Yesterday we seemed to leave 21st Century Bali behind. For most of the day a good portion of the traffic disappeared, major roads did not exist, and in fact, for a good deal of the time on out bikes, even sealed roads disappeared. We saw temples, houses, sheds and other buildings, but it really felt as if we were in the jungle. How can this happen, on such a small island, with such a large population?
We started the day early, 6am, with a fishing trip....well really it just turned put to be a sailing trip, because we saw no fish....but it was in a traditional Balinese sailing craft, with bamboo pontoons, and colourful sails. Initially we were powered by a outboard, 2 stroke, but as soon as we hit a breeze the sail was raised, and the hand line thrown in. A long run away from shore, a really smooth gibe, and a fast run back towards shore...but nothing caught. But a new experience notched up.
After a late breakfast, and a short shuttle in the car, we hit the back roads, trails, small lanes, alleyways, and jungle paths on our bikes. The only traffic we encountered was five school girls on two scooters, negotiating a jungle trail, on their way home from school. Fantastic, fun day on the cycles, finishing up at White Sand Beach for a late lunch.
The afternoon was topped off with a wander around an ancient Balinese town, and then a short drive to our hotel.
Then today, another early start, 5.30am, and we are heading off to a traditional Balinese market. So colourful, so busy, and an amazing atmosphere. Why a market so early? Today we are going to cooking school. From 8am until 1.30pm we are taught how to cook Bali food, and we get to eat it.... seven courses......and so yummy....and we got a certificate.....and a very pretty apron.
Bloated, we headed out on the bikes, for a 24km circuit, through rice paddys, up and down more lanes and single tracks, and along narrow, unused roads. How can this be so, when the first 800m was in the dense, tourist crowded area of the Cultural Centre of Bali, Ubud. We turned left.....and suddenly we were on trails passing along the edge of rice fields, with the occasional plush restaurant and Art shop.
Before long we were on single track, and narrow ridges between very wet paddies. A simple miscalculation, incorrect line, or a glance at the scenery would mean a dunking in amongst newly planted rice. Ryan obliged, misjudged a dip in the track, and went swimming. (later, Fiona refused to release my shoe from the cleat, and caused me to straddle the width of an irrigation ditch with my body....but I didn't get wet). Really plush hotel again tonight, and only a short walk into the Centre of Ubud for dinner. The streets are crowded with tourists and traffic, unlike we've seen since leaving Kuta. Seems we're back on civilisation.
Another great day on a bike, with Adventure South in Bali. You really should come and try it. Only days now before I venture out alone. I'm hoping I've learnt enough about Bali and Indonesia that it won't be too much of a massive challenge. We shall see.....