Day 162 to Day 168

*Day162
13th September
Umalas to Ubud

We had a leisurely morning making use of the lovely hotel.

Our first stop of the day was to drop some stuff off with Lisa and Tony (Shrek’s sister and brother in law) who had kindly agreed to take them back to the UK saving us postage and the hassle of finding a post office.

We had been warned the cycle ride to Ubud would be hard and up hill all the way, so we were pleasantly surprised that although it was up hill it was not too challenging with the exception of a couple of steep hills.

Along the route we saw lots and lots of Hindu temples, you are never far away from one, we also saw people (mainly women) laying down parcels of food, spices and goodies in offer to the gods, these are usually consumed by the birds or stray dogs.

We stopped on the way for a drink and saw a young girl with a bike with gears (a bit of a rarity here) but it soon became apparent that she didn’t know how to use them as we watched her poor little legs working ten to the dozen to get up a small hill.

We arrived at the accommodation just in time for lunch, the usual affair of rice and veg (cap cay) for me and noodles with an egg for Gary. Our hotel was a home stay just outside Ubud’s centre, we highly recommend the home stays as they are set in grounds with Hindu temples, architecture, water features and greenery they’re very relaxing and serene.

We booked our volcano trip (£15 each) and headed into town to explore Ubud.

Ubud is a bit like an upmarket Clifton in the sense that there are a lots of small unique shops selling really nice but expensive clothes, there was also an array of coffee shops and restaurants (a number of which were selling vegan and vegetarian food) and in addition tourist information booths selling different trips, spa and yoga facilities. All of which had a healthy price tag.

We had a leisurely stroll round, there were lots of westerners including Australians and a few Chinese/Japanese. We stopped for a drink, I had a small beer and Gary had a chocolate milkshake (he is becoming quite addicted to milkshakes and has on several occasions sat in a bar and had a milkshake instead of a beer, not sure how well this will go down in our local) We didn’t stay long and as we’d had a big lunch we just bought some snacks for dinner. We were in bed for 8.00pm as we had a 2.00am start.

Sept 14th
Day 163

I didn’t sleep well at all, there was no air conditioner in the room, although we did have a fan it was still very hot and it was light (the sun goes down at 6.00ish but the lights were on in the court yard) and it was noisy, fancy people coming and going at 8.00pm. Gary had been tired all day and seemed to fall asleep as soon as he stopped reading grrrrr
Gary; Net looked very funny with her neck muff worn as a blind and her ear plugs in.
Ginette – I banned him from posting the pictures.

The alarm went off at 1.45am and I reluctantly got up, we proceeded to wait nearly an hour to be picked up.
Gary; Net is no fun when woken early.

It took about an hour and a half to get to Mount Batur we stopped for tea/coffee and battered bananas on the way (I say we, Gary and the others indulged, my belly couldn’t face either). I sound miserable but I felt OK I’m just not very good in the morning especially when my morning starts in the middle of the night. (Gary, see I told you she was no fun in the mornings)

It was dark when we arrived and a little chilly (but we were wrapped up warm), we were handed a breakfast box for the top of the volcano and a flash light to help us find the way. We had two guides who set a fair pace and stopped for regular breaks on the way up the volcano, which is just as well because a couple of the group found it hard going. It took about an hour and half to climb to the top and parts of the route were challenging, with broken shale, and rocks to climb up.

Gary; the rocks were volcanic so had really irregular shapes and were very coarse and rough, tough going in the dark.

We stopped near the top as the sun started to rise and took some pictures and then ventured to the top to see the sun rise behind Mount Agunt it was spectacular. It was easy to see why the best time to see the volcano is at sunrise as the colours were amazing both on the volcanoes and on the lake below.

It didn’t really feel like I was on top of a volcano until we were making our way down and we saw heat coming out of the ground. Amazingly their was a troop of monkeys near the top of the volcano with some very young babies, they were very tame, one monkey even climbed on one of the tourists shoulders.

