Salsa, Tango and Reggae Oh My!

Trip Start Nov 02, 2010
Trip End Nov 02, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Sunday, February 6, 2011

After leaving the chaos of Kuta (Bali), and very nearly missing our lift out of there we drove to Ubud with everything crossed in hope that we were about to find the good part of Bali. We couldn't stop the beaming smiles across our faces when we arrived to see how gorgeous, green, clean, Balinese, and friendly it was.  After our taxi dropped us off we were quickly 'accosted’ by a local who helped us find a nice room within our price range, breakfast included (yummy green Balinese pancakes) and a delightful view from the balcony where we ate our lovely green pancakes.  The family that owned the home stay was really cute and friendly too. 

After a rest we used our trusty guide book to search out somewhere good to eat.  Dewa Wurung was everything the book said it was, worth tracking down.  Good food, relaxed atmosphere, and dirt cheap.  This is where we met crazy Katia, a fashion designer from Germany, and Emily, the American living in China and hating every moment of it.  We got chatting over a piece of Balinese coconut cake and soon enough we were invited to join them on a road trip the next day.

So the plan was… meet at 12, jump in the car, visit some rice paddies and a temple or two.  After the first car didn’t arrive, Katia jumped on her trusty scooter and came to the rescue by hunting down another banger to hire. So come 3pm! We were eventually on route. Of course by then it had started bucketing from the heavens but, I have to say, it added to the craziness of the trip. Driving just outside of Ubud we saw loads of gorgeous scenery. It’s such a picturesque place.  We stopped off at one of the rice paddies and a local lady kindly took a few pics of us, of course she went for hard sell of her array of sarongs but it was nice of her all the same. 

The roads in Bali are what you would imagine, small, windy and full of massive pot holes, which made Katia’s erratic driving all the more life threatening, I mean fun.  We then arrived at a temple the girls had been wanting to visit. It was a Hindu temple with holy springs where people come to bathe in and pray. It was really interesting to watch them. You could tell they really felt spiritual in the water.  We however didn’t have to bathe to get soaking wet as it continued to pee it down!  Sure our legs were kept nice and dry by our sarong lent to us by the temple. John looked particularly fetching in his. Oh and women can’t enter when on their period. Not quite sure why but didn’t want to ask.

Katia and Emily then wanted to drive across Bali to visit another temple. By this time it was very dark and still chucking it down! Thank god they managed to see it was a bad idea before it was too late. Not a great idea to drive for hours in a country with dangerous roads, bad weather conditions and not knowing where you’re actually going. Thankfully we settled on going back to Katia’s with some beers and calling it a night.

Ubud is full of great restaurants, bars and boutique shops. Just walking down the street it so colourful and there’s always something going on. The local food’s great too. I was a particular fan of the Nasi Goreng, which is a rice dish with pork or chicken, a fried egg and prawn crackers.  The best of Ubud though is the Babi Guling, the best roast pork with the best crackling you’ll ever have.  Where to get it? Ibu Oka, Ubud, Bali. Even Rick Stein visited it on his Far Eastern Odyssey, it’s that good.

It was stuffing our face as usual when we met Matt from Miami. We headed to the infamous CP Lounge after watching United stuff City 2-1 (I think).  There was actually 1 City fan there, not surprisingly the rest of the bar was full of United fans, not one from anywhere near Manchester of course. ;-)  It was a good night had by all in the CP Lounge, famous for its funny bar staff and reggae band. We also got a couple of invites that night. One from a ‘Wolf Creek’ like Aussie man, who invited us to come stay on his farm with his big knives no doubt, funnily enough we won’t be contacting him. The other was an invite to a pool party from another yank on holiday who was renting a massive villa. It was like something out of the OC. He cooked for us, had a DJ and invited a couple along to teach us to Tango, and it just happened to be Valentine’s Day, nice touch.  We were heading to Lombok the next day so had an early start ahead of us so I limited myself to only 5 or 6 glasses of punch, and big slice of chocolate cake, and a Tango or two.

Before that we headed back to the CP Lounge, tail between my legs of course after torturing all the bar staff the night before, everyone’s best friend! They were holding an event for the local blind kids. It was such a good event. The kids performed for us, doing everything from performing traditional Balinese dance and singing Balinese songs, to reading poetry and playing music. The people were so welcoming to us and it was lovely to see the community all getting together to help the blind kids. A very cultural day.  We also got to see a Balinese cremation ceremony. If you think the Irish throw a good wake you want to see what goes into one Balinese style.  It was basically a massive street party with floats, décor, music, dancers and all.

We also made 2 new mates from Adelaide, Kate and Elise; hope to meet up with them sometime when we get Oz. All in all Ubud was a flying success. Highly recommended! And if you fancy a dance, there’s a good restaurant/café bar called Casa Luna. The staff do brilliant Latin dances and get the diners up for a dance, it’s really good fun. Had to get the salsa in there or the title of this piece wouldn’t make sense!
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