Saturday, 22 June 2013

Bali June 2013 - Day 9 - Uluwatu day trip

Bali June 2013 - Day 9 - Uluwatu day trip

Rise and shine, today is ULUWATU DAY. Which means the drivers will be here around 9.30 to take us down the peninsula for the day.

Litsa and I got up early, did some work to make sure our businesses were still functioning and staff happy, and we set off on the bike to find some breakfast. She had hassled me for Nasi Goreng to eat, so of course, as we exited the alley onto Drupadi, I found the one and ONLY place that didnt serve it. BESTEST CAFE.. wow.. a fusion of Greek and Indonesian Food. Ummmmm..... thats never going to work for a woman with Cypriot upbringing right ?  The only thing they were ‘bestest’ at, was making coffee. I wont bore you with details, but yet another swearing under the breath episode occured, and Litsa only ate 4 mouthfulls of her ‘Full English’ before openly swearing at me again. Every year this happens, and I am sure it brings us closer together right ???

Back to the Villa. Everyone else is eating in house, and LOVING it... Litsa recounts how much of a bastard I am to everyone...just for good measure, and we sit and wait for the drivers to show up.

Its hot now.. and humid. So we crack a Mix Max drink for good measure. Its after 9am after all. One drivers early and ones late. Mick had arranged these guys, and Wayan, one of them is a real character. He is such a nice guy, he was the one who invited Mick and Deb to his sons wedding and daughters teeth filing (which seems like weeks ago).

Off we go. Off to Uluwatu. The trip down is without incident. The roads eerily empty at this time of day, and the its a lovely trip down in the 2 cars. The hilly farming areas are a stark contrast to Ubud, where Rice farming seems the norm. Up here, where there is less water flowing, it seems cattle and livestock are the go. Little Villages with interesting Warungs and outlets line the road. I am loving the trip. I snap my neck a few times trying to take it all in. Bali really is such a cultural shock for some people when they get here. I am well travelled, but there is always something that has me going..... WHAT THE ?  every 5 minutes.

Litsa loves Monkeys !

Our first stop is at the Monkey Temple and sea cliffs. I am first out the bus and bounding off to pay my entry fee. A lovely smiling Balinese chap reminds me I need a Sarong for my pasty white chicken legs, and he proceeds to feel me up... OH HANG ON... put my Sarong on. The rest wander over and he does the same. Mick stands back and bit, and has this... “Wayne.. what you doing ?”   kinda look on his face.  The lovely chap is now offering to guide us through the show, and will protect us from the ‘scary monkey’ with his rubber slingshot. OH GOD !!  I have been railroaded and snookered by a Local.  DAMN !!!  Micks laughing, but reminding me that now I am going to be up for 100,000 Rupiah at the end for the 8 of us going through. All I needed was Mick and the huge stick he had found, and I could have saved us all 5 Bintangs !!!  Oh well.. too late now, this guys sticking to me like Araldite. He was very friendly though, and kept reminding me how much I should pay him at the end for doing his job. 

Last year, it was pack rape Monkey style at Ubud. This year.. the little darlings were way smarter. Both Litsa and I bought bananas, just for the fact we wanted to steal a monkey, and of course you need BAIT... Bananas are good bait for monkeys.. trust me on this. They know if you have bait.. cough... I mean bananas in your pocket, and they will stay with you all day if needed. We got some really cool video and photos of both Litsa and I trying to steal the monkeys, but in the end, the hessian sack we brought with us, was just too small for the really fat cute one we wanted............... you know I am joking right ?   Of course we brought a bigger sack. SHEESH !

No really. We didnt steal one, the man shadowing me for his 100K kept pretending the fire his catapult, and the little darlings wouldn’t come close after we emptied our pockets of bait. I did see one monkey steal a ladies thong (flip flop) and run up a tree with it. An ‘attendant’... or really.. just a lady who trains monkeys to steal your stuff... offered to get the thong back for $$$, and she bribed the monkey with more bait. BANG... thong back on foot. Truly, the monkeys here are way more evil than the Ubud monkeys. Decision is made, we are back in Ubud next year to steal one from there instead.

Back in the bus and 100K lighter, thanks to Mr Slingshot, and off to Blue Point Villas we go. Mick and Debbie have been here a few times before, and we have always looked at the photos and wished we were there with them. It costs $24 to go. This includes a choice of set lunch, and use of the amazing infinity edge pool that overlooks the Uluwatu Surf Break. The food was OK for the money. Tasty, but with limited choices. My Mei Goreng was very tasty though, and funnily enough, Karin said her Spag Boll was awesome. Beers here were... wait for it........ AUS$3.75 each. You would normally lose me there, but it was so hot and humid with the offshore breeze, I sucked it up and sucked back about a dozen over the afternoon. I hate getting ripped, but the location is about as good as one can get for a seaview on the planet. I am constantly reminded... Location Location Location. When I get around to adding this page to my blog, I will post some shots. IT WAS AWESOME !!

Most of the crew hung around the pool, but I got adventurous. I followed the path down the cliff and .................. had one of my Bali highlights !  The whole way down, as the path meanders steeply are warungs, surf shops, more warungs and beer outlets. You get all the way to the bottom and there is the most amazing cave, that the surfers swim through to get to the surf. IT IS AMAZING !  if I say that... make the effort to get down there please. I don’t want to be the only stupid bastard who huffed and puffed his way back up in the 38 degree heat and almost died !! 

