Ubud/Lombok | The Wallace House: Ubud/Lombok

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ubud/Lombok

Be prepared...this post is going to be long!  We've been busy, busy, busy!

Yesterday we arrived in Ubud around 10:30am.  We checked into our hotel, Taman Harum (see my FB album of Indonesia to see a picture of it - or google it because it is way cool looking) then hopped on the complimentary hotel shuttle to the center of Ubud.  We hit the famous Ubud market first thing and I left with some great souvenirs although I think I paid too much for a couple things.  Bargaining takes some getting used to.  After the  market we walked up and down the main street like a million times looking for something cheap to eat.  The problem with being in these touristy cities is that all the tourists want a nice restaraunt to sit and eat while we want the food stalls on the side of the road where a meal is like $1.  So sometimes we have a hard time.  We settled for a restaraunt that charged like $3 a meal which still is way cheap compared to America but still more than we budgeted for!  We shared banana juice (which is like thicker than juice but not quite as thick as a smoothie).  It was delish!  Tom had pork sate and I had chicken sate.  I wasn't a huge fan of the chicken sate they served me - the chicken sate Tom had in Kuta was much better.  Anyway, after lunch we wanted to go to Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) but we weren't sure how we wanted to get there.  Tom didn't want to pay for a taxi (they wanted to charge us like $9 to take us there and back and it was only a few miles away) and we couldn't find a bemo (mini bus thing) which would have been cheaper.  So we started walking.  Tom had mapped it and it was supposed to take 50 minutes walking but he only knew the general direction.  I didn't really like the idea of walking there but we didn't have much to fill our day anyway so we set out.  As we were walking we came across a procession - we weren't sure at first what the procession was for but then after like a million people passed us it was a mini parade! So we stopped to watch it - it was totally random and was just two huge float type things being carried by a bunch of men and then a ton of people walking in front, behind, and alongside.  Traffic was totally jammed up behind the parade and as we were walking by all of it there was a bemo!  The man called out to us to give us a ride and was only going to charge us $5 so we hopped in...thank goodness.  We had only walked about 20 minutes and it was SO hot.

The elephant cave was so beautiful!  It's another place where you have to wear a sarong out of respect to the Hindu religion.  There are a lot of really old statues and then of course the actual cave which is an elephant on the outside and then...a cave.  With some offerings for their gods.  There is also a fountain of "holy water" with these gods that water shoots out of.  The whole thing is hundreds of years old and so cool.  We somehow got stuck with a self-appointed tour guide when we walked into the elephant cave area.  He came and asked us where we were from (and people are fascinated when we say we are from America) and then he just started telling us all about the fountain of holy water then told us to go down so he could take our picture and then he made us wash our faces and hands with the holy water.  After that I thought he would be done showing us around but he took us to all the statues and the cave and was telling us tons of information...which could have been cool if we could have understood half of what he was saying.  We think he might have made up a lot of the information he was giving us (he's just another one of those guys who wants you to give him money) but we just went along nodding our heads and laughing when it seemed appropriate.  There is this really beautiful jungle at the elephant cave with waterfalls and a small rice terrace and so many beautiful trees and plants.  He walked us through and then up to an altar type thing where this old man wanted us to bow at his statue god.  It's pretty rude to tell people no so we just do it to go along and be polite.  After the journey through the elephant forest the old man told us we were done (meaning "give me my money now") so Tom was going to give him 2,000 rp which is equivalent to about 25 cents and the man just looked at it in his hand then looked back up at Tom seeming confused.  Both of us thought he was refusing the money but then he said "that is less than one American dollar."  Tom is thinking "uh yeah that's why I'm giving it to you" but instead he said "you want a dollar? I can give you a dollar."  And then the man said "Do you have $5?" and Tom said "no, this is all I have" handing him 10,000 rp which is a little over a dollar.  The man again just looked at it and said "that is all? that is not enough."  Tom gave him that anyway and we left.  What an ungrateful man!  We didn't ask for his tour of made-up knowledge and we didn't have to give him a dime!  We were both so shocked that he would tell us we weren't giving him enough money.  He wanted us to pay him as much as we were paying the guy who drove us to the elephant cave and back and more than we paid to get into the cave! We were both pretty mad at him but we didn't give him what he wanted so oh well.

After the elephant cave our driver took us back to the market where we walked through once more.  There were a few more things I wanted that I had now decided what price I wanted to pay for them.  So I bought a few more things and then we called our complimentary shuttle who took us back to our hotel.  We arrived back at Taman Harum around 5:00 and we took a dip in their gorgeous swimming pool.  It was so quiet outside and the pool was so incredibly blue and the water was the perfect temperature!

