So here I am back in Ubud, my second home. My friend still has the dental problems and wants a quiet morning. So I head off up the Monkey Forest Road to check out Ubud Market. But first I run the gauntlet of the old friends and the drivers I have known.
For those who don’t know Bali, you might be getting confused by the names shortly. There are only four first names in Bali (on the whole) so one knows a whole lot of people with the same name. They are birth order names. First born is Wayan, second is Made (pron Marday) then Nyoman, and then Ketut. Child number five will be called Wayan and then you go round again.
I seem to know mostly Nyomans, and a few Mades. So I ran into the Made who calls me Mama (silly boy…though I have known him for almost 30 years) and another Made, a driver I met last visit. I have been emailing a lovely Nyoman who was our driver last time, became a friend and really touched our hearts. I wanted him to pick us up and bring us to Ubud. When I got no reply from the email, I texted, then called and got no reply. I had a bad feeling about that. I found out from his friend Made, that he has got sick and died of cancer in the eighteen months since my last visit. I am really sad about that.
So, off to the market. A look around and a tiny bit of shopping, then back for lunch with my friend. A heavenly mango mint smoothie and lumpia again at Dian Restaurant.
It was very hot and humid, so a long long swim and sketching by the pool. Out to dinner at Rai Pasti, just down the Monkey Forest Road.
I am writing this while the lights are out in Ubud. No storm, no warning….darkness. Poured a drink by the light of my phone. Blogging offline into an app called Textilus, and can cut and paste later. Oh, back on again….GOOD.
The day we departed from Sanur dawned beautiful. We could see Mt Agung through the clouds for once, just the misty outline, but then it became clearer and bluer and ….well, you see. Such a perfect day. My friend was still under the weather with her tooth, so we packed and had an extremely long lunch sitting at the hotel restaurant on the beach, admiring the beautiful day. Lumpia. I eat lumpia often when I want a small meal. I drew the decoration on the roof of the pool bar. I am pointing out here that our own pool did not have a bar. It was a teetotal pool.
At 2pm we were picked up for Ubud and about an hour later we were in the pool at Cendana. Again, almost a private pool, right outside our room. Our bungalow is huge with two huge beds, maybe queen, and mosquito nets, so very coooool to look at. There is a slightly larger salt water pool at the back, but I like the chlorinated one right outside the door.
My friend was interested in doing the cooking course at Casa Luna, so we decided she should book right away. I also wanted her to see the temples along Jalan Raya (the Main Street) of Ubud, get a feel for Ubud, and maybe have a drink at the Lotus Cafe. All Ubud first-timers spend time at the Lotus Cafe, and for that reason I ‘outgrew it’ twenty years or so ago.( My thirty-year Ubud anniversary is in 2016.) The reason lotus cafe is special is that the view has the beautiful temple of Ubud behind two lotus ponds with a path between. I always go to see if the lotuses see blooming. They were past their best this time, but still some blooms.
So we booked the course, crossed the road, and got a front-row table at Lotus Cafe to drink a large Bintang beer.
Walking back to the hotel, in the dark, a voice said ‘Ibu Wendy?’ ……and it was Nyoman, a friend since 1992, who was on the staff of Ubud Village Hotel when I used to stay there all the time. He had come to see me on the night I arrived because he was going back to his village for a few days. So we changed our plans and went to the hotel restaurant where it was quiet and we could chat and catch up.
Eating breakfast and the rain came down, Torrential. Everyone hung in there. Nobody was going anywhere. It was like being on an ocean liner when the weather is bad.
Eventually we dodged the rain back to our room, right at the other end of the resort. We sat on the verandah and I sketched the carving. I had been planning that since I arrived.
After a a while the sun came out, and people came and swam in our pool. Our pool! It seemed half the population of Holland had arrived in the night and they didn’t yet know the rules,
Back along the beach to the market again. Lunch at Rosetta Coffee shop. Mee goreng. I sketched the tree, but left out the akubra that some Australian had hung from a branch. I’m sketching Bali and that would be visual pollution.
Swim and rest. By this time my travelling companion was having trouble with a tooth that had supposedly been dealt with at home. She was not in good shape. Nevertheless, she managed to drag herself out for dinner. Tooth or not, she loves the Balinese food. It was Valentines Day, and though we were before seven pm, we couldn’t get a table in Mona Lisa. People eat early in Sanur!
But it wasn’t a hardship to go back toArt Cafe. Yummy food, friendly service and so close to the hotel.Ikan kemangi (fish), urab and red rice. Total for two meals, a large bintang beer and two glasses of wine, 372k, about $37.20. The man with the glowing orange baton saw us across the road home.
