I suggested I went into Ubud to get some antibiotics and painkillers, Cathy suggested we went to a medical centre, so I searched for one. We got a car to take us there and saw an efficient and thorough Doctor. She booked us in with a colleague at Kasih Hospital in Denpasar, for surgical procedures that evening. When we got to the hospital it began to sink in how seriously the doctors were taking our wounds. The thought of a GA for cleaning and stitching seemed a bit excessive, but Cathy was adamant we needed to go through with it. I called our insurer from Kasih Hospital and they advised we needed to go to BIMC Hospital in Kuta. We got a taxi and once there were checked by their Emergency Department team. They also talked of a GA to debride and stitch our wounds. It took 12 hours to get relevant information to the insurers and for them to advise the Hospital they would cover all aspects of our treatment. We were then admitted; by this time it was Saturday morning and a public holiday. We had our procedures late Saturday afternoon/evening and had a comfortable night, thanks to the excellent nurses. It was now Sunday and I did not want to spend our last night in Bali in the hospital, so I got on the Internet and found a hotel. It took all day to achieve our discharge, again waiting for clearance from the insurance company. We finally got to the hotel, booked in and went to their restaurant for dinner. It was a bit of a come down from Kaia Villas but we got on well with our neighbours. We took a bit of a walk before bed to see if we recognised anything since we were last in Kuta 25 years ago, we didn’t.
Today we planned the longest trip of our holiday, up to Mt Batur. We chose Bali because of the proximity to Fremantle, regular flights and agreeable climate. We live by the beach, so what we yearned were some mountains, something there is a shortage of in metropolitan Perth. The literature said the place for lunch was the Lake View Restaurant, right on the lip of the old volcano looking directly at the lake in the centre. But the bus trips get there at noon so a little earlier would secure a table with a view. I again checked the route and this time charged both phones and the mobile modem we were using for the Internet. Again it looked pretty simple, but we did set off in good time. The ride was brilliant, forever climbing and the air getting cooler as we went.
We stopped for fuel, for small bikes they have a contraption that is similar to petrol bowsers of my youth. The attendant uses a hand pump to fill a glass bowl on the top, as they fill your tank the level drops in the glass bowl and they read off the side how much fuel you have taken. I also took a small detour to show Cathy the tourist attractions at the heart of Tegalalang. This was the place credited with the best views of rice fields in a wide valley. Unfortunately tourism had taken over, with the now inevitable swings, a flying-fox and even a tight rope bicycle ride!We pushed on upwards and northwards, through vegetable growing farms and a village where they were butchering beasts in the main street. We arrived at Batur’s rim ahead of time so decided to go down to the lakeside in the crater. Angela had previously warned us about how steep the road was, but we took it cautiously without a hitch. Once in the crater we turned left around the lake. We passed a destroyed village that looked like it may have been the victim of a minor eruption. Further round we turned to get to the waters edge. We stopped at a carpark where a man gave us a ticket to park costing a few cents. He had slim pickings, as we seemed to be the only visitors there. At the waters edge was a simple warung on stilts. We sat over the water and had coffee, one with ginger. Our entertainment was a group of children fishing. Each time they dropped their small line in the water they came up with a gold fish. The girl, who seemed to be in charge, got a small plastic water bottle half filled with water and pushed the catch into it. The cat looked most interested, I presume at the end of the day when the fish died the cat got them. We then rode anti-clockwise around the lake and saw men standing motionless in the muddy water up to their waists. It transpired they too were fishing with small rods.
It was time to head back up to the rim for lunch. We got up the first half, which was not quite so steep; I wanted to look at a restaurant at this point, but as we got there another procession came down the hill towards us. We again stopped to watch the event. As the people at the end of the procession passed us we decided to continue up the hill to the Lake View Restaurant. As the road got steeper the bike struggled quite a bit, but I was confident we would make it. We approached a sweeping bend, there were many cars coming down the hill and a swarm of bikes started passing the cars, taking up our side of the road. I slowed and went dangerously close to the verge to get out of their way. I was trying to turn back onto the road but simply did not have the momentum or power to do it and the front wheel slipped down the 100 or so millimetre step onto the verge, the front wheel was too small to negotiate the step and we wound up coming off. At this point we entered a new phase of our trip!
A very kind man and his two daughters coming down the hill stopped to help. They righted the bike (that had no damage at all) and helped Cathy to her feet. She was shaken and had a bad cut on her knee as well as other minor injuries. I was wearing jeans so faired better, but had a torn shirt and cut on my elbow. We had connected with the same sharp bit of road edge that had brought us off; otherwise we would have been OK. These kind people loaded Cathy into their car and headed to the local clinic with me in pursuit on the bike. They stayed with us until the wounds were cleaned, drenched in Betadean and dressed. As they left they said go right and then left to get back to Ubud. For the second time on our holiday I totally lost my bearings, and followed the instructions as I thought best. We were heading up wards and northwards, totally wrong. We turned and tried to get help from Google Earth with no success. After a short while we saw a sign to Ubud and turned down that road. It was going in the right direction and like the road outward went through vegetable allotments. It became obvious we were on the same road as we lost our way along on Tuesday. This time we missed the turnoff so went into Ubud and took the road we knew back north to Kaia Villas. The stop/start in the Ubud gridlock was particularly hard on Cathy’s injured knee. We had a rest then looked at redressing the wounds, I went back to the minimart to get some bandages. Once cleaned up we had dinner in the room delivered from Van Sheva Warung.
