Mountain Town, Rice Fields and Local Dance

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Jan 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Pelangi Cottages

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 1 - D1 - Monkey Forest, Dangin Lebak Road Wander, Campuan Ridge Walk
Woke up early and had a shower around what I thought was 8am to find someone knocking on my door at 15min past. Said I needed a couple of minutes and the guy went downstairs to wait. Hadnt packed yet so quickly dried myself off, packed and headed down. According to my watch the guy had been 40min early. Found out later that he had been 20min late.

Seems I had completely disregarded the need to move my watch 1hr forward when coming from Jakarta to Bali even though I was in a new time zone. Should be noted at this point that I had no idea my watch was running slow and had thought the guy had just arrived early. Am definitely lucky he had my room number so that he could come and knock on my door.

Had a nice enough 3 or so hour drive to Ubud up through the balinese mountains where I had views of both the mountains and coastline. Lots of rice fields waiting to be harvested around the place. Also lots of small little towns and hindu statues. Just before reaching Ubud I found that I was going to have to change cars for the last part of the journey though this part didnt last long. Seems everyone else in the van was heading to the airport.

Once in Ubud managed to orient myself with the help of a local and started to walk to the street with accommodation. Along the way was offered a room in another place and decided to give someone, other than a lonely planet recommendation, a customer. Besides the price (80,000R) was as cheap or cheaper then anything I was goinf to find at a place listed in my book. On top of that breakfast was included but wasnt holding out much hope for this.

Found that the place was in a nice quite street not to far from the main strip and that the room was quite nice with an ensuite and a patio with chair and table. While the room was cleaned I was also offered a thermist of hot water with glasses, tea and coffee for my use. All in all seemed like a nice place to stay.

After the room was cleaned and I could lock up decided to head down to the monkey forest. First thing had something to eat and headed to the tourist info centre where I got myself a ticket for a balinese show being held that night (one of many different shows).

While walking around the first thing to strike me about the town was that this is definitely a tourist town. The street I followed to the forest was full of shops, restaurants and bars. Lots of foriegners and lots of people calling out trying to sell a taxi ride, bike or something else. Definitely a lot more grabbing for the tourist dollar, and a lot more tourists for that matter, wandering round the streets. Seemed as if every side street was full of shops trying to sell something.

While wandering down this same street also found that the it seemed to have a lot of hindu architecture and statues. Not just in temples but also in peoples homes and in little housing complexes that appeared to branch off from the street.

Once at the end of the road I reached the entrance to the monkey forest but went past it at first to check out the Permena office and the chances of a shuttle to the Gili's. Decided not to buy a ticket just yet and headed back to the monkey forest where I went in to check out the jungle, temples and of course the monkeys. In the end visited two of the three temples and wandered down across a bridge and down towards the river that was next to one of them.

Found the jungle nice to walk through and that it was full of Balanise Macaque monkeys. These were seen running around all over the place getting bananas from tourists that were walking around and just mucking around or being mischievous with each other. At one point found a number of monkeys that couldnt have been more than a few months old. While the younger ones seemed to be fairly energetic and running/playing around constantly the older one were just lounging around with their balls hanging out. In many ways they seemed like old men that were out lounging around in the sun. Interesting how you can apply human traits to a monkey based on its appearance and attitude.

Spent a bit of time here just watching the monkeys playing or grooming each other. Also had to keep an eye out a couple of times to make sure a monkey didnt make a pass at my backpack in an attempt to find food.

From the forest I headed out an entrance at the other end of the forest. Decided to do a loop back around to the town but had a poorly detailed map so was never quite sure I hadnt taken a wrong turn while walking. In particular the scale on the map seemed to be wrong since Im sure I walked further than was indicated by the scale.

In the end had a longer than expected walk which at first went past a whole bunch of carving shops and then later through some of the local country homes. While walking out here managed to find some rice fields that were being ploughed. Also came across a whole bunch of locals going about their daily lives and not trying to sell me stuff.

While walking had considered turning around on a number of occassions since I didnt know exactly where I was on my map and not 100% sure I wasnt lost. In the end decided to keep going since I still felt I at least roughly had an idea of where the town was in relation to my position. Was thinking that if worst came to worst I would be able to get someone to give me a lift back into town on the back of their bike if I paid them enough. Had had enough people make the offer in town and can't see it being that hard to get one even out here.

At one point wandered past a restaurant with Wifi and considered stopping for a break. In the end the fact that I wasnt sure about my location stopped me stopping. A little while after passing this restaurant I came across a sign I had seen from the bus on my way into town. Still wasnt sure exactly where I was but was fairly confident that if I kept heading in the same direction I would eventually make the town. Also soon after this point started to once again start wandering past lots of shops, and guesthouses.

At this point saw a side street and decided to wander into the suburbs and towards some rice fields. Didnt go to far though since I still wasnt 100% certain I wouldnt get lost. It wasnt until I actually reached the bridge that crossed the river into the town that I was confident where I was.

