Ubud is located near the heart of Bali amidst jungle and is the cultural capital. It's full of artists and is a mecca for yoga enthusiasts. Wonderful vegan restaurants around every corner and shops full of silver jewellery and tourist trinkets.
Being in the jungle it rained and it rained for four solid days off and on. It was literally like somebody throwing a bucket of water over your head but at least it was warm!
We visited Gallery Neka and the Museum which housed traditional Balinese art some over 200 years old and of course sampled some great food and lethal cocktails.
After a few days of meandering around we went and picked up Emma from the airport in Denpasar and headed back to Ubud to stay in another part of the town right next to the a Royal Palace.
So good to see Emma it's been a long six months.
The next day was Josh's 50th Birthday so we went to the Monkey Forest. That was quite an experience. They are so aggressive and not the cute wee things you might expect. Signs tell you not to feed them or look them in the eye. They can smell food from a mile away and will unzip your back pack to find it. Emma got a fright when she was eating some biscuits just outside the entrance and one went for her like a bullet.
I had organised a reservation for dinner months ago at the restaurant Cafe Lotus next to our Bungalows, but they let the cat out of the bag when we arrived saying your reservation is confirmed. I don't think they know about surprises and then at the dinner they said that "oh are you the ones with the cake?" ah well l tried. We did laugh at the cake though which said "Happy 50th birthday Mr Josh". The dinner was next to a Lotus pond and we got to watch some Balinese dancing before the rain came.
Being with Emma of course shopping was on the agenda so round the shops and the market we went.
We decided to do a Balinese cooking course which was very good. We chose Periuk Balinese Cooking School which was run by a family and held in their home. They first took us to the rice fields and explained how they work followed by an amazing ginger lemongrass welcome drink at their home while explaining how a traditional home is arranged.
1. Sanggah kemulan : Family temple
2. Umah Meten Sleeping pavilion for the head family
3. Tugu : Shrine for house guardian
4. Pengijeng : Shrine
5. Bale Tiang Sange : Guest pavilion
6. Natah : Courtyard with some flower or garden
7. Balisekepat: Sleeping pavilion for other relative
8. Balisekenem : working and sleeping pavilion
9. Paon: Kitchen
10.Lumbung : Rice barn
11.Aling-aling : screen wall
13.Apit lawang : gate shrine
In general, Balinese people name their children depending on the order they are born, and the names are the same for both males and females. The firstborn child is named Wayan, Putu or Gede, the second is named Made or Kadek, the third child goes by Nyoman or Komang, and the fourth is named Ketut. If a family has more than four children, the cycle repeats itself, and the next ‘Wayan’ may be called Wayan Balik, which loosely translates to ‘another Wayan’. It could get confusing but they seem to add a western name as well.
A demonstration was then given on making coconut oil and we were shown how to make the daily offerings to the Gods.
We made rice which takes one and a half hours by first washing the rice and steaming it! We made the Balinese base sauce, peanut sauce, chicken curry, chicken satay, steamed fish in banana leaves, Balinese chicken soup, deep fried Tempe in soy sauce, Balinese vegetable salad and pancakes. All delicious and so aromatic.
Our driver then offered to take us to a coffee plantation along with the visit to Tegallalang rice fields for free (his family owned the plantation) so why not. We went along with a couple of lovely English woman Laura and Keziah.
I wasn't entirely sure if they farmed the Luwak who are actually Toddy cats, hopefully not. Anyway the Balinese coffee and tea was good and the rice fields were interesting although like all of Bali you would think Balinese have long legs so the steps are massively high which was a little challenging.