It was quite tricky getting down from the volcano and several people slipped one girl from Austria took a tumble and cut her ear and ripped her trousers, Gary slipped and cut his hand on the sharp rock. We were all glad to reach the bottom in one piece.

Gary; I loved this adventure, even with all the crowds at the top it made it feel like a shared experience. The views were really good and changed aspect as the sun rose extending the shadows and then bringing out all the colours.

On the way back to Ubud we stopped at a coffee plantation and was given the grand tour which was interesting we even saw the animals (Kopi Luwak) who eat the coffee beans and poo out the beans which the locals wash and make coffee from, apparently this is really nice but we passed on trying this. As we were sampling the coffees we were also given some peanut poppadoms and snake skin fruit to eat. Gary naturally ate and drank everything in sight, I sampled a couple of the teas and tried some of the fruit, which had an interesting taste, it’s texture was not dissimilar to a horse chestnut but it was softer and sweeter in taste.

Before being dropped off at our hotel we drove by the much acclaimed terraced rice paddies, we had considered cycling up to see these in more detail but it would have meant travelling 6 miles up and down the same road and as we had seen lots of rice paddies on our travels we decided to give it a miss, but if you’re in the area they’re worth a visit.

Once back at our hotel, we both went back to bed for an hour. Later in the afternoon Gary fixed a puncture on my bike and we went into town for a couple of beers and to people watch. This is a great past time and you really do get to see some sights. The most disturbing included a man wearing long black socks with sandals and shorts, a young woman with wet look shorts and crop top in a temple and a man riding a moped with a sarong and a Harley Davidson jacket on. In fairness in Ubud most people were dressed very stylishly, the majority were young and beautiful.

We managed to meet several people we had climbed the mountain with and had a drink with one of the ladies who was from Wales and had been working in Australia as a doctor for 2 years and was travelling through Asia on her way back home.

We stopped on the way back to the hotel, in a little restaurant off the beaten track and had a lovely meal. I had Cap Cay and rice, which I have had most days but the presentation and taste were excellent and at only £2.00 a bargain.

Day 164
16th September
Ubud to Candidasa
26 miles

We had breakfast and cycled to our next destination Candidasa on our way Gary stopped abruptly after shooting a red light, I had followed closely behind him and when I braked I nearly went over my handle bars as you might imagine the air was blue. Apparently he’d been admiring all the festive decorations and hadn’t noticed the light had turned red until he saw the traffic coming towards him. As mentioned previously Gary has a tendency to jump red lights and I stupidly follow him.

Gary; todays ride was a fairly easy 30 miles with 15 miles along a busy coast road. in one of the larger towns they were preparing for another religious festival so there were some impressive flags and banners down the sides of the street, I was passing a huge decorated platform I was so absorbed I didn’t notice the platform was hiding a set of traffic lights;; and as for Ginette nearly crashing into me, I don’t think she even braked as she was actually trying to push me into the oncoming cars.

Ginette – I would have pushed us both into oncoming traffic if I had gone over the handle bars – it was really close, my back wheels left the ground even with my panniers on!!! Like I said the air was blue…

Ginette – We stopped on the way in a cove to check out the blue lagoon and white sand beach but as both meant climbing a steep hill we did not go to either of them, we agreed to return when our bikes were not fully laden with panniers. Whilst in the cove we enquired about scuba diving but as it would cost over £50 each we decided to pass and arrange some snorkelling instead.

Gary; this was a lovely little port called Pandandg Bai, it has a small beach area with the usual double outrigger fishing boats, also a few tourists wandering around with their cases or rucksacks while waiting for the ferry to take them to Gili Gili or Lombock

The terrain between Ubud and Candidasa was very similar to the rest of Bali, very undulating roads, which passed through small villages. The only downside was the amount of rubbish in lay-bys and by the side of the road, for an exotic island there is a lot of rubbish outside of the main tourist areas. However on this route we were rewarded with glimpses of the sea and some beautifully decorated villages with flags and banners and the sun was shining so we were happy.

