Category Archives: sketchbook

Back in Ubud – The Shopping Frenzy

  Now our trip to the north coast is over we don’t have to pack again until we go home. I want to do a lot of shopping in Ubud Market. Since my last trip I realised that some of the silk would make wonderful (light weight) gifts to send to overseas friends, so I decided to do Christmas shopping early. I needed to Cross Stuff Off My List and get the shopping frenzy behind me. A hard hour or so in the market deserves a Pink Drink, so it was over to Oops for the Hangover Helper drink that you don’t need a hangover to enjoy.   After that refreshment, I had to buy myself a new pair of Fippers. My first pair are so comfortable – unbelievable for someone who has never worn thongs/jandals/flip-flops before. And I love the bright RED with the blue and green straps.

  We head for Dewi Sita Street and have lunch at Batan Waru. They have all sorts of amazing little dishes of Indonesian parcels of food wrapped in banana leaf . I eat  otak-otak, a Jakarta delicious little parcel – fish cakes roasted in banana leaf with chilli and peanut sauce. We are always on the hunt for places with small dishes. We have been living in a hotel for weeks now, and we don’t want two large restaurant meals a day. We have struck it lucky with Batan Waru….they have quite a variety.

Back to the hotel via the video shop. More things to be crossed off lists. Time for a swim, then we sit in a pavilion by the pool and I sketch this shrine. Back to Batan Waru for dinner. The power is out in Dewi Sitw Street, but the restaurant is used to it. We eat laksa.

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Deserted property revisited

  Next morning bright and early, off we went, up the beach at Kalibukbuk, through the village and on to the main road, looking for the deserted property we had seen from the beach the day before. 


Early morning Kalibukbuk

 Well from the street WHAT a property. A huge long frontage with elaborate carving, more like a palace or a temple. It was definitely well protected from entry, though you could see in a little through one gate. Signs of occupation….  

 A rack of washing etc. it looked perhaps as if Balinese caretakers may be living there. We took photographs of the front best we would, but it was huge, and we were on the main road, so couldn’t get back for the traffic.

Back for breakfast at the hotel, we saw our host at his desk. We couldn’t resist. We had to know. Broni went to ask him about the property. He said a high caste Balinese man had married a German woman and built it. They had then gone to live in Germany. He went on to marry another German woman, stayed in Germany, never came back, and has now died. There are children, but they live in Germany and are not interested.

 Today we go back to Ubud (rumah kedua – my second home). Nyoman is coming to pick us up but it is three hours from Ubud so he is picking us up at midday. I lay in another pavilion to sketch. Rambutan Hotel has a particularly beautiful house temple, set in lush greenery, under the trees. There is a row of umbrellas, usually some red and maybe yellow too. From the pavilion I could only see the black and white poleng cloth ones, so that is what I sketched.

  At midday we set off with Nyoman. He decided to go via Munduk, along the ridge above the two lakes. We went that way two years ago, and this time also the weather was perfect. At the top we stopped. many tourists stop there. You can have ‘photo with animals’. There are some bats, a very big lizard and a python in a box. We stay away. 

  Further down the hill we stop at a restaurant for lunch. Beautiful rice fields view, but a BUFFET. We avoid buffets. But this restaurant does a la carte as well and we are ushered past the buffet and the tours to a quiet verandah room where we have WORLDS BEST SATAY. We are on Mt Baturiti. Previous best satay has always been at Mt Batur. What is it about the mountains that makes satay so wonderful.

Back in Ubud, and back to the same room. It seems so much like home. Later we wander up the road to Lotus Cafe for lumpia (spring rolls) and their delicious Balinese crepes with coconut and palm sugar.


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Deserted properties

  Broni goes out for a walk along the beach every morning exercising. She comes back to report that outside the ‘cleaned up tourist area’ of Kalibukbuk, it is very poor and there is rubbish everywhere. She is less keen on walking alone in the early morning than she was in Ubud. But she tells me about the strange deserted properties along the beach, not far past the Bali Breeze restaurant. So I go with her. It is not far. There is a very strange little bridge to climb, with a number of huge steps going quickly quite high, and then just as quickly coming down. Apart from that it is just a track along the beach.

