The scenery was rediculously beautiful- hills, greeen rice paddies, valleys, villages, and the ocean off in the distance. We found a Lonely Planet recommended hotel for $7 per night (!!!!!!!) and checked in and immediately checked out the water palace. It was built in the 40s and contains fountains, water features, pools for swimming, ponds and a temple. It was stunningly beautiful and surrounded by lush green rice fields. I swam in the pools of fresh cool water and walked on the stone path through the water filled with koi- some almost half as big as me!
That evening I at a a restaraunt across the street and ordered mie goreng (fried noodles) but got packaged noodles- think Ichiban- so it wasn't very good although for $1 i'm not really complaining. My big mistake at dinner was drinking an orange juice with ice in it. Even as I saw her put the ice in, I thought "this isn't going to be good" I'm not sure why I drank it anyways. Let's just say I had a very painful morning..... :P Sorry if thats TMI, but I have come to realise that travelling to paradise often requires a tax be paid by your bowels atleast once...They say 80% of travellers to Bali will get "Bali Belly" and as long as it doesnt occur in the middle of a three hour tour I think I can survive it! So when I was finally able to get moving we found instant transport to our next town. As we waited for a bemo (public transport minibus) a man driving a van full of rice stopped and said "transport?" and for once we said "yes!" he said "60,000" we said "No 20,000", he said "Ok "40,000 we go now" so we agreed, put our bags on top of the packages of rice and we both squeezed into the passenger seat and had a really great scenic ride to Tulamben. On the way we drove through the drivers village of Culik and he showed us his house and we met his mom outside.
We had a great view of more rice fields and Gunging Agung (the big volcano that we could see from Gili Meno). We arrived in Tulamben and found a great hotel right on the ocean and right in front of the sunken ship!
From Candidasa we got a ride with one of the ashram members to Tirta Gangga, a small village about half an hour away. we took a scenic route through some villages and up a winding road where we stopped for a few minutes to look at some monkeys!! A big group of them hang out at the bottom of the mountain to get fed( or steal food) from people passing by.