Today was the day we wandered along the beach at Sanur to Sindhu Beach Market. I wanted to do some gift shopping, but you could hear my pitiful cries of “tidak ada, tidak ada”, because I couldn’t find what I wanted.
We were waylaid far from the market by two sellers who had shops right at the back of the market and obviously were having a hard time of it. I was wearing my usual Bali pants. They wanted to sell me more of the same. Strangely that was what I wanted…pants like mine, but for a gift for a friend. They told me the name of the fabric is Baliku, – the same name as the company that did my airport transfer. But what they showed me was pants with lizards, and pants with starfish, not the abstract patterns I was looking for. There werent any. Tidak ada
Lunch was on the beach at Tootsies. Satay. I drew the boat quickly, and my friend talked to people at the neighbouring table who have turned out to be fellow Bali Travel Forumites.
I went back to the hotel as my friend had decided to go out in a boat to see the coral. Bad decision. Nothing to see. The boatman didn’t help her getting out of the boat, and it moved and she came back half an hour after me, covered in bruises. Black.
So we cooled down with a long swim in our ‘private pool’ and sat on our verandah when this little creature came out to have a snack.
Dinner at Art Cafe along the Main Street of Sanur (the American speller-checker-thingyo wants to always put Main Street with capitals. Why?) Jalan Danau Tamblingan, if you prefer. What do you make of THAT, speller-checker? I loved the food at Art Cafe. Grilled seafood, sambal, urab and red rice.
A beautiful morning for my friend’s first day in Bali. I quickly sketched the orchids in the restaurant at breakfast time, because I knew we would have More To Do than sit around sketching (my friend is not a sketcher) and I wanted her to have a good first impression of the Island of the Gods.
But from today on, sketches will be more Balinese. I want my sketchbook to show where I have been. I promise.
Breakfast at Griya Santrian is pretty impressive. Guava juice, fresh tropical fruit (different fruit different days). Then an omelette cooked for you if you wish, or a number of other choices like bacon, eggs, pancakes, baked beans, and all the cheese and ham things that some Europeans eat for breakfast.
We walked down the Main Street of Sanur, just having a look around. Very hot, but I had walked that way the night I arrived and now it didn’t seem so far. Lunch at a small warung that served yummy Indonesian food, lumpia and potato cakes. Collected some supplies of large bottles of water, mixes for our drinks, all the important stuff.
Back to the hotel for a long long swim in the pool near our room. After a while it started to rain, but who cares when you’re in the water. This is the view of our pool from our upstairs verandah.
That night we ate at the Tandjung Sari Hotel…two hotels along the beach from ours. It is a very small hotel, fifty years old, owned by a Balinese family. Very expensive to stay there, but it is on my bucket list. I have eaten in the restaurant many times though. We used to get the shuttle bus down from Ubud just to have lunch. This time we just dodged the raindrops along the beach path. I ate Ikan Woku Belanga. Fish. Yummy. I drank a large Bintang beer and my friend had two glasses of Italian wine. Her wine cost more than the two meals and the beer put together, she tells me. But why go somewhere nice to eat and not have wine if you want it.
So tonight was the night my friend arrived to join me. I had a sketching plan for while I waited. But she was not arriving until at least 11pm, so I moved from the white pavilion on the beach, to the restaurant, also on the beach. I ate a beautiful snapper dish from the a la carte menu. The restaurant was quite full, as there was a Balinese buffet and Balinese dancing. I watched three dances, then went back to the room to do a bit of organising before going down to wait for my friend.
I had spotted this floral arrangement in the reception area when I arrived myself, so, at 11pm I went to sit in the lobby with my sketchbook. Perfect timing. At 11.20 I finished my sketch and Annette arrived.
I got a bit ahead of myself with the glueing on this page. It says Thursday, but it was actually still Wednesday. I did one more sketch on Wednesday than I had anticipated. Starting the way I mean to go on.
After my lunch, I had yet another long long swim in what seemed to be our private pool. The resort has three pools, and our room was near the smallest, which nobody seemed to use but us. But I get ahead of myself, at this stage there was only me.
I took an evening walk along the beach to check out some restaurants I had read about on the Bali Travel Forum. I was hoping to find a place with two-for-the-price of-one happy hour. The Main Street in Sanur was full of them, but not along the beach. In fact, at dusk, the cafès were nearly empty. Because of that, I decided to walk back to Griya Santrian before it got dark, and sit out front of my own hotel and have a cocktail. Berry Mojito. Very delicious. Lots of mint, but only a whiff of the cork of the vodka bottle.
I sat in a white pavilion on the beach to drink it, and drew the little red pavilions that are on the breakwaters along the beach. It was dark by the time I had finished.