December 17, 2006

Dirty Duck & others >> Bali 03

Before leaving for Ubud in the afternoon, we decided to head for the beach. Gone were the days when the beach was lined with sun worshippers. Now, you see more taxi drivers and hawkers than tourists…

The bus ride to Ubud was really uncomfortable. 8(

Perama crammed us all into this hot and stuffy minibus with no air-con or curtain to shade us from the noon sun. To make matters worse, J and I had to put our luggage on our laps as the bus did not even have space for smaller bags like ours, after all the available space was taken up by huge backpacks!

We noticed that most of the well-built Caucasians were spilling into the aisle! If even J and I (two relatively small-sized Asians) found the seats too small, I can’t imagine how awful these Westerners must have felt…

A family of three (parents and a little girl) took up a two-seater and a single seat in front and some of the Perama staff tried to move them to the last row of seats at the back. They refused to move, but the three of them had to squeeze onto a two-seater with the little girl sitting on her father’s lap. We didn’t know how many tickets they bought but if they had three tickets, Perama was actually cheating them of one seat!

Along the way, to our amazement, the bus actually stopped to pick up two more passengers - a lady and a kid! And expected everybody to squeeze onto the last row of seats, which was already full of big, hulking men! In the end, one of the local guys (he was carrying several paintings and might be an artist) gave up his seat and stood on the stairs at the exit.

This bus trip reminds me of the boat trip we took in Laos a few years ago. Both try to cram as many passengers as they can without any regard for the passengers’ comfort and safety. 8(

After settling in at Candra Asri Bungalows, we had a very enjoyable coffee break at Tutmak, next to the football field. With friendly staff and good coffee, Tutmak is a great café to while away the afternoon.

We had dinner at Bebek Bengil 1 (Dirty Duck Diner), another recommended restaurant well known for its crispy duck. When the duck arrived at our table, we were quite surprised by its size - it was much, much smaller than what we have back home. No wonder the waitress told us it was only enough for one person when we thought of sharing it. Despite its size, it was delicious! The pasta J ordered wasn’t so good though.

The restaurant has a delightful dining area and the ground is sprawling, but it was too dark for us to appreciate the view. 8(

Next >> Tofu & tumeric juice in Ubud

December 12, 2006

In Kuta >> Bali 02

We woke up bright and early today.

Sri Ratu has a lovely, small garden and a charming breakfast nook on the second floor. Our simple, clean and quiet room is directly above the cute swimming pool, which reminds me of a gigantic bathtub! ^_^

During breakfast, we met a nice, elderly couple from New Zealand. They told us they always stayed at Sri Ratu whenever they visited Bali. This time round, Bali was chosen as the destination for a family reunion with their son and his family from England!

After breakfast, we were off to indulge in a Singaporean's favourite activity - shopping! I remembered our bulging bags from our previous trip and looked forward to buying more goodies, but was sadly disappointed. :-(

One of the main deterrent was bargaining.

I'm so used to fixed prices that the thought of having to bargain for every item, big or small, just puts me off. Thank goodness we do not need to bargain for our food!

We had lunch at Made’s Warung, a local favourite in Kuta. J ordered the nasi campur (a specialty of the house) while I had otak (steamed minced fish mixed with spices) and veg with rice. Both were delicious!

Had dinner at Indo-National, a restaurant serving Western food and recommended in the guidebooks. Service was good, portion quite generous though I had expected the seafood to be fresher. Still, it was an entertaining and enjoyable evening…

Next >> beach to bus to Bebek Bengil