This post is going to be so totally random because I have so much to say but I'm not sure how to order it all.  So bear with me.  I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you about our hotel in Ubud.  Taman Harum is like a mini jungle.  There are trees, flowers, & plants everywhere!  They have lots of mini waterfalls and there are birds chirping through the whole area!  This is a motel-type place where all the doors to the rooms are outdoors.  There are a few cottages where people have their own whole little house with a balcony but we just had a regular room (if you can call it regular).  The doors were these intricately carved pieces of wood and they had these metal ring doorhandles.  You locked the doorhandles together with a padlock - who has even seen such a thing on a hotel!?  It was so different!  I have a picture that I will post here when I get home so you can see.  Anyway obviously you can't lock the padlock on the outside when you are inside the room so they just have a piece of wood that slides between the handles on the inside to secure the doors.  The room was really cool looking with the walls all made of different material (stone, brick, etc).  The service at Taman Harum was fantastic but our complaints would be that the bed was as hard as a rock (Tom didn't sleep after 4am and I've had a huge knot in my shoulder all day...ugh), there were a few mosquitos in the room (malaria!!) and the breakfast was not that great.  At our first hotel the breakfast was buffet-style and delicious.  At this hotel you placed your order from three options and it wasn't a whole lot of food and it wasn't all that great tasting...

Anyway - after swimming we went back to the room where we fell asleep for awhile (at like 6pm - go us) but then Tom woke me up around 8 because he wanted dinner.  We walked down to a warung where he had fried chicken and rice (and I had nothing - I'm not so in love with Indonesian food yet...I don't like meat or spicy things and they have a lot of both!)  I was also still full from lunch.  Anyway after that we went back to the hotel and slept.  Hahah - at 9pm.  Walking around all day exhausts you!

This morning we were up about 630am, packed up, had that not-so-delicious breakfast and caught a taxi to the airport for our 11:40am flight to Lombok.  We arrived at the airport around 9:30am and hung out for awhile.  it was so interesting because the Bali airport is so small and almost everyone boards their plane through the same gate.  While we were waiting to board our flight we must have seen people board for like 5 or 6 different flights through the same gate we were going to board through!  When it was our turn we went through the gate but then outside and then took a bus to the airplane where we just walked straight up the steps into the plane.  I thought it was pretty cool because I've never gotten on a plane before without walking through those connectors at the terminal.  It was pretty cool to just walk right up onto the plane.  It reminded me of "It Takes Two" where one of the twins walks right off the plane, down the plane steps.

Anyway, the flight to Lombok was about the scariest (and also the shortest, thank goodness) flight I have ever taken in my life.  It is only a 25 minute flight (yes, so short!) and there was turbulence the whole way!  Usually I don't mind turbulence (and in fact I kind of like it - it makes the plane ride more fun and more interesting) but 25 straight minutes of turbulence just was not my cup of tea.  Especially on such a little, tiny plane.  I was so afraid we were going down.  I tried to read the whole way to keep my mind off of it but when you are constantly dipping and swaying it's hard to keep your mind on anything else!

Once in Lombok we caught a taxi to our hotel, Sheraton Senggigi.  One word: BEAUTIFUL.  The hotel is luxurious and the grounds are lovely!!  The ocean is even closer to this hotel than our hotel in Nusa Dua.  You can see it SO clearly from our balcony and it is so beautiful!  It's about thirty steps from the outside of the building to the edge of the ocean.  Amazing.  As soon as we arrived we donned our swimsuits and headed right to the ocean where we enjoyed the warm, tropical weather and the gorgeous view of the ocean.  For lunch we walked down the road until we found another warung where we had fried chicken, tofu, and rice with sauce.  Tom liked it (he likes all Indonesian food, pretty much) but I thought the fried chicken smelled like the pig ears we feed our dogs which made it difficult to eat.  I didn't like the tofu and the sauce on the rice was too spicy for me.  But I have a small stomach and just a few bites filled me.  After lunch we hit some shops on the way back to the hotel and I found some lovely souvenirs (yay!).  Again I think I ended up paying too much for something but what's done is done.  You know you've offered too much when they accept it after a little bit of thinking.  It's when you really have to work them to get them to accept your price that you know you've done a good job of haggling.  Once they accept your named price though you are pretty much under obligation to buy it.  Darn.  Still a good price but not as good as I could have gotten, maybe.  After shopping we headed back to the hotel where we hopped in the pool for a swim.  The pool is like 8 feet away from the ocean (literally) and it's really cool because it is full all the way to overflowing and when you are far back it looks like the pool just runs into the ocean.  This pool at Senggigi is HUGE.  And I mean really huge!  Like you can't even imagine.  It's not any certain shape just this super large area of water (most of it is about 3.5 feet deep) and there are random islands in the middle with trees growing from them.  It's about the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life.  Plus there is a slide that is made from stone that is shaped like a giant face.  The slide comes out through the open mouth and the actual slide is the "tongue."  Again, I will post pictures later.  After swimming we lounged on beach chairs right by the ocean for awhile then watched the beautiful sunset.  Back to our hotel room we showered and relaxed for a few minutes then headed out to find another warung for dinner.  We found one that was SO PACKED which probably means such good food!  Tom had...I forgot..some chicken omelette and rice thing and I had fried noodles which we DELICIOUS.  Yay!  An Indonesian food I found that I like!  I asked for it with no meat (well Tom asked for it for me...in Indonesian) but somehow I still got meat in it.  It would have been even better without the meat but still it was very good!  We also shared avacado juice which Tom has been raving about for years.  It was good but I think it's an acquired taste.  I couldn't really decide how much I liked it.  It's another one of those juice/shake things and they mix in some chocolate syrup with the avacado.  I think it sounds weirder than it tastes but it is a totally different taste.

