Beautiful Bali

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 29, 2006

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We have had 9 lovely nights in our fantastic hotel in Ubud. Its been like a holiday from the trip. Odd tho that may sound...traveling isnt like a holiday, its often more like regular work, exhausting, annoying at times and packed full of personal responsibilities. After 10 months we were due a rest :) Theres few better places than Bali to do it. Its quite different to the rest of Indonesia that weve seen. Flores is much more rural and undeveloped. The same for Sumbawa, and in Lombok only a few places are geared towards the western traveller so it can still be tough going. Indonesia has given us the extremes of value for money. From a shit-pit in maumere that cost 75,000rp to a palace of a place in Ubud for 80,000rp. Thats 30 pence difference! We feel weve been spoiled in Bali....and it was nice :)
We havent just bummed around tho, we did manage to leave the hotel on a couple of occassions and even managed to walk past the bar! We spent one day walking around the rice fields that stretch for miles in every direction away from the town. The scenery around is very pretty. Then we went on an organised trip (unlike us we know! but we were totally doing the 'holiday' thing)..We were taken to about 5 big temples around the east and north of the Island...(Goa gajah, gunung kawi, pura penataran sasih,all very beautiful temples) then to mount batur and lake batur, the volcano that last blew its top in 1963. The lava flows are still very visible, tho the guide insisted that it was safe now...hmmm..yes im sure it is !!!:D
Driving back towards Ubud, we drove through some of the prettiest rice terraces weve ever seen! The scenery around Bali really is stunning.
As suspected weve bought a pile of tat that is now slowly making its way back to Old Blighty. With any luck it may even beat us home. There are some great bits of wood carving here, tho the haggling is a nightmare. Talk about optimistic! They really think that someone is going to give them $10 for a bit of crap thats clearly not worth more than 50cents! Having said that there are a lot of Japanese here and they are truely RICH!! they dont think twice about throwing their cash around,...maybe that has something to do with the pricing structures Eh!??? Tho I doubt i look japanese!
We bumped into a couple we met a little while ago in town. The british and dutch couple, maybe we mentioned them I cant remember...anyway we had 3 days of heavy drinking.
Just outside of town is monkey sanctuary. A large forest/garden with hundreds of savage macaques who assault tourists and steal anything they can. We spent a couple of hours in there, trying to remain in possesion of our bag/sunglasses/camera etc! They had a go, i caught one with its hand in my pocket! Cheeky bugger! And one lunged for the camera, but it was only half hearted, he was too busy stuffing a banana down his throat at the time. Theres a sign up at the entrance saying ...'please dont touch the monkeys or 'harrass' them in any way'...surely thats a joke!
I braved another massage...and adam came along too. Despite his reservation and general loathing of being 'touched' (strange boy!) we had a javanese lulur (they cover you in goo!)then a particulary vicious facial! Mind you my skin felt great when she'd finished :D I went back a couple of days later for another masage. Adam didnt! The same woman did me, but it was rather odd....she seemed particularly interested in massaging my boobs and butt! I was waiting for something highly inappropriate to happen...but fortunately she left it at that! Strange girl!
Oh, something I forgot to tell you about....when we done our little day trip, we were the only 2 people in the van. We had the driver to ourselves so had a bit of a chat. We were driving along and were pulled over by a police road block. The driver got out and walked to the back of the van with all his paperwork. After 1 min he came back, got in drove off, and laughed! 'whats funny' we asked....oh just the usual 10,000 rupiah corruption fee. Apparently the cops regularly stop traffic, all the traffic, anything passing and 'ask' for 10,000 rp so they 'dont find anything wrong' with the car!!!! Its a long standing tradition that they just accept. We asked about the cops and the corruption. He told us that the cops have to pay around 4,000 uk pounds to join the police force, so only the rich can join,...its then just a cash cow for them, they quickly make their 'investment' back and then some. It sucks!!! We told him about the cops in Flores, ...'they asked for 500,000 rp, but we refused'. He looked shocked, but....not at the situation, at the AMOUNT they asked for. 'Oh, thats too much!' I was stunned! He really wasnt suprised that the cops had tried to extort money from tourists, it was a common occurance! He was equally familiar with the standard amount the tourists pay, and we were asked for too much! I thought...'my god! he just cant understand our perspective at all, the very idea that a countries police may NOT be corrupt is an alien idea!' Thats all really, just thought you might find that interesting :D
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