We moved from Amed to Ubud, the journey was long. The driver came to pick us up from the Hotel at 8.30am, I was happy to be leaving! Practically ran into the car as I was happy to be heading to Ubud. Once settle in, Nyoman enquired if we had everything (I am sure he was asking for his and our benefit – no one would want to come back to grab forgotten items!). As we made our way, the driver enquired if we would be interested in heading to Lempuyang temple. I wasn’t interested, however, husband had seen the pictures on instagram and wanted to have a look (I was happy to let him have his way at least once on this holiday :D). The drive to the temple was short – we arrive and there in the parking lot was a sea of minivans that carry people up the hill (for IDR20000), at 9am in the morning.
I was thinking to myself what a waste of resources, I am sure the hike up the hill is not that bad – boy was I mistaken!! The drive up through the steep winding road in the back of the open minivan was an experience in it self!! (I would totally do it again just to sit back and have the wind in my hair, and people watching!).
After 10 minutes or so we finally arrive and there was chaos! Thank goodness our driver accompanied us because we would have been confused and paid more than what was expected. Nyoman ushered us through the process, we gave a donation and got free sarongs (there was another young couple who ended up following us as they also were not aware of the process). Nyoman took us through the temple – we were dodging and ducking workmen as they repaired the temple.
Finally we got to the top and there was only one couple ahead waiting to have their picture taken. But before the photo was taken, we had to receive a blessing – water was sprinkled on our heads and a little chant was said by a young man dressed in traditional clothing. The wait was a matter of seconds and we had to stand by the gate facing (a cloud covered ?) Mt Agung (truly a beautiful sight!). After being yelled at several times to change pose – it was over (less than 2 minutes). What I do as a human for an experience at times baffles me (willing to sweat off my precious makeup for a photo that looks great on instagram ?).
The ordeal finally over, we had to make our way down to the little vans waiting to shuttle us tourists back to our air conditioned vehicles. By this time – I needed a bathroom break (again!!) – public toilet that would cost IDR5,000. By this time I should know better and not have any expectations… the experience was not a pleasant one. There was no running water or toilet paper (thank goodness I always have tissues and antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizers with me EVERYWHERE). After that traumatic experience, we headed back to the minivans and paid another IDR20,000. The drive down back to the carpark was as exhilarating as the drive up. On the way down, we saw a tourist couple with a little baby on scooter struggling to make it up the hill, and the little one was screaming (at this point we thought they would give up and head back down, but they kept going. I do hope they made it up safely, for the sake of their little one)…
Once back down, we headed back into the car and headed to Ubud. At this point I wasn’t feeling well, but I thought it was excitement and anxiety mixed together (hoping for my own Eat, Pray, Love moment in Ubud – not the love bit. I jest… ?). We had been to Ubud before (last year), and we didn’t experience it that much thus we decided a redo. I guess the universe had other plans for me this trip. Anyway we arrived in Ubud, and the traffic was as busy as I remember (definitely in Ubud). Our driver had to drop us off opposite the soccer field and we had to make the trek to our booked accomodation, at this point I am questioning my decision making skills. We arrived at our guest house, located inside the Pondok Pekak Library/ family compound.
I had read amazing reviews on this property and it fit our budget so I bit the bullet and booked it. When we arrived I was really nervous, also hoping my husband would like it (he is such a good sport and is always open to trying out new things – me not so easily). Anyway at check in they requested we pay the full amount for the room, before I committed I requested to see the room first before parting with my money. The family were kind and understanding they allowed us to see the room – IT WAS exactly as it looked online! Air conditioned, with a beautiful pool and strong wifi *silent prayer of thankfulness to the universe*. Happily paid the full amount for the next week, and settled in to our new temporary abode.
Husband and I decided to head out for lunch on Monkey Forest road. The location of the guest house is so central to everything – as we plan on walking to everything in walking distance (we wouldn’t risk ridding a scooter – a personal choice). After lathering up on sunscreen, we headed out. The walk was literally 2 mins and we were on the main road. As we slowly made our way down, we noted a coconut shop – coconut drinks, ice cream, everything made with coconut!! I love Tukies!!
However, I had lunch set, this would be a treat after our lunch, at this point we were starving – but my stomach was starting to be really funny, but I ignored it (should have known at this point). We decided to have lunch at El Mexicano. Settled in and ordered lunch (taco salad with black beans and salsa – delicious), after a few bites I couldn’t stand the pain. My stomach pain was in full swing, I couldn’t sit through the pain. Husband quickly paid the bill and we left without finishing our meal. On the way to the restaurant, we had noted a pharmacy and we quickly headed in. I described my symptoms (intense pain/cramping in my abdomen). The pharmacist then prescribed some medication to take after each meal, for the next several meals. I quickly took some and we headed back to the guesthouse for me to rest and see if the medication made a difference (in hindsight I should have headed to the doctor as things could have turned out worse. But thought I would give it a few days to see how I felt, as I didn’t have a fever – just the pain). Well the pain took me out for the majority of our time in Ubud. I could only stomach soft foods, but the pain was dulled by the medication. I could only swim a little, tan (got considerably more golden :D), read, listened to music, got massages, mediated and journaled. That is how my time was spent in Ubud, but never the less still determined to still have a lovely time – which I did (we all get sick at times – it’s not the end of the world, just a natural process of life).
The day before we left, I was feeling a bit better – decided to wake up early and head to the early morning Ubud market. We woke up early and headed to the market (it looks completely different from the Ubud Art market – during the day). I love getting up and seeing the early morning Bali. The streets, were quiet with a few cars and scooters heading to the early morning market. From the guesthouse to the market was merely a 3 minute walk.
What a different atmosphere it is during this time – besides ourselves there was only one other tourist couple we met. Everything is buzzing, alive and fast paced – people doing their shopping whilst riding their scooters from stall to stall (shopping in style). Local people selling traditional food, sweets, flowers, clothes, fruits – you name it. It was such a beautiful experience, it is unexplainable, and totally worth the early morning to have a little glimpse of everyday life. After observing as much as possible, we headed back for a swim and to relax (at this time my stomach was already in a little bit of pain).
The rest of the day pretty much went the same as the rest (in the afternoon we ventured to try out babi guling at Bali Guling Gung Cung – it was a little bit of a walk, but totally worth it! – really trying to make the most of our holiday) and the next day we moved to Legian.
It’s a shame I didn’t get to experience and see more of Ubud, we tried to experience what we could within my limited capacity. It would have been easy to feel sorry for myself being sick on holiday, but I am in Bali and determined to have a good time even in my condition (best believe I will definitely be back!). The people in Ubud were friendly and lovely and the family at Pondok Pekak were lovely and caring – they checked up on us everyday to see if there was anything we needed. In Ubud I got to spend a lot of time reflecting on an lot if things, but most importantly engaged in a lot of self care. Thankfully on the mend as we move to Legian the last chapter of the holiday before flying home. I absolutely love Legian – the busyness the traffic, the street vendors. Still determined to enjoy ourselves ?