Friday, September 26, 2014

Return to Ubud

It's been four years since we've been to our favourite part of Bali.  It seems like a lot has changed. There's a new airport at Denpasar (but it stills takes forever to get visas and get through migration - but at least now it's in airconditioned comfort) and a new toll road out of the airport that gets traffic moving before it hits the logjam at the turnoff to Sanur.  There are a lot more cars on the road and everyone riding bikes has to wear a helmet these days (although not the children riding passenger I note).

Ubud was crazy busy when we arrived around 4.00pm yesterday; big shiny Kejangs clogging the roads and the tiny walkways up and down Monkey Forest Road filled with tourists.  But the Cendana Resort hasn't changed a bit in the 8 years since we last stayed there.  There are no new villas, nothing has been upgraded, all the staff are the same. Nobody remembers us (of course) although the greeting is very friendly all the same.

It's the end of the dry season in Bali - rice harvest time.  This is the view from the Cendana gardens, just to remind us of what Ubud village life is like for the poorer people who harvest the rice by hand (mainly women).

....while we can relax in the peaceful Cendana gardens and admire the "rice paddy views".

Cafe Wayan is exactly the same as the last time we visited (thank goodness). We were really hungry by 6.00pm last night; 8.00pm by our body clocks and we'd only eaten one other meal during the long day's travel from Sydney.

Cafe Wayan's Nasi Campur is just as wonderful as we'd remembered it (and perfect with a Bintang beer).

This morning started perfectly with a swim for both of us (Rob's first swim since his surgery 8 weeks ago) and a long breakfast "with our rice paddy views".  Walking around the village after reassured me that so much of what we love about Ubud has stayed the same: the local peoples' intensity around preparing for ceremonies, quite oblivious to the traffic around them and the gawking of tourists.......

The iconic Ubud markets have been cleaned up and sorted in the past four years, but the fresh food area is just a colourful and (somewhat) alarming as it has ever been. It was crowded with cooking school groups this morning when we visited.

Which meant it was now time for a cold drink and Bali Kopi at our favourite Lotus Cafe in Jalan Raya Ubud (and there is now a Starbucks (tastefully hidden inside a beautiful old traditional Balinese building) right next door to the Lotus Cafe - yikes!).

But the Lotus Cafe is just as beautiful and old school Ubud as ever.

..and the narrow walkways down Monkey Forest Road are just as death defying even though the little boutiques fronting them are looking much more upscale these days.


judy l said...

Absolutely loving our holiday with you guys. Can see why you keep coming back.

Roslyn Lawrence said...

Looks lovely and relaxing and very warm. Enjoy. xxx