I’m going to start off today by putting my honest foot forward and say that I wasn’t the biggest fan of what we got up to. Unlike the volcano experience, which was new and exciting, today’s trips didn’t compare. We hired a driver for the entirety of the day and got him to take us to four separate locations. Each place was about an hours drive apart, so to save time, I won’t bother writing about the journeys in between, instead I’ll just write the names of the places, and explain what we did and saw at each one. Because of all the driving involved, today has felt quite long, here’s hoping it won’t take as long to write about.
We didn’t have the luxury of a lie in this morning. With the alarm waking us up at 8am, we got up and went for breakfast. We each enjoyed our meals and had only a small amount of time afterwards to return to our rooms and pack a day bag.
With such items as sunglasses, cameras, and mosquito repellents packed, we went to reception to find our driver waiting for us. When we were all sat inside the car Sarah told the driver the plan. He then devised the best route in which to take. From where we were in Ubud, he told us it would be easiest, and quickest, if we drove to the most northernly location first. It took an hour or so to reach Git Git, and we all felt a little travel sick by the time we’d arrived, after going around all the windy hilly roads.
Git Git: had three separate waterfalls to admire. Because I’d already seen a mightily impressive set of waterfalls in Laos, I felt as though I could check it off my bucket list. So at first I wasn’t that excited about seeing any more, although that all changed as we were guided around the grounds. The man spoke very good English, and he’d stop us at every plant we came across. Most of which were coffee related. He showed us Bali coffee, vanilla bean, as well the many banana trees. It was very educational. He surprised us when he said he’d been travelling himself. Through his job at the waterfalls he’d met many people from all over, including Sydney, Australia. He explained that he was able to visit them because they’d pay for everything. He also told us how he’d worked in a kiwi factory in New Zealand. He was a very nice man and had been doing his job for the past 10 years. What he really wanted to do now was move to a different area of Bali and become a taxi driver, he said there was more money to be made doing that, as currently he had to rely on tips as added income. We only paid to look at 2 waterfalls, the third was a 2km walk away which was too far. When we reached the first one we could’ve got in the water if we’d wanted, but after learning the temperature was only 16 degrees, we changed our minds. The second waterfall was the most dangerous. Our guide explained that there had been two deaths in total. Both tourists got too close to the edge and slipped on the wet rocks. The water underneath the waterfall acted like a whirlpool and they couldn’t get out. After seeing both falls we returned to the beginning. Just as we were about to get back in the car, it hammered down. The roads were so wet and windy that the two boys on the motorbike in front of us slid and fell. We were lucky not to run them over. It was about another hour drive until we reached Bedugul temple and lake.
Bedugul Temple and Lake: was an area which happened to be massively overpopulated. Where all these tourists had come from was anyone’s guess, but it mostly appeared to be teenagers on school trips. Although it was hot and sunny when we arrived, there were dark clouds making their way across. This in turn ruined the photo we took of the temple, as the mountain in the background was hidden behind fluffy black characters. While Sarah and I were trying to take pictures of a certain part of the temple, we were both approached by an Asian couple. They asked us if we’d mind posing for a photo with her husband. We did, but then I was shoved aside for the next photo when the guy wanted to stand closer to Sarah. I’d never felt so rejected. We presumed they were done and swiftly moved on, only to run into them again two minutes later. This time the lady wanted a photo taken with Sarah, while I was left on the sidelines looking like a fat kid waiting to be picked for a sports team. The grounds were beautifully preserved. All the grass was mown, the flowers were extremely colourful, and all the statues and buildings were in great shape. There happened to be a ceremony as we walked around, but we couldn’t go and watch because we weren’t Hindu. That didn’t stop me peeking over the wall though. We didn’t stay at the temple and lake long, but before we left, something truly magical happened. If ever Sarah wanted to feel like a pop super star, today that dream came true. As we headed towards the exit we saw a large group of Malaysian teenage girls. Instantly they spotted Sarah, and in unison shouted over “hello”. When Sarah said hello back they begged her to take a photo with them. This had to have been some sort of record, there were at least 12 girls crowding around to pose with the golden haired one. Sarah only allowed the one photo to be taken when she realised she’d be there for a while otherwise. As soon as the first one was taken, the girls began fighting between themselves to get as close to her as they could. Obviously I wasn’t going to let a moment like that pass without documenting the moment on camera. We then returned to our taxi with the infamous Sarah Duxbury hidden underneath a coat. Not really.
