We reached our hotel at around 9.30pm but after a great first day in Bali, I received a few smses informing me that my kids will be served with Leave of Absence from school for 7 days as Indonesia has been listed as an affected country with community transmission of H1N1 flu. News on CNA reported that Bali has 2 confirmed cases of H1N1. The kids were elated but their mother was moody. Missing school for one week! And having to monitor their self-study for another week! Moody.
It's our second day. Despite the bad news/good news (depending on whose perspective) from the night before, we're not going to let it affect our holiday since we can't undo it. Kids wanted to swim so I told them they must wake up early because we had a lot planned for the day. They got up at 6 plus and was off to the beach by 7am. Getting up early on a school day was tough but not when they're on vacation (strange paradox). My son was motivated by the thought of burying his younger sister in a trench on the beach. The beach, just outside the hotel, was quiet and relaxing. It was really interesting people-watching. Early as it is, there were peddlars setting up stalls, touting 'copy' watches, waving copies of "The Age" at westerners. Being Asian, I was pretty much left alone. A couple was taking surfing lessons (there were at least 2 surf schools behind the hotel) and we spotted a few meditating on the beach. Hmm, the next time we return, must sign up my two boys for surfing lessons.
From frolicking on the beach, kids returned to the hotel pools for a swim. Got them out at 8.30am. They had to get changed, packed and have breakfast by 10am. We checked out of the hotel by 10.05am. Felt that our stay at Jayakarta was too short. Would return next time for a longer stay to suss out Legian and Kuta. There seemed to be many interesting shops around. Waited for our transport. Herry would be swopping car with Sila which has a mounted rack to accommodate our luggage. Still no sign of him at the lobby. He was running a little late today. By the time we loaded up the luggage, it was past 10.30am. Hery suggested shifting the itinerary a little, with the first stop at the Balinese traditional house and then lunch first before continuing to Kintamani. We had designated Ibu Oka as today's lunch spot and it was better if we reach there earlier as they sell out quite fast.
Stopped at a traditional house. Was interesting to find out that a Balinese compound has what we considered rooms built in separate blocks. The kitchen was a separate structure from the living room, which was separate structure from bedroom 1, which was a separate structure from bedroom 2 and so forth. And no covered walkway! (sorry, this is a Singaporean mentality, must shield from sun and rain). My very urban kids were thrilled to see chicks and pigs which can move and are not running on batteries!
It was lunch time and we headed for Ibu Oka. An interesting place, not quite a restaurant but more of a huge raised platform where everyone sits on the floor at low tables arranged canteen style. It was crowded, with many locals, but we got a table fairly quickly. Our Indonesian friend said it was better value for money if we ordered the meat separately, rather than the set meal. You would get more meat. So we followed her advice and ordered 3 plates of daging (meat) and 1 plate of kulit (skin). That about sums up the main dishes on the menu as patrons throng the place primarily for the roast pork. It was different from the roast pork found in Singapore. The meat was marinated in herbs, not char siew/bbq sauce. But the crispy skin and juicy flesh was delicious all the same. The only problem was that the meat was a little spicy and my two younger kids had not quite developed a taste for all things hot, despite being true blue Singaporean. So it was skin and rice for them.
After lunch, Herry dropped us at the King's Palace opposite the Ubud Market. We took a few photos and that was that. Most parts seemed out of bounds to visitors (or maybe we were at the wrong entrance). For once, we would have liked a running commentary on the palace and the history. No issue. Ubud market beckoned instead.
As was reviewed previously, many of the stalls in the market were selling similar items. It was interesting to note that stall owners will come over to observe a bargaining. And later, they will promote their wares at a price lower than what was transacted. I bought 5 mini wrap-around sarongs (kids' size) for 70000Rp after bargaining really hard. Feeling extremly pleased with myself, I walked past a nearby stall and was promptly offered 25000 Rp for 2 sarongs! Arrgh!
My teenager picked out his mini guitar models but the asking was 100,000Rp! We could not bring down the price to below 20,000Rp so we left it at that, eventhough we ended with Grumpy by our side. We pretended to walk away, but no one called us back. Guess the stall holders know our tricks as well. It's not going to be as easy as we thought. It was quite claustrophobic shopping at the market as the stalls were positioned very close to each other. Even the stalls on the second floor had very narrow walkways. And the haggling was real tiring. I left it to my dear hubby. I just picked what I wanted, pointed it out to him and slinked away. Unlike me, he has incredibly thick skin so was not bothered by the looks and stares he received.
Left at 3.30pm (only after having reassured my MIL that we can come back on Sun) for Kintamani. Drove past the tegallalang rice fields (very crowded, so did not stop for pictures), before arriving at a look-out point for photo shoots. Surprisingly, the air was chilly. It was nice and all but when if you ask me how was Mt Batur, I can only say it looked, well, like a volcano.
After the brief stop, we went to sample coffee luwak. This costs 3000Rp per cup but sampling other beverages such as Bali Coffee, Ginger Tea etc are FOC. Kids tried their hands at roasting coffee beans and took pictures of the luwak. They were tickled pink that we were drinking coffee from passed-out beans.
Last stop - Tirtul Empul. Pleasant park-like grounds. We stopped here briefly as we never had the intention of stepping into the waters, let alone bathing there. So it was off to the market outside the temple. Shopping again (we're Singaporean, what). A much more pleasant stroll through this market as it was less crowded and not so narrow. At last, my son managed to get his guitar at 15000Rp. And magically he was transformed into a much more amiable teenager.
Dinner was at Cafe Wayan. Great ambience with a setting in a Balinese garden. The Indonesian food, however, according to my in-laws was not so fantastic. But the kids enjoyed their meal of steak and pasta (their staple diet in Bali).
Then, we set off to find our Villa Agung Khalia set admist rice fields. In the pitch darkness, we could not see any rice fields along the way. Just darkness. Herry had to activate his 'GPS' by calling Agung for direction. But after a bumpy ride up a dirt road with nothing on both sides, we finally arrived.