Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, July 6, 2012

The short 90 mins trip inland and up to <b>Ubud</b>. I wouldn’t dream of driving here. Besides the narrow roads and many, many scooters, at most intersections were no directional signs. The roads seem to criss cross the island.

Ubud is Bali's main arts and cultural centre, recently made famous by the Hollywood movie, <i>Eat Pray Love.</i> Let’s see if it's in fact a wonderful place to experience the magic that has made Bali such a popular travel destination. Some 15 + years ago I was suppose to come to Bali just when it was opening up for the Kiwi tourists. Perhaps I should have to seen this place back then before the current tourist developments.

My room for the next 3 nights at the <i>Artini 2 Cottages</i> wasn’t quite ready so it was a walk around the town to simply orient myself. Not a big place. I lost count of the number of times that I was asked … “<i><b>taxi</b></i>”!

In the centre of town was the bustling <b>city market</b> with a small Hindu shrine right outside the main entrance. The market felt old, run down and to me was so cluttered. But that's what markets are all about though.

After the 1 pm check in, with a late dinner decided to head to have some lunch at what I had read in several reviews at <b>Casa Luna</b> run by well known Australian <i>Janet De Neefe</i> on Jalan Raya Ubud. The drink was <b><i>Janet’s favourite jamu</i></b> - turmeric, lime and honey. I did not like the turmeric. It was suppose to be a liver cleanser, anti oxidant and anti cancer. 25,000 Rp. <b><i>Balinese Seafood Satay</i></b> = prawns and white fish spices, coconut on lemon grass with rice and coconut salad 80,000 Rp. With tax came to 120,000 Rp (NZ$16 or US$13). My satay was suppose to have had a dozen or so spices. I couldn’t pick them. No, I won’t be entering any Masterchef competition.

<i>"Cook boldly, serve your heart and what’s empty will be filled</i>." This was written in the menu. How appropriate.

After that across the road to <b>Museum Puri Lukisan of modern Balinese art</b>. No, not interested in paying to go in just yet.

Then just along the road and between the <b>Lotus Café</b> and the only <b>Starbucks</b> in town was the <b>Pura Taman Saraswati</b> - Ubud water palace. This is an oasis in the heart of town. The water from the temple at the rear feed into the ponds which is filled with lotus blossoms. <b>Starbucks</b> is the only western fast food type place here. The city fathers have outlawed any further development so no KFC, McD's, Pizza Hut. Yea!

Just further along the road was <b>Pura Desa Ubud</b>.

Across the road was suppose to be the orante entrance to the private temple.

Actually across the road the <b>Pura Kantor</b> was much more impressive. The workmen were hard at work restoring it. 

Next door was the <b>royal</b> <b>Ubud Palace</b>. Yes, we could just wander in and look at the grounds which is exactly what I did. Ubud royal family still lives in this palace with is right in the centre of town. Imagine the Queen and if she opened Buckingham House grounds for visitors to just come in and wander around at will - with no charge as well?

Across from the Royal palace was<b> Ibu Oka</b> famous for its <b><i>Babi Guling</i></b>. Perhaps lunch one day here?

I’m more than happy with my temporary B2 “home sweet home” for the next 3 nights. A lovely setting and relaxing outlook from the balcony. The staff were constantly keeping the place clean. Nice touch like the flowers in the bathroom and on the towels on the bed. OK, no fridge or TV but this is suppose to be a holiday.

Dinner was late at 8.30 pm. By now <i><b>Marilla</b></i> had left for home and the 4 Americans had rejoined us for our last dinner together. <b><i>Nice fruit juice</i></b> - pineapple. strawberry, apel juice top with ginger ale 25,000 Rp. Then <b><i>Chilli Crab</i></b> - stirred fried crab with Singapore chili sauce - steam rice. 60,000 Rp. Total 110,000 Rp (NZ $15 or US $13).
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