Jatiluwih: was the name of the large rice paddies we visited next. Ubud was mostly made up of these, and this is the main reason why the place is so green. But Jatiluwih was slightly different in the sense that it was ginormous. Most of the rice fields you see around Ubud are small, but the ones here went on for as far as the eyes could see. It was a shame the weather was so miserable, as otherwise we’d have taken a stroll around to admire it in all its glory. There was every shade of green conceivable, from lime through to emerald. While we were there we remembered a recommended restaurant in the Lonely Planet. It encouraged tourists to try the suckling pig. Our driver dropped us off right outside the front door. Before getting out we gave him some money for his dinner as well. Apparently when you hire a driver for the whole day, it’s considered kosher to pay for their meals. Simon handed the guy some money then we went inside to eat. We had an astonishing view of the paddies while we ate, and the food was just as nice as the view. The pork was so tender that it practically fell apart in your mouth. When we’d finished, the loudest clap of thunder happened right above our heads, we could feel the vibrations it caused. It was so powerful that it set off some car alarms down the street. Our driver returned from where he was eating and took us to the final stop of the day, Munduk.
Munduk: was the name of the temple we stopped at on the way back to our resort. It took a while to get there, because on the way we got stuck behind a large group of Hindus walking down the street playing music as part of a ceremony. Much like a hearse carrying a coffin, it would’ve been rude to overtake. Meaning we had to stay behind them for a good 20 minutes. The temple happened to be the briefest stop of the day. This was mostly because the time was almost 5pm, and we only had our driver for another half an hour. The blessing was, because of the time, it meant there weren’t that many people there. We paid the admission price, then walked around the designated pathway for tourists. It took us around the outside of the temple where we could see some Hindus praying. They were dressed all in white, and the temple itself was beautiful. It looked like a well preserved ruin – if that’s possible. The bricks looked very old, and the whole area was surrounded by a moat. Because the sun was beginning to set, at certain angles it made for very good pictures. After we’d walked around the perimeter, we returned to our taxi. On the way we spotted many cockerels in cages, when we later asked our driver about this he told us they were used as part of a pre ceremony event. Unfortunately the event was cock fighting. Apparently it’s only illegal when betting is involved, but it’s perfectly fine so long as it’s for religious purposes. It makes me sick. When we got back to the car we were driven for another 40 minutes before we reached Inata.
He dropped us off at the gates, then we asked him if he’d mind taking us somewhere else tomorrow. Only this time it would be at the earlier hour of 8am. I hate early starts. The poor man’s day wasn’t over just yet, he told us that in the evenings he is involved with the dance shows as one of the chanters. He’d also be doing the same tomorrow night, one thing you couldn’t call him was lazy. Sarah and myself then spent the next hour or so in the swimming pool, while the others watched from the loungers. Like usual, around 6pm the Mosquitos came out and we retreated to our rooms, where for the next hour and a half we remained.
At 7:30pm we caught the shuttle to Cafe Des Artistes for tea, that was the initial plan at least. On the way Sarah spotted an Italian based restaurant. Outside was a sign which read “margarita pizza, 30,000 rupiah”. That was the equivalent of £2. SOLD!!! I was so hungry by this point that even the place mats looked appetising, and much like the Cookie Monster, I’d have gobbled them down. The food was so cheap that I ordered two dishes, a pizza and spaghetti bolognese. Little did I know they’d take forever and a day to arrive. There are three words I’d use to describe that place… SLOWEST. SERVICE. EVER. The food took so long to arrive that I almost went full circle and came right back around to being sated, it also made me regret asking for the bolognese to arrive first. When it eventually showed up, I don’t think I breathed between mouthfuls. It can’t have taken me any more than 2 minutes to clear the mountain of noodles. I then had the misfortune of waiting another 15 minutes on my pizza. They did apologise the whole time, so I can’t be that mad, but it felt like an eternity every minute I had to wait. Because we told the shuttle driver to come get us at 9pm, Ann and Simon went on to the shop while Sarah and I waited on my food. When it came, I cleared it just as fast as the spaghetti. Sarah and I then settled the bill and met her parents outside. Two minutes later our shuttle arrived.
Back at the resort we briefly discussed what time to get up in the morning to have breakfast… 7:15am. SEVEN FIFTEEN!!!! I was now beginning to wonder if we’d ever get a day off travelling again. It was only 9:15pm and I was shattered. We said our good nights outside our room, then somehow I managed to muster up the energy to write this post. It’s now 11pm and I am looking forward to sleep. I’d need all the energy I could get, as tomorrow we’d be snorkelling a shipwreck.