Ubud

Trip Start Aug 19, 2011
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25
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Trip End Feb 23, 2012


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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ubud is about 2 hours North East of Kuta and was billed as the Arts capital of Bali, so we booked a mini van on the side of the street off yet another weathered looking toothless gippo! So when our "Air Conditioned van" pulled up in the morning, it wasn't a huge shock that we ended up sweating our (insert word here :")) .......... off for the entire journey. Anyway, we arrived n once we had shook off the hotel "sales men" that greeted us, we went looking for a place. There are plenty of nice places but all pretty expensive so we ended up taking a decent, fan room for 150,000 rup/night. Once settled, we booked a trip for the next day for all the sights etc, this turned out to be totally overpriced, which was our own fault cause we didn't bother looking around too much for other offers!! We should have known better at this stage. I think hanging round in Kuta too long had made us slightly thicker.
We headed down the town then and settled on a little Italian place for something to eat........another Brutal move on our part. There wasn't a waitress in the place who hadn't recently been lobotomized and the food was Kack!! We were off to a dubious start. The only saving grace of that excursion was finding a place called the Melting Pot. Massive place, with a load of Snooker and pool tables, huge (and not so huge) flags from all round the world - The Irish one was pitiful............I mean even the Italian flag was bigger!!!!! :) The Dart board turned out to be the main attraction of the night thou (I'll let Jen explain!!). .......Sick of being beaten in pool - Daire Taught me how to play a dart game called round the board, after getting badgered for a lifetime on how brutal my stance and throwing were.....who ended up winning on the bulls eye??? Jen Sudano that's who, not once but twice on or visit. (Don't listen to his stories about me cheating and giving me extra chances, he doesn't take losing too well!!!)

Anyway, away we went the next morning with our driver. First stop was the Balinese dance show. It was actually better than it sounds, there are probably better one’s up there but we got the gist of it. We moved onto the Elephant temple after that, this is a very famous place seemingly and there were plenty of tourists around. We (Jen) got wrangled into using a tour guide……….the usual local, with a sarong feeding us lots of irrelevant information and taking a few snaps. We also had to kit out in  some very fetching sarongs to be allowed into the place…I love how ALL these places we visit are guaranteed to bring you "good luck" and health and all sorts!! We popped into a jewellery making unit, which was 5 minutes of looking at someone soldering an ear-ring together, then being hunted into the store next door to buy them………we didn’t. The last temple we visited was actually very impressive – huge carvings made into the surrounding rock formations and really nice scenery all around………….the whole job nearly got ruined after I fell into the stream trying to get across from one side to another – Jen was very sympathetic “Well - I told ya not to go”, the local fella fishing in the stream beside me got a good laugh out of it though. We stopped and had lunch in a restaurant overlooking the massive volcano and other hills in the area, you can go down into these for a 2 day trek if your so inclined….we kept eating. A local coffee plantation was our penultimate stop on the tour, we had a look around the plants and fruits there and then we came across the Luwuk. THis is th eanimal that eats the coffee berries while they're still ripening and they get helped along the ripening process in the Luwuk intestines until they come out the other end, at which time the locals pick the droppings off the ground and roast them - This is not a lie. Its the most expensive coffee in the world. 1 KG of these coffee beans sells for $1,000 U.S Dollars. We couldn't leave without tasting - I volunteered Jen for the task, she wasen't overly excited about it at first (see pics) but she put on her big girl pants and finished the cup - "Ah, it was alright". We didn't buy any beans even for the extremely cheap price of $300 :).Our final stop of the day were the rice terraces, massive paddy fields basically, painstakingly cut out of the hills years ago that now provide a huge amount of rice for the area. We were out of luck slightly here because the rice had already been harvested so all we seen were muddy trenches, all the same though they were well worth the stop off.

That night when we got back we went in to a local travel agent to book our boat trip to the Gilli Islands, and with most things here, we got side tracked and ended up signing on for a white water rafting trip instead. We Scrambled onto the mini bus the next morning….we were late of course, just to keep things consistent. The drive took about an hour or so of windy mountain roads and a good few dubious over-takings by our Kamikaze driver, but we eventually pulled up at the starting point and got kitted out with life jackets and snazzy old man flip flops. We were grouped with a chatty Belgian couple who’d been on the bus with us, we got on great and between falling over in the boat and hittin each other with the oars every time we crashed, we’d want to have had. The big sell with this white water trip was the big 4 metre drop off at the end………we watched a few groups go over with the usual screams before we went, then it was our turn…Turned out to be a let down really and before we knew we were pulling the raft over onto the bank to finish up for the day. They put on a decent lunch for us after and we hit the road back to the guesthouse.

We booked our Ekaijya Fast Boat for GilliTrawangan, had a wash and headed down to the local Monkey Forest.  This place was deadly, Monkeys everywhere (as the name suggests). They weren’t the friendliest little dudes of all time mind you, and if you had a bit of food on ya; – you were fucked! One poor lad made the mistake of bringing biscuits and was getting absolutely mauled by 4 adult Grey Monkeys. The forest itself it nice and there’s a few little ruins, statues and streams etc. Jen made the mistake here of playing with 2 little babies that were roaming around….As one of them were swinging off her wrist bands, Mammy monkey came storming in, teeth first and took a swing at her, grabbed the two kids n headed off…….round 1 – Monkey..

We wandered around the town for an hour or two afterwards shopping and eating before headin home to pack for what was to be our last big stop in Indonesia – Gilli Trawangan!!
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