Still Ubud

Today was our second day out and about with Madi and our last in Ubud. So for the second time since arriving in Ubud we saddled up on our 50cc scooter and drove arcade game style through the country side. Once you have resigned yourself to certain death by any number of unexpected or unexplainable road hazards it’s actually quite pleasant. To give you some examples, the one-way-ness of a street is merely a guideline, in fact I’m told Indonesia drives on the left but I get the feeling it’s still under debate with the locals. Indicators aren’t necessarily relevant in determining which way some one will turn and there is a certain amount of finesse involved when it comes to the offensive defense style of driving (or maybe it’s a defensive offense, I’m still getting the hang of it).

But onto more interesting things… we started the day with a traditional Balinese dance. That’s me on the left and Gen on the right.

But seriously, the dance was more of a theatrical play/performance, and although my Balinese is non-existent the story line was easy enough to follow (good vs evil) and the blatant sexual innuendo crosses all language barriers.

From there we headed to a waterfall and in true ‘here come the white people’ style were once again charged for the privilege of driving past a guy at a booth with a sign in the guise of charging an entry fee. But I take my hat off to the ingenuity and pay my $1 gladly. The waterfall was well worth the exorbitant cost and while we were told it’s only a quarter the height of the proper waterfall in the north of Bali, when you’re standing close enough to fell the breeze from the water and find yourself talking louder to get over the noise, it was pretty impressive.

100 and something stairs and hopefully one kazillion calories (one can dream) later, we were back on the bikes and heading for Goa Gajah, or for us whities, Elephant Cave. To crush any excited anticipation, Elephant Cave is just a name, there are no elephants. It is however much more impressive. Goa Gajah is another temple dating back to somewhere around 950AD. Again we found ourselves wandering through jungle that could be in a James Cameron movie. The cave itself is in the shape of a ‘T’ with alters for Ganesha at one end and the gods of creation, protection and destruction at the other. While the whole thing is fairly small, you need to keep in mind that the thing was carved into the side of a mountain by hand.

In typical Asian style we spent less on a two course meal for three people then for what you could feed yourself at McDonalds, and it’s only a million times better. In parts of our talks with Madi we compared our home countries life styles, incomes etc and how the tourists he sees come through Ubud tend to spend their money. He has a saying ‘Big win, big wave’, which means the more money you earn, the more you spend. It’s interesting how we will go to a restaurant and more than happily ‘splurge’ on an $8 meal (total for two of course) while locals like Madi would never dream of eating there. To put it in perspective, he earns an average of $200AUD a month, so it would be like me going and spending $200 on dinner at home (assuming of course that I had a job and could afford to eat).

That being said, we consistently spend $1-$1.50 on meals and have been in Ubud long enough that we have been able to find some of the places were locals eat and once you make sure you are paying ‘local price’ (it generally doubles if you are white) you find yourself sitting in someones (for lack of a better term) garage or house while they cook you possibly the best food you’ve ever eaten.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early for the Gili Islands. We’re not exactly sure how much modern technology there will be (power may be a luxury item) so it may be some time before we get back here, but that can only mean it will be a much better read!

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