Bali June 2013 - Day 3- Happy Birthday Karen.
Weather report.... Its WINDY this morning.... really windy. Damn Chillis
The day started pretty much like the rest, me up early, but this time suffering badly from the chilli the night before. Little sleep the past few nights, a hard bed, and a desire mightier than a packet of Mars bar flavoured Pods for the use of my own pillow, saw me puffy eyed and delirious. Hence the mess up with currency conversion, that will no doubt plague these reports throughout the week.
The wonderful villa staff came in around 8am to make us breakfast. This morning it was toast and jams along with a scrambled egg concoction that had very fine pieces of crisp vegetables stirred through it. Fresh watermelon juice and freshly cut fruit also lay on the table for all 8 of us.
After breakfast, we had until around 11.30 until I had arranged a minivan to take us all out on our day trip for Karens birthday. Karen and Scott are very dear friends of ours and also business partners in one of our ventures, they have also travelled with us to Vegas in the past, and are generally the first people to put up their hands when I plan any kind of adventure. I had been in touch with Adrienne from Villa Madu over the previous months to get her feedback and help in planning something special for the day.
Karen and Scott left a bit earlier and were dropped off at the Monkey Forest with the plan to walk back up the hill and meet up with the rest of us later. We just sat around the villa, feet in the pool, listening to the dulcet tones of Mr Honda chainsaw who started on the dot at 9am.
11.30 saw us all numbing the audible pain with a couple of home bought beers and a trial of the new Ice Glacier MIX MATCH vodka drinks.... For your info, these are really nice, not too sweet, and around 15000 each if you buy a case.
On the bus... We headed off to find K & S who were parked in the 3 Monkeys having an ice coffee. Scott had sent me an SMS a few moments earlier letting me know he had found the Holy Grail.... $1.40 Bintangs in UBUD. Next door to the 3 monkeys is where you will find them. Scott's leading the BINTANG Index at the moment with that score.
The next part of the trip, once the bus driver had pulled over, and stopped half the islands traffic flow, was to head to a place called Rapuan Cili in MAS Village, not far from UBUD. I had asked for input on nice places to go eat, and until the day before, had us all heading to Sari Organik in the rice fields for lunch. Micko has been to Bali a few times, and mentioned a place he had seen a few years back that had reasonable food, but more importantly, had swimming pools as well, and was also buried in the rice fields. Rapuan Cili.
It took around 20 mins to get there by bus, and if you didn't know about it, you would never find it, its off a side road on JL Mas. It gets an average write up on Trip Advisor, but it's not bad for what we wanted.
It's a very large building, 2 storeys and sits overlooking a plethora of rice paddys. The pools below are blue and warm. The top floor gets a nice breeze too and is fully open to the elements. The food, is generally Indonesian, of average quality and is priced a little higher than the local warungs. It gets called a tourist trap on TA and you can tell from the cars in the car park, that a few drivers will be getting kickbacks for bringing their clients here. Beers were $3.40 for small BINTANG if that's any indication. We bought the bigger bottles at $5 that seemed better value. Be warned though, they don't sell any spirits, only Hattens wine and a small selection of beers. The food was ok, but nothing great. Highlight was Scotty's Balinese chicken, and Hugo's pizza of all things. The pizza oven downstairs is wood fired and in the shape of a turtle. Total for lunch inc drinks was about $20 a head.
After lunch we went down the stairs, ordered some more cold drinks, and headed for the pool. So so warm. so nice. We spent about an hour down there, at no extra cost (unless you want a towel.... thats 7000 Rupiah). It was so nice to laze around in the sun with a great bunch of mates and a full belly.
We then hopped back into the bus, after playing with a black pet monkey out in the car park. He was so cute, and his facial features were so animated. I JUST LOVE MONKEYS ! He was chained up, or he’d be in my backpack right now !
We then headed back to the bottom of Ubud, in the hope of finding the girls a spa treatment, as Adrienne had asked me to keep everyone out of the villa whilst they prepared the place for the party (more on that soon). Every single spa, at 4pm, was FULL ! UGH.. this part of the plan was not coming together. Zen looked the pick of the bunch, but the number of shoes at the door indicated that they were well and truly booked out. For the next 2 hours we wandered around, shopped at COCO and had another drink and nibbles at one of the local places on Monkey Forest Road.
When we got back to the Villa at 6pm, the staff had lined the paths with Frangipani flowers and put up heaps of decorations in the garden. There was also a 3 person Bali musical group playing on the lawn. The table was stacked with a mountain of food, all gorgeous Indonesian delicacies including cripsy tempe, Balinese chicken pieces, hot and spicy vegetable, noodles, fishcakes etc etc. Nurdi, had done an amazing job. The centrepiece was a huge cake of Gold Rice, and the top cone went straight onto Karens plate for good luck. After dinner, 2 Barung dancers arrived and gave us all a lovely dance show. Everyone except Debbie and Karin hopped up to join in at one stage or another, and I am sure the photos and videos will make there way around the Internet. I had also ordered a cake for Karen, and they even managed to ALMOST spell her name right with HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAREN on top. It was a Black Forest ordered from one of the local bakerys and it was yummy.
Mick and Deb had been invited to a wedding and teeth filing ceremony starting at 7am in Uluwatu, so after dinner they packed up and headed down with a driver. It was going t be a long night for them. The rest of us, sat around and chatted, had a couple of drinkies and then headed to bed. I am still exhausted writing this, and hope the beds and pillows at Villa Kampung are more suited to my odd shaped body. At least we will be able to fully unpack, stock up at Bintang Supermarket, and relax on the 8 person daybed.
In reflection, I like Ubud a lot, but not as much as I like Seminyak. I guess the hills here, annoy me a bit. Walking is a lot harder than down on the coast, and there is not the choice of villas we have on the coast. I am a city boy at heart , and I am sure the Bali purists will go ‘tut tut’ at me when I criticise the place. I dont get into all the ‘spiritual’ stuff that this place is famous for, my wifes the crazy Shaman in our family. I like a good quality feed, a cheaper Bintang and crazy arsed streets filled with Bluebird cabs. Its a pain getting around Ubud unless you have a scooter or a car, and then its painful trying to park. I am really looking forward to my large villa compound, my pool and the beach 10 mins walk away to sit in an afternoon amongst the crowds watching the sun set.
The adventure continues tomorrow............