So, we arrived in Bali on the evening of the 14th. We arrived at night time which didn't so much bother me, but my friend Warwick who I was with was a bit up tight. We had booked a hotel on line (not a hostel anymore, no no, it was soooo cheap for hotels!!) before arriving, so we grabbed a taxi and he took us to our hotel in Kuta. And man, was that an interesting drive!! lol Reminded me of Mexico in a way, just udder madness, but we made it safely, phew. We checked in and saw our room - nothing overly special, remember, we are backpackers and are trying to save as much money as possible. The room was pretty small, a queen size bed, and small bathroom - toilet and shower practically over-top of each other, and well, that was pretty much it. We where both pretty excited about being in another country and headed out for a short stroll around Kuta, even though it was dark out, and found the beach - excellent! and then headed back to the hotel for a celebratory beer - a large beer (1L) for a whole whopping $3! I could get used to this :)
We usually where woken up by the roosters at around 7, but that was fine as we where usually in bed fairly early, and it was time to get up anyhow! Most of the places we stayed at had a free 'continental' breakfast. This usually included a mix of toast, fruit, jaffles - like toasties filled with egg or banana's and chocolate syrup, which was freakin awesome!
The first couple days where spent in Kuta, just walking around the chaos of the city and chilling at the beach. Food was dirt cheap, so we ate a lot! Usually having lunch and supper at a restaurant. I was a little worried about my allergies, however I didn't have any problems. There was always something on the menu I could eat, and if push came to shove, there was always some sort of western food on the menu. Although, I only ate western food once, the rest of the time I ate Indonesian food. Curries, sweet and sour chicken, and more curries. All of the food I ate was fantastic, with only a couple of the meals not very great, but still good and eatable....in fact, too eatable as I almost always finished the food on my plate. Some of the best food we found was on a dark side street with usually on a few people eating - you'd think it would be a bad thing, but man, the food was delish! And of course I had a beer, usually Bintang with almost every meal! The first couple of days Warwick and I would split a couple large Bintang however after a couple days he started to feel like shit, and decided to stay away from the beer in order to get better. SO, at meals it was just me and my large Bintang, oh darn!
The water at Kuta beach was pretty warm, and not overly 'refreshing' to go in, but it was fun as it is a well know surf beach, and man where there some big waves - some getting the best of me :) Ubud is located inland so the only water we went in was at the swimming pool, and that was nice and refreshing!
Kuta is a very touristy town/city, with hundreds and hundreds of shops set up all over the city selling anything you could imagine. The owners where quite aggressive trying to get you into their shop for "the best price for you", or "morning price". I didn't buy anything in Kuta the first couple of days, just wanted to get a feel for the city plus I didn't feel like bartering and spending all my cash!! After a couple of days in Kuta, with lots of walking, we caught a bus to Ubud, about an hour ride. We didn't have any accommodation booked for Ubud, so we just hoped into a cab, pulled out our lonely planet, and asked the driver to take us.....here, as we pointed to what seemed like a decent hotel. We pulled up and one of locals, waved his hand - nope, the driver said, all full. Now, it wasn't as overly busy time of year, so it seemed a bit dodgy, but I wasn't about to argue. BUT, guess what??? The taxi driver ALSO has a bungalow, and guess what??? He has rooms available!! What are our chances!!! haha. Now, his bungalow didn't have a pool, which kinda sucked.... oh, but wait, just down the street you can use a pool at one of the other hotels for a whole $1! So, we decided to go check it out. It was a decent room, much bigger then the hotel in Kuta, and a nice view, and even better, a good price. So we said yes!!
In Ubud we went to the elephant cave which was about 4km's from town. We left pretty early in the morning and walked there. It was an interesting walk as it was down a non-touristy road, lots of wood carving shops and mini convenient store type shops! I stopped to by a bottle of water and the kids where giddy that 'white' people where buying something from their store! The cave was neat, it was a small cave, plus lots of temple-like stuff in the park. There was beautiful landscape in the park and we walked around enjoying the lush greenery! Everything was SO green which is a nice change from the white north, even though its been a while since I've been up there!! We started heading back to town and had full intentions of walking the whole way back, and we maybe got about a kilometer (after stopping at a restaurant for a beer!) and had this cab driver insist that we take a cab. He got to as low as 6000rup, which is about 80 cents, for both of us to go into town - how could we say no! We got him to take us to the other end of town then where our hostel was, and we cruised around town some more. That afternoon we went to the pool that we heard about, and as it turned out it was more like $3 to use the pool - whats another $2 for an afternoon of sun and water! We had the most amazing view from where we sat - rice patties, and it was nice and relaxing - which is why I came to Bali! We found this amazing restaurant in Ubud as well that was recommended by lonely planet and 2 other people that had been. It was down a side street of a side street, there where large tables that you shared with other people, and the food was fantastic. We met these danish people that where cycling around Indonesia!! Crazy people! That night I stopped at the local mini mart, bought some snacks and a beer, and read a book on the balcony of our room, enjoying life! The next day.....Gili Islands!!!
Me at Kuta Beach
Havin' a Bintang by our pool at the first Hotel in Kuta
Our first hotel in Kuta, the doors were just a little small.
I could barely get in with my pack on!!
At elephant cave, everyone had to where a sarong
The sacred monkey sanctuary, they were not scared of us!
Beer with an amazing view!
My friend Warwick in the swimming pool at Ubud, with an incredible view!