We arrived at our hotel at lunch time and as we were both hungry we delayed checking in and had some lunch, western style. Gary had a huge hot dog (Gary; I could have done bigger) and I had a fish burger with chips. The meals were huge but very tasty. The cafe was very popular with the Australians, as we were leaving a group came in that had been surfing along the coast, they informed us that the beach in Candidasa wasn’t very good and we would need to cycle to the nearest white sand beach.

We checked in and was pleasantly surprised with our budget room, although by a main road, it was quiet inside the room, which was very spacious and contained all we needed. We really like Candidas it was a quiet sea side village, relatively clean with lots of bars and restaurants and boutique shops (with the exception of a busy road).

We have arranged to go snorkelling and sea kayaking so that should keep us busy tomorrow.

In the evening we sat by the sea for a while and watched the sun go down, but it was difficult to relax as there were rats running on the rocks and it was getting a little bit chilly. We returned to the room to change with the intention of going out for dinner and watching some balinese dancing. But as with all best plans this didn’t happen as we bumped into an enthusiastic American and a guy from New Zealand in a bar and we stopped to talk to them. They had lots of useful information about Bali and about Kuala Lumper our next destination.

Gary was tired so rather than going out for dinner we grabbed a couple of pot noodles and headed back to the hotel.

Gary; I liked the bubbly American lady, although maybe she would be too bubbly after a while? both these guys live and work in Asia, She splits her time between Bali and Kuala Lumper, He runs a school in Bourneo and has lived there for 10 years. We are hoping to meet with the lady again in Kuala Lumpa so she can gives us a quick guided tour.
Day 165
Sept 16th
another rest day

Slept well and had a lovely western breakfast (poached eggs on toast with mushrooms, tomatoes and HP sauce yum yum) Whilst we waited for it to be served I was a little distracted by a chinese girl who took selfies for at least 15 minutes, there was no doubt she was attractive but I am sure she wouldn’t have dreamt of sitting at the breakfast bar posing in front of a mirror so why did she think it was okay to do it with her mobile phone, her boyfriend looked slight bemused as did some of the other guests.

After breakfast we went on our snorkelling trip, we had arranged to be taken to the Blue Lagoon in a double outrigger boat with an engine, which was pretty cool. The snorkelling was excellent, loads of fish and coral, we even saw a ray, the only downside was the equipment wasn’t great and both of our mouth pieces on our snorkels let in water so we had to keep stopping to clear them. The ride in the boat on the way back was very bumpy which made for an exciting wet ride.

In the afternoon we went sea kayaking, the boats felt very tippy and the sea was rough so I played in the shelter of the bay whilst Gary was braver and played in the surf. I got off the boat nice and dry, whereas Gary.. went for a swim, unfortunately this was before I had time to get my camera out. It was great to be back on a boat but kayaking is a little alien to me, I was grateful for the fact that I could steer it and I didn’t fall in.

In the evening we went to a bar which was playing live music and had a really good night.

Day 166
Sept 17th
Candididasa to Jalan Danau

30 miles

Another good nights sleep and western breakfast

Flat boring cycle road along the coast, to break the monotony we stopped at a sign for ‘real salt’ and watched how the locals made salt from the sea.

A bit further down the road we stopped at a temple as a big religious ceremony was going on. We didn’t go into the temple as there was a lot of pressure for westerners to buy sarongs and naff tack. We went to the beach and saw locals making offerings to the gods for their ancestors this included throwing chickens out to sea. Fortunately (or not) for the chickens they were caught by the locals who were allowed to keep them to either eat, sell or breed from them.

We stopped for lunch at a surfers cafe at the 20 mile mark, we shared a sandwich and had a side portion of chips. Gary was really tired and had chafing between his legs caused by the sea kayaking so we explored resting on the beach but it was a little bit windy and there was nowhere nice to sit. As we only had a further ten miles to do we headed off to find our accommodation. On the way we passed a number of quite spectacular statutes in the middle of roundabouts which we stopped to photo.