  One of the properties is a deserted looking garden behind a high wall. The top of the wall is guarded by a series of statues of monkeys hiding their eyes. Very strange. We meet a Balinese man with a small child who says he works there. He says we can go in. Maybe at the entrance on the main road. We resolve to investigate the very next day.

  Back for breakfast, then today is the day I discover lying about in pavilions. The one with the yellow and green cushions to be precise. I propped myself against one of the side poles with a doubled up cushion and I was very  

 comfortable to sketch the Ganesha statue beside the pool.
Back to the Global Kafe for more samosas, then down to the beach for another beautiful sunset. Dinner at Warung Apple, a popular place where we couldn’t get a table on our last visit to Lovina Beach. Cumi-cumi goreng -fried squid (in Balinese spices).


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Tumpek Landep

  Today is Tumpek Landep, a day on the Balinese calendar originally for making offerings to kris and other weapons. Over breakfast we chat with Richard, our host, but he has to go for the ceremony for his car. All cars have ceremonies today now, all scooters too. Plus computers, digital cameras and other machinery. The car park is quite colourful today. 

 We bit the bullet and finally got a driver to take us in to Singaraja. Lovina Beach is on the outskirts of Singaraja, which is quite a big city with strong colonial Dutch influences. The driver was our un-favourite driver. He is one who tries to take you to places where he gets commission and where you have no wish to go. This day however, he took us to Singaraja, to the harbour. In Dutch colonial times, Singaraja was the main harbour where the liners came in. Everyone went OVER the mountains down to Denpasar. It must have been quite a journey in those days. 

Then we had a look around the markets and looked at the colourful shops that sell all the paraphernalia required for the Balinese Hindu religion. Beautiful colourful baskets, bright umbrellas, huge decorations made of palm fronds. But I didn’t photograph any because I knew I was going to Klung Kung market later and it is much easier there.

After a drive around the centre of Singaraja, our driver took us to a road along the beach lined with little warungs and huts. He told us it is a really happening place at the weekends, but this weekday lunchtime it was pretty quiet. The restaurant he took us to handed us a rijstaffel menu. On commission again I expect. Rijstaffel was the last thing we wanted this hot lunchtime. (Rijstaffel is a dish from Dutch colonial times, of many small dishes with rice.) So we ate nasi goreng chicken instead. Back at the hotel, the guilts got the better of us and we sat in the reception area, sketching a car that had offerings from the ceremony that morning.

 That accomplished, we went off down to the beach to watch the sunset. I had thought the beach would point north, but it must point west at Kalibukbuk, because the community and the tourists go down to the beach for sunset. Bintang beer and pancakes at Santhi Bar. 



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Blind Contour sketching in the garden

 So in Kalibukbuk, once you’ve walked along the beach you have seen it all really. So we decided to do some sketching in the hotel garden after breakfast. In the past Broni hasn’t regarded herself as a sketcher. Up till now she has sketched occasionally, pencil first and then the pen and colour. Her inner critic has always worked overtime. Today turned out to be the day that changed things. 

 Yesterday I had decided to do a sketch without lifting my pen from the paper. Just for a change. Just for fun. So I used my green pen and drew some things I could see from the verandah of our bungalow. Broni thought that looked like fun and had a try too. You have to make some quick decisions. You don’t have to draw fast, but you can’t stop and deliberate for long either. Nor can you do it carefully in pencil first. You just go for it. So then we slopped some colour on and it was done. Then I said, ‘Have you ever done blind contour drawing?’. That’s when you don’t look at the paper at all, but only at the object you are drawing. So we drew one of those Balinese lamps they have in Balinese hotel gardens. A brick structure about two feet tall, with the lamp above that, then a thatched roof. You draw slowly and carefully, never ever taking your eyes off the object. But blind contour drawings, though never usually accurate at all. Have a charm and quirkiness of their own. Broni’s was HEAPS better than mine.

We spent the whole day lazing in the garden, sketching and swimming. 


