|Our accommodations: The Studios Ubud,|
looking toward rice paddies
- check out some art and Balinese theatre
- see the monkey temple, and not get bitten
- visit the cliffside temple at Uluwatu
- learn to surf
- appreciate paradise
Things went well, goal-wise, in Ubud. We stayed in a gorgeous compound with a stunning view and a pool that was always the perfect temperature for swimming.
The next night, we went to a restaurant that also had Balinese dancing, but of a different kind. This time, we listened to 'gamelan' music, which is played on wooden or bronze xylophone-type instruments that are struck with little hammers, while women danced. The outfits they wore were so beautiful, and their movements were absolutely precise and sometimes subtle - like moving the eyes and chin only, or wiggling two fingers. I was enthralled.
|This one wanted to hold my hand,|
so I went with it.
|One of many temples, this one|
behind Cafe Lotus
|Looking north-west from a cafe in Uluwatu. There are shops|
above us and below us on the cliff.
Goal-wise, things went less well in Uluwatu. I think I focused too much on the last goal - enjoy paradise - and forgot about the other things I wanted to do. Drew and I rented a scooter for our time in Uluwatu, which was the most fun thing ever. We just scooted around wherever we wanted to go, and didn't have to worry about getting taxis (or being asked, constantly, if we wanted a taxi when we were quite happy to walk). Uluwatu is extremely small, and at first glance it felt a bit like the middle of nowhere. From the road, only a few buildings are visible. The wily adventurer, however, quickly discovers that there are restaurants, shops, and cafes built on top of each other all the way down the west-facing cliff, connected by ramshackle stairways and sloping sidewalks.
The weather in Bali was *amazing*. We were prepared for some rain in all of our stops, but it never came. Bali was blazing hot, but not too humid. We could comfortably sit in the shade of a cafe without feeling sweat trickle down our backs. Most Balinese buildings we saw do not have full walls or windows - they're mostly open-air and breezy. The exception is a few newer hotels where tourists go to stay, and which would have air conditioning (which is definitely a comfort at night).
|A perfect Bali sunset|
I would recommend Bali to anyone looking for an awesome and varied tropical vacation, with a definite local presence. The Balinese people we met were very friendly, and seemed genuinely pleased to have visitors on the island. We were thanked many times for coming to Bali, and asked if we would come back in the hopes that we would say yes, and indeed, we would.