Rice fields upon Rice fields

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Monday, December 12, 2005

We arrived in Ubud on Friday afternoon and met up with our friends Martin, Annie, Sebastian and Mariella to go to a Kechak fire dance. There were 100 men (orangs) dressed in black and white checked sarongs who 'sang' and 'danced' for an hour round a 'fire' whilst other 'actors' dressed in some amazingly intricate and brightly coloured costumes, danced to tell a story about a princess who was kidnapped then freed etc.... It was good but the best part was at the end when they put a Balinese man into a trance, set fire to a heap of coconut husks then let him walk on the fire and kick the hot ashes about. Some of the hot embers nearly hit members of the audience on their feet so was pretty scary if you were on the front row (which we were). We then went out for a meal and a few drinks with everyone and listened to the croaking frogs in the background.
We had a fairly relaxed day on Saturday, just visiting the 'Monkey Forest' and having a drink overlooking one of the many rice fields in and around Ubud. 'Monkey Forest' was as you've guessed it, a forest with lots of Monkeys in it, who know that visitors take food for them to eat and aren't afraid to approach you for anything you have which is consumable, including bottled water. Mandy was nearly jumped on by a thirsty monkey so she gave up her bottle of water quickly, then the thirsty monkey and his friends fought over the water bottle until one of them managed to open it and pour the water all over the floor. One of the locals said they would just play with the bottle and not to worry about them chewing the plastic, we certainly weren't going to try and get the bottle back!! Some of the monkeys were playing by a pool and jumping, splashing and swimming about in it and they were funny to watch.
Sunday, we hired a jeep (and with the petrol it cost us about 8 pounds) to drive around Ubud and see more of Bali in the centre. We visited some great temples and religious sites. One of them (Yeh Pulu) we were sprinkled with holy water by an enthusiastic old lady who put flowers in our hair, and at the other one (Gunung Kawi) we saw loads of gorgeous ride paddy terraces, lots of fun local children who loved having their picture taken and we also saw a small snake. After visiting those 2 places we then headed to Gunung Batur and Danau Batur (Gunung meaning volcano and Danau meaning lake) which were covered in mist and rain when we arrived but as we drove down into the crater to visit some of the little villages, the mist and rain cleared. Mandy was map reading and thought after visiting the hot springs for a hot bath we could drive on, up and out the other side of the crater. As this was a really steep road and our jeep was only 2WD with a tiny
engine, Paul tried his best to get us out the other side and we nearly got to the top but we thought the clutch was going to burn out after all the revving so we decided to turn round and go back the way we came (via lots of villages who all waved at us and shouted Hello Mister). It was a really good day out. At night we had a really nice meal in a small restaurant (Arie's Warung) and had black rice pudding with coconut milk for dessert which was really tasty.
Today (Monday) we're going to head towards Lombok (the next island to the East of Bali) and visit the small Gili islands for some beach time.....
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