These Flip Flops Were (not) Made for Walking

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Nov 19, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The antibiotics were working and we were both nearly back to normal and I was excited to make my second go at the Balinese pancake. However, Erica was ready to vanquish her memories of sickness and insisted we change locations.  I agreed as I know how feeling terrible only amplifies every inconvenience and annoyance you might endure at a budget accommodation, besides, we would have had to change rooms for the third time anyway.  With our bill paid, we headed down the street a bit and found a slightly nicer accommodation for nearly twice the price, only later would we discover it was worth it.

Once settled in our new place, we booked a 'fast boat' to the Gili Islands, and made a second attempt at a long walk around Ubud in a different direction.  On the way we stopped at Ary’s Warung and checked in with Tara and Odeck.  Odeck was gracious enough to give us a tour of his new restaurant which was under construction, an endeavor with the sole purpose of keeping McDonald’s out of Ubud.  Sadly, Starbucks had already entrenched itself across the street from Ary’s and all I could think is why does Ubud need more bad coffee?  I was embarrassed by the westerners inside Starbucks, but assured myself they were Eurotrash so it was OK.

After meeting with Odeck we grabbed lunch and by 3pm we were on our walk around Ubud which started with a descent down JL Raya Ubud, beautifully shaded by hundreds of hanging vines from the trees above.  It was this stretch of road that hinted at what originally made Ubud a special place to visit.  This road eventually lead to a bridge that crossed two small converging rivers and then up a very long incline lined with galleries, shops, spas, and boutique hotels and bungalows.  A few Kilometers later we found ourselves in another Ubud neighborhood with the wives out in front of their homes for the afternoon blessing.  It was warm and sticky and after a slight detour we continued to climb and eventually head back east toward the rice fields.   I had been on this road in an old Mercedes a few days before but didn’t recognize it from the pitch black I had witnessed.  Our journey eventually took us to the new road that led to Odeck’s home, through the rice fields.

As if sent by angels a small café with open sides to maximize the cross ventilation, was gracefully nestled next to one of the rice fields.  We stopped and enjoyed some cold beverages watching the workers in the green rice set against the late afternoon sky.  With pending darkness we set down the road which eventually led past Odeck and Tara’s home and the path Tara led me through to get there.  It’s not often you get to say "I’ve been here before" when travelling to new and exotic places, but that’s what’s nice about lingering in a place for longer than a couple of days.  In walking over this ridge and looking down at the lush greenery below, I couldn’t help but think Ubud would be swallowed up in Jungle had the residents decided to go on a 6 month walkabout like us.  No matter how many modern conveniences they import to Ubud it will always be a constant struggle to find balance with the jungle that refuses to cooperate with plans of development and insists on breeding any number of creatures that creep and crawl in ways we simply can’t imagine in the comfy confines of the city.

We were back in the heart of Ubud just as nightfall took its grip on the sky and my flip flops decided to quit acting like comfortable footwear.  We also got back just in time to enjoy our hotels 42nd anniversary and complimentary dinner!  This was a nice bonus to our overpriced room and although I’m not one much for pork, the suckling pigs they had cooked all day did look impressive.  Better yet, whatever moonshine they had distilled in an unused bathtub was flowing and we were fortunate enough to meet a nice couple from Spain (one was Italian) and a Venetian.  It was refreshing to converse with fellow travelers who convinced us to try river rafting the next day.  Had the moonshine kept coming we probably would have stayed up all night drinking, but Indonesia’s insane alcohol taxes put an early end to a party that never really got off the ground.
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candace on

oh, and now you know i can't spell.

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