Bali

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
1
5
15
Trip End Sep 01, 2009


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Where I stayed
Mandhara Chico Bungalows

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 23:
We flew from Medan to Bali.  Landed in Denpusar late...... around 9pm.  Got a cab to Kuta beach and found a hotel.  It was a little more than we are used to paying ($25 / night instead of $5 / night like we were paying in Sumatra, but we were not into lugging our packs around trying to find a cheaper spot).  So, now we are in Bali.  We decided to jump from Sumatra early and find some nice rest and relaxation at the beach........... and we definitely haven't found it yet!  We're in the 'touristy' area of Bali right now (Kuta beach).  Lots of bars, shops, McDonalds restaurants and a hell of a lot of traffic!  The beach is really nice though.  Kuta is renowned for its great surfing, so there are lots of tourists (mainly Aussie's) on the beach riding the surf.  It looks pretty hard so we haven't tried it out yet.  Only a few guys actually looked like they knew what they were doing. 
Day 24:
I must say, for $25 / night you get a palace of a hotel over here.  We totally slept in today.  Went down to the restaurant and had a great breakfast, then headed down to the beach.  Along the way there are tonnes of gift shops and the sell techniques are a lot different than home.  We met a seemingly nice group of girls asking where we were from, etc.   We were persuaded to look in their store at their many fine handicrafts and tourist crap!  Once there they started getting pushy.  I looked around and two seconds later Erin had four girls around her, draping her in jewellery and painting her nails!  Before I got a chance to react, I had three around me putting lotion on my nails and pushing me into a chair.  Despite my disapproval, they continued to work their magic on my nails.  Painting them and such, which is just what I like?  I thought I'd better not get too bent out of shape so I quit resisting.  And then, after I counted it down in my head from 10 - 1 the price was brought up.  They wanted $40 dollars for this wonderful service that I did not ask for.  What a bargain I thought!  I looked over and Erin was getting the same treatment, except they'd painted some very tactful flowers on her nails, which of course cost more money!  And I could tell by approving look in Erin's face that she loved them!  So this is when it got nasty.  We of course tried to get out of paying for what we didn't even want to begin with, but they weren't having anything to do with it.  We were suddenly surrounded by touchy and pushy Bali bitches that wouldn't let us leave.  After a few explicit exchanged words we finally made it out of there after only having to pay $20 for a 2 minute pedicure.  What a deal!  So, after that fiasco, we were in much need of some ocean cool off!  We ended up chilled on the beach for the rest of the day while licking our wounds.  We went out that night and drowned our sorrows away at the Rock Bar where a great cover band was playing.  After a few "small ones", we found the humour in all of it and concluded that it wasn't such a bad day after all! 
Day 25:
We ran to the beach with our heads down, taking a different route of course.  Once there we rented boogie boards and headed to the ocean to catch some surf.  The boogie boards are pretty easy to get the hang of.  You don't need to stand up on them; you just lay on top of the board and let the surf carry you in.  It's really fun!  That night we went to eat at LoLoan restaurant.  This was on our list as soon as we got to Bali.  The owner is from Canada and also owns Bihma's Warung in Waterloo.  It was a great meal!  Paul (the owner) wasn't there, but his right hand man, Parma, took care of us.
Day 26:
We'd had enough of Kuta, so we decided to take a shuttle bus up to Lovina beach (on the northern tip of Bali).  The bus driver took us to his friend's hotel which suited us just fine for $8 / night.  We walked into town, ate lunch, and then rented a motor bike for the next few days (for $3 / day).  We went to the Mandhara (rasta) bar that night and jammed with the locals.
Day 27:
We went for a drive up the mountains to see the Giggit waterfalls.  The drive up the mountain was great with winding roads clinging to the shear edge of the mountain face.  The waterfalls were beautiful.  There were pools at the bottom that you can swim in.  The twin waterfalls had a rope swing set up that you could swing out and drop into the pool below.  Also, on the way up to the falls they are lots of temples scattered along the mountain road.  We went into town that night and saw a band in a restaurant on the beach.
Day 28:
We decided to take a long ride down the coastal road.  We swam in the hot springs, went to a very tranquil Buddhist temple    Drove right down the coast for a couple of hours, or so, and ate at a roadside warung along the way.  That night we were in bed early as we were fishing the next morning.
Day 29:
