Apr 2, 2009

Bali higlands and beach

(part 2)

- Ubud Market
Our main goal was to shop at the Ubud market and chill out at some street café or restaurant. So our first stop was that, the Ubud market. 

The prices were negotiable, but don’t even start to haggle if you don’t even mean to buy the stuff once the seller agrees to your request. They’d be so annoyed and grumble, but I guess it wouldn’t really matter much if you don’t even understand a word they’re saying :P 

- Cafes and Fish Satay
Then.. hunger struck. I get cranky when my growling stomach doesn’t get food immediately. So I strongly persuaded Mumun and Edo to find a place where we could  eat ASAP. We walked a bit to the Monkey Forest Avenue, which was very nice with the paving blocks and all. 

It turned out that in this area there weren’t many cafes with cheap food (oh we were so broke!). Most of the cafes and restaurants were selling western food for western tourists with western prices (we all know the average foreign tourists, especially the westerners.. and the Japs… have much more than the locals do).
Finally! We got to the end of a road, after walking quite a distance from where we parked our car. It was a local Balinese café selling various kinds of food, including local food with reasonable price. Phew! Was I happy or what! 

Then Bondy came and joined us for dinner. He told us when biking around he actually went past the real monkey forest, based of which the area is named, and saw some monkeys playing about. Good thing he didn’t pick a fight a monkey again, like what he did in Pangandaran, West Java :P 

Later on, we stopped by a street seller by the BCA ATM near the huge Arjuna statue (on a T-intersection of Ubud, Gianyar, and … oh I forgot what was the other direction) and got ourselves ten sticks of fish satay to munch on in the car. 

Fish satay is quite popular in Bali. You could have it in you Nasi Campur package, or have them separately. Onet also told us that you can get fish satay at a corner near Campuhan brigde or at the Senggol Market of Gianyar.
- The Balinese traditional house
Mumun and I had to use the toilet after the meal. It was at the back of the café, which was the house of the café owner. We got interested in the house because it was so original. Lucky us, the old man who owns the house was very kind and gave us a tour around the outdoor part of the house.
From this wise man we found out that a traditional Balinese house must have an area for praying purpose. And there are quite a lot of rules in arranging which shrine facing where etc etc...
From this tour as well, we concluded that Balinese are such peace lovers. The people do not keep grudges, not to mention revenge, specifically about the Bali bombing thing. They don’t see why they should hold grudges, instead they pray for better future and peacefulness.
Too bad I left my camera at the table, so I only captured the images of the home shrines in my mind. (Can we do telepathy?)
Kintamani is a highland at the center part of the island. I didn’t know it was that cold, I had to put on my jacket. Not thick enough, and I was wearing shorts. That’s what happens sometimes when traveling spontaneously, you’re not always ready with the right apparel. But that’s also the beauty of traveling, right? ;)

Nonetheless, Kintamani is a tranquil place with lovely sceneries of mountains, paddies, and lake. 

We were going for this popular spot to view the beautiful lake (err.. what was it actually you were looking for, Mun?) but failed to reach the place before dark. So we were happy enough with having dinner at this resto/lodge called Resto Apung (literally means Floating Restaurant) which has huts to dine in by the Lake Batur. 

The stray dogs were everywhere, some even resting under our hut. Oh, and they’re everywhere in Bali, too.
Amed Beach, a new finding for us!
After eating we discussed our next destination which was Amed beach and how to get there. For the next 4 hours or so, we were on the road again – Mumun behind the wheel and figuring out the direction with me and the help of the map, and Bondy sleeping in the backseat (talk about emancipation!).
It could’ve been easier and faster to get to Amed if only the street signs were a little bit clearer and if there were more people in the street to ask around. Unfortunately this part of Bali is not merely as crowded as Kuta, more over it was already dark. So we got ourselves making some wrong turns before finally arrived at Amed exactly at midnight.
We weren’t sure whether we should spend the night at a very low-priced yet decent motel – which we doubted to exist – or just sleep in the car somewhere. And we did the latter because most of the motels or hostels were already quiet and nobody was at the front desk. The only one that was still full of life at the terrace was packed with drunk guys playing guitars and offbeat singing, and a room wasn’t the only thing they offered us, but also arak (Balinese traditional alcoholic drink). Actually it seemed kinda fun to me, but we decided to just save our Rp 150,000 and parked the car near a beach beside a motel, and slept. The only problem with that, to me, was in the next morning when I had to do #2. But hey, be friendly and nice to the locals, and they’ll let you use their (doorless!) bathroom ;)
My friend Onet informed us about Amed. Apparently, not so many Indonesians have heard of this site, which is great, cos that makes it still quiet and peaceful (well, you know, Indonesians tend to travel in groups and make a lot of noise which would be so much fun for them but not really for others. I know cos I’m one of them sometimes). Many of the lodges were run or owned by foreign people, mostly European.  

After enjoying the morning beach view from a higher ground, witnessing fishing boats coming back to the shore, and socializing a little with some local kids, we decided to get some breakfast and start snorkeling right away. 

The food at Sama Sama café was relatively cheap, with a jaffle for only about Rp 12,000. 

We snorkeled at the beach by the café. They also rent out snorkeling apparels but we got our own, except Mumun had to rent a snorkel because hers was broken (she got it at Carrefour at Denpasar, just a day before that!!). 

The view underwater was amazing to me, I loooooved the variation of colors and shapes of the fishes. Some were with yellow stripes, some were with transparent fin, some were bigger, some were smaller, some were like painting palettes with colors dissolving into each other, and all were seen just a few meters from the shore line. 

The corals were quite hurting our feet, so it was a bit of a torture when walking to the other part of beach. (Gosh, I really should’ve bought a pair of water boots!) Nonetheless, the beauty that we saw underwater in the second spot was even more astonishing and was worth the feet pain :D

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