Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monkeys and even more fecking dolphins

Wednesday 18th June and we were up for breakfast and packed, ready to leave Kuta at noon.
Kuta is the touristy seaside resort here in Bali, where all the surfers travel to from Australia and also the booze tourists, to spend all their dosh in the bars and clubs that line the main street here. We are heading north to a small town called Ubud. It is still quite a touristy town, but based around Balinese traditions and art, plus the famous monkey forest. It is about 40km north of Kuta and took us just over an hour to reach the town from Kuta in a car.

We were pleasantly surprised by our hotel here 'Champlung Sari', it cost us about £20 a night each, but has two bog swimming pools, free wifi and a really good room, wit a massive bathroom, with shower and bath.



After settling in and a quick dip in the pool me, Nikki and Anna Marie took a walk around the town, visiting the really quaint market that has stalls of traditional Balinese stuff and also looking through the shops and restaurants that line the main streets here. We also spent a good hour in the monkey forest, the main tourist haunt here. We watched as the monkeys were fed and also had them climb all over us all as they tried to steal our watches, cameras and one even managed to grab Anna's coke bottle, unscrew the lid and drink the remains of the coke in side. They were really cool and it was a lot of fun in there.

We got changed and headed out for dinner later on, to a restaurant called 'Three monkeys'. The food was awesome and the restaurant, overlooking the rice and paddy fields, was just great too. We all enjoyed a good meal and a few beers before we headed across the road to a really cool bar, where there was a dude playing live guitar and singing everything from Britney spears to U2. He was really good and did his own great versions of all the songs we shouted at him to sing. Later on he came and joined us for a drink and a chat before we headed home to bed, a little bit drunk, but having had a great day. No more shall be said about Nikki being 'ill' on the table and in the street on the way home, just to say that her dinner looked just as good when we saw it for the second time.

On Thursday we all had a good lie in and spent most of the day around the pool, before heading out to dinner at another really cool restaurant overlooking the paddy/rice fields again. This one had an even better view than yesterday and really good food again.

It was then a short walk to the Ubud 'Fire dance', a Balinese show, where the locals sing and chant while a story is told in dance, about the monkey king and what he gets up to. There were lots of bright colourful costumes and at the end a bloke dancing as a horse, who jumped through a fire and then kicked it all over the stage, towards us in the audience and then stamped and danced on the hot coals. At the end he sat, tired out on the stage, showing his blackened feet. It was a really good show and a really good evening out.

In the morning it was time for another move, even further northwards. First though was breakfast, which was really good. Not just the food, but the monkeys coming through the open air restaurant in the hotel, trying to steal the food and being chased by the waiters and hotel staff.

We got a car up to the north coast, to a really chilled out resort called Lovina. On the way we were driven through lots of small Balinese villages and hundreds of rice and paddy fields growing by the roadside and up the hills in to the distance. We drive around a volcano, which unfortunately was covered in cloud and reached our hotel just after lunchtime. It is a great place with a seaview balcony overlooking the ocean, where I am sitting writing this now as the sun goes down over the horizon. In the evening we had a good,cheap local meal at one of the local restaurants before hitting a bar and spending the next two hours telling the local band what siongs to sing.

After a good nights sleep in the hotel we got up and went back into the local town, to a hotel that boasts a Dolphin show and lots of other animals. Anna Marie has always wanted to swim with dolphins and so, after a bit of bartering over whether there was space or not, she spent 20 minutes in the saltwater pool. Swimming with Johnny and the other, bigger dolphin, whose name we couldnt understand and was in Balinese. We the had a swim in the hotels 'human' pool before watching a pretty good dolphin show, for under £4.
The rest of the afterbnoon was spent snoozing on a massive pagoda overlooking the Indian ocean before after sunset, we headed back into town for dinner and a couple of beers before walking the mile or so home again and a reasonably early night. Lovina and Ubud have been great. We have seen a lot of the island of Bali, certainly a lot more than 90% of tourists, who just stay in Kuta for the sea, surf and sex. We now have a trip back to Kuta tomorrow and a full day of relaxing by the pool before Singapore later this week.

Rice fields view at dinner

The fire dance

The fire dancer, with burnt feet afterwards

Rubbish, broken dolphin statue

At the dolphin pool

Sunset on the pagoda

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