Back in Ubud

Trip Start Aug 25, 2003
1
5
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Trip End Jul 18, 2004


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

We're back in Ubud for two nights and it rained for the first time since we've been here. Apparently it is very rare to get rain in September, but I like the cool sprinkle - it's a good relief from the heat.

After our time in Padangbai we hired a boat, a traditional boat with an outboard motor to take us to Nusa Lembongan. A traditional boat is about 2 1/2 feet wide at it's widest with bamboo pontoons attached to either side (kinda like a Hawaii 5-0 boat with pontoons on both sides). These boats have masts for sails as well, wich was good because that's what they tied our bags to (up high so they didn't get wet). It looked a little precarious but they assured us that it was normal (we have a picture if we ever find a place that uploads them from our camera). The boat ride was about an hour and twenty minutes and our bags did indeed arrive dry. Too bad the same could not be said for us.

Nusa Lembongan is a very small island (still considered Bali) which we walked the length of the second day we were there. That took maybe 2 1/2 hours. The place we ended up staying all four days was very nice, our room was ocean front and the reastaraunt was next door so we could eat right outside our room. We weren't exactly roughing it, I can't remember the last place I stayed, if ever, that I had a room that we just charged our meals to.

We did find one "local" place to eat where the food was excellent. It seemed to be open sporadically however this lead us to experience a percussion practice of tradional music. We heard what sounded like xilaphones and drums and followed the sound to this open air structure where there was a gour practicing. When they stopped they had us come right up front to listen. There were about 6-8 people playing the xilaphone instruments (we got the name later but I forgot it), a few bongo? players, a few gong players (yes a few!) and a few playing instruments I couldn't even describe in type, well not easily.

We ran into one of the band leaders the next night at that "local" restaurant and he informed us that they were practicing for a festival of the full moon that is actual happening right now. Sitting right up front really gave the full effect of the music, in this case louder was definitely better.

The other useful tidbit we found out that day is the reason for there being so many chickens around. Maybe I'm just slow but it finally hit me when we saw the T-shirt for "Cockfight Lembongan." We stopped at a bar and I asked the bartender, Mark (who turned out to be an Austrailian Ex. Pat.), if there was indeed cockfighting in Lembongan. The childlike grin he got after that question was pretty amusing. We found out that there was indeed cockfighting in Bali (no surprise at this point) and that he had a chicken that he fought once. His winning chicken which cost him US$60 won him about US$250 in one fight, so cockfighting in Bali is no joke. We got details on picking a winner, training fights, chicken massage, and even more bizarre training methods like making you chicken swim. We had actually witnessed this the first day we were in Lembongan. Sarah and I both assumed that the person throwing his various roosters into the ocean repeatedly was simply washing his chickens, leading me to want to eat only bathed chickens on this island (they'd be the cleanest, right?). But no, it was yet another view into the dark world of cockfighting.

We also learned from Mark that when you enter a fight you get to size up the opponent. This means you can hold the opposing rooster to feel it's weight, strength, etc. I really thought Sarah was going to crack up when I asked him if a better could feel the opposing *ahem* "roosters" before placing a bet. The answer was no.

Aside from cockfighting, the other big thing to do in Nusa Lembongan is surf. I took my first stab at it the last full day we were there. I only cought two waves in the hour I was out there but it was a blast. Of course when you're waiting that long for a wave it seems like a bit of a social club out there and since I couldn't see (no glasses for that!) I was a bit at a loss unless someone was obviously shouting at me. Still, I would like to give it another shot, this time with Sarah.

Our boatride back, this time to Sanur, was much more enjoyable in that it was a much bigger boar and much faster. However, due to the full moon, the tides were much more dramatic and the sweels we cought were huge. We showed our Bemo-savvy getting to Ubud again and easily cutting the price in half taking public transport. That kind of thing is more for the fun than the money. Afeter getting our room we were wandering about Ubud and ran into a Belgian couple that we met in Padangbai. They were shopping for various wood carvings and invited us to join them as they had a car and could drive to that town. We hopped in and stopped in a ton of carving places. If only we had room for a 7 foot tall Buddah!

That's it from Ubud, we have two nights here and then we're off to Kuta until we fly out.

If you don't know, you can "find a traveller" under "Sarah" to see Sarah's version of this trip.
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