Indon XVI: Ubud-–-the land of fine arts

It’s said that Ubud is famous for arts – and it’s absolutely true as I saw plenty artistic handicraft shops all the way to the city. I knew we’ve entered the city judging from the amount of tourist buses and the intensity of people there!

Oh well, I am not surprised with the amount of people there as the road is aligned with shops on the both sides! Even I would want to enter those shops just to check their goods out though I was almost penniless. Lol.

Mr. van driver turned left into a smaller road and stopped at the side of an open hall – I think the open hall is used for show performances since there’s a big stage there.

We got down from the van and crossed to small road to a high rise bricked wall with beautiful Balinese carvings.

We walked through the opened red wooden doors and wondered where we were as we saw in front of us is a beautifully decorated garden with a small stages for performance and musician.

Yoga explained to us that we were in Puri Saren Agung’s courtyard – which is the home of Ubud King; but now it’s occupied by the descendants of the last ‘king’ of Ubud.

Upon hearing that, everyone was excited and hoped to see the descendants or even enter the palace. To our hope and expectation, there weren’t anyone there except for us.

The stage – as he continued is where the beautiful dancers would perform legong dance every Monday’s and Saturday’s night.

It was Saturday when we were in Ubud but I didn’t know why we didn’t watch the show. Or I think I heard him wrongly – instead of Saturday, I heard he said Wednesday? Hmm.

So we did what we do best – take plenty of photographs at the courtyard.

:(

There’s this one particular wall with a big carvings of Kali. Yoga told us on the story of Kali – which I can’t really remember now. I knew I forced myself to remember this story in my mind as I plan to write about it but now – I can’t as I already forgot! 

Yoga gave us few hours to explore the place on our own. I wanted to walk to the famous shops and markets but Sat told me there wouldn’t be enough time to do so.

Since David suggested trying their babi guling at this famous shop, Ibu Oka opposite the Puri Saren Agung as recommended by his friends – I was thinking why not?

So all 13 of us walked into the restaurant – and found ourselves sitting crossed legs facing the wall at the side table. Initially we thought of waiting for the long table in the middle of the restaurant so that all of us could sit together, but we didn’t have much time to spare there. So we just grabbed whatever table that’s available.

The restaurant was so crowded and packed until there were customers standing outsides waiting for their tables. Luckily we were 1 minute ahead of them, or else we would be the ones standing outside. Lol.

We looked up at the BIG menu board on the wall and were thinking on what to order. Sat and I decided to share a plate since we were going to go for dinner soon. After all, we just wanted to try this local delicacy.

When the food came, we were impressed. It looked delicious, and we can’t wait to sink our teeth into the meat. Quickly I wiped the cutleries with tissue paper, scooped up a spoonful of rice with a small slice of meat and brought that spoon into my mouth… and bit them.

Delicious – the taste isn’t that bad. However I think this dish is rather overrated as many people claimed that babi guling is mind-blowing and a must to try. True, it is a must-try-dish, but no, it didn’t blow my mind away.

Maybe both Sat and I put such high expectation on this dish. You know, when expectation isn’t meet, disappointment and criticism ensued and one of the funny remarks was “char siew fan could win this hands down!

We quickly finished our plate of babi guling and teh es – Sat ordered two as he was super duper thirsty, but I think he was addicted to that drink; went to the cashier and paid 44.000 Rupiah (RM16.28) and brought ourselves a bottle of 1.5 litres water (4.000 Rupiah = Rm1.50) from the convenient store next to Ibu Oka since our water supply was running low.

The store was playing the song I heard in Candi Mendut so when I was paying for the water, I asked her on it. She took out a CD from the display racks and passed it to me. She told me the song isn’t the Balinese, but Sulawesi. Then she pointed to another 2 CDs where she claimed they are the Balinese songs.

I turned to the back of the CD to look at the title – which then made me feel dumb as I didn’t know the songs in the CD, moreover the song titles! To make myself feel and look less dumb, I looked at the price. It was affordable, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy this as my Rupiah is running low. So, I passed back the CD to the lady, smiled and said Thank You before leaving out the store.

The rest joined us seconds after we got out of the store. Then we walked to the open hall as some of us wanted to use the loo, which is located at the side of the stage. While they relieving themselves, we took pictures of the hall and realized that we were being watched by the locals. Maybe we acted too jakun to get the ‘watch’. Lol.

Yoga soon came to us and asked if we were ready to go. Since we got nothing much to do and we can’t go elsewhere since we have time constraint, so we smiled meekly and said yes. While waiting for the van to come, I took pictures of the surroundings.

And then I couldn’t stop noticing the two ladies across the road.

Or should I say, I can’t lift my eyes of the white top they were wearing.

The white top they wore akin to our kebaya top, but I just feel that I had to own one. So, I asked Yoga where can I find that top.

Yoga looked at the ladies I pointed to. Then he said, “Oh, that top needs 2-3 days to ready.”

Surprised, I asked if I could get one off the shelf, and disapprovingly he said no. He said those types of blouse are tailor made and very comfortable to wear.

Saddened, I continued taking pictures of the surrounding until the van arrived.

Then we were brought to our accommodation for the night.

In the van, Yoga told us about our accommodation upgrade and even showed us where we supposed to stay (The Abangan Bungalow) as we were passing through that place. Then the van turned left into a secluded area and soon the van pulled to a stop after turning into left again.

We got down, took our backpacks and walked towards the lobby. We were greeted warmly by the hotel workers and Sat quickly went to settle our room registration. I was lazy to move about and just sat at the long wooden bench since my tummy cramped due to period. The rest were happily snapping away, and exploring the places.

By the way, the place we were staying at is Sri Ratih Cottage, a very nice looking hotel with great swimming pool.

Yeah, SWIMMING POOL!

I don’t understand why on earth the period has to come when I was vacationing?! I was super excited upon seeing the pool and then it hit me, I can’t jump into the pool! @#$&(*&!

Sat then passed us our keys to our rooms and Sat and I went to have our welcome drink first before going to our rooms to wash up for dinner.

And omg, the room is so nice! The room is spacious;. There were rose petals on the bed, very romantically done!

I thought only the room is spacious. Little did I know the bathroom is big too! It’s big that I think 20 people go in comfortably. Haha!

Since I stayed at the upper floor, there’s a balcony and the view from the balcony is fantastic (it overlooks the pool)!

To be frank, I wasn’t expecting all these as we were on a backpack trip. For me, to have a clean and comfortable bed is sufficient, BUT to have such a wonderful room in our trip is truly like a cherry on top of a sundae ice cream!

To be continued…