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Crossing the road at Kalibukbuk

     Rambutan Hotel is in the village of Kalibukbuk. That’s why I like it. Kalibukbuk is a small village but has plenty of places to eat.Other hotels are strung out along the beach, but if you are not in the village it means braving the hot busy road to get anywhere. Or a driver.  Along the beach at Kalibukbuk is a walkway with a parade of shops. Some tourists, but very few compared to Ubud. It can’t be much of a living for the shop owners.

They remember us, of course, from two years ago, and anyone we bought goods from then, tried to claim us as their own. I had been asked by a friend at home to buy a top for her sister in Jamaica. The sort of top that is simply made from a sarong – red. Until I got to Lovina I hadn’t seen a red one. The first afternoon  in the rain I saw a red sarong and the seller was keen to make it into a top for me. I said no, it is raining, I will come back to see you. But by next morning the sarong was a top and now it is in my suitcase.

So back to Santhi Bar for another lemon juice, then around the hot busy road to Global Village Cafe. Worth the walk. We ate their vegetable samosas for lunch. Very delicious. Back to the hotel to swim and cool off. The pool at Rambutan is warm and so easy to slip in to. Easy to wallow in for a very long time.

Later, we went to the main road to top up Broni’s SIM card. It had just got dark. The phone store was across the main road that carries the traffic through from the Java ferries (big trucks) as well as the million scooters and many cars that make up the normal Singaraja-Lovina traffic. There is no ‘walk’ signal at the traffic lights. When they turn red it seems to be only a suggestion. The traffic continues to pour through. After a while someone stops, then another and the traffic comes to a halt. But it is still coming in the other direction. Eventually Broni finds a gap in the traffic and dodges across. I stay behind and wait. I am no jay-walker since I hurt my back over twenty years ago. I can’t get out of the way fast enough. In fact it is probably perfectly safe. Traffic here is so different to what swim are used to. They weave and duck and dive constantly and it is all about eye contact and cooperation. They would just go around me. But in the dark I wasn’t game to test it out.

Dinner at Barclona, another Kalibukbuk favourite and right next to the hotel. Cumi Cumi goring. Fried calamari with Balinese spices. A restaurant with great food and friendly owners. 


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Comfortable footwear for a ‘quick cremation’

No internet in Ubud for about two and a half days. Finally tonight we are online 

 I have been trying to train myself to wear thongs (jandals, flip-flops). I have old Chinese scuffs that are falling apart. Can’t find any new ones as my feet are too narrow. So I bought a pair of plain black Havaianas before I left Home, and practised wearing them around the house. I have never worn thongs before so expecting blisters. In Ubud, on one of Broni’s early morning walks, she found the Fipper Slipper shop, so I bought some turquoise and purple ones. Very comfortable. In fact so comfortable I am just about up to wearing them all day.  I said to Broni that I would like to wear them around Ubud, but you never know when you might have to rush off to ‘a quick cremation’ and be wearing them all day.


 And the very next day early in our journey to Lovina Beach we did see ‘a quick cremation’. It was quite a small procession and sped by us at a run, but not so fast that we couldn’t stop, bundle out of the car and take a photo or two. The trip to Lovina from Ubud takes three hours.  The route goes past Lake Bratan (the temple on the lake) then up over a high mountain (Baturiti) past the monkeys on the side of the road at the top, and down down down to the north coast.


 And soon we were checked in to Rambutan Hotel at an even nicer bungalow than we stayed at two years ago. Rambutan is not unlike Cendana, our Ubud Hotel. Bungalows in a beautiful garden. Two swimming pools. Soon after checking in we walked along the beach past all the sellers welcoming us back, to Santhi Bar, our favourite place on a corner by the beach. It catches any cool breeze and does a mean lemon juice. Unfortunately on this occasion it was inhabited by the worst of Ugly Australians and one Ugly American (all male, no longer young) who it seemed had been downing Bintang beers for some time. We ate lunch there, before their behaviour deteriorated so severely that I had to get Broni out of there before she took action.

On the way back to the hotel, the rain came down. But it was hot, so we didn’t care, Lovina Beach was MUCH hotter than Ubud. Very very hot. So we sat on the verandah and I sketched the carvings above our front door and watched our old friends Dick’s Ducks – ducks belonging to Richard, the owner of Rambutan. They were enjoying the cooling rain.


Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour