Bagusbabe's Reflections

Day 10: In Ubud

This morning I woke up before the birds. Well, before the small chirpy birds that sound like they’re having a convention on my balcony. No, it was still dark but that didn’t stop a few nearby roosters announcing that dawn was due within the next half hour. It sounds like there are cicadas out there too.
I had a comfortable sleep – not nearly as stiff on first getting up. A vast improvement on the past week. I have a shower before breakfast. Which means climbing into the bath. No problem. The base of the bath has raised circles moulded into it. Hmmm, there are possibilities here…! The shower curtain is white striped & pristine – not a hint of mould. Even the grout has very little mould – they’ve either trained their houseboys well or the place was only built last week. Great water pressure too. But the taps – they’re weird. They don’t turn the same way. Turn both inward to run water & both outward to stop it. Odd.
Even after 10 days I have to really concentrate & be present when brushing my teeth. If not I’m sure to run my toothbrush under the tap before & after brushing. Such an ingrained habit.
I hop down the stairs (in my mind if not reality) & make my way to the restaurant. A waiter comes over to ask my room number & then rings the kitchen downstairs  to prepare the breakfast I chose yesterday on arriving. 
2 slices of French toast arrive with a half moon of pineapple & papaya on the side, a jar of honey with a wooden honey dipper & a small glass of fresh pineapple juice. My juice is not cold, but my French toast is! Haha! Half way through eating it a waitress brings over a small fruit platter which I drizzle with leftover honey. Mmmm. I also have a cup of very strong black tea while I fill out the breakfast menu for tomorrow. I’m having the ‘good morning’ breakfast tomorrow.
After brekky, I sit on the patio overlooking the empty pool. The easy chair is very comfortable. The wi-fi works better here. It’s very hit & miss in my room. More miss than hit which is very frustrating. When searching for wifi signals my phone lights up with quite a list from surrounding properties. My battery is draining quickly as my phone constantly searches for the wi-fi signal. 3G is quicker.  As I have a decent connection right now, I troll the internet looking for ideas of something interesting to do. I thought about doing a cooking class again. Vetoed it. I’m more interested in the eating the finished product than preparing & cooking it, even if I don’t have to do the washing up. Besides, I’ve done a couple before. Then I discover that the Ubud library run a lot of classes on demand – learning Indonesian, wood-carving, jewellery making, Balinese dance, etc.  The library is behind Tutmak restaurant on the side of the soccer field. I recall having some excellent French toast once at Tutmak….jeez I can remember what I ate several years ago but open the fridge door at home – it’s why am I here?
The Puri Lukisan Museum also offers classes including batik, gamelan lessons, flute lessons, traditional painting, etc. I’m not into traditional Balinese art, but maybe there are other art teachers out there? Yes, there’s one on the outskirts of Ubud, with good reviews. 
A couple of hours flew past. My research was interrupted by a staff member informing me that they are about to spray the property for mosquitoes so it was time to move. I think all the staff here are about 20 years old. I’ve yet to see an older staff member.
Through the tunnel I go. I need to use the ATM but a man is in there. I wait outside, & I wait & I wait. He looks like he might be a local. What are you doing in there mate? Praying? I don’t think ATMs will give you money on that basis alone, or I’d be trying it myself! I give up & cross the road to a shop that caught my eye yesterday.  It is full of clothes & bags made from brightly coloured batik stamping, it says on the label. Some of the prints are gorgeous. I end up purchasing some cushion covers in shades of purple with palm fronds on it & another in vivid blues & aqua, the colours running into each other. There was no discount for buying more than one in this fixed price shop, but regardless the shop assistant is doing a brisk trade.
Back to the ATM, which is now vacant, I withdraw some cash. The ATM spoke to me, but the sound was so low I didn’t catch what was said. No matter. A prayer didn’t furnish me with a bigger withdrawal btw.
I make my way up the street, heading North. The footpath is just as treacherous as I remember. The rise of the half hexagons along the path at frequent intervals are just that little too high to be comfortable. Plus tiles are broken, missing or misaligned. An accident waiting to happen so I dare not take my eyes off each step. Throw in tourists by the bucket load and it becomes a chore negotiating the way. 

It’s nearly lunchtime. I have a restaurant in mind for lunch, although it’s only 11:30. Oh well. Breakfast was smaller than usual so I’m ready for lunch. I decided on Lamaks. I walk up the steps (sigh) & a waitress walks up to greet me. I am their only patron. She seats me on the side of the open air patio in a heavy iron chair that has a comfy cushion at its back. The drink & wine list is extensive but I’m not having alcohol. It says their juices are freshly squeezed, so I choose strawberry juice. For my meal I chose the chicken breast in wonton wrapper, which sounded like a take on my old favourite, Chicken Kiev.
I’m brought a cold towel for my hands & face. I am sweaty. Despite Ubud supposedly being cooler, I believe it is more humid than Sanur without the sea breezes. A complementary drink is brought over – it is in a liqueur glass, and has small seeds floating on the top. No idea what it is but it is quite pleasant. The waitress brings me card with their wifi password on it when she saw me bring out my phone. I’m also brought out complimentary krupuk type things with a small dish of paste the colour of chilli. Also tasty. My strawberry juice arrives and proves to be as yummy as I’d hoped. Then the waitress brings out a chilled wine bottle of water & pours me a glass. Wow! I’m impressed. Not many restaurants do all this nowadays.
My meal arrives looking very special. A rectangular pastry parcel lying up against a pile of creamy mashed potato, decorated with a large lattice made from a wonton wrapper. A side of sautéed beans & a wedge of lemon rested on a trickle of buttery sauce trailed around one edge of the plate. I am also
impressed that the plate it is served on is hot.
My food is delicious. For dessert I chose 2 scoops of gelato – cookies & cream & snickers flavour. They were presented in a speckled fluted glass bowl that looked like Kosta Boda. Unfortunately the cookies a cream gelato had ice crystals through it. The snickers one on the other hand was as smooth as butter. 
As I was finishing my dessert a party of 6 arrived so it was time to depart. I need to mention the toilets at this place. Loud tiles floor to ceiling, firstly. Then 2 toilet cubicles with massive (I’m talking humongous!) thick steel doors with this huge twisty bolt apparatus on the back to lock the door. Are they expecting a shoot-out in the ladies loos? Totally ridiculous!

