Ubud to Lovina

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pulestis Beach Hotel

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

09:14 I left Ubud today, which was almost a little sad as it's so lovely. I had French toast with palm sugar and fruit this morning before I dropped off the bike and got in the taxi which would take me and two other girls to Lovina on the north coast.
We left ubud just after 9 and as I'm not driving myself today (although it isn't all that difficult driving with a huge rucksack on your back as it rests on the seat!) I am able to really look at the scenery passing by and all the little cultural shops selling bamboo wind chimes, carved cats and animals, paintings, clothes and the list goes on.

I don't think you can see from my photos, but it is getting more obvious to me, that my camera lens is scratched now in several places, probably from some grit getting under the little shutter cover on the front. This is a little sad as it is not something that can be fixed, the only way to fix it is to get a new lens part which won't happen this trip, or a new camera, which I certainly can't afford and anyway, I don't think the defect is so obvious that I must replace it. If it were worse I'd have to consider my options more fully. I'll just make sure I am in perfect detail for my next trip!

I've had some lovely emails and brief skype chats with a few people which has been lovely a I do like to keep in touch, and even better, there's a very good chance that one of my very good friends will be coming to join me out here at the end of October for a couple of weeks. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will really happen!
10:00 We made a quick stop at Taman Ayun temple which means water temple. This was the temple the royal family used. What was funny was that yesterday the lady told me that the other 2 girls wanted to go here, but they were told I wanted to go here! So I guess the lady in the travel agent just wanted us to see it!
11:28 After driving for quite a while longer, which surprised me for such a small island, we got to Danau Bratan, another lake in a crater, where there looked to be a lot of Muslims in this part. It was very busy with locals and other Indonesian tourists and was sadly very cloudy, but the temple certainly was beautiful. A multi roofed structure built on a little island on the water with the lake behind it and presumably some hills which just weren't visible.

We were there about half an hour before setting of again to Lovina, the road coming towards us was packed with motorists and the true craziness of the driving was reveiled. The cars drive dangerously close to the motorbikes, and I'm talking inches bumper to bumper, our driver overtook cars and motorbikes but as if the motorbikes weren't there, so if he needed to pull in he'd be forcing a bike right into the verge, which on these steep mountain passes were non existent! What also got my nerves grabbing at the nearest hand hold was that many of these bikes had whole families on with small children and yet the drivers were still behaving like lunatics!
In the end I was so concerned and couldn't watch anymore and forced myself to play a game on my iPhone even though it made me a little queasy, just so I didn't look out the window! (I was in the front seat)

Finally we arrived in Lovina and the accommodation hunt would begin. You really can't spend less than 150,000 here which is 10 a night and this is a lot more expensive than I've been paying. The last time I spent anything like this was in Hong Kong and everywhere there is expensive, so it's quite unreasonable that the rooms here are so much as many things are very cheap. This is particularly hard on my budget as a lone traveller as I'm trying to stick to 20 a day and this is half my budget gone! Never mind wanting to go diving which is also very expensive. 40 upwards. I had budgeted 25 a day for Asia and I'm usually hitting this, but I've decided I can sacrifice eating so get my free breakfast and then try and eat something large enough around 2 or 3. One thing the monastery proved is that I can only eat twice a day. So from now on, savings must be made and this is nearly 4 a day I can save!

The place I'm staying at is actually very nice - with a swimming pool and my own room with twin beds with a little porch outside for reading - Pulestis Beach Hotel.

It's a few hundred yards from the beach so once I'd bitten the price bullet I went for lunch where I ordered green papaya salad, which I couldn't finish because it was so bloody spicy (money wasted on a meal there! I was going to have to eat again today!) took some laundry in, where they said it would cost 15,000 a kilo!! (they only charged 7000 in Kuta!) on saying it was too much they asked if I wanted it to be ironed, I said no, so they dropped the price! Other laundry shops I walked past charged by item, so 1500 for underwear, first time I've seen this system.
Chores out the way I went for a walk to the beach. The sand is 'black' which means it's grey really, but looks a lot blacker when wet. It's quite a pretty beach and very quiet, there were only 2 or 3 people sunbathing. I walked down a promenade which was lined with people selling sarongs and tshirts who as soon as they saw me went into selling and following mode. I have grown weary of this over the months but it really was the worst in Vietnam and Cambodia, which I'm sure if you've read everything I've written, you'll remember really pissed me off and got me down. The Balinese are very lovely people but get in a touristy area and they can be very aggressive thinking nothing of grabbing your arm and pulling you. Mostly they just dump the sarong over your shoulder and refuse to take it back, but still being polite I won't just drop it in the ground (because they won't take it) rather I find something to put it on. But I find this a bit sad because it puts me into *shoulders hunched, head looking forward-not looking at merchantise or at people, ignoring everyone that speaks to me* mode, which is a mode I don't like to be in at all.

After my walk I knew I needed to make use o the pool I had paid for so went for a dip, much needed as it's a lot hotter down by the sea than ubud was. Its a pretty pool with a fake rockery wall either side lined with plants, which is better than a concrete wall!
I'm still reading pillars of the earth, a very good book I've been carrying for months! And it really is a good read, plus I'm looking forward to seeing the tv series I also have with me when I finish it! I hear there is a follow on book too?

I found some wifi and tinkered on t'internet before having an earlyish 6pm dinner as I was very hungry and seeing the last of th sunset. I was a little tardy but won't be tonight as the colours in the sky were gorgeous.

So I finished my day in a new bed in a new place, content with the world, and the calming feeling Bali has had.

Best: a swimming pool
Worst: not the salad per se, but it was so spicy and also really expensive and then wasted!
Beautiful: you can't beat the colours in the sky at sunset can you.
Possibly the coolest thing: at night, in my bathroom, because it's semi outdoors I can look up and see the stars whilst having a shower.
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