Sunday, October 5, 2008

This place looks familiar....Ubud, The Return


Destination: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Number of Days there: 4 (this time, 10 total)
Our Best of: Awesome hotel, cheeky monkeys again! & a fantastic birthday dinner!
One thing unexpected:
Times we took the: Bus: 0 Train/Subway: 0 Taxi/Car: 2; Motorcycle: 2
Estimated KM walked: 5km, a stroll through the rice fields
Where we stayed: Hibiscus (; phone number 0361-970475) - Rp 160,000 (US $18) including a huge breakfast and coffee/tea all day long

Favorite Meal: Cafe Des Artiste - pricey for this area, but the best steak (70,000rp) we have had in a long while (including the States). This Belgian own and run place had all the classic western dishes with local paintings adorning the walls and great food.

After much deliberation, we decided that the best place to spend Tracy's big day was to head back to a familiar and loved location, Ubud. Having spent nearly a week there already, we knew we loved the hotel, could get a good meal there, and do some more shopping. The tipping point came when we figured that trying to find a decent meal during Ramadan, i.e. one with good wine, would not be possible in the predominantly Muslim island of Java.

There is a certain sense of ease that comes over you when you already know a place. It takes a lot of the guess work out of finding a hotel, transport, food, etc. We strolled into Ubud in the morning after the two hour bus ride from Sanur acting like we owned the place. After checking back in with our friends at Hibiscus, we made our way over to Putu (nice driver) to say hello. To make things easier on ourselves, we rented a motorbike for the three days we planned on being here so we could make the rounds to all the shops. We spent the rest of the day shopping and thinking about B-day plans the following day.

For Tracy's B-day, we decided to visit the monkey forest again, this time armed with bananas! See the before and after pictures below and be sure to check out the teeth on that monkey! After the monkey forest we decided to hit up one of the nicer spas in Champuan, Bali Botanica Spa (right next to the 5 star restaurant, Mosaic). After endulging in a massage, scrub and flower soak, we were off to dinner. After looking at the menu at Mosaic, we decided that it would be a little too far out of our budget, and instead, opted for Cafe des Artiste. Considering that Bali is Hindu (i.e. the cow is sacred and thus not eaten) we were skeptical of the quality of beef here, but decided to give the steak a whirl. We were not disappointed! Not only did they cook it exactly as we had ordered, but the pepper sauce it came with was awesome and just as good as the sauces we have had in France!

The next day we spent shopping around town browsing countless sarong and batik stores, looking for just the right color and print. On our way back to the hotel, we passed Rosalie, our friend from Nusa Lembogan and made plans to hang out with her the next day.

We did manage to do some physical activity the next day by doing one more walk around the countryside, this time through the rice paddy with Rosalie. After shaking off the self appointed "guide" (he paints and has a shop in the middle of the field), we made our way to the all organic restaurant with a great view overlooking the rice terraces. We lingered there for a while just absorbing the peaceful surroundings and taking our last full day in Ubud in stride. After we emerged from the fields, Tracy and Rosalie took off in search of some great deals while Jason took it easy and took a nap for the rest of the afternoon. With our flight booked for first thing the following morning, we called it an early night, said our goodbyes, and got packed up and ready to head out to Yogyakarta (pronounced Jogjakarta, or Jogja for short).

For more pictures of Tracy's B-day and the rice fields, click here.

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