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).
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.
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.
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.
A morning of swimming and walking around the market led us to Ibu Rai for lunch, (satay) where I sketched. On entering a restaurant, we always pause looking for sketching opportunities. It makes the restaurant staff anxious. It’s the same everywhere. They want to get you seated quick smart. And on this day we were hustled into sitting down before we were ready. I need to become more ruthless about this. So I sketched what was in front of me. Beautiful soft blues and greens there with touches of magenta.
During our morning in the market we went for a ‘hangover cure’ drink. We had no hangover, but these drinks are delicious. The colour comes from the dragonfruit, and a lot of the flavour too, though it also contains banana and strawberries. We have a list of cafes and restaurants obtained from the Ubud Community Page on Facebook, written by an ex-pat who lives here. So in the afternoon, after another swim, we decided to locate the video shop for once and and for all, and to try to find one or two of the cafes. A highly successful trip to the video shop in Jalan Dewi Sita, then up Jalan Goutama where we came across Kismet Cafe (on our list for a good place for ice blended coconut latte with coconut milk.) The cafe, though up some steep steps, through a split gate and up more steps, gave a first good impression with cool towels and ice water with lime and cucumber. It was a very small cafe with display cabinets containing beautiful and unusual jewellery cleverly set into the table tops. Service was a little slow. I ordered the drink above and my friend ordered something similar.
While we were waiting, a young man jumped up on the wide high window ledge to fix the large fan up there. He had a screwdriver in his hand. He stared at the fan for some time. He held the screwdriver in his hand. He walked to the other side of the fan and stared some more. And some more. Eventually after quite a wait, my friend’s drink came. Mine did not. So we watched the fan-starer. He assumed various positions around the fan, still holding the screwdriver firmly in his hand at his side. After a very long period my drink had still not come, so my friend enquires (I was sitting with my back to the counter). Just coming! Just coming! But it didn’t come, and it didn’t come, and the fan-starer was still staring at the fan. Finally, finally, it came, just as it was a starting to get dark (and we still had to get down the steps in the dark. ) and then it was only a frappé. A long icy drink that couldn’t be drunk quickly. So we got to see the fan-starer admit defeat.
Just on dark we resumed our walk along Jalan Goutama, failing to find another recommended restaurant, but coming out on Jalan Raya (the Main Street) right by Cafe Nomad, an old favourite from the year dot. We had an early dinner while marvelling at Ubud peak hour traffic. We are going back to video it.