We got into Ubud at Noon and wandered around, it was much more pleasant as there is a major difference in the lack of pushiness. There are a few people saying “transport” and “massage” but generally they do it while sitting down relaxing with friends, not in your face.
Our bungalow this time was without air conditioning (we’re experimenting). The bed was a beautiful, carved, 4-poster and the sliding glass doors looked out onto a little terrace. At night they come around and light a mosquito coil in front of your door and turn down the bed, and in the morning they serve you free breakfast on your terrace. There was also a very well-maintained pool which I took full advantage of. Not bad for $11 a night!
The town center has 4 main streets: Monkey Forest Road, the one parallel to that and 2 perpendicular. The Monkey Forest is obviously on Monkey Forest Road – which is where we headed after lunch. Inside the forest, which is a reserve with only a small stone wall around the outside, some monkeys greet you at the gate and on the street outside, and if you buy a bunch of bananas (like Jacob did), they follow you and jump to get them. We saw one poor little girl lose her whole bunch as soon as she walked in the gate!
The grounds are beautiful with carvings everywhere and huge banyan trees dwarfing everything. The monkeys stick to the main tourist paths and only bother people with food.
The monkey tamers here will get a monkey to sit on your lap, they don’t seem to encourage the cheekiness (like glasses stealing) that they did at Ulu Watu.
When we were done with the monkeys, we started planning our next day – Jacob would go for a bike ride and I would go shopping and get us tickets to Java. The bike ride was a group tour that included, snacks, water, and lunch. You can read about his day on his blog, bus basically he: drank kopi luac coffee (the kind where the bean has been pooped out by a civet cat first), went to a family’s home to see how they lives, visited a rice field to see the process, and visited a coffee plantation to see how coffee is created. My day was shopping – I’m getting really good at bargaining. I bought a couple presents and a couple things for myself. Then I went to the post office.
The post office was a building about 3KM out of town, so I hired a scooter driver to take me there (for $1.50 and he waited and took me back). You walk in and there’s a nice counter where someone greets you – then takes you out
to the back. The counter is clearly for show, business takes place out back at a small desk next to where people are hanging out smoking on a stoop. It was going to be $80 USD to send 3 small packages home (at a total weight of 2.5KG!). Combining them into 2 packages only (only!) cost $50 USD!
Going back into town, I went to a travel agency called Ubud Explorer where I bought our plane tickets to Yogyakarta, Java. They were the first place that seemed trustworthy – they bought it online while I watched and didn’t charge me any service fees. I wonder – how do they make money? Probably creatively. 🙂
I didn’t have enough cash, so the guy working there took me to the ATM on the back of his scooter. He was talking on his cell phone the whole time AND he drove the wrong way down a one-way street.
That night, we visited a friend of Amacker’s, a guy named Lee who’s been living in Bali for 26 years, has a house that he built, and has a business making jewelry. His house was amazing, big doors/windows that looked out onto miles of rice patty fields. We look forward to seeing him again when we hit Bali on the way out of Indo.