So I’m walking down the steps on my usual sideways crab manner back out onto the street. There are more people about & more restaurants filling up. Traffic is building as well. I concentrate on where I step as I walk, keeping right so people can pass me. I must have looked up
at some stage because I found myself standing at a jewellery shop window with the most gorgeous gemstone pendants. The one that caught my eye was pale blue & white Larimar. Lovely setting.  I could see the prices on some – over $80. Still competitive compared to home. I might check it out tomorrow with my credit card in hand. I also stopped in at the Three Monkeys to see if I could book a table by the rice fields tonight. Nope, they don’t take bookings. Rightio then.

The footpath on the way back continued to challenge my knees. By the time I got to the tunnel I was stuffed & decided to sit on the patio overlooking the pool in one of those comfy chairs for awhile before tackling the stairs to my room.

One section of the pool nearest the garden had that infinity effect where the wall is a smidge lower than the water level, causing the water to run over the edge & fall down on the other side. I saw a small flock of Javan Munia (thank you Google) giving themselves the spa treatment as well as the resident spotted dove I’d seen wandering the paths of the hotel.
The wifi signal was strong for the moment so I did some more research on restaurants & spas in Ubud before braving the stairs up to my room.
I got there in the end. I lay on the bed for a good while & watched a movie. It was pretty lame. I read until 5:30 & made haste to change for dinner. Out on the walkway in front of my room I could see that there were people in the area I wanted to sit already!
It is a very short walk to the restaurant & when I entered a couple of the waiters recognised me from last night. One even tried to seat me at the same table, but I requested a table near the rice paddies. They were all taken already, so I was seated right down the end, one table in. I hope I don’t get forgotten down here. I needn’t have worried. A very attentive trainee was on her game tonight, friendly & efficient.
I ordered a glass of Two Islands Sav Blanc & their yummy chicken & young mango pizza. It was even nicer than the one in Sanur I think – more cheese I think. One couple seated near me commented on the size of it. Hello….I can hear you! I refuse to feel self-conscious about my food choices. Just watch me polish off every last bit, which I did. I like to read while I dine alone. My iPhone has a flip cover that becomes a stand in landscape mode. Isn’t technology wonderful? Gone are the days trying to eat one handed while keeping a book from closing on you with the other. Trying to read by a tea-light candle isn’t easy. And it wasn’t that long ago that we went to Internet cafes once or twice a day to check emails, etc. and we sent postcards to friends which we usually beat home!
I ordered a summer berry granita & their brownies for dessert. The brownies were disappointing – more dry than chewy. But as you know by now, I ate them! I wish I’d ordered the crumble again. Live & learn.
As I was leaving one of the cheekier waiters asked if I was coming back for breakfast!
Back in my room I relaxed on my bed for a while & did some more research on spas. I really can’t be bothered walking all the way to the library or the museum tomorrow to do a class. I can’t be bothered haggling with a driver. Why aren’t there proper metered taxis in Ubud? Everything is much more expensive up here I’ve noticed too.
I found a massage place that also does reflexology & they do pick ups! Woohoo! I send off an email enquiry for tomorrow. I’m happy now that I’m not totally wasting my last full day in Bali. I might do a little window shopping tomorrow too. Perhaps I’ll ask to get dropped at the market on the way back & walk/restaurant my way back.
I research a few more restaurants too. What a shame Café des Artiste had fallen off its perch. It used to be one of my favs.
It was later than usual before I went to bed to sleep. Still itchy too. My sleep was disturbed an hour later by noisy downstairs neighbours who were shrieking & yelling. I read for another hour until they finally went to bed.
Ciao 

One thought on “Day 10: In Ubud

  1. Anita Ashworth

    Dear Bagusbabe,

    I am so enjoying reading about your escapades in Bali! You sound to enjoy Bali in the same way we do. We started going in 1982, and have been going, finances allowing, ever since. Children joined us on our travels from 1991, and they love it as much as we do. We have now progressed to grandchildren, and will be in Sanur in October for 16 days with our daughter, her husband and granddaughter 5 and grandson 3. I am happy to say they are quite well behaved and are quite pleasant to be with, as I too don't like noisy annoying children.

    Anyway, my reason for commenting was to suggest a teeth brushing method to you, I hold a glass of water in one hand and toothbrush in the other, so there is no temptation to reach for the tap ?

    Thanks again for the wonderful read, and have a wonderful rest of your time in Bali.

    Anita

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