Driving up to Ubud on Saturday afternoon John suggested we stop at this Babi Guling (bar-b-que pork) "restaurant" in Batubalan (the stone carver's village) for a late lunch.
Although this was not the famous Babi Guling of Ubud (recently made even more famous by Rick Stein and Anthony Bourdan visits), for a grand total of 63,000 rupiah (a bit under $8AUS) the three of us enjoyed a sensational meal of the most tender spit roasted pork, crunchy crackling, a sate lillit, sausage and rice and lawar (bean salad). We also had iced teas and peanut snacks included in the bill!
It felt so good to be back in Ubud. We are even booked into the same room at the Sri Bungalows as last time. This time there is very little duck herding and rice harvesting to watch from our balcony. Instead there is the construction of a new villa to entertain us. As usual the women seem to do all the labouring work, hauling bricks, barrowing cement etc while the men do the more "skilled" work. No one uses any electrical tools or heavy equipment so there is very little noise to spoil the serenity!
The Sri Bungalows garden continues to delight me. The hellaconias are bursting forth everywhere, hanging in pendulous garlands of intense red and orange. The gardener always takes care to colour coordinate the statuary.
And the little shops along Monkey Forest Road show the same attention to detail. Ubud is very buzzy and the main roads and shops are crowded with tourists at the moment. We think there are many more upmarket shops than there used to be. I have already had a little splurge at Animale on Jalan Raya Ubud.
The monkeys still rule the southern corner of Monkey Forest Road and there are lots more buses full of tourists to see them. You don't have to go into the forest to see monkeys though as many of them prefer to terrorise the shop owners and tourists out on the road itself.
On our first full day in Ubud we couldn't resist a visit to The Indus, our favourite restaurant, about a kilometre outside the village centre. We found that the food continues to be wonderful and their black rice pudding and handmade fresh coconut ice cream would have to be the best I have eaten in Bali (or anywhere else).
To end of our first full day back in Ubud we signed up at "Bodyworks" on Jalan Hanoman for the one hour hot oil therapeutic massage combining Swedish massage techniques and acupressure. Although parts of the treatment can cause momentary agony, the overall effect is just wonderful. We always enjoy being pampered with a serve of fresh ginger tea and tropical fruit in the beautiful garden of the Bodyworks compound after the hard work of the massage. There is always some amazing new pet every year we go there. This time a captive bat was in residence. My first chance to really look at a bat up close and personal