Bali- one day in Ubud before flying out Feb8, 14

We decided to spend our last day in Bali in Ubud in order to do a little souvenir shopping and make up for getting stuck in bed the last time around.
We visited two restaurants that had been recommended: Crispy Duck and Ibu Oka. Crispy duck is a specialty of the area and very popular with tourists. The restaurant was gorgeous. The food was nothing special. We got the recommended dish. It was a piece of deep fried duck with cold French fries. Like KFC but KFD. There wasn’t much meat either. Oh well, at least we tried it.
We also sought out Ibu Oka upon recommendation by Putu our cab driving friend. He said it was suckling pig (babi guling) soup with fresh pig blood. I was intrigued and really wanted to try it. The place he told us to go turned out to be a killer location over looking the jungle but they didn’t have the lawar, the blood soup. I was bummed, but ordered the babi guling sampler plate and was very happy. Lots of crispy pig skin and even a “sausage” filled with organ meat (that was black and gross).

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In preparation for the Tibetan singing bowl meditation we were planning to attend at the Yoga Barn that evening, we stopped into the Tibetan shop to buy one. I’ve wanted one for years, and now that I’m a yoga instructor I realllllly want one for my classes.

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Nick and I had the best time playing the bowls together. He had never seen one but instantly fell in love. We spent about an hour trying them all and finding the perfect one for us. I was shocked when he wanted one too. Even more shocked when he got one for me as a gift. Best gift ever! Thank you honey!
We also did some shopping at local wood crafting stores. Ubud is filled with insanely skilled craftsmen.

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I did not buy the giant penis. But Nick did buy some stuff while sitting on his bike. That lady was relentless.

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The Tibetan singing bowl meditation was alright. It’s such a let down whenever I have high expectations here in Asia. Gotta let that go. I mean, we enjoyed ourselves. We laid down in the dark in a room with thirty other people and listened to a dude ding and sing the bowls, but it wasn’t anything I’d do again. Maybe if we didn’t have to arrive over an hour early and sit there and wait in order to get a spot, I wouldn’t have thought much of it. We went back to the guesthouse and had our own duet concert with our new bowls afterward and enjoyed it much more.

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Bali- Ubud in a nutshell – Jan 24-26

Haven’t really felt like writing much over the last several days. We’ve both been a little down, and low on energy. I started writing this post and realized I was totally complaining about this trip of a lifetime. Pretty lame, but I’m going to leave it in, and just add to it. It’s all part of the journey I guess. This post will be long and generalized and cover our time in Ubud.

After a morning session at the gym in Canggu, Nick and Brandon’s driver Putu came to pick me up and hand deliver me to their hotel in Ubud.
In the rain…

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I found them ducked into a little restaurant next door called Warung Lokal.

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Here are some shots of our new temporary residence in Ubud.

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I got a pink scooter, but the roads here are very intimidating. Most are narrow and one-way, except for motorbikes that scoot along the gutters into oncoming traffic. Unlike Chiang Mai, that has wide two-laned one-ways with ample turn-arounds and options for getting where you need to go, here in Ubud if you miss your turn you’re fucked. Driving here is frying my nerves a little bit. I’m surprised I only cried once.

So here’s the biggest surprise for me: I’m not a huge fan of this place, bordering on disappointment. And I feel like such a stuck up, ungrateful, out-of-my-mind, spoiled California girl saying it. But shit, I was visualizing something enchanting. After reading Eat,Pray,Love and seeing the movie, and hearing over a dozen friends talk about this place and how much they LOVE it (friends who I trust their taste in life), I was expecting something…different.
And so it’s true: expectation is the mother of disappointment. Damn it!

Ok, here’s what I do like about Ubud (considering I can’t quite explain what I don’t like): the artistry. Every corner, every crevice, every structure is built like a piece of art. Every home is a temple. The architecture is gorgeous. It’s lush here. The streets feel alive. All the shops sell goods I desperately want to buy to wear or adorn my home with and look at everyday.

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I think I’d like Ubud more if I had more money. There’s not a lot to do here. But there’s a lot to buy. Shopping is doing, so I guess some people keep themselves real busy when they come here. There are so many art shops, tourist shops, sculpture shops, restaurants, and bars. But there’s virtually no street vendors. Getting a meal means sitting down at a restaurant and being served. I sure miss the cheap, fresh, and quick street stalls in Thailand!
There’s a few yoga studios, but those are everywhere in the world. And I’m pretty sure the main one here, Yoga Barn is run by Americans. I tried to make it to a few classes, but kept missing them, or found myself low on energy and decided not to go. I set out for their Tibetan singing bowl meditation one evening and got totally lost and missed it completely.

Nick spent all day Saturday in bed or in the hammock we strung up on our porch.

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He didn’t put his legs on at all. Too painful. It’s definitely frustrating, considering he’s not doing anything extraordinary to cause his legs to blister and split and swell and bleed and refuse to heal the way they are. I mean, how in the world does Oscar Pistorius do what he does?

Sunday wasn’t much different with respect to Nicks stumps. He had to take another full day off of his legs. I piggybacked him outside to the porch, and out front to get lunch and a taxi. We took a cab to get a (piece of shit) wheelchair at the Ubud clinic so we could visit the sacred monkey forest in town.

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The ground is paved, but it’s hilly with uneven cement blocks. It was very difficult to maneuver around there, especially since the wheels were coming apart every few minutes. Nick bought a few bunches of mini bananas and we hung out with the monkeys for an hour or two.

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I don’t really like monkeys anymore. They are smart, devious, vicious little buggers who will attack and steal from humans. I got scared a few times when they would lunge at me (no bananas in hand either).

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The little mohawk-wearing babies sure are cute though.

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I’m not sure who was the bigger attraction: the monkeys or the dude in the wheelchair with no feet.

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Later that evening I went to the Ubud fitness center and did some weight training. Pretty shocking to see a place like this in Ubud.

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And then Nick and I went to the Yoga Barn for kirtan (singing and meditation).

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Okay, now I get it. Yoga Barn isn’t just a yoga studio, it’s a compound, a community within a community. Let’s put it this way: I got lost trying to find Nick and Brandon.

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Bummed I didn’t make it there sooner. Brandon carried Nick across their property, up and down giant stairs, so Nick could join me. Very cool! It felt good to just bliss out for a bit to live music not at a bar.

So, all in all, we both liked Ubud. We could spend a few more days here because I’m sure we missed quite a lot. Oh well, the point of this trip is not to pack our days full and do everything there possibly is to do. Those days are over for us. This trip is about enjoying each others company and making the best of what we can do. It’s a different perspective than we’re used to with regard to traveling. And it’s definitely difficult to be traveling with others. We can’t help but feel bad that our buddy Brandon came all the way to Bali from Guam (24 hours of travel, believe it or not) just to hang with Fener. And “hangin” is about all they’re really doing.
With us, there’s a lot of down time and everything has to happen slowly and deliberately. We’re used to it now that it’s been 2 1/2 years since Nicks accident. But I bet it’s not an easy pace to adopt for those around us. Thank god for good, patient, and persevering friends!

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