E-mail Update - 2005-07-06

Bye Bye Bali (Never sent)

Sunday July 3 continued…
Once in Ubud we drove around to 3 places before finding where I would eventually stay. The first one was a homestay that was full. The next one had closed. Finally I ended up staying in a $3 USD room which was rather nice. I had a front porch, bed, fan, toilet & shower, plus it was all clean. It was missing toilet paper & a garbage can, but for $3 who can complain right? The other thing is that I got a free tea when I got there & a free breakfast every morning, with tea. I could not believe how nice it was & it was right in town so I didn’t have to walk far to anything. After getting there I went walking around the town to see the arts in the shops & such. Ubud is very artsy & has a better variety of shops than Kuta did. The people in the shops, with a few exceptions, hastled you so much less than people in Kuta. Although you can’t go 10 feet without getting asked if you need transport. I also found an Internet shop that was very nice & cheap so I sent an update to everyone :) Lastly I looked around for a place to eat, but instead found a relatively cheap found card (like 30 cents a minute), which gave me a chance to call my parents. In Australia it is much cheaper to call (under a cent a minute). However, it was more expensive to go online. In Asia that is the exact opposite. I ended up not eating anywhere & going back to my room where I had a few good ole peanut butter & jelly sandwichs, before reading about Thailand & calling it a night

Monday July 4
This was not the most exciting day of the trip, but still offered some interesting activities. Most of my day was spent online catching up on e-mails, reading & exploring the shops in the city. I had wanted to rent a bike & see the country side, but it was pouring rain all afternoon, so I had to make alternate plans. I had gotten up early to catch this tour but there was not enough people so that didn’t go either. I had even went out & bought a sarong to use for the temples, but it was not to be used on this day. The markets is where I spent part of my moring & they were an interesting experience. I bought 3 different types of fruit, but nothing else. The market is 3 different levels in what looks to be an old parking lot. The bottom one makes you almost gag because the smell is so bad. The middle one (where I got my fruit) is somewhat better, but not roses. There is also everyone else selling about anything you can imagine, but mostly art, things made from wood, t-shirts, sarongs, hats & sunglasses. I also tried to arrange transport for the next day to go to Denpasar, but that ended up being difficult. There are no buses that run to there & it is the capital city! I was told later that is because it is not a tourist destination, but you would think someone would be going there. I asked tons of people & finally got a guy who was to pick me up from my hotel at 8 the next morning for $5 USD. That sounds ok, but it was probably still more than I should have paid in Bali. But sometimes you just get sick of looking & take something a little more expensive to be done. After working on another group update e-mail I left the Internet Caf?, but it was still pouring rain. This made me decide to duck into this quaint restaurant called Nomads for supper. It ended up being a great decision. The people were so nice & so talkative. The food was great & while it was one of my most expensive meals, it was still under $5. It was the best place I ate in Bali, plus the atmosphere & service made it feel like I was eating at a really expensive restaurant. After that I went back to my room & got packed up for my next days trip, plus did some reading before calling it a night.

Tuesday July 5
I got my wake-up call from the hotel & they also had breakfast ready for me at that time (yeah this is all still at the $3 Arjuna Hotel). After getting everything packed up I met the driver & we went to Denpasar. The drive was shorter than I thought it would be which was nice. After getting settled in & talking to the owner (who lent me a sarong belt) I headed out in my sarong, bandanna & shoes. To go to the temples I wanted in Denpasar you have to wear all that (bandanna optional but appreciated). It is more you saying that you respect their beliefs & are trying to conform, which they appreciate. After getting lost a few times I found the first temple & did a walk through. I then signed the guest book & gave my donation. The thing I noticed most about the temples are how large the doors are & the wood carving they have done in them. It is really beautiful. The temples are all faded, which makes them less impressive than I would have originally imagined, but they were in overall good shape. After the first one I did the long walk towards the second temple. I realized at that point how big a city Denpasar can be. On the way I saw numerous statues & interesting parks. I also got the old “that temple is closed but I can show you another one” scam, where the person convinces you not to go where you want to & instead takes you to other “better” temples, which end up including stops at shops they work for. But being the wiser to this I just declined. Once inside the second temple I also got so many offers for tours & other things that they try to convince you that you need to pay for. After looking through that temple & getting some small cracker like food from a street vendor for 10 cents, I went to the museum which was right next door. It taught me a lot about the different periods on time in Bali & about the culture of Bali. Once again I had sellers following me, even when I moved between buildings in the museum. By this time I had my stern no & walk away down really well, so they would give up much easier.

Next on the days agenda was the shopping that I needed to do which included buying new shoes & a new backpack. The old shoes had several holes in them & the backpack was broke so that you could only carry it by hand. The first shoe shop I found was in a mall where I was able to find some nice Adidas running shoes for very cheap ($31 USD). If you love Bali for only one thing it is for how much things cost. Also after looking all over town I found an actual outdoor shop which allowed me to get a nice new backpack. When buying the backpack I had decided that I wanted to get a smaller one because I wanted it to be easier to carry in Asia. This is because I knew I would have to be walking long distances with it. Also I knew I would be getting on trains & buses where the bigger backpack would make it tough. The one I settled on was about 1/4 smaller than my old one & not quite as nice. However it was much smaller & much better than anythign else I could find. Plus it was about $55 USD which is around a 1/5 of what I paid for the last one :)