So after Kuta we moved on to Ubud, away from the coast. We hired a taxi-van to take us up to Ubud and show us around a bit on the way.
The driver chappie was a bit short of ideas of what to show us on the way. He stopped and picked up a lady-friend who was really nice and friendly but couldn't speak enough English to have a worthwhile conversation.
He did stop at a (free entry) temple on the way. We clambered out and had a little look (but we are pretty much templed-out!)
All of the statues and shrines have this little modesty (?) skirt - I wasn't really trying to peek underneath, I was trying to read the sign.
Ubud is still very touristy, but much more Arty-Farty ... well, quite pleasant anyway compared to Kuta. The streets are small and windy, and there are lots of foreigners, but the sellers are not quite so aggressive. The shops are full of beautiful wood carvings and other artworks, and there are lots of lovely restaurants.
We stayed in a small hotel called Kamandhani Cottage - also very new, and only 12 rooms. Our driver was really shocked when he finally found the 'road' to the hotel, just a very bumpy dirt track - he was a bit scared to take his nice car down there.
Our second floor room looks out over a pleasant little pool, and the rice paddy next door.
And, of course we have a nice little balcony.
At the Arma resort they also have a kind of art museum and they put on cultural dances most evenings. So we went to see one.
The stories behind the dances were fairly obvious even without words and explanations.
We had thought about hiring a car and driving ourselves around ... before we had a really good look at the roads and the traffic! They do drive on the left, when there is a left to drive on. There is also an endless variety of non-traffic items to skirt around and avoid.
So we asked for a driver to take us on some tours, and after our first "1/2-day tour" we felt like we had seen all of Bali.
Our driver, Yogi, took us to the 'Luwak Coffee and Spices Plantation'. It was very interesting.
Then we went to see the Botanical Gardens.
We had been talking with Yogi along the way about various fruits, and especially how we like durian. Suddenly we saw some at a road-side stall, and Yogi said he would try to bargain for us.
This little chap was all chained up to his perch, and very glad of some companionship and a bit of fruit.
Rice Paddy Fields
Peter was keen to see some real rice paddies, so Yogi took us to a favourite spot at the top of the hill where we could feast our eyes and even wander through.
Watching the Sunset
There is a favourite spot where everyone goes to watch the sun set behind a temple. So ... why not?
It was quite picturesque of course. And the local people had set up their stalls to catch some profit from the tourists that flock here every evening.
We were tired and happy after our half-day tour, and flopped around in the pool and wandered up to the shops and cafes for the next day.
Then we thought we should see the volcano, because that is what everyone does. So we called on Yogi again and he took us out to the volcano.
Yeah - nice, ay?
So then Yogi suggested he could take us to see a waterfall. So he took us along even smaller, narrower roads through tiny villages. As he weaved his way between children, animals, people pushing various carts, motorbikes ... he started getting really chatty with the people he passed. Suddenly he said, "This is my village. Do you want to see my house?" Wow. We felt so honoured.
It's hard to imagine how people live in a place like this. Yogi turned down a narrow lane.
He introduced us to his lovely wife.
It all had a nice open, airy, friendly, relaxed feel about it. Ideal for the general Bali lifestyle.
Then we went on to see the waterfall.
Working Rice Paddies
Out near Yogi's village we went past some rice paddies that we didn't have to pay to look at.
The Monkey Forest
I gather there are quite a few of these places around Bali. (One chap was bemoaning the loss of his prescription glasses, snatched by monkeys.
There is a monkey forest right in the middle of Ubud, and we decided to go in there for a quick look. We paid for our ticket, and then bought a couple of bunches of bananas (at a rather exorbitant rate for this place) from the lady at the gate. She said 'if you see a monkey, give him a banana'. Well, okay.
As we wandered in a few little monkeys started trotting towards us.
Naturally I gave the big mean monkey his own banana.
We have had our few days at the lower end of Ubud, now we're moving up past the monkey forest to the top end of Ubud for a few days. Moving on ...