Woke up at 4:30am, ate breakfast then headed out for some early morning Mahi Mahi fishing.  It was great.  We set off in the pitch black.  The stars were amazing!  We drove out from the coast about 10kms.  We saw the sun rise at about 6am when we reached the fishing spot and could see the mountains on the shore line.  It was beautiful.  The local fishermen are very smart.  They anchor bamboo rafts out in the middle of the ocean to attract the smaller fish, like sardines, etc.  This in turn attracts the big predator fish like barracuda, marlin, and Mahi Mahi.  The fishing was great!  I took lots of gravol and wore my magnetic bracelet to make sure I wasn't "chumming" off the back of the boat for the entire 6 hours.  As soon as we put a line in the water......... bang.......... fish on!  We actually only landed 3 fish in the boat as they are to big and thrashing around so much that we kept snapping the line.  Not to mention that they don't use fishing rods, just a spool of line with a hook and bait on the end.  So you're wrestling in 10lb plus fish by pulling in a hand line.  And if they fight hard you've got to be quick and give them slack or the line will burn and cut your hands.  Erin got a nice gash from fighting in a monster, which ended up being our dinner that night.  It was probably a 6 lb Mahi Mahi.  The hotel cooked it up for us for dinner last night.  We both agreed that it was the best meal we've had on the entire trip so far.  All that, including the dinner was $30 for the two of us!  We came back after 6 hours of fishing and took a nap.  We hung out with the locals for a few hours in the hotel restaurant playing games, card tricks, and match stick puzzles.  Great day!
Day 30:
We had taken the bike back the day before so we decided to walk into town.  Erin took the main road, I walked the whole way into town along the beach.  We met at the internet café, then took our separate ways home, me going back along the beach.  At 5pm we went out fishing with Kadeck (the local fisherman) again, this time for red snapper.  No such luck today!  We got a few smaller fish, but nothing dinner worthy, so that night we ate at the Rasta restaurant. 
Day 31:
We took a shuttle bus from Lovina to Ubud.  Ubud is a kind of hippy artist town.  Very relaxing place with art shops and galleries scattered all over the town, and not so much the "hard sell" tactics here.  Once in Ubud, Erin chilled at a café while I went around town looking for accommodation.  The best deal was at the Rice Paddy Bungalows.  $6 / night for a very tidy, quite room just off the main strip.  We shopped the rest of the day away.  Actually, Erin shopped the rest of the day away.  I just watched....... LoL! 
Day 32:
We went for a walk through the monkey forest.  There is a temple located in the middle of forest and tonnes of Macau monkeys hang around to get fed by the tourists.  They are pretty charismatic.  They were jumping all over people with food.  Trying to steel their bags and there was definitely a lot of frolicking going on (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).  No shame in the monkey kingdom, I guess!  After that we rented another motor bike.  We drove around all day to get our bearings.  That night we bought tickets to a traditional Balinese fire dance.  It was excellent!  There was no music accompaniment.  There were around 60 guys dressed in sarongs singing tribal chants to accompany the dancing.  It was very interesting.  Later, we ate at a great Indian restaurant. 
Day 33:
We took the bike to go and see some temples in the area.  Goa Gajah and Gunung Kawi Temple.  They were both very beautiful.  Especially Gunung Kawi which was set right in the middle of rice paddy terraces and the temple itself was carved out of the cliff rock face that surrounded the fields.  We walked down the rice paddy terraces and unknowingly picked up a guide along the way to take us to a waterfall..... LoL!  He didn't speak a word of English, but his pleasant grunting and sign language led us to believe that we were to pay for his services.  He was pretty happy to get 15,000 Rp (around $1.60) from us, so that suited us just fine too.  We drove back into town and searched around a while for the local library as Erin had her heart set on taking some painting lessons.  We used a 'Lonely Planet' restaurant recommendation that night and had a great meal, with beers, for $6 for the two of us.  Not too shabby!
Day 34:
Woke up at 7am.  Blanco (the guy who works at the Rice Paddy Bungalows) brought breakfast up to our room for us.  We ate up and hit the road on the bike.  It was around a 1.5 hour ride to Pura Besakih (the largest Hindu temple in Bali set at the base of an active volcano).  When we arrived we lucked upon a large cremation ceremony.  There were hundreds of people walking into the temple all dressed in traditional Hindu attire (Sarongs and head scarves) carrying offerings to the gods.  Pura Besakih is divided into three main complexes.  The first is for the god Bramah (the god of fire), Shiva (the god of wind) and Vishnu (the god of water).  Different colors represent each god.  The colors for Shiva are white and yellow.  Red is for Bramah and black is for Vishnu.  Depending on which god you are there to worship, your attire must match accordingly.  So they gave me a bright green sarong to borrow???  Erin brought her own, but we still stuck out like sore thumbs.  We hung around the temple and witnessed some of the prayer rituals which were very interesting, then hopped on the bike again and headed higher up the into the mountains to Lake Batur.  Danau Batur is the largest lake in Bali.  It is set in a valley of mountains with beautiful panorama views as you drive into the town of Kintamani.  We followed the mountain road right down to the lake and found a great restaurant set-up at the end of a dock built right out into the lake.  We had a great lunch for $4 for the two of us.  Can't go wrong!  The drive back to Ubud was around 2 hours.  Tomorrow we have a shuttle bus picking us up outside the hotel at 7am to take us to Gili Trawangan, a small 'paradise' island off the coast of Lombok (the island to the right of Bali).
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