Nice Weather for Ducks

Trip Start Jun 12, 2011
Trip End Oct 22, 2012

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Where I stayed
Merthayasa Bungalows Ubud
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Thursday, December 8, 2011

We took a hot cramped sweaty bus with leg room designed for 4 year olds to Lovina in the north of Bali, after a full on few days in Java, so we are feeling rather tired. We checked into our guesthouse just outside the main town and caught up on some well needed rest. It being rainy season we got a sweet deal on a nice place with full use of the pool in the luxury hotel next door.  Lovina itself was almost a ghost town as off season was seemingly taken to the extreme and all the bars and restaurants practically empty. None of this mattered as we just wanted to chill out for a while.  We had intended to stay for a few days and then explore the rest of Bali but we were both taken ill with fevers which meant we stayed longer than expected. We found a nice Warung (local restaurant) and the lady in there taught us some Bahasa (Indonesian language) and so we finally got our head around the different ways of saying hello which is dependent on the time of day it is.

We took a day trip to the mountains, to Munduk, and to see the temple on the lake and the rice paddies.  On the way we took a dip in the local hot spa. We stopped at a coffee plantation and had a pot of local Balianse coffee each, which was good, but it was really strong and we had a whole pot each so were a bit wired for the rest of the day!  In Munduk we walked to a cool waterfall and checked out the beautiful tiered rice paddies and amazing views over to the mountains in the distance.  After lunch we drove onward visiting the biggest lakes in Bali and seeing the 'temple on the lake'.   

On our second to last day in Lovina we took a day trip to Pulau Menjengan to go snorkelling.  It was a great day out and a chance to test out our new fins , masks and snorkels but frustrating as you could see the coral walls and arches below and we just wished we were diving.

Then onto Tulamben in the west, to dive a sunken World War 2 carrier ship called the U.S.A.T Liberty.  The bow to the stern of the wreck goes from 5 metres to 30 metres, with loads of swim throughs so you can penetrate the wreck, as well as a turret gun at the bow on the ship. The ship was bombed by the Japanese in the war and was left beached for years until the volcano erupted in the 60s and pushed it to its current position 50 feet from the shore.  In the 6am dawn dive we descended to find a ton of bumphead parrot fish (31 through the whole dive) who sleep on the wreck.  The bumpheads had been aluding us for a while as we didn’t get to see them in Sipadan.  They aren’t the most beautiful fish in the world, but their big ugly mugs are quite intriguing especially as they are so huge.

Next, onto Ubud where we had a week of gastronomical delight, sampling the fine cuisine the town had to offer, including fresh organic vegetable at and chicken burritos at Sari Organik, spare ribs at Noori’s Warung, duck at the Dirty Duck Diner and suckling pig at Ibu Oka.  Big thanks to Kat and Steve for providing us with a gastronomic map to follow.  We also took a few strolls through the rice fields to play with the ducks and soaked up the beautiful Balanese culture, while also enjoying the luxury that staying at a guesthouse with a swimming pool brings.  With Christmas around the corner some of the shops had a small tribute to Christmas which made us both feel really quite homesick for a while.

We then travelled east back to Padangbai which we seemed to be spending more and more time in, to our favourite guesthouse Bamboo Paradise where we rested up ready for the journey onto the Gili islands the next day.

We spent our last 2 weeks in Asia in the Gili Islands.  The Gilis were different this time around as it was rainy season so the island was green and less dusty.  We hired bikes and cycled around the island, this time exploring more of the deserted west side of the island.  Christmas Eve the Zip Bar built a big fire on the beach and usually quiet as a mouse Gili Air came alive with a beach party which was more for the locals than the tourists and had an awesome vibe.  On Christmas day we spent most of the day recovering from our hangovers and then headed off to Scallywags for a BBQ after spending quite some time in the internet cafe on the other side of the island doing the family rounds on skype. The rest of the time we spent planning our trip to New Zealand and enjoying the calm before dashing around New Zealand.

We left Gili Air on the day after Boxing day, spent a night in Padangbai, a night in Sanur and then we flew to Singapore for a night.  In Singapore the Elephant Parade had hit town so we took pics of around 30 of the beautifully painted elephants which had been placed around Orchard Road and did some shopping (to replace stolen and falling apart shoes). 

Alas there are no photos of our trip back to the Gili’s or of the Elephant Parade as the pics were accidentally deleted from the camera when we thought they had been backed up. :-(

Then onwards to New Zealand!
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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