After the excitement of yesterday we decided to have a relaxing day on Wednesday and plan a big trip for the next day. We were really getting into the groove and arranged a massage for late morning. I went first, I chose my preferred music and had a very good relaxing massage; Cathy followed and chose the masseuses gamelan music. This set the tone for the day.
We relaxed for a while longer until I went out for a ride. I was determined to find Café Dewi, the one that eluded me on Sunday. I found it about 5 km away from the Google Maps location. It was in the strip of cafes and warungs that close at 7:00pm. We will have to try and get there for lunch sometime. I headed south and found the Arun Restaurant at Tejaprana Resort. This is one of the interesting things about Bali; I’m riding along a busy road with lighting and glass workshops along either side, not a place you would expect to find a top of the range resort. The only give away is a small sign at the end of a bumpy, narrow driveway saying Tejaprana. Walking from the small parking area one enters a wonderland of calm and luxury. The place is built on the side of a steep ravine, uppermost is the Arun Restaurant, and falling away down the ravine are the rooms and other facilities. The place was stunning and a quick check on a booking site had it in the AU$300+ a night bracket. I doubt they had many walk in customers, the rest of the diners in the sparsely occupied Restaurant were house-guests.
I had one more trick up my sleeve. The way home could be the same way as we came or, by going a little further towards Ubud we could turn right and wend our way north up a narrow road of great beauty. Signs said there were Heron observation points along the way, but not at this time of night. What a great day and dinner.
Day 5 and the time seems to be running away with us, so time for some organising. Today we would take our first longer trip on the bike. I checked out the route on the map, even looked at street-views of the two intersections we needed to turn at.
We tried to get away early and headed towards Denpasar. The first stop was after a Y in the road with both arms signposted to Denpasar, we took the wrong one. We consulted google maps and headed off again. Soon we knew we were wrong because we passed the same Honda dealership for a second time. We decided use google directions, I drove while Cathy listened to the directions and passed them onto me. 3 left turns, then 3 right turns, were we going in circles? Then I recognised an intersection from street-view I had looked at earlier.
We were soon at Tegenungan Waterfalls, with only a slightly longer trip, but a bit later than we wanted to arrive. It was getting busy, we parked the bike, where directed and stopped at the first café for coffee. This was our first cappuccino in Bali. Coffee finished, giant Koi Carp inspected and bill paid we went to the ticket booth and entered the Tegenungan Waterfall Village.
There is a well-made path and steps down to the base of the waterfall, which is located in a beautiful, lush valley. It’s a little spoilt by the introduction of things to keep the tourists entertained, like large man made nests to sit in for photographs, or large hearts for the same reason. Part way down is a small temple, signifying that at some time the place was shown more reverence. There is a smaller fall tucked away to the left, but the main cascade is visible, so most people head straight to that. It was the dry season when we visited, but there was still a large volume of water in the falls. We made our way to a kind of rocky beach area where we stripped to our bathers and made the tentative walk to the water across small shiny boulders. The boulders continued in the water until one got close to the falls then it turned into coarse sand. There was a sense of achievement as one entered the refreshing water.
We stayed there for quite a long while. I then went to investigate a path to the top of the falls. At the top was a large hotel with loud music, nests and swings. I made my way back to the base fairly quickly. We slowly made our way out up the hill and found the bike.
The trip back was more organised, and we were back in Ubud quite soon. Again the absolute throng of people, cars and bikes was hard to take. We ducked into the Markets for something, but beforehand had a very late lunch in a café across the road. It was midway between lunch and dinner so not much was available, but it did the job. We were soon on the road out of town. I’m not sure how, but we ended up on the wrong road, and after a while had to stop and check Google Maps. One phone was flat and the other close to, but we managed to get a plan to go back the way we had come for 100 metres and turn left, the rest was up to us. We went down some short steep hills into river valleys and out again, then I guessed where we were and I was right. When we were almost home we stopped for a look and beer at Green Kubu, with a plan to return for dinner. Green Kubu is down a narrow footpath through the rice fields, which opens out into a large area with pond, fountain and different levels. When I had passed on one of my bike trips I had seen the large carpark full, but it does seem to be a place for lunch, at night it was pretty quiet. We watched the antics of some younger clientele at an adjacent table; I suspect it was their first time out without parents.
It was a beautiful ride home in the warm evening down a quiet road surrounded by rice fields.
