This was our first trip out with the formerly-elusive Made P. On our last trip to Ubud, he had been recommended as a driver, by a friend. I was told where he could be found, so every day we went and asked for him. Another driver spoke to us each day, telling us that he had already gone out on a job. Very popular driver!
After three or four days of this, we needed a driver. So, on the basis of “you’ll do”, we went off with the driver who had been giving us the information all week. This was Nyoman, the driver that I was looking for this time, who had become our friend over the course of a number of trips, and who turned out to have died. The first time we left the hotel this visit, we were approached by a number of drivers, but we said ‘no, no, no’, as we were only walking up the road. But one face was familiar and my brain said ‘I think that’s Made P. ‘ So at some point last time, Nyoman must have introduced us to him. And the next day when I asked him, he told us Nyoman was dead.
So, my travelling companion seemed to me to be more and more unwell, but she was determined to make the most of her time. This was Friday and she was leaving Saturday night. So off we went on a very long tour right up to the north coast. Our first stop was Taman Ayun temple at Mengwi. I have visited it many times, also when you could go right inside, which has not been the case for many years. My friend walked around with Made while I drew this shrine that was in the grounds. I roughed it in with watercolour pencil, did most of the inking, then took a photo to do the colour from, as it was time to go.
The next stop was Bedugul on Lake Bratan, and Pura Ulun Danau, ‘the temple on the lake’. Another temple said my friend, on only the second temple. Just as well we had our own driver and were not with a group. But this is one of the most beautiful places in Bali. So, a walk around the temple which is surrounded by beautiful parklands, and off up over the mountain, past the monkeys on the side of the road, and down to Lovina Beach.
We stopped in Kalibukbuk, not far from where I stayed last time. I am fond of Kalibukbuk. It is a tiny place but there are good places to eat. We had lunch at Bali Breeze which is right on the beach. I took a selfie to make Broni envious and ate mee goreng for lunchwhile I drew the little lamp. We took a walk along the parade of shops at the beach, but the rain began, so it was time to set off for home.
I asked Made to stop at the Puri Bagus hotel on the way, so I could have a look at it. I saw the one in Candi Dasa a long time ago and now there is one at Lovina. It proved to be far from Kalibukbuk and down a long long track. Totally isolated unless you have a driver. Though it was quite beautiful, the reception area was built up high, up some huge steps. This is something that is often done in Bali, and though it looks good, it is too difficult for me. The height of the steps is far from what we are used to, and there is never a railing. Some places have strategically placed statues or other decorative things and that helps a lot. But I wouldn’t choose to stay at a hotel with a barrier like this out front. So, crossing Puri Bagus off the list, with some regret.