Oh, Ubud. There are so many things I could say about this place. Ubud will always remain in my heart a wonderful and horrible place. Our villa was one of the nicest places we have every stayed. It was super modern, with our own little pool. It was absolute perfection; Eric and I were practically beside ourselves. Then, the night we got in, we woke in the middle of the night to terrible news; one of our best friends passed away while we were in Sanur.
It's hard for me to articulate this pain. Its all encompassing. At first the tears fell in sobs. Now I can't sit too still cause if I do, the tears will just start streaming down. No drama, just tears. I find myself sitting and staring for hours repeating her name in my head a million times. At one point, before things started popping up on Facebook, I turned to Eric, with all sincerity, and asked if he thought it was just a terrible joke, cause it seemed too crazy to be true. I can feel myself changing little by little. Because of how she died, I find myself getting so fearful. Ubud has sort of dangerous roads, and the sidewalks are liable to open into pits. I became afraid of walking. I am trying to actively oppose the fear in my head, but its hard. I am hoping that when this is all a little less raw, that it will all get easier.
At first when we got the news, I was horrified that we were going to miss her funeral. But as time has gone on, I think its better this way. I need to remember her how she was in life. I can't see her in death, its too terrible. In life, Jenna was an amazing friend. One of those rare gems of a friend. We didn't need to talk all the time to know that we would always be there for one another. She was super passionate about everything she did, and I am grateful for the time I got to be with her. I wish I could write more about her and what she meant to us, but it is too sad and personal. Suffice it to say, every memory I have of Bali is suffused with memories of her and a profound sadness. Though we were in such beautiful and amazing surroundings, I had an extremely heavy heart. I don't want to cloud all my writing about this beautiful place with the sadness I was feeling, so just know it was there; behind the glittering images, there is real sorrow.
The day after we got the news we were scheduled for a cooking class in a Balinese house. We didn't want to cancel last minute so we just went. I was thankful for the distraction, though I was in such a daze I don't really remember much of it, except how beautiful Balinese house compounds are. They all have the same basic structure, part shrine, small outdoor living areas, and the gardens. So beautiful.
The rest of our time in Ubud, was spent exploring. There are wonderful little markets and galleries, and we purchased way too much stuff (especially for people trying to minimize). The problem is that everything was both exquisitely beautiful and affordable. A dangerous combination. We went on a hike to see some neighboring rice terraces, and spent a lot of time in our villa.
I didn't actually take that many pictures of Ubud itself, as I was too busy being engrossed in my surroundings. It was every single thing I was hoping it would be though. It was busy, hot, crowded, and full of amazing treasures. There were tons of little streets to browse in, and so much amazing food for so cheap I couldn't believe it.
Every morning there we got the biggest breakfasts (as they were included). They were tapas style so we tried a LOT of stuff, and the menu rotated so much that we never ate the same thing twice. I would recommend this place for the breakfasts alone.
On our way out of Ubud to our next place in Padangbai, we took a little tour of the area. We started off the day at some wood working and art galleries. The level of detail in the traditional work was quite exquisite. I also learned that you can carve sandalwood. I had previously only thought of it as a scent wood, kind of like cinnamon.
We next went to a farm where they grow everything from coffee beans and pineapple to cinnamon and cloves. They set out the cutest little drink sampler for us, and Eric fell in love with the Tumeric Tea (the bright yellow one) while I loved the Pandanus one (the one with a little leaf). In Bali there is a very popular Luwak coffee. They basically gather coffee beans from the stool of the Luwak cat that eats the beans. Everywhere we went people were trying to get us to buy this coffee. It is insanely expensive, especially for Bali standards (a normal cup of coffee will cost you $1 while Luwak will cost from $5-10). But our biggest problem was the treatment of the cats. In the wild, coffee is a small part of their diet, but in the coffee farms they are caged and forced to eat a lot of coffee. One site I read compared Luwak coffee to fois gras. Needless to say, we didn't drink any. We did, however, buy some of their Tumeric and Pandanus tea along with a heaping pile of saffron (which in Bali is super affordable).
For our last stop, we ate lunch overlooking this volcano in a crater... surrounded by a lake. The views were unreal.
Anyway, sorry for how long this post is. The last part of this Bali series is of our trip to Padongbai.
Have a wonderful day!