Apa Kabar Bali!

Between having gotten in so late, and nerves about the flight being cancelled we both barely slept.  I woke up at 2.30 am, well before my alarm and tossed and turned until we got a call from a wrong number at 3.45.  At that point we both called it quits and got up to finish packing and head out the door.  Tawfiq had told us we would have no trouble flagging a cab down in his neighborhood but we were both a little concerned.  It was 4 in the morning after all.  It turns out he was right.  No sooner did we reach the main road than a cab came roaring up to whisk us off the airport.  And I do mean whisk, our taxi driver must have been an aspiring F1 driver and looking to set a new record lap time going to the airport.  Between fearing for our lives, we both were glued to our phones, constantly checking to make sure there was no unfortunate volcano news.

We arrived at the airport a little shaken up but in one piece and successfully checked in.  It looks like this flight might happen after all!  We headed through security and ambled about through the closed stores of the still quiet terminal before grabbing some breakfast at the food court.  We spent our remaining Singapore dollars on some Skittles (only stupid regular – they didn’t have sour) and some peanuts for our flight before walking around a little more.

When the time came we went through security at our gate (Singapore’s airport has a security checkpoint at each individual gate rather than for the terminal as a whole) and boarded the plane.  The seats were again very cramped and a child behind me decided I was in need of a back massage, but as long as the plane made it to Bali it didn’t matter.  We watched our scheduled departure time come and go.  It seems there was a mechanical issue with the plane.  Uh oh.

Luckily it seemed to be minor and after 30 minutes of paperwork we said goodbye to Singapore and were headed towards Indonesia.  Both of us passed out pretty quickly into the flight and awoke as the plane was making its decent with dry mouths and sore necks.

We made it through security no problem and were finally, despite all of the drama, in Bali.  We quickly found our driver sent from the guest house and headed up the coast towards Ubud where we would be spending the next two nights. We checked into an absolutely beautiful guest house south of town on the edge of some rice paddies and promptly fell asleep for a few hours.

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Doug napping on our mosquito netted bed.
Doug napping on our mosquito netted bed.
View from the bed.
View from the bed.

Around 3.00 pm we roused ourselves and decided to walk into town and explore a little.  We had also skipped lunch, or rather eaten peanuts and skittles for lunch, and so were getting a little hungry. Ubud is known for two things we have learned in doing research this afternoon: being the “cultural center of Bali” (everyone uses that exact phrase) and serving as the climax of Elizabeth Gilbert’s (and Julia Roberts’) Eat, Pray, Love.  What that means in practically is that the town is a hub of craftsmen and artists that has slowly over the past thirty years also become a destination for wellness retreats, yoga binges, and detox diets.  After the book and movie release it seems Ubud’s popularity exploded and the town is know a cross between it’s old self and a newer, more touristy version featuring surf shops, fancy restaurants, and no less than 8 Polo Ralph Lauren stores.  It actually reminded both of us of Provincetown a little bit.

We walked into town, encountering the most hostile stray dogs but the friendliest people of our trip so far.  Our guesthouse appeared to be well outside of where tourists often venture and we made our way through a locals neighborhood featuring some temples, quaint houses, and again piles of burning leaves.  As we got closer to town we noticed the scenery slowly changing until we could have been on the main drag of any tourist town in America.  The only remaining piece of Indonesia was the old the palace and temple which we quickly checked out, appreciating the pairing of stone carving with orange the brickwork.  There was also a dog, at first mistaken for a statue, keeping an eye on the whole situation from the corner of the temple which we both enjoyed.

On the way into town we passed a lot of artisan shops.  This one was turning teak wood into those tables that you can buy everywhere.  I guess I know where they come from now.
On the way into town we passed a lot of artisan shops. This one was turning teak wood into those tables that you can buy everywhere. I guess I know where they come from now.
The local neighborhood temple.
The local neighborhood temple.
Burning leaves.
Burning leaves.
Flooded rice paddies on our walk.
Flooded rice paddies on our walk.
More rice paddies.
More rice paddies.
Stone carving set into brickwork at the palace.  We appreciated the color contrast.
Stone carving set into brickwork at the palace. We appreciated the color contrast.
The guard dog/statue for the temple and palace.
The guard dog/statue for the temple and palace.
The statues guarding the palace were dressed up in fun clothes.
The statues guarding the palace were dressed up in fun clothes.
Creepy face.
Creepy face.

After the temple we wandered down one of the main roads looking for an early dinner.  Most of the restaurants served the same food and the data on our phones wasn’t working for as of yet unexplained reasons, so we blindly chose one and ordered some Chicken Sate, Indonesia’s version of Southwest egg rolls, and half a roast chicken with some delicious pan fried mystery vegetable.  It was also 2 for 1 happy hour across the entire city so we each had a pair of drinks.

Indonesia's answer to southwest egg rolls.  Chicken, corn, and some other vegetables in a fried pastry.
Indonesia’s answer to southwest egg rolls. Chicken, corn, and some other vegetables in a fried pastry.
Chicken sate with mashed potatoes and peanut sauce.
Chicken sate with mashed potatoes and peanut sauce.
Roast chicken and delicious mystery vegetable.
Roast chicken and delicious mystery vegetable.
We really liked the chairs at the restaurant and photographed them so we can build our own at home.
We really liked the chairs at the restaurant and photographed them so we can build our own at home.

After dinner we were both getting tired and decided we should head back home before too long.  It was also getting dark out and Bali doesn’t seem very pro-sidewalk so the sooner we could get onto the quieter roads the better.  We made our way for close to 45 minutes down quite busy roads.  Sidewalks were alternately littered with very large and deep pot holes, or non-existent but Lynn had remembered to bring a headlamp and the drivers were very courteous so we were never really too worried.

Our final leg of the walk took us off the main road and through a cemetery we had walked through earlier in the day.  The bright colors and statues now looked very eerie in the fluorescent glow of street lamps and stray dogs started appearing all around us.  They seemed not very happy that we were there and as we walked by they would circle behind us, barking continuously as others up ahead started.  This was not a great situation to be in, creepiness of the cemetery aside, these ten or so dogs seemed to not at all want us around.  We quickened our pace and tried to give the dogs a wide berth, but I definitely felt the hair on my legs standing up the whole time. We made it through to the other side and encountered a few more dogs on the road to our guest house before making it home safe, locking the doors, and drawing the curtains.

Before going to bed, we worked on our blog, occasionally interrupted by a friendly lizard in our room who cackles at us from time to time.

Daily Walking Mileage : 11.6

Fun Facts:

  • Bali seems like a whole different country from the rest of Indonesia.  They are mostly Hindu while Indonesia is predominately Muslim, and they have their own food as well.
  • The main dish to get in Bali is roast suckling pig.  For the good places you need to line up early and they sell it until they run out.  It sounds a lot like BBQ in Texas.
  • Bali is the first place we have been on this trip where tipping is expected and tax is not already included in the prices.  I think maybe tourism is at work here.
  • Indonesia is very concerned about your hydration level.  They had one of these signs above every urinal at the airport.
Clear and copious as I always say.
Clear and copious as I always say.

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