and Ben during the Fall Beach Volleyball league when I first moved to Saipan. They're such a great couple. I'm just happy to know that I can hang with them and their friends at any given point of my trip.

It was only a four hour and fifty minute plane ride from Guam to Bali. I ended up with a whole row of seats to myself so it gave me a chance to catch some zzzzzzzzzz. We arrived around ten pm in Bali. Getting our visa ($25) and going through immigration was madness! There were so many tourists for the holiday. I finally made it out and exited the airport only to find myself engulfed in a sea of drivers holding up colorful signs with names on them. I had to walk over three times before I found my driver, Ketut Mendra.

Judy and Dennis gave me a referral to their driver they used when they were last in Bali. I was glad to have someone honest and reliable to take me around since some drivers over charge you if you are not familiar with the rates to different locations.

Anywho, I went my seperate way from Rebecca and Ben at the airport. They went with friends to Kuta (aka party town) with some friends and I headed off to Ubud. Ubud is about forty five minutes away from the airport. They are going to meet me in Ubud in a couple of days.

Ubud is such a charming village. I love this place! It is perched on slopes leading towards the central mountains. The people here are gracious and take time to chat with you. For the first couple of days I am staying at Adi Cottages. Its in the middle of the main road Monkey Forest Rd in the middle of all the shops and cafes. I'm on the upper level with a patio that over looks the pool and lush gardens. It's only $29 bucks a night but I will be moving to the White House Bali Cottages for only $15 bucks a night to save money.

It was hammering down rain today. Unfortunately it may rain the whole week dag nab it! I wanted to see sunrise at the volcano but there might not be much of a view. It's ok. I don't mind the rain since it gave me a chance to start reading my new book Eat, Pray, Love. This trip was really all about me relaxing and exploring Bali on my own pace. The first day I spent wandering Ubud Market, Ubud Palace, rice fields, cafes, and the shops! There is so much to see in Ubud. I will need to spend atleast a couple of days here before I move on.

The food is amazing here! They've got all kinds of food for every type of budget. Whether you eat at a warung (food stall on side of the road) or trendy restaurant the food is all delish. My favorite cafes so far are the Three Monkey Cafe and The Rice Noodle Bar.

I read some travel blogs before I came here. Alot of the blogs warned against "vultures" or locals trying to sell you things nonstop. So far I haven't really experienced that although the locals think I look Indonesian. Maybe that is why they haven't bugged me as much. I love that I can just blend in wherever I go. Well except for Europe (another story to tell later).

The highlight of today was visiting the cute monkeys at the Monkey Sanctuary. Its a nice park just to walk through and observe the monkeys. If you want you can feed bananas to the monkeys. There is a raging river that runs through this forest. Just really loved it here.

Anyway, I'm going to have breakfast and start my venture. Merry Christmas to my family and friends back home! I heart you.

*I uploaded some pics =) 1/7/08

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I'm on vacation! Woo hoo! I've spent the last couple of days in Guam with my close friends, Mike, Gemma, and Max. Just enjoying some down time before I fly out to Bali tonight. I am so excited about backpacking Bali! I booked a couple of nights at a hotel online but will probably look for something for a lot less once I settle in. I've heard that you can find rooms as low as $10 a night. I've got an itinerary but I'm sure it'll change when I get there. One thing is for sure, I want to get in a couple of dives around the Gili Islands. It's my first time backpacking alone so I'm a little nervous considering I make everyone else navigate for me when I go on trips. This is definitely going to be an unforgettable adventure. For the sake of my family's peace of mind, I'll be blogging from Bali. Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

About Me

Sorry for the lack of posts. It's just the nature of December with the holidays rolling around. Its nice to have some down time though. One more week of work and then I am off for vacation for two weeks in Bali. I can't believe I'll be spending Christmas and New years in Bali! So i'll be spending the first week in Bali all by my lonesome and Missy will meet up with me after new years. I was a little hesitant about traveling alone but I say screw it! I'll conquer Bali on my own. Every year just keeps getting better despite little glitches here and there. Whatev.

Aunt Judy forwarded me this and I couldn't resist to fill this out.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
10:00 am

2. Do you like diamonds or pearls?
Duh, diamonds!

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Sex In The City

5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
cereal with soy milk, fruit

6. What is your middle name?

7. What food do you dislike?
Durian fruit

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
Bebo Norman-Between The Dreaming and The Coming True

9. What kind of car do you drive?

10. Favorite sandwich?
Turkey, Avocado, and swiss cheese

11. What characteristic do you despise?

12. Favorite item of clothing?
tank tops

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation,
where would you go?
I want to back pack India for a month or zip line in Brazil!

14. What color is your bathroom?
Mocha, white, and Coral

15. Favorite brand of clothing?

16. Where would you retire to?
Anywhere with the love of my life and family.

17. What was your most memorable birthday?
My 30th in La Jolla, California with my best friends.

18. Favorite sport to watch?

19. Farthest place you are sending this?
East Coast

20. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?

21. Person you expect to send it back first?


22. Favorite saying?

23. When is your birthday?

24. Are you a morning person or a night person?

25. What is your shoe size?
6 1/2

26. Pets?
none yet, I want a dog when I move back to the states.

27. Any new and exciting news you like to share?
Last Weekend I spent three days in Tokyo with Greg. Toyko rocks.

28. What did you want to be when you were little?

29. What are you today?
Registered Dental Hygienist

30. What is your favorite candy?
Currently it's Expressions Chocolate covered blueberries

31. What is your favorite flower?
Pink Peonies

32. What day on the calendar are you looking forward to?
New years.

33. What church do you attend?
Lately i have been doing my own devotionals out on the beach or at Bonzai.

34. What is your full name?
Beverly Mae Cabanatan

35. What are you listening to right now?
Christmas music

36. What is the last thing you ate?
Hyatt Veggie Fajitas at street market

37. Do you wish upon a star?

38. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

39. How is the weather right now?
Warm Sunny skies

40. Last person you spoke to on the phone?

41. Do you like the person who sent this to you?

42. What is your favorite soft drink?
Diet Coke

43. What is your favorite restaurant?
Grotto 2298 in Saipan
Splashes in Laguna Beach, California

44. Hair color?
Black . . . thinking about getting high lights and cutting it.

45. Siblings?
1 big brother, Ed and 1 little sister, Gin. Yup, i'm the middle child

46. Favorite day of the year?
Friday. I only work a half a day.

47. Your favorite toy as a child?
Easy bake oven

48 Summer or winter?
Winter. I miss snowboarding and wearing winter clothes like scarfs, beanies . . .

49. Hugs or kisses?

50. Chocolate or Vanilla?

51. Do you want your friends to email you back?

52. When was the last time you cried ?
when i crashed on my bike=(

53. What is under your bed?

54. Who is the friend you have had the longest?
Raelene, my best friend since the second grade.

55. What did you do last night?
Walked street market and ate alot of food.

56. Favorite smell?
Fresh Plumerias

57. What are you afraid of?
losing a loved one

58. Plain, buttered, or salted Popcorn?

59. How many keys on your key ring?

60. How many years at your current job?
one year in Saipan.

61. What is your favorite day of the week?

62 How many towns have you lived in?

63. Do you make friends easily?