Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Asian Adventure 19 :: 31 Dec '10 -4 Jan '11 :: Bali

For New Year this year, we decided to go it alone and enter the territory of Eat, Pray, Love. Ubud welcomed us with a deluge - we even had to roll up our trousers just to reach our room. Why oh why did we opt to stay amongst the rice paddies?

8 pm until ALL PASS OUT

As is often customary in centres of tourist exploitation, we were charged a hefty US$75 each for the New Year Dinner & Dance. Not a drop of alcohol was served. The food came at a rate of knots and given the fact that we're just not that in to Balinese 'dance' music, we had retired to our four poster bed to watch films by 10.30 pm. Nice.

Ubud is full to bursting with handicraft shops. Should you be searching for a mosaic plate, wood carving, wind chime or garden furniture, you need look no further. And if your aural senses are heightened by the smooth groove of Ethnic Lounge, then you should seriously consider moving there.

A trip out to Tegallalang (organise it through your hotel) is a must for the quintessential photos of the tiered rice terraces and as long as you are up to date with your rabies injections, you should not fear a stroll through the Monkey Forest.

Just avoid the idiotic people who insist on 'hand-feeding' the monkeys (unless you consider having a monkey jump on your back and bite your face and shoulder in a frenzied attack on the hand-held banana a fun experience).

Cafe Lotus and Indus were other treats along the way before splashing out on a supreme tasting menu at Mozaic. It was a delectable journey, each dish captured by the three diners on the table next to us on their mobile phones. There's nothing like a bunch of food bloggers taking photos from all angles of their own and their companions' dishes to distract from the peaceful enjoyment usually associated with fine dining.

Our driver told us that the last five years had seen a marked increase in traffic in Ubud. Given the sheer number of EPL's (a.k.a. single, white females re-discovering 'life') clinging to local motorcyclists and the more daring ones going it alone, I can only predict that Ubud's roads will become more and more gridlocked. I dare say the number of 'mixed race' babies being born in Bali will no doubt see a spike too.

Ubud is certainly a peaceful alternative to the busy beaches of Seminyak. Of the few large hotels, many are hidden from view down sheltered approaches so a lot of the area still has a village feel. A village selling all manner of homewares imaginable, nonetheless. Shop, Sleep, Sloth.

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