Up the Balinese Mountainside to Ubud

The street today is full of people – dramatically different to anything we’ve seen since we arrived.

Nyepi is definitely over. We walk along and find an internet café to do web and email. We know what happens if we don’t update the web often enough. A voice says “is that a Canadian accent” and the guy sitting beside us turns out to be from Vancouver.

We head back to the hotel to check out, and about noon we head off to Ubud, mid-island and on the mountainside. It takes about an hour to drive up here, and it is like driving from Toronto to Burlington – you never really leave a built-up area. A few people have told us that when they were in Bali they rented cars and really enjoyed exploring the island on their own. After today’s drive, we have no desire whatsoever to do this.

We check into Greenfield – a recommendation from our friends Jody and Dan – to discover that it is beautiful. Our room is on the edge of a rice paddy, with a beautiful veranda. They bring us tea and coffee and we sit and enjoy the view.

We head off to begin exploring Ubud, and immediately there is a downpour. We take refuge in a temple, and after 5 minutes the skies clear and we go off. We pass many artisans’ shops – Ubud is famous for its artists. Everywhere there are temples, and although it is not a feast day, there are ritual offerings being made.

We pass stores offering high-quality forgeries of Italian designer goods – some cheeky enough to actually have the designer’s names as the name of the store. Another downpour, much heavier and more sustained, starts just after we are comfortably seated for a late lunch.

We wander along Monkey Forest St. We have been told that you cannot carry anything into the reserve, not even in your pockets, because the monkeys will take your sunglasses, your camera, and will even go through your pockets and take your wallet – and that if you try to take them back they will bare their fangs and hiss. We are not prepared for this, we have our sunglasses and our camera, so today at least we take a pass on visiting the monkeys.

We head out for dinner and choose a restaurant based solely on its appearance – it would not be out of place in downtown Toronto. After entrees of tabbouleh (Greg) and arugula and Parmesan (me), we have Indonesian curries as our mains, and they are magnificent – we cannot get over how good they are, qualitatively different from any we’ve had before.
The bill, including our beer, the taxes, and the service, comes to a staggering 145,000 rupiah, about $22 Canadian.

After dinner, we head out for a walk and it feels like Nyepi all over again – the streets are deserted. We gather that this is the norm in Ubud, at least on Tuesday nights.

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