Feeling at home in Ubud
Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
124Trip End Feb 01, 2012
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What I did
Cycled among rice terraces, ate at lovely restaurants, got inspired by all the art and beauty around us
We arrived at night, so I didn't get to see much of the place, although I loved our welcome. The owner said it’s late at night, go to bed we’ll check you in, in the morning. How thoughtful. We were staying in a type of home-stay which was incredibly beautiful. Everywhere we looked were little shrines, statues decorated with flowers, a main family temple and plants and trees in every nook and cranny.
After a lovely lie-in we watched one of the family members gather the flowers that had fallen from
That night we met up with a few people we’d befriended along the way and had a great night feasting on amazing pizza in a place that’s overlooking the rice fields. By the end of the night I was convinced, I’d finally found home. Ubud is just perfect. It’s a place that’s full of art, artists, amazing restaurants, and surrounded by beautiful nature. All set in a great climate and a few hours away from stunning beaches. It’s no surprise many westerners end up calling it home. Hopefully Paul and I will too one day.
Did you know that in Bali everyone has the same name? Well one of four names. There’s a set name for the first, second, third and fourth child. So if someone tells you that their name is Ketut, you know they were the fourth child. As he told us this he quipped that the fifth child is normally called oops.
More interestingly he told us how every village has a strong community and that the elders meet up every week to discuss community matters. If anyone does something wrong, he gets dealt with in these meetings, rather than by the police. Wrongdoers are greatly shamed, because in the community’s eyes they’re attracting bad karma towards the whole community and not just themselves. This tends to discourage most from committing crime.
Every family lives in a commune. A son is expected to take care of the family and so when he gets married his wife joins him in the commune and together they care for the parents. Which is why it’s extremely important for a married couple to have at least one son. Two sons are even better. Incidentally, if a Balinese man or woman got married to a non-Balinese, part of the ceremony would involve the foreigner getting their teeth filed down (something all Balinese do when they're young). How's that for a true test of love?!
During the tour we got to visit a coffee plantation and learn more about how the famous Luwak coffee is made. At about $20 a cup it is the most expensive coffee in the world. It goes through quite a unique processing system as the berry is first ingested by a type of cat - called a civet cat.
At one point we came across some people harvesting rice and went to join the party. We were given bundles of rice which we beat against a piece of wood to separate the rice kernels from the stalk. It’s great fun, although if you have to harvest 150 kilos of rice a day, as the locals do, it could get quite tiring.
We were lucky to come across a small village preparing for a celebration. This is definitely not a rare thing in Bali – there’s a celebration happening on practically every day of the year. It was quite magical to see a large group of women, about a hundred of them, all dressed up in beautiful sarongs and colourful tops eating together and chatting happily. This place takes exotic to a whole new level.
This cycling tour was one of the most fun and memorable days of our trip so if you ever visit Bali, lookup Eco Cycling Tours and spend a day with them. I promise you, you will love it!
As we have so much to say on Ubud we have decided to do this blog in two parts. So end of part one.......
Bye for now!
Lots of love
Karen and Paul