We struggled to find our home stay as it was tucked down a side alley right on the corner. It was only accessible by bike or foot. Although the staff were pleasant the home stay would not have the space we needed to pack the bikes so we headed off to find another home stay in the area for tomorrow. We were really lucky and found one just off the main road with good access for cars and plenty of room to pack the bikes. We booked a taxi for the following day and headed to the beach.

In the evening we went out for a meal and booked flights and accommodation in Kuala Lumpur.
Day 167
Sept 18th
packing day

It was a really noisy home stay, so we didn’t sleep very well, breakfast was banana pancakes, i wasn’t sorry to be moving to a better (if not more expensive) homestay.

Gary spent the morning going into town and collecting boxes from a bike shop that had kindly put them aside for us. I on the other hand spent the morning getting my hair cut and having a manicure for the grand sum of £7.50 – it’s a hard life.

Gary; the cardboard bike boxes were a good size this time so I didn’t have to strip the bikes down as much so it didn’t take too long and was hassle free, I could even leave the stands and seats in position.

Once packed up we spent the day chilling, we were tired so read our books and did some research on Vietnam.

In the evening we went out for a meal and some drinks, for medicinal purposes we had hoped they would help us go to sleep early as we had booked the taxi for 3.30am. I went to sleep straight away at about 8.00pm but I think Gary struggled, we were both awake at 10.30pm and didn’t really get any quality sleep after that in hindsight we would have done better to stay out late and go to bed when we were exhausted at least then we wouldn’t have been woken up by people returning to their rooms.
Day 168
Sept 19
travelling day
Bali to Kuala Lumpur

We were up dressed and in a taxi by 3.30am. It was only a short ride to the airport, we arrived ten minutes before the gates opened for check in.

Everything went really smoothly until we had to show our passports to go through to the departure lounge. We were stopped at this point because apparently we had out stayed our visa by 1 day! We were taken off to the inspectors office where we were required to pay £15 each for the additional day. We had calculated our stay based on the days in Indonesia and did not count the day we arrived. It seemed a little petty to charge us £15 each for an additional day when it was only 4.30am but as the inspector said ‘the computer says…’

Gary; Unfortunately I had no cash left so I had to leave Ginette as a hostage while I found the blackmail money, the first ATM decided to break while I was half way through robbing it, I had to go back out past security, too find another ATM which I did on the 3rd attempt, then back through security for a quick frisk thrill. I was tempted to do a runner but as it would have cost far more than the 600,000 Indonesian rupees to replace my cut off testicles I thought it best to pay and get my darling wife back.

It was only a 2 and half hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, I managed to sleep a little (nodding and dribbling as you do) whilst Gary read his kindle.

Kuala Lumpur is clean, green and very quiet compared to some of the city’s we’ve driven into. People do not use their horns as a way of communicating and there are very few motorbikes on the main roads. Although the traffic was a little congested near the tolls the roads seemed to have very few cars.

My main observation driving into the city was the number of sky rise flats/apartments leading up to and in the city.

Our accommodation is really basic, a bit like a cell, there are no windows and very little room added to this we are up two sets of stairs which was quite a struggle with the bike boxes and bags, fortunately the reception staff assisted us.

Gary; I will try to take photos but there is not much room to stand back, the bed is walled in from three sides, the door is sliding as no room to open it inwards or outwards. You can do the 3 S’s all at the same time.

Ginette; I just heard someone fart in the room across the corridor so I think it will be really difficult to have the fourth ’S’ unless we wait until everyone is asleep.

We’ve had lunch in a Reggae cafe down the road, a simple affair of noodles for me and Malaysian fried rice for Gary we both had a soft drink and the bill came to a whopping £5 or 32RM.

Gary; We have come across several bars with Bob Marley pictures and music whilst in Bali and the theme continues again here in Kuala Lumpur, which is not a bad thing. I have real trouble getting my head around the chance of currency, we have now dropped to a rate where £10 = 66 RM
whereas Balii was £10 = 200,000 Rupee.

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