I fell into the pool... collapsed. Ordered a Bintang and sat and watched my crew laugh at me because of the colour of my face ( VERY RED) and then my body... (VERY WHITE). 

The rest of the afternoon we just sat by the amazing pool, and watched about 5 or 6 weddings process through the chapel behind us. I have never seen a queue for weddings before, but this place sure has it sorted. Got some great photos of Japanese and Singaporeans on their special day. 

In the cars.. head back.. WORST TRAFFIC EVER !  Sunset alone took an hour to navigate about 4 KM. Crazy stuff. I keep saying Bali is DEAD at the moment, but the roads in the afternoon are chaos. And I mean CHAOS !  best avoided if at all possible.

When we got back to Villa Kampung. The call was made to get down to the Legian Beach that Mick and Deb frequent and go visit Billy and his crowd on the sand for Sunset. Litsa decides, tonight is her WFN.. That “Wayne Free Night” and she will go to a spa, and then have dinner by herself somewhere and then bed early. I go with the rest on the bike (with Jodie on the back) down to Legian Beach. We have the obligatory grilled corn ( I had 2), that are so absolutely addictive its just not funny. Scotty and Karen order Bokso Chicken as well, to give the local snack a try, and we park ourselves in front of Billys fridge to watch the sunset and drink some beer and Mix Maxes. We then, as usual, attracted around 40-50 beach hawkers (well it felt that way), and even I ended up paying $5 for a back and shoulder massage. My strict ‘ NO BEACH PAYMENTS’ policy went by the wayside. It was a fun afternoon, and Jodie even got her hair braided. It took so long, we were the last people on the beach and they were finalising it under the glow of Billys fridge !

We then went on the hunt for a Wood Fired Pizza. The only one I knew was at Santa Fe Bar and grill in Drupadi.. so after a quick fuel stop, we ended up there for dinner.  Pizzas all around, except for Jodie, who had the most excellent nachos. While the pizzas took forever to cook, they were.....excellent.  The owner came up and apologised as he had ‘short staff’.... after 2-3 Caprioscas, I told him he should get taller ones, as I wanted my bloody pizza quicker.  It was a great meal and the music was OK.

NOW... I have seen and read all the posts about scooters in Bali. And I write this with much trepidation that like those before me, someone will slam me for my attitude. I am 48 years old. I often get called Peter Pan, but I rarely rarely if ever take a risk in my life (except maybe financially). Getting a scooter in Bali was a huge step for me. All of my friends ride bikes for fun on the weekends, ME... I have never considered it fun. Riding a scooter here has become one of my favourite things to do as far as a Bali trip goes. It will be the very first thing I do next time I get here... run off and book my scoopy. 

My plan after dinner, was to duck down the alley besides Santa Fe and go home to join Litsa. The rest then decided they wanted to ride down to Legian to Billys (Micks fave hangout) and have a sing and a drink. Jodie needed a lift down, so to save her a cab, I offered to ride her down, and then she could get an OJEK home (They drive you home on the back of their bike). Everyone took off, and as it was dark, and generally much less traffic, neither of us put a helmet on.... I know.. I know.. STUPID. However, the helmets given too us are pretty useless anyways as protection. I am an extremely careful driver on the scooter. The Balinese, see a foreigner like me, and they generally keep clear and give me advance notice with a blow of the horn as to where they are. Its a thrill, sure, but I dont feel unsafe, even as a relative novice. Heading down JL Seminyak, we go to Double 6, and not 30 seconds before, Jodie says to me... why are we the only people without helmets on. I was starting some diatribe about how Peter Fonda didnt need one in Easy Rider, when ..... there he is... Mr Fat Jolly policeman with the Red lit wand waving me down.............. OH DEAR !

The rest, with their helmets, not 20 meters ahead.. were NOT waved down. There is a lesson there for someone hey ?

So... I pull over, and as quick as I can, I empty my wallet, except for 100K and put the rest in my pocket before MFJP (for short) can see.

He comes over to the bike, all smiles. Asks me for my registration and license and I go to get the rego from the bike, then remember my International License is still in the Villa. Hmmmm whoops.  We then have a pleasant chat about the lack of helmets, the lack of license, and how beautiful Bali is, and if I am on my honeymoon, and then he says with a huge apologetic look... he has to write me a ticket. We head for his car, he opens the door, steps behind it, and Mick walks over........... Micks been here a few times. He knows the drill. No real details needed, but I am 100,000 Rupiah down and feeling a little sheepish.

Helmets on. I drop Jodie off at Billys and head home to the Villa. Litsa is all  “ Oh Babe” when I tell her we are now down 5 more Bintangs for the rest of the trip due to my stupid 5 minutes of channeling Peter Fonda..................

OK.... Back to the rental of scooters. Make sure you have an International Drivers license. This will at least allow you to claim on any insurance if you have a mishap. Do not be afraid of hiring a scooter. If you have been here a few times, you will know the drill with the traffic. Don’t attempt to drive long distances. The scooters are invaluable for getting to Bintag Supermarket, dinner, the beach etc... they do not replace cabs for long trips, or for me... trips into Kuta. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.... obvious really. But it will save you getting pulled over, and fined. Always have your wits about you. For months last year, I was terrified about the Monkeys in UBUD due to reports on Tripadvisor.... they were wrong too.  If you are smart, conservative, Scooters can make a huge difference to your holiday. If you think thats garbage, please stick to the Taxis, but do not judge those who want to have fun....its hardly at your expense.

Night.. Its time for bed.

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