Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Bali - so ugly, it's beautiful!

I'm going to start this blog post from the bottom line and that would be:
Bali is so ugly it's beautiful! 


Well, thats my thoughts on it anyway.
This month we were faced with the opportunity to visit another country for our last free month before we return to full time work this summer. Australia, Fiji, Samoa were all countries that popped up in discussion until at last we decided on Bali. And this post is going to be about my first impressions on this little snippet of the world, and I say first impressions because I hope to return again and again until I fully make up my mind about this little country!

Now let me get this straight first of all - this was not a backpacking trip. No, this was a two week vacation to relax and replenish us ready for summer. Last month our boss's went on a vacation, leaving us to look after the complex for almost a month all by ourselves. Although we enjoyed it and it was a fun experience, we felt burnt out and ready for a vacation by the time September rolled around. Much to the amused reactions of our friends and families who all said exactly the same thing:- "but aren't you already on holiday?! You're going on holiday from a holiday?" Well, yeah, if you put it like that!

When we arrived at the airport after a long, but pleasant flight from Auckland to Brisbane and finally to Denpasar, we were hot, smelly, hungry and tired. We had been warned about the hoards of taxi drivers both inside and outside of the arrivals terminal all desperate to offer their services. For first timers this experience was a little scary. My immediate thoughts were "oh no! This was a mistake... Get me back on that plane!" And if I was on my own I may well have turned right around and ran screaming with my arms waving in the air crying for my Momma! The thought of haggling at all is a scary thought for me - I'd rather just pay the money and feel ripped off and upset about it later, but bargaining with a taxi driver was good practise for what was to come!

We split our two week holiday over two parts of Bali - Ubud and Sanur. In hind site, maybe we should've split the 2nd week up a bit more because for us our holiday was all about Ubud!

Ubud is by far my most favourite place on Earth at the moment - and I know that's probably quite easy for me to say right now considering I haven't been to many places in the world (yet!) but it was the culture experience I have been yearning for all my life.


Our hotel was in the perfect location to everything we needed, right on Monkey Forest Road which is the centre of Ubud, this gave us the exciting Ubud Market, Monkey Forest, an abundance of restaurants, shops and several temples to enjoy all within walking distance. It also meant that it was easy for tour companies to locate and pick us up/drop us off.

We enjoyed several activities and site seeing spots in Ubud, which I want to write about another time, but for now, for me, Ubud Market was a lot of fun! We I Made sure forced Tom to get up super early so that we could catch the end of the local market and the transition into the more touristic market. Up until this point we hadnt bought any souvenirs or clothing - so we took this as our opportunity. Tom and I work great as a team - playing Good Cop Bad Cop to get to a price we were willing to pay. Although I felt guilty (I played Bad Cop!) it was a lot of fun and we did return to the same clothing stall to buy more baggy pants after we discovered how unbelievably comfortable these things are!

Our second week was spent in Sanur, which for me was kind of the low point of the holiday, although I can't really say that as it wasn't that bad at all and its just my personal taste, but it didn't compare to Ubud at all! The beach, for me, was nothing special and I really wasn't ready to go swimming in it the moment I saw the water on that sticky, hot day we went exploring the local area. It hasn't got that cute charm about it like Ubud. I don't know what it is that I didn't like about it, I guess it was because it was dirty. Hey- don't get me wrong, I'm sure all of Bali is the same it's not exactly squeaky clean wherever you go but the piles of rubbish, the rats and the eateries just didn't seem as clean and welcoming as those in Ubud. The taxi drivers also got on my nerves. Since when was honking the horn conintuiusly a good sales pitch? If anything it infuriated me. I didn't mind the Taxi drivers in Ubud. They sat in the shade at the edge of the street and they would say hello and say "taxi?" No thank you. "Maybe tomorrow?" Maybe. That's cute, I can handle that. But honking the horn! Really?

So this is why I wish we had split up our second week, because it would have been great to see another part of Bali to ease the comparison I'm making on Sanur to Ubud. But Ubud is beautiful. I would return in a heart beat.

In my next post I will talk about the activities we did, the trip highlights and I hope to do a review post on our hotels and various restaurants - just for the fun of it! But this is enough for today.

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