Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My First Impression of Ubud: Happy At Last in Bali!

It may not be easy being green, but I'll never tire of looking at it!
There's nothing like good old friends who travel, too.

If it weren't for one of mine, I might not be where I am now. Months ago (circa May 17, to be kind of exact), when I first started toying with the idea of going to Bali and asked for suggestions of places to stay/visit, she offered the following glowing review of Ubud:

"I really, really loved Ubud. Not sure what it'd be like for an extended stay, but every time I went (5 days max), I wish I'd stayed long. Extremely relaxing - the spiritual center of Bali, and very zen - but enough of a city center (if small) that you wouldn't be totally bored (full disclosure: you might get *kind of* bored). I had an amazing time just chatting the night away with expats I'd meet at random restaurants."

It's a good thing I trust her opinion, or who knows where I'd be right now? Granted, by the time I left Seminyak today around noon, the place was beginning to grow on me. It started yesterday evening with happy-hour sunset drinks at Cocoon, a bar and restaurant overlooking the beach, and lively conversation with Adam, a British expat from Devon who has been living in Bali for five months now while teaching music. By the time my head hit the pillow last night, I was no longer dreaming of my escape to the mountains of Ubud but still excited about phase two of my Bali experience.

The bustling "city" scene as my private driver took me through and out of Seminyak today at noon, though, left me praying for a miracle on the other side. The sight of an elderly woman in her 70s doing housework in front of her home, topless, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, would have been much more of a "moment" had I not been stuck in nearly bumper-to-bumper traffic only meters away from her flapping boobs.

Eventually, we left congested Seminyak behind and were on the road to Ubud, about an hour or so away. I can remember the exact moment when I whispered to myself, "Now this is more like it." It was shortly after we pulled out of the silver factory, where I had a guided tour and learned that the people who actually make the jewelry have to study for three years before they get to spend all day in a glorified sweat shop playing with fire. (I was assured that they are paid nicely for it.)

Suddenly, the terrain started to change, and the road became curvier (up up up, down down, up up, down) and more curved. Lush greenery and rice fields alternated with quaint villages full of traditional Balinese homes with pointed tops and people burning things outside (photos coming soon, once I'm not too busy enjoying the scenery to bother taking them). For the first time since my arrival in Indonesia two days earlier, I saw more locals roaming the streets than loud singlet-wearing Australians. Even the still somewhat heavy traffic seemed calmer.

When I arrived at Kori Ubud Resort & Spa, and, for the first time in Bali's great outdoors, I was neither hot nor bothered, I knew I was in for an experience far removed from the beach bustle of Seminyak. The combination of rain and thick vegetation not only made the afternoon temperature bearable, but it made me feel like I'd somehow lucked out and scored a pad in the middle of the tropical rainforest. And since there were only around 25 rooms, I knew I was in for the semi-solitary experience I'd been craving since my arrival in Bali.

The only downside: No Wi-Fi outside of the restaurant and reception area, which is the only reason why I'm not 100% committed to more than one night in Kori Ubud (though I'll be in Ubud for at least two). If my first impression holds, though, I doubt that I'll miss being connected 24/7 too much, not with all this green to look at.
Post a Comment