I forgot to write on yesterdays blog that on the way back from a surf, a scooter was driven past me by a kid no older than maybe 12, with another kid who was probably only 10 on the back carrying 2 surfboards..mad! The other thing i was going to mention was the sheer number of stray dogs everywhere. Especially in Kuta when I was getting the taxi to Canggu, there were loads and most looked very unhealthy.
Today we decided that we would go on a mission to Ubud, as there was virtually no surf forecast and it would be a fun adventure. We had a really little Scooter Crew of; Me, Georgie, Saskia, Max (and his girlfriend 'the German Couple'), plus some others I hadn't met before but everyone else knew, called Win, Kia and Thomas. We hired out 4 scooters between us, just took a backpack and thought we'd see what happens. I knew there were temples etc to see up there, and also you can hike to the top of the Volcano which is meant to be pretty cool.
By about 9am we were all patterned off, I hopped on the back of Win's scooter as I'd only ever ridden one for 2 minutes in the little 'driving lesson' Georgie gave me the day before, and we were off. It was meant to be about a 2 hour drive, depending on Traffic in Kuta and how much you stop on the way. From over in the west where we were, the best way to drive was back to Kuta on the big 'main roads', then North back out again. It's a bit indirect, but otherwise it's just really tiny little back roads.
The start of the drive was fine, but then we reached the main road into Kuta, and holy moly did I get a shock. Seeing the crazyness from inside the taxi was one thing, but your actually on the back of the Scooter its something else entirely! After about 15/20 minutes when I'd got used to being so close to other cars/sctooers/lorries you could touch them, I had so much fun! The adrenaline buzz is awesome! Win and I were leading the others, as I was navigating by iPhone, but the expressions of the others faces when they sometimes overtook were hilarious! I managed to get a few photos, and some of the others did videos too so hopefully they will all end up on Facebook.
At one point in Kuta whilst cramped in with about 30 other scooters at some lights, Georgie started chatting to a local...as he does. Turned out this bloke lived near Ubud, and offered to lead us there and show us some local stuff. It seemed like a good way of not having to worry about directions, so we all just followed on.
About 25km from Ubud he turned off onto a tiny little side road, which went down to a view over an amazing waterfall! Having had drinks and stuff we walked down, and all went swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls. The water was quite cool, and very refreshing after the sweatiness of driving, especially through Kuta.
From there he took us to a Coffee plantation, which was much more scenic and off the mainroad, driving through the Paddy Fields etc was amazing. Just before we got there we drove directly into a huge thunderstorm and torrential rain. All the roads were flooded and flowing like a river, with the water going halfway up the little scooter wheels!
We were shown to a bamboo shelter thing, with big tables and benches. It turned out we were to have a free sampling session of about 15 types of Tea and Coffee. There was everything from herbal teas to Coconut and Ginger coffee!
The specialty is called 'Bali Coffee', but I'm not so sure about it! Basically Mongooses only eat the best coffee beans, so they collect it's droppings and use the still intact beans to make the 'best' coffee. I tried some and it really wasn't anything that special, especially for about 3/4 times the price of usual coffee!
We were at that place for probably nearly 2 hours, mainly just stalling and waiting for the rain to stop. Once it did we set off again, to find somewhere for lunch. Not long after we found a little place on the side of the road, so had lunch there as it looked as good'a place as any. There were only 7 things on the Menu, all of which were in Balinese, so we all just took a guess and ordered. Some of the dishes were interesting to say the least, and much of the meat was unidentifiable! I had some sort of noodle, veg and sausage dish along with 2 of the others, which was probably the best one...lucky guess!
From there we didn't stop again until in Ubud, which wasn't quite as expected. It was clearly a very touristy place, and to be honest I wasn't that keen on it. We walked around a little bit and ended up in a cake shop, which sold incredibly good cakes, and tried to work out what to do. After much discussion Win, Thomas and Kira decided to go back to Canggu, as they only had a few days left in Bali and were already booked into a Surf Camp they had paid for. That did mean the 2ish hour drive with 3 of them on a single Scooter all the way back though, which must have been eventful!
The other 5 of us decided if we were going to do the Sunrise Volcana hike we would see how close we could stay to there tonight. It was about 30km or so, and we still had a fair amount of light so just went for it. From there onwards it got progressively colder as it was a constant incline up the outer slops of the Volcano. Especially with the wind from going along on the scooter, it was very very cold. Only Saskia had the good sense to bring a long sleeved top, so the rest of us were relived to find a shop with cheap $10 hoodies.
The really nice people at the shop told us a good place to stay called 'Hot Springs'. You basically drive up to the top of the huge crater, then down into it and across the bottom to the base of the mountain inside, next to the lake.
Once at the edge of the crater Georgie needed to use the ATM so we all stopped, and there were some guys playing Soccer in a car park. We got talking to them and their friends sat around, and before we knew it, it was Bali Vs Europe. It was good fun and Europe won by 1 goal, but by this time I was starting to feel pretty ill.
The light was disappearing quickly, it was cold and we were all tired, so just went straight to the hotel place from there. By the time we got there I was absolutely freezing and felt really ill. My stomach was hurting, I felt sick and was shacking pretty badly. I tired to have a hot shower, but the water wasn't very warm, so I just curled up in bed. The others tired to help as much as they could getting me drinks, some drugs and an extra blanket, which I was very very grateful for.
I had a rough night, with a fever or something going from freezing cold to sweating hot, and feeling almost drunk dizzy and my ears really hurt, but while the drugs were working I managed to get a bit of sleep.
It was a real shame to end such a fun day feeling so ill, and I don't really know what caused it. I wasn't actually ever sick or the other end, which if I had food poising I assumed I would be. Plus other people had I had at lunch and were fine..
(Photo - Main reception area at the Villa Serenity).