Anyway now we are back at the hotel and are going to watch a movie together before retiring for the night.  This hotel has American channels so we'll see if we can find something even though it's 8 in the morning in California.

Okay so there are a lot of random things I want to post about but they don't fit in anywhere really so I'm just going to type them randomly with bullet points.  I've been typing for awhile already and Tom is waiting for me to watch the movie so I might save some for tomorrow's post:

  • Stray dogs - they are EVERYWHERE and it makes me so sad.  They are just these skinny little things who all look so sad and wander the streets with their tails between their legs.  They are so used to the crazy busy life of Bali that they just will walk right in between all the tourists and will just stroll across the street with the crazy traffic.  People also let their domesticated dogs just roam the streets but you can tell the difference because a) the owned dogs have like bandanas tied around their necks to show ownership and b) the owned dogs are fatter and usually are trotting along with tails wagging.  So to give you an idea of how many strays there are, I counted one day while driving somewhere.  I counted for about 45 minutes and counted 15 strays.  This does not include any of the dogs who were roaming with the bandanas tied around their necks.  And this is only looking on one side of the road.  So sad!  I wish I could take them all home.  Today I wanted to take a picture of one so I could post it later so after we walked by one I turned around and snapped a picture but it saw me and apparently it thought that meant it should follow me so he started trotting alongside us.  You never know who has rabies so I shoo'd him and then I felt so horrible because he left with his head down and tail between his legs.  I didn't know he would think he should follow me!  I felt so bad!  Poor dog.  He was an especially cute one, too.
  • Everybody wants our money!  Seriously everywhere you go in these tourist towns people beg you to buy their stuff, take their taxi, etc.  This is what it always sounds like "Hello!  Hello, transportation? Hello! Where are you going?!" "Yes, lady, just looking.  Just looking.  What you want to buy? You want this dress?" - it's funny that they always say "just looking."  I don't think they know what it means.  I think a lot of people tell them "I'm just looking" and so they just repeat that.  They tell you to just look.  Hahahha.  And they always suggest what you should buy.  Sometimes they follow you begging you to buy something or take their taxi or book snorkeling through them, etc.  It gets annoying after awhile because they ignore the word "no."  They only stop when you have walked too far from their stand that they have to go back to man it.
  • Everybody loves Obama because he went to school here.  Almost every time we tell someone we are from America they say "Obama!"  Hahahha - and we just nod and say "yes."  We're counting how many say it and I think we are up to 5 in three days.  It's the first thing they think of.  Today we talked to some guys and we saw them a few times afterward on the street or on the beach (Lombok is small) and everytime we passed they would say "Hello! America! Barack Obama! Hello, America!"  I'm not sure why they call us America.  But it's comical.
Okay there are more things but I've been typing too long.  More tomorrow.  This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime journey.  We are loving our "holiday" as everyone here calls it!

Tomorrow we catch a flight back to Bali, wait in the airport for 5 hours (that's a story for tomorrow), and then hop on a flight to Jakarta where we will get a ride to Bogor where we will stay with a family from Tom's mission.  I'm tired just thinking about it...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reply to all comments here on the blog - make sure you check the "notify me" box in the bottom right-hand corner of the comment box to be sure you receive notification when I've replied to your comment! xoxo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...