Leaving Java, we took the public ferry from Banyuwangi and then a public bus to Kuta Beach – all for under 5 euros each – where we were staying for the following five nights. The bus journey was supposed to take about four hours but the driver however didn’t seem to care at all about the time and with a very frustrating (frustrierend), seemingly self-imposed (selbst auferlegt) speed limit of 40 km/h, we crawled (kriechen) along the roads across Bali. Adding to the frustration of the slow progress (Fortschritt), the driver burped (rülpsen) VERY loudly every 15-30 seconds for the ENTIRE (komplett) journey. After initially (anfangs) finding this quite rude (unhöflich), we began to think that he must have a serious (ernsthaft) medical issue.
As has become customary (üblich) on our Indonesian travels, the journey wasn’t entirely smooth (geschmeidig). With only half an hour to go to Kuta Beach, the bus broke down (Panne) and there was no way to quickly repair it. Luckily we only had to wait for about five minutes for another bus to take us the rest of the way. But, of course, we had to pay again for this bus. Being dropped off at the side of the road somewhere north of Kuta Beach, we caught an Uber the rest of the way (not before being chased down (verfolgen) the street by an irate (wütend/zornig) taxi driver; “no Uber here”). We were, therefore, very pleased when we finally made it to our destination – Hotel Kemuning.
Now, there is not a lot to report from our days in Kuta. We had a few walks around the street-side markets, a day at the beach (where I got horribly sunburnt) and Tom bought a shirt for Christmas. To be honest (Um ehrlich zu sein), we weren’t all that impressed with Kuta. It is very dirty everywhere; the beach and even the sea was filled with litter (Müll). Not exactly the island paradise we imagined but, in fairness, Kuta does have a reputation (Ruf) as a party town. We hoped our next stop in Bali would be more to our liking.
On the 4th of December we caught an Uber 1.5 hours north (costing around 10 euros) to Ubud which is situated close to the centre of Bali, swapping (austauschen) beaches for rainforests and rice paddies (Reisfelder). We checked in to a very nice homestay called Loris Homestay for the following 3 nights. On our first afternoon we had a walk along the streets and a look in the many small boutique stores selling genuine (authentisch) handmade (handgemacht) goods and quality food and drink – much different from the stalls in Bali selling knock-off (nachgemacht) t-shirts and “Chris/Jack/Michael/James is gay” stickers. We felt much more at home in Ubud and both wished we’d left Kuta a little earlier.
On our second day in Ubud we rented a motorbike to explore the countryside of central Bali. First, we drove to the Tegallalang rice fields where we had a walk through the many beautiful green landscaped rice paddies. Then we moved on to see Gunung Kawi Sebatu-Tegallalang and Gunung Kawi Tampaksiring. Both are beautiful Hindu temples. Unfortunately, as we made our way home, we got stuck in a downpour (Sturzregen) and got absolutely drenched (durchnässt)!
On our third and final day, we went to the Ubud Monkey Forest. We’d read a few horror stories about visitors being attacked and robbed (ausgeraubt) by aggressive, fast and clever monkeys, however we made sure we weren’t carrying any food or plastic bags which the monkeys might be interested in and we were completely left alone. The Monkey Forest really is monkey heaven. Whilst it is a big tourist attraction, it is very nicely integrated (integriert) with the rainforest so the monkeys are pretty much in their natural habitat with the added bonus of hundreds of visitors – and their bananas and other food sources – every day! Our own highlight was watching a few monkeys having a play in a small pool. They would climb up the tree beside the pool and jump into the refreshing water – often landing (landen) on top of one of their friends! After the Monkey Forest, we moved on to the Saraswati temple with its waterlily pond and then had a walk through the Ubud rice fields. On the way, we stopped at a lovely café that looked out onto the fields called Cafe Pomegranate.
Satisfied with our Ubud adventure, the next day we set off to Bali’s lesser known neighbour – the island of Lombok.