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Cédric's Around the World Adventures Je pars en Asie pour 3 mois visiter le Vietnam, la Thailande, la malaisie, l'indonesie, l'Australie et le Japon...Tout un programme.

Ubud-iful !

INDONESIA | Monday, 9 February 2009 | Views [1502]

Yes, that's it – I have now moved on to a more authentic and still quite touristy part of the the Bali island. The place is called Ubud and is well known for its art, authentic balinese dance performances and its breath taking temples and rice fields sceneries.

On the way from Kuta, I met William, a very interesting guy from holland. We talked for long enough for him to tell me his story. Twenty two years ago, he embarked on a 10 months journey around asia. Near the end, he felt like he wanted to see and experience more. He decided to carry on travelling with no deadline date in mind. When he stopped, he had been going around the globe for 11 years. It is as if he gratuated of a PHD at the school of life. Sometimes, he had no money to buy food so he would grab his guitar and play on the street. Sometimes he would find a job for a month or two in order to put money aside and carry on travelling the world. There is only one day during his trip where he did not have enough to eat for the day. That's it. He said he stopped because he was growing older and did not have any kind of property and that nobody would want to take care of a penniless old man. Then, he decided to open a restaurant in Spain which he would never have dared to do before his travelling experience. One of his key beliefs was « Whenever a problem comes up, you always manage to find a solution » but it was easy to tell that he was not only believing this on the intellectual level but he also had integrated it in his personality. It is so rare to meet people who have decided to live their life off the beaten track and gone on to do what they really wanted deep down inside. His story is so inspiring – it helps to see the everyday life and petty worries in a different light.

Anyways, back to Ubud. As you'll see in the « Ubud-iful » gallery, I have taken about 300+ photos in three days. Every corner of every street has an interesting thing to see: a temple, a house with balinese ornementation, a wooden statues shop, a stylish café or a private art gallery. The funny thing is that there often are big holes in the sidewalk (yes, big enough for a daydreamer to fall into...), so you have to be mindful walking in the area.

The first day I walked around the city – taking heaps of pictures and trying to find my marks. I bought a ticket for a balinese dancing show – the style is « Bahrong » named after the name of the big dragon which appears in those shows. There are several acts in a row with different costumes and characters. The plot is often the war between white and black magic: the good versus the evil....you get the gist. I have a few videos that I will be uploading to my YouTube account (link at the end of this post).

The second day, I went on a tour to several temples and a volcano around Bali:

-First stop was Goa Gajah, the elephant cave temple. We stopped there for half an hour to explore the place. After going down a first set of step you arrive on a plateau with little temples and fountain statues. The next floor below takes you to a very green and beautiful scenery: with a waterfall, a pond with beautiful flowers, a very ancient tree with overdevelopped roots that surface in an intricate and arty pattern. Amazing !

-Then we went to the moon temple – nothing especially amazing there apart from a 2000 years old bell. The story says that it used to be a wheel from the moon's carriage and fell on earth. Despite, all the holiness of the place, the receptionist has a guest book in which people are invited to enter their name and nationality as well as the amount of their entrance donation. Our guide told us that they add zeros to the donation in order to influence people in giving more. Cute !

-Then we went to the Rocky temple which was the highlight of the day: a beautiful temple down 360 steps, carved in the rock in the middle of bright green rice fields. It was the most amazing thing I had seen so far in Bali. Again see the gallery for pictures of the place. Surely it would help, if I added comments to the pictures.

-Next place, was yet another temple: the holly spring temple where hindou people come to clean their soul. Was fun to watch and I almost felt like joining as the wheather was hot. Unfortunately, I did not bring my hindou traditional swimming gear.

-Next place was the view on the Batur volcano and lake. An amazing view on the valley with darker areas where the lava went down for the last time in the 80's. Despite the gray and cloudy weather, I still managed to take nice pictures – yet they'll certainly be unable to render the magnificence of the place.

-To finish off, the went to the Ulun Danu temple in Kintamani. A bit further up the road, is this temple. I got, litterally, aussaulted bychildren who kept insisting on having me to buy their souvenirs and post cards. Then at entrance of the temple, a women tied a sahrong and scarf around my waist (traditional and required clothing to get in the temple) and then asked for 100 000 Rupiah. This is a ridiculous price to ask for so I took off everything and proceeded to take the free ones provided by the temple in exchange of a modest financial donation. This is the kind of behaviour I have been noticing around Indonesia so far. It really makes me wonder about the level of desperation these people are going through. Sometimes, I start being playful and grab the first valueless thing I have and try to sell it to the over insisting merchant to a point where they realize how pointless it is and start laughing with me. When I am tired, I really get pissed off and start ignoring them blatantly even when they try to get in my face. Only once, I had tell this guy to buzz off after he followed us on the street of Bangkok for 30 minuttes trying to take us to his shop.

A the end of the day I went to a raw food restaurant opening which happened to be a pretty fly party. The food was light and I got to try some new tastes and recipes for free. There also was a bar and a dancefloor. I was there to meet a girl from couchsurfing.com. In a few minutes I was talking to this airplane pilot half swiss, hald canadian who was there to visit Natacha a french girl who spends 6 months per year in Paris and the rest of the in Bali. We ended up being a little group heading to the « Three monkeys » restaurant and then to a local bar for an open mic evening. Was awesome and everyone was really friendly.

The next day I hired a scooter (for something like 3 euros the afternoon) and drove around Ubud's surroudings – I felt really free and surprised by how easy it is to drive around here. Yes, the road is sometimes in bad shape, dogs are walking around paying no attention to cars and some drivers around here (just like anywhere else) are a little crazy. As a result, a scooter is not the best option for sightseeing unless to take a break whenever you see something interesting. In the evening, I had dinner with Natacha, who is a really interesting and friendly person: she is a bit of an artist (you can check her art at http://artcircle.wordpress.com. A big big cockroach fell off the roof on my head and then on the side my plate as we were eating...YUCK !

Time to move on. I was planning to go to Lombok but for some unexplained reasons, the place seems to unreachable by boat for at least a week. So, I decided to change my plans. I am now waiting to take a taxi to Kintamani where I tried to arrange to go on a nightime trekk on the Batur Volcano for several days. Unfortunately, I need someone to go with me, or I have to pay for two persons. I figured that if I go there I can fnd a local guide who will take to the top of the volcano for very little money. I will let you know how it goes !

Until next time !


PS: the link to my youtube channel : http://www.youtube.com/ImproV1980

Tags: bahrong, bali, indonesia, scooter, temples, ubud



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