Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ubud, Bali - Part 1

After some sad goodbyes on Sunday; Karen, Sheila and I ventured up to Ubud for what else, but of course more spa treatment! When I read about Ubud I knew I wanted to come up here, it is the heart of the artistic community in Bali. Karen found us a boutique hotel and spa called Taman Rahasia. The resort was small and intimate, sort of like a jungle paradise. We booked a crazy six hour package. Karen booked hers over a two day period since she was going back to Hong Kong on Monday but Sheila and I decided to take the six hour session in one shot. It was called "A Day of Sheer Indulgence", one would think that I have had enough indulgence but hell, why not go for a little more? The package included a body scrub, a massage, a soak in a flower petal filled tub, lunch, a facial, a manicure and a pedicure. All for under $75US! Who could resist that?

After our blissful spa experience Karen went back to Hong Kong and Sheila and I went to go look for a place to stay. As lovely as Taman Rahasia was, $90US per night was a little out of our budget for an extended stay. After a couple of attempts at various places we came to Sania's Homestay, where we got a lovely room for $25US per night. Sania's was a small hotel within a family compound, we essentially walked through their outdoor living room and past the family dog and bird every time we walked in or out of the hotel. This hotel felt like we were in a temple with ornate doors and terraces all over. We stayed at Sania's until Thursday doing a lot of hanging out around Ubud.

Sheila believes I have perfected the art of just hanging out. Essentially sitting around in cafes or on terraces chatting about this and that for hours at a time. We took in a couple of yoga classes, one of which was in Japanese! Stephanie you should have been with us! Sheila and I also found a great foot reflexology spot where we luxuriated in having our feet massaged. Heaven. We had some interesting moments at a particular internet cafe, we did some shopping down Jalan Hanoman where lots of men constantly offered transport. I don't know if most of the tourists take taxis in Ubud but we were happy to navigate the broken sidewalks and walk.

In addition to the constant assault of transport drivers, one regularly receives offers to see traditional dance shows. One night Sheila and I went to one of the temples to watch the Kecak performance. Kecak features a large choir of men wearing sarongs and flowers behind their ears (which is not viewed in any way as effeminate in Bali). The men chant "chak-a-chak" and it is remarkable how they layer their voices. In addition to the men chanting, beautiful and graceful Legong dancers also perform. The performance closed with a fire dance, where a mound of old coconuts is drenched in gasoline, lit on fire and a barefoot man in a horse costume kicks the burning coconuts around, much to the annoyance of his keepers. Imagine a child jumping into autumn leaves after his parents finished raking them into a huge pile. Take note that in all of this we were less than 20 feet from the action. Quite amazing we were not subjected to signing waivers and there were no announcements warning us not to try this at home!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. I am glad that you are having so much fun. The pictures are great.
Be safe.

Mark Twain once wrote....
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Good luck.
We miss you.