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.
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.
Catastrophe! My swimming goggles broke across the bridge of my nose. I want to swim a lot of (very short) laps in the hotel pool. Help came via the Ubud Community Facebook page. They tell me goggles are available at the Bintang Supermarket, just up the hill from Campuan. I knew there was a big supermarket there but had never been. So now our friend Nyoman takes us there, and we find Speedo goggles…what a relief. I also introduce Broni to Kopico coffee flavoured Indonesian sweets. And I buy green tea flavoured Listerine, How cool is that!
Back to the hotel and swimming, getting the sketchbook up to date (glueing in the collage…not much writing this time round), writing drafts of blog posts.
Then down the Monkey Forest Road to the small Goddess on the Go shop for leggings to go with my latest tunic. They didn’t have the ones I liked in my size, so she called the other shop and asked us to wait. We thought she was waiting for a phone call to be returned, but another girl arrived on the scooter with the leggings.
Across the road to The Three Monkeys for lunch. Nasi goreng istemewa. Food and service at Three Monkeys is exceptional. it is a busy restaurant but as we were running so late for lunch we managed to get a table right out on the ricefields. And sketch. And listen in to the conversation at the next table. A young couple with a Balinese driver. The young man who was doing most of the talking to the Balinese driver seemed to be so MUCH on his best behaviour that I wondered if he had been a bit bad the night before. Or maybe he is always like that.
So tonight we pack to leave for Lovina Beach in the morning.
Slow start to the morning. Broni is going for a long fast walk for exercise every morning, (and I am staying behind as I can’t keep up). This morning she went for an extremely long walk, and got a bit lost too. Then we had a swim, so a very late breakfast. I had wanted for some time to sketch this little pavilion by the swimming pool outsiders our room. It shows the blue and white thirsty pool towels we use all the time.
It didn’t matter, as we were off to Villa Kitty for lunch under the mango tree with Elizabeth. Also a bit of extra time there to cuddle cats, to help socialise them, to better enable them to be adopted.
Villa Kitty is in Lodtunduh, not far from Ubud, and Made Parta dropped us off. Already, there was Michael, an American photographer I met there in February. A number of other visitors of various nationalities, including some who were cuddling cats to lessen the trauma of having survived the earthquake in Nepal. Over lunch, talk turned to the Ubud Community Page on Facebook. Michael mentioned he had been posting a photograph a day there, without comment. Then I realised that these beautiful photos of Bali and the Balinese, that had been sustaining me through the Sydney rain, storms and hail, were Michael’s work.
Strange, at Villa Kitty, how things come together. Conversation is easy and everyone is an animal lover, and have cats in common. Last time, the other fellow guests turned out to live across the park from me at home. This time, another guest was a young American we shall call Circus Man as I don’t remember his name, but I do remember his profession.
He and Michael got talking. Both San Francisco. Then Michael mentioned his former profession and where he had worked. Circus Man said ‘then you may know my aunt’. Turns out, both Circus Man and Michael are both often at auntie’s house. Auntie had wanted to put them in touch when Michael was living in Thailand but Circus Man never got there. Now they finally meet through their love of cats.
Dinner at Tutmak, very close to the hotel. Rendang, just delicious.
A day with an early start and a plan. Which fell apart quite soon. The plan was to be dropped off at Goddess on the Go at Pengosekan, then walk all the way up Hanoman Street, looking at everything on the way, then back across Dewi Sita Street to the hotel. But at 9am it was clear that it was too hot for walking that far, and even in the car going down Hanoman Street we knew we wouldn’t be walking back that far in the heat. Besides, “Hati-hati, ada proyek “. Roadworks! That sign always amuses me, and I would love to acquire one. It says, “danger, there’s a project”. As a project manager, that’s my feeling about projects too.
