Awake with the chooks again. Pre-dawn too. At least I’m productive in those couple of hours before breakfast.
I did it. I had to, you know? It beckoned me. Coerced me. I filled it, added bath foam & climbed in. The water pressure here is excellent, despite the weird taps. I’m too short to reach the end with my feet. But once I’d tucked a towel under my head & put my arms either side of me underwater, I was braced & comfy. Bliss! I adore a good soak. And btw: Bali baths : 2, me : 1. I got out easily – it was a cinch!
After my bath, I dialled room service & requested breakfast. I’m dining on my balcony this morning. When I stand at the edge & can see over the wall it is a view of an overgrown paddock. When I am sitting back at the table, my view is plants, trees & rooftops. Much nicer sitting. The birds are out there swooping & chirping too.
It doesn’t take long for my ‘Good Morning’ breakfast to come. A tomato & onion omelette, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, grilled sliced mushrooms, a small hash brown & 3 pieces of toasted baguette with accompanied butter & strawberry jam. And a plate of sliced fruit. Pineapple juice & black tea. I didn’t eat the tomato, not keen & the bacon looked like it might have been waved over a flame. Pass on that too. I prefer mine cremated. It was very pleasant eating out on the balcony, despite the curious wee ant exploring the table.
I check my phone & got an email response from Tai Ji Wellness Centre. Pick up is 11:05 for a 11:30 appointment. Brilliant! I’m having an hour of reflexology followed by an hour of traditional Chinese massage. Late lunch for me today!
What a great service to offer a free pick-up & drop off service. I hate bargaining with Ubud drivers & having to pay 3+ times more than I would in Sanur with a metered taxi. I’m just not comfortable with such an unregulated system, especially as a woman travelling on my own.
My transport was late – they missed the hotel sign & had to go around the block again, poor things.
Their website describes the centre as being in the heart of Ubud. Unless Ubud has cardiomyopathy, that’s a bit of a stretch. In reality they were approx 2km past the Jl Raya Ubud intersection turning left up Jl Raya Andong. So another fail to Google Maps. I couldn’t believe how much the road had changed. I think this is the road we used to take to get to the village where the herons come in to nest at dusk. Lots of shops, big and small. The centre is on the first bend in the road.
The centre is very open & minimalistic inside. There was a senior Chinese man there with his ?Balinese wife who took my medical history & suggested doing a package with 1/2 hr longer massage for an extra 50,000 Rp. Sold!
I was introduced to my therapist. Along one wall is a row of purpose built armchairs with foot stools, divided by gauzy grey curtains. We started with the soaking my feet in a barrel of hot water for about 5-10 mins while my neck & shoulders were massaged. Not hard to take! Then it was onto my reflexology foot massage. The majority of it was awesome. I think I drifted off a couple of times & a half snort woke me up. Real ladies don’t fully snore. I only jumped once & that was to ask for it softer around my knees. An hour zoomed past.
Then we went over to a cubicle on the other side of the room. It’s a shame it wasn’t an enclosed space because reception was only a stone’s throw away & I could hear talking, text messages beeping & incoming phone calls. The noise did dissipate in time. It was requested that I take off all my clothes & was handed a pair of paper undies in a packet. I didn’t bother trying them on, we all know the outcome.
My massage therapist began at my feet & worked her way up to my head. There was stretching, pushing, shaking, wobbling & karate chopping. Most of it felt really good. She asked whether I wanted my stomach massaged & again when she was up to my face. I consented to both. At the end she cleaned off all the massage oil with hot steaming towels, which was gorgeous. I had difficulty rising from the bed after lying on my back for so long. But once up & standing I felt really good – looser.
I went to the loo & did a mirror check of my hair. Thank God I did, I looked a fright! Greasy fringe nearly standing on end. Were they going to send me out on the street looking like that?
I had to wait 10 mins for their shuttle to return. I asked the driver to drop me off at the top of Monkey Forest Rd near the market. I had plans for lunch.
That intersection in front of Ubud Palace is a nightmare. Cars were queued in all directions. Crossing the road was dicey, even on the crossings. Traffic was queued down Jl Suweta where I wanted to go. There were hordes of Asian tourists in and around the palace, making traversing the footpath difficult as they stopped en masse to do selfies in front of the gates. I wasn’t sure where the warung I was seeking was. Google maps was proving unreliable yet again. I eventually found the small warung on the opposite side of the street, about 200m from the intersection at a guess. Warung Makan Bu Rus was famous for its Balinese chicken curry. The establishment was tiny. A bench with 3 seats at the front, a table for 2 behind it. Directly behind that was the kitchen. To the side was an aisle with 3 tables for 4 along it. All the tables were full except the one at the back where salt & pepper shakers were lined up to be filled. A young boy about 10 years old cleared the table off for me & invited me to sit. I was surprised there were so many patrons considering it was after 2:30pm. A teenage girl, dressed very trendily came over with a menu. I ordered the chicken curry with rice: 30,000 Rp.
I could see the chef cooking on his double gas burner. He was quite stocky with streaks of grey in his hair. Wonderful aromas were wafting my way. I was starving. And salivating. The young boy brought my curry over, slopping some over the edge of the bowl into the rice. It was a thin yellow curry with tender chicken pieces still on the bone, ginger slices, chopped lemongrass stalks, chopped star anise (I think), bay leaves, chill & spices I couldn’t identify. I sent part on the first mouthful down my top. This is the same top that I spilt chocolate lava cake sauce on, since washed but a faint stain remains. Now I have a yellow one about 2cm from it. Beaut!
As the food orders died down, the chef made his rounds of the tables, asking what we thought of his cooking, and had we read Trip Advisor. Yes we all said. I told him his curry was very nice & that I really liked it.
After he returned to the kitchen, a motorbike came up through the aisle & disappeared up a very narrow steep incline behind the kitchen. Of course it did. It’s Bali. Why wouldn’t you ride your motorbike through the middle of a restaurant?
My walk back to the busy intersection was easier as there was a shorter queue of minivans & cars in the street. I stopped at the entrance of the palace to take a photo & got a lovely shot of some guy’s back pack as he walked directly in front of me to take his own photo. Rude much? His girlfriend was holding up a parasol, effectively blocking any decent view of the decorative internal gate doors so I gave up. I was getting swarmed.
I crossed the street in front of the market & made my way down Monkey Forest Rd. The market was under construction last time I was here & half of it closed. Looks like the renos were complete. I didn’t go in to investigate. I was more interested in finding somewhere cool to sit down for a spell to break my journey. I came upon a place called Chill Out Bar. It had huge built in sofa benches down two walls & ice cream parlour type tables & chairs in the centre. I went to the toilet there, which was a small freestanding building out the back. There was a hand blower by the basin. Really? We want a blast of hot air in this climate? So I stuck my hands under where is said auto & nothing happened. Fine, I’ll wipe my hands on my shorts. Back inside I sit on a sofa & order a vanilla milkshake. It comes out in a mason jar mug. I asked the waitress for the wifi password, got a signal but it wasn’t working. Just as I finished my drink, a man at the next table lit up a cigarette, the smoke drifting my way. I got up to move & as I pass the waitresses they thank me for coming. I’m moving, not leaving & I haven’t paid yet. As I relocated to another seat, a waiter came over to introduce himself & to thank me for coming. This was the bar’s opening day. As no one brought me a bill, I went up to the girl behind the cash register & said I have no bill but I had this to drink & paid, plus 10% of course!
Back out on the street I kept a keen eye on the footpath & soon came to the soccer field to the left. The footpath was even worse here, with a 1 metre drop on the left into the soccer field. There was a class of students on the field doing phys ed.
I came across the jewellery shop with the Larimer stone setting I liked. I went in & asked to see the pendant on display in the window. The piece was priced at over 3 million Rp! Yikes. The price tag for 800,000 that I had seen was for the necklace holding the pendant. It was very pretty. But sadly, out of my price range.
I’d written on my list to buy more data for my phone. I was down to a few mb, which won’t last the rest of the day. And there was tomorrow to think of too.
So I stopped in at Ubud Music shop & bought 50,000 Rp more credit for my phone. The shop assistant said they don’t sell data, however I recall seeing instructions online on how to convert call credit into data. I’ll give it a crack when I get back.
Back through the tunnel into the hotel, I am greeted by the reception staff. I’m hot & tired so make my way to my favourite chair on the patio overlooking the pool for a breather. There is a slight breeze every now & then which is very welcome.
I find the page online that describes how to convert call credit to data but the number I texted didn’t work. I copied & pasted the message I received upon trying it into my iTranslate app & tried the number in the massage. This looks more promising. The steps were different than described online, so I translated each option, then each page, writing it down as I went. And it worked! I’d converted 50,000 Rp credit into 600mb of data. I felt very proud of myself.
I didn’t realise how long I’d been sitting there involved in my own genius – it was 5:30pm already. I couldn’t be bothered tackling the stairs to my room & changing for dinner. I’ll go out as is, food stains and all!
I went to the Three Monkeys again. I apologise for not venturing forth more & trying different restaurants. It is my last night and I want a nice meal, and Three Monkeys is close to my hotel. I was seated in prime real estate – a table right next to the rice paddies. Perfect. after perusing the menu, I briefly consider having the prawn & feta pizza, but no – I order my usual: a summer berry granita & a chicken with young mango pizza. The young mango is like slivers of onion, with a slightly crunchy texture. It doesn’t taste at all like mango fortunately. I can’t recall whether I mentioned that I hate mango.
As I am eating, the sun starts to set & I notice a small bat flying around doing acrobatics above the rice paddies. He is soon joined by another bat. Although I’m not at all keen on bats or the prospect of having one caught in my hair, there is a certain beauty to their flight. Beauty or not, I keep a close eye on them to protect my hair.
After having a late lunch, a milkshake & an early dinner I quickly become full & struggle with the last few pieces of pizza. Miss Piggy has finally been defeated. I’m too full for dessert! Who’d have thought?
It is fully dark now. I pay my bill & free my lovely table for someone else to enjoy & return to my hotel.
I stop at the ATM out the front to withdraw some money and get rejected! What? Am I out of money? That’s concerning, wondering how far the remaining 48,000 Rp in my purse will get me tomorrow if I plan on eating.
Up the stairs to the walkway I can’t resist a peek at the restaurant to see if my table has been filled already. It has.
In my room it is blissfully cool & I lie down on top of my bed & check my bank account. My salary has gone in, thank God so I transfer some of it across ready for withdrawal tomorrow. I catch up with my emails, Facebook and writing & soon start to fade. I’m going to have a really early night tonight. It’s not yet 8:30pm & I can’t keep my eyes open. I retire to my bed properly & turn out the light.