From the bridge I knew there was a trail I could follow. Had planned to come out here on the following day but since I was here and it still wasnt too late I thought I might as well do it today. Started out by heading down to the river below the bridge and then onto the trail which followed a ridgeline between two valleys. These had houses on the other side of them. Seems like a nice place to find accommodation here. While walking along also saw some locals carrying rice (I think) on there heads and local couples out for a stroll.

Followed the trail for a while which eventually turned into a road that lead through a small village. Soon after this point I came across some nice rice fields where I had some nice views of local country life. Also while here I finally took a picture of a local petrol station. As you can see in the attached photo these are basically just shops on the side of the road where someone has filled some plastic bottles with fuel so that the fuel can be sold. Guess that this sort of makes sense since most people drive scooters with limited fuel capacity and they dont really need a lot (1.5L) to keep them going that little bit longer.

Should probably have turned around at this point but misread a sign about it being 3Km back to town. I was thinking 3Km further but I think it actually meant 3km back the way I had already come. Kept wandering down the street with not much to see until I reached some nice rice fields lit by the afternoon sun. Was offered a ride back to town but stupidly turned it down (10,000 not that bad). After a little bit more walking and thinking about the little bit of the trail shown on my map I decided I wasnt heading in the direction of the town and since I really had very little idea where it was in relation to my position I thought it would be a good idea to turn around. Besides if I kept walking too much longer I would get caught out in the dark.

Quickly made my way back to the bridge which was thankfully quicker than my slow wander out and headed back into town. Was still to early for the show so grabbed something to eat from one of the cheap Warungs in a side street off the main one (which had prices for the same stuff 2-3 times as high) and vegged out in my room for a bit.

Had planned to head to the show 20min early but found that I arrived after the show had begun. Not before it had started. Went in and saw the last half of the show which was entertaining. Not sure if its the Legong style or what but some of the facials done by the dancers were forced to say the least. Ended up seeing just the last half of the show but at least that was better than nothing.
It was at this point I realised something might be wrong with my watch (especilally after the early arrival of the bus that morning) and I went looking for a clock which I found in a mini mart. Sure enough the clock was 1hr faster than mine and it seems that for the past 3 days I had been thinking it was actually 1 hr earlier than it really was.

After the show headed for an internet place to upload all the blogs I had finished and to chase up my uni stuff one more time to make sure I was going to be able to change degrees. Seems that I would be able to and that the previous email had just poorly explained what I was going to need to do in order to achieve this.

Pretty much called it a night then.

Day 2 – Around Town
Had pretty much done everything the day before that I had planned to do today so was in no real rush to do anything. Guess I should probably have chosen to do a tour (third the prices of the ones in Lovina) but didnt really feel like running around the sites, especially given that I had not really planned to do anything in Bali at all in the first place.

For once breakfast wasnt just coffee, and two pieces of bread with jam spread between them. Actually got something decent for once. In this case a banana pancake. Also got given some more hot water for making my own coffee and tea.

Spent the morning blogging since I was in the mood and really needed to clear some backlog before heading out to print my boarding pass for KL (required to enter airport). After uploading some photos and blogs headed out to do a yoga class at one place I had found. While making my way to the yoga studio found that there were actually a lot of yoga places around here. Guessing its all part of the detox, purification image that some of Bali's marketing strategy is geared towards.

At 110,000R the class is certainly expensive by indonesian standards though I found it nice to do some of the exercises after such a long period without doing any. Interesting to observe how different the body feels after all this time while doing the same old exercises. Found the class to be a pretty stock standard class but enjoyed it none the less.

After the class wandered the streets a bit and found a warung down one of the side streets that had both Wifi and cheap food. Found that the food here was actually quite enjoyable. Am sure that it would compare favourably with the more expensive ones down the main strip. Only real difference is that its presented in a simply furnished place rather than one that tries to generate some sort of fancy local atmosphere.

From here wandered out to the main road, past a hindu temple and then up another street. Had not planned to walk as far as I did but kept following the street up hill and it just seemed to keep going. Had been hoping to get a few more views of rice fields but with only a couple of exceptions the side of the road was covered with shop fronts all the way along. Eventually gave up on finding a strip without the shops and turned around.

Once back in town found a few other side streets leading from the main road that looked like they may have given me more success but was no longer in the mood to wander the streets so headed back to my room. After a bit of a break headed out for a wander at night and to get some food. Found another Warung which seemed to be especially busy so decided to walk in.

Place was packed and since I had a couple of free chairs on my table a couple of people asked if they could join my table. I didnt mind and found out that the reason the place was so busy was that it was in the lonely planet. While the food was Ok, and cheap, there are dozens of similar places of a similar standard in many of the alleys around the main streets of the town. Guess this just shows how being listed in the LP can make a difference to your business and I sort of wish I had gone elsewhere. Wander how long it will be before the decide to put up their prices (which I have found to be especially true of some places that offer accommodation).

Finished the night by heading to a spot where I had found free wifi and spent some time downloading a couple of animies and uploading the rest of the blogs I had written on the laptop (along with their associated photos). Pretty much called it a night after that since I was going to have an early start with the shuttle the following morning.

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