17th 18th October
IT’S BALI TIME!
Today we were flying to Bali and we could not wait. Tim had offered, so kindly, to drive us an hour out of his way to the airport, as well as lend us a suitcase with the luxury of wheels for our trip.
Our foray into Sydney airport was not a smooth one. Having been separated at security by a burly woman it all went downhill. Passport refused, flight not recognised, electronic passport not recognised, all topped off with two random explosive checks when we were already strapped for time.
After one more boarding pass refusal we somehow made it on to the highly recommend Air Asia. Sam it is safe to say your recommendation was not appreciated. Seven hours with no in flight entertainment and a complimentary ‘chicken panini’. Now I can’t be sure what was in this but it was like no chicken I have ever seen, and the term panini had been stretched to mean cold flabby sandwich. Safe to say many went uneaten.
One minor scare about malaria in Gili and we landed, oh how 7 hours can fly by…
Arriving in Denpasar airport we were greeted with traditional music and dance as well as our very own flower garland. We truly felt like royalty.
Having not eaten well on the plane we perused the crisp selection in Denpasar airports very own WHSmith. All the usual salt and vinegar, ready salted, and cheese and onion were nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by spicy chicken, teriyaki salmon and seaweed. Let’s give this a go.
Our driver Sudi met us at the airport and drove us to Ubud in the, quite frankly, terrifying Bali traffic, where usual traffic rules do not appear to apply.
When we reached our hotel we realised we might just be in paradise. Used to slumming it in some pretty grim hostels, we three grubby backpackers found ourselves in 4* luxury. Oh Bali we love you already.
Our first taste of traditional Indonesian food in Indonesia, Gado Gado and Nasi Goreng went down a treat. Fresh fruit juices and all so cheap. We would be eating well in Bali we could already tell.
The next morning we had breakfast brought up to our very own balcony; scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit. We could definitely get used to this.
We decided to spend the morning exploring Ubud’s famous market and haggling with shop owners. This is made slightly more difficult when you don’t yet understand the currency, 50,000 for a pair of shorts…is that reasonable? Who knows.
It is SO hot. Ridiculously hot. We retreated back into our room for the full heat of the day. Lying under the fan on the stone floor we truly looked like the British tourists that we were.
Monkey Forest was on the afternoon agenda. The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex. The Monkey Forest is an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation site for the local area and in case you hadn’t guessed FULL of monkeys.
The monkeys are everywhere and and have generally lost their fear of humans. They know exactly how to get what they want from the tourists and grab any bag or bottle and even rifle through pockets. We saw one monkey undo some poor unsuspecting woman’s trousers. It was like a scene straight out of the jungle book, monkeys sitting on temple ruins, swinging from the surrounding trees.
On our way back home we were tempted into Wayan Cafe by its amazing looking dessert cabinet. We were shown into a beautiful garden with ponds, flowers, and cushions placed around little tables.
We left our shoes on the step and sat on the floor on cushions. Our first proper Balinese eating experience. The staff all beautifully dressed in traditional dress and we stood out like sore thumbs sweaty faced, creased backpacker clothes, scraped back hair…
So what we had planned to be a casual drink turned into a full blown dinner at Wayans Cafe. Lovely food and stunning setting. we also learnt that day that Wayans Cafe do the best strawberry lassies in existence.
Just time to sneak into a traditional Balinese dance (why pay when you can watch from across the water?) then bed time.