So at Goddess on the Go, Broni decided not to buy what we had come to look at, but I bought something else. Then we walked off, intending to at least start on Hanoman Street. But by the time we got to the corner of the Monkey Forest Road, we were hot and thirsty and Tropical View Cafe beckoned. I drank a healthy carrot, beetroot and ginger drink, and we sketched. Too hot to be walking for long, so we walked through the track beside the Monkey Forest to the village of Nyuh Kuning and the restaurant Laka Leke. Lunch of mee goreng in a pavilion in a garden.
So then we had a brilliant idea. We have a list of cafes and restaurants written by an ex-pat who lives in Ubud. There is a section of Best Non Alcoholic Drinks. Just back through the Monkey Forest track and over a small rise lay Kopi Bali House where ANY of their drinks would suffice, but the frozen moccachino was recommended. So, off we went and it was FANTASTIC. Must have more.
The lower part of the Monkey Forest Road after it turns the corner is quite steep, but once you are up the hill it is not far to the hotel. So we walked up in the early afternoon heat, needing a lemon juice at Cinta at the top. A LONG walk…the Hanoman Street walk would probably have been shorter…..but ww needed all these stops at shady cafes.
Dinner at Tutmak, very close to the hotel. Rendang, just delicious.
Dewi Sita Street was our main plan for today. It runs along the top of the playing field in the Monkey Forest Road to Jalan Hanoman. We wanted to check out the small interesting shops there, the DVD shop, some shops that sell essential oils and some restaurants. The DVD shop seemed to have disappeared, but we were only too early, and we found it another day. Other shops were noted for future gift-buying when we return from Lovina Beach.
In Jalan Hanoman we could not find the restaurant we were looking for so we ended up in Jalan Raya (the main street) where we bought amazing, brightly coloured thongs. Ready for a cool drink, we popped into Gedong Sisi, right across from the market. This coffee shop is a treasure trove of things to sketch and this time I sketched the door to an adjoining house. We popped into the market, then to Bina Wisata, the tourist office, to try to get the little May book of Ubud….not yet available.
Lunch was at an old favourite haunt, Mumbul Inn, where they got the Broni and Wendy Award for Best Snack served with Drink. Krupuk (prawn crackers) with peanuts embedded in them. Oh yummm. Lunch was good too. I had duck spring rolls. Mumbul Inn was always favoured for Best Lemon Juice, and for sitting on the terrace looking over the ravine and watching the squirrels in the big tree. The terrace is still there, but the tree and squirrels are gone. They are building over in the other side of the ravine, but for once it is tasteful and blends into the landscape.
Too hot to walk back to the hotel, so we found a driver. We spent a lazy afternoon swimming, blogging and finishing sketches. Dinner was at our favourite of two years ago, Sagittarius. Balinese seafood satay. Another dish deserving a repeat.
Another beautiful morning in the Island of the Gods and we drive off with Nyoman, down to Sanur for a look around. I had been there in February, but Broni not for twenty years.She is planning another trip soon, so first step was to look at some hotels. There are three hotels all in a row along the beach, so we looked at rooms in the first two, and at the third, Tanjung Sari, we had a cool drink. This is my bucket list hotel, and way out of the price range, but the restaurant is right on the beach, and we had a cool drink there. Walking along the beach to Sindu Beach Market, as usual we were joined by two girls who had stalls at the market and were anxious we go to their stalls. Things are a bit quiet in Bali and the sellers seem a bit anxious. It is a beautiful walk along the beach, though hot except for some shady areas with trees. We had a good look around the market, always accompanied by the two sellers who had walked along the beach with us, until we finally looked at their stalls (as always at the back of the market, away from the sea). But it was hot in the market, so we went to Benno’s on the beach for a coconut drink. We hadn’t really thought it through, so we were surprised when it came in a whole coconut. Neither of us finished it…….too much! Just a little further along the beach at Rosetta’s Coffee Shop, we decided it was time to sit under a big beach umbrella and have lunch. I ate fish, prawns and vegetables with rice. Then it was time to call Nyoman to take us back to the just slightly cooler temperatures of Ubud, where we had a long swim. Dinner and mojitos at Cinta Grill. Laksa Lemak. So delicious we have to go back and have it again.