Just before we departed Fremantle, we were asked to take a piece of jewellery to someone living in Ubud. She asked if she could come to our place on Monday morning to collect it. Monday morning was also the time the warung confused our breakfast order with the neighbouring Villa. We got our order, but an hour and a half late at 9:00am. Angela was due at ten, so we had plenty of time. I zipped up to the minimart for some things and saw someone on a scooter, maybe it was Angela I thought? It turned out it was, she arrived a bit late saying something disparaging about google maps. She brought a bag of croissants, so we were soon tucking into breakfast number two.
We chatted for quite some time about Fremantle and Hebden Bridge where my brother lives, and Angela knew well. I also quizzed her about Ubud. She recommended a warung called Bula Vinaka. Always ready to take a ride I jumped on the bike and went looking for it. I also looked for a resort with a restaurant we fancied, I found the warung, but not the restaurant. These rides were really a high point of the trip; I loved just losing myself on the web of small roads away from the big traffic and other tourists.
After returning to the villa for a swim, shower and snooze we went back to Bula Vinaka Warung for dinner. Our journey was again punctuated by witnessing another festival street parade, again for about half an hour, during which time we chatted with one of the temple guards. You can distinguish them by the large curved knives they have tucked down their bright blue sarongs. He told us of his sister’s warung just up the road and suggested Ubud would be a good place for us to retire to. Once at Bula Vinaka we found the food simple and owners interesting, we had a long chat, about bread and food, then headed back home.
Many places close on Sunday’s, but we chose to head the 7km into Ubud to hire a small motorbike, so I arranged a car and driver to get us there. The place is heaving with tourists. We checked out the markets and two main streets, all a bit touristy and busy for us. Ubud has a Deus ex Machina shop (as does Kuta) they are both modest stores in a strip of fashion outlets. I mention this, as there is one seeking approval in North Fremantle.
We dropped into the very well recommended restaurant Locavore, which was closed for Sunday, but had a cooking class in progress, tried to book a table for anytime we were in Ubud. Fully booked lunch and dinner until after we fly out. They told us of their new place, Nusantara by Locavore.
Very good (and expensive). The picture shows the complimentary nibbles, served as one waits for their meals to be served. After lunch we haggled on a motorbike and chose not to visit the Saraswati Temple as planned, we were peopled out! We’ll come back another day. The ride back was a learning curve for me; riding a small 125cc bike, 2up on Balinese roads. Got back safely and without getting lost.
Now we had transport we could spread our net further for places to dine. I had my mind on two places, as you do in case one cannot be found. We rode a fair distance and could not find the first, by the time we got to the second they told is they were closing, we guessed it was due to Sunday trading times, but later found out that most of the restaurants and warungs in that area closed at 7:00pm. Their big draw card is the views across a valley full of rice fields, and you cannot see the view at night. We needed a plan C, so we headed back to a more local place that I’d seen on my morning walk on the previous day. It was called Fast and Tasty and is part of a hotel; not an endearing combination but it seemed to be our only option. While heading back to Fast and Tasty we missed our turning and ended up going too far south, time for U turn #1. We were in Bali during a time of festivals and our first encounter with one was as we headed back to our turning. It was being held at a Temple and on the adjacent road. It was a privilege to witness the event, complete with people dressed as animals and gamelan music. All traffic stopped for 20 minutes.
Once we got through the throng, we found our turn just a couple of hundred metres further on. We got to Fast & Tasty in time to order; its part of the Kabinawa Villas complex. They have five villas and a pool near the roadside café. The villas have a full-on rice field aspect. Alas there were only four Indonesian dishes on the menu; the rest was pizza, burger and pasta. We ordered all four of them with the usual Bintang beer. As we left, we again waited for a religious procession with lots of children participating. Now we could go back to bed blessed.
The motivation for the trip to Bali was as a respite from some fairly invasive medical treatment I had undertaken. The brief was it needed to be a one leg, preferably short flight, with an agreeable climate. And the accommodation needed to be somewhere we could indulge in some privacy if required. That’s how we ended up in Bali in a villa with our own personal pool. Today was the first day of that relaxing break.
After breakfast we chilled out a bit, swam, read and relaxed. I took a walk around the vicinity, turning left at the T junction, looking for places to eat, and saw a couple of warungs and a hotel with a roadside café. By lunchtime we were feeling adventurous, so consulted Google Maps, and set off for a walk looking for lunch. We found a real gem in Labak Sari, great location and good food. It was on the side of a small valley with rice fields going down to the small river. There was also a troop of ducks parading around to entertain us. The food was very well presented, by staff who were very attentive to all our needs.
After lunch we took a shortcut through the rice fields back to our villa. The pathways were very narrow and followed the water courses, sometimes collapsing into them at places. I had a gist of which way we needed to go, but we were almost at our villa before recognising it. After such an adventure it was time for a swim and spell on the lounger.
We needed more tonic water so I decided to walk to the local minimart only 2 or 3 hundred metres away, but when Ketuk at the reception found out where I was going he said I should borrow his motorbike, which I did. I was back in no time. Now we could have a sundowner G&T. Having enjoyed lunch so much we went back to Labek Sari for dinner, it was very busy so we had a bit of a wait for food, but it was worth it. On the way home we gave the rice fields a miss and took the road.