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.