Bali Travel Diary - Part 2

This is part 2 of my Bali travel diary series. If you haven't had a chance to read part 1 yet, you can check it out here.

Waking up the next day, my body clock really hadn't gotten itself into gear yet, because it was 5am, yet I was wide awake.

Being that it is up in the rainforest, and Bali is such a humid place, there was always this feeling of dampness that hung around you. I laid in bed for a little bit listening to the sound of the river that ran outside the door of the bedroom I was in, before logging on to Facebook and realising I wasn't the only one of my friends who found themselves awake ridiculously early.

We eventually all wandered up stairs and sat around waking up, admiring the view and waiting for breakfast. The sun was out and we were still a bit in shock about how beautiful the place was.

Before we got breakfast, the maids were lovely enough to bring over pots of tea and coffee for us.

Eventually breakfast was ready and we got to sit together for the first time at the huge round table. We realised that round tables were the best thing ever invented for us, because when you're traveling with eight people and all trying to sit down together and have a meal and chat, normal rectangle-shaped tables just ain't cutting it.

Our meal started with a variety of fresh fruit, which all tasted so good, and I personally always find it so nice and relaxing and refreshing to start the day off with some good fruit. This was followed by toast, a variety of condiments, and for those who eat it (not yours truely) an egg cooked in whatever way you pleased.

I think we ended up sitting at that table for maybe two hours just chatting and thinking about what to do with ourselves for the day. We knew we needed to plan out activities for all the other days as well, but in that moment it felt like to much of a difficult task. We decided to spend another hour or so at the villa swimming in the magnificent infinity pool and then head on out to visit Ubud Palace which was basically in the middle of the town, and then wander around to check out the markets nearby.

During those first few hours of relaxing and hanging out in the sun with nothing to worry about, I think we all struggled to bring ourselves to actually get our shit together, get changed and leave the villa. Eventually we did however, and our awesome driver took us into the town and dropped us off at Ubud Palace and said he'd meet us back there in about two hours.

We decided to start by checking out all the markets first. Up until this point the weather had been perfect, but we'd begun to see the rain clouds form over head, and as our luck would have it, after around ten minutes of browsing on the streets, the heavens opened up and the downpour began. When I say downpour, I mean like torrential downpour. As much as being stuck in the rain sucked, it was kind of amazing to watch how the locals who were running stalls at the markets responded so quickly; clearly having dealt with this situation hundreds of times perform. They all began moving their wares around and puling out tarps. Within a few minutes of people rushing around all over the place, there was suddenly alleyways of tarps and what had been an outdoor market, felt like it had somehow been magically transported to some other inside space. By this time we'd seen all we had to see at the markets and wanted to keep exploring, but weren't overly keen on getting completely and utterly drenched, so we knew we needed to track down some ponchos. We eventually found a lady walking around with a few, flagged her down, and she went off to grab a few more for the rest of us. After originally offering some ridiculous price for what are virtually eight pieces of thin, terrible quality plastic, we were able to barter her down to a reasonable price.

Now adorned in our beautiful green ponchos, plus one red one, we set off down the street looking nothing but clearly fabulous. We figured the best thing to do with ourselves at this point was find somewhere to have lunch and hope the rain calmed down while we ate. We wandered for a couple more minutes before eventually coming across Ibu Rai where we decided to shuffle in out of the rain and remove our woeful ponchos (most had gotten a tear or two in them already).

On our trip we had people with all different kinds of diets including gluten-free and vegan, so while it would make picking a place a little bit less than simple, we always seemed to end up at interesting places. I have to say my first meal out in Bali for this trip got a 10/10.

After sitting around for about an hour, the rain had significantly calmed down and reduced to about a sprinkle. By this time our two hours was almost up, but we felt we wanted more time to explore. When our driver pulled up, we prayed he wouldn't hate us as we asked if he could maybe come back in another hour. He seemed cool with it, so while he drove off we went and checked out the Ubud Palace.

When you think palace I know you're probably imagine some amazing big, castle-like feature, but this was actually more of a shrine, which there are plenty of all around Bali, so if you're not in Ubud I have no doubt you'd be able to find something similar to check out. It was a beautiful place though. As you walked through there were various places blocked off that seemed to be used for worshipping/praying. All the nature growing throughout the palace also added to the beautiful, serene, spiritual vibe. One thing that did annoy me while walking around was the few people who, despite there being clear signage asking people not to walk up the steps of certain parts and not to enter various section, there where still those doing so just to be able to grab a photo. I'm all for grabbing photos wherever you go, but when doing so means your basically disrespecting a religious place and the rules set there, it makes me a bit pissed off.

We then wandered back down the street we had lunch on to check out some of the shops before meeting our bus driver. Before we headed back we also all grabbed our first gelato for the trip. Bali isn't probably the first place to come to mind when you talk about having good gelato, but not only did there seem to be shops with it everywhere, it was actually so good! Though at this point we had no idea how the weather would go, we'd already made plans to head to Tegenungan Waterfall, so off to the waterfall in that oh so perfect waterfall weather we went (hint* sarcasm).

As we approached our destination, the torrential rains decided to return. We had never really dried properly from our first soaking anyway, so it was back on with the half-ass ponchos and down to the waterfall we went. Now most people would consider walking down a series of concrete steps, wearing fluro green, ripped ponchos and thongs, while wading through masses of water streaming down the pathway as a terrible day out, and sure it was, but it honestly became a highlight of the trip. Most of us agreed that we'd never laughed so much in our lives, and honestly would have never put ourselves in such a situation if we weren't all together. The group photo we got once reaching the waterfall (see below) really just says it all, and is probably a photo I'll cherish for a long time. The first part of the walk down actually consisted of walking past a few shops and stalls, and the road there had well and truely flooded; I think the locals got great enjoyment from watching us wade through the dirty water in our ponchos, looking so out of place and hopeless. I'm sure we spent longer trekking down and back then actually at the waterfall itself, but honestly the trek was the better part, even though it was also horrible. Sometimes I wonder if our bus driver wanted to die of embarrassment having to chauffeur us onto his bus (that will become more clear with more stories to follow).

Finally back on the bus and knowing we were heading home, as much fun as the day had been, I was kind of glad to know we didn't have to go back out and trek around in the rain.

From memory much of that afternoon was spent swimming, drying off and figuring out what to do for dinner and things to do for the following day. It took me a while to remember where we'd actually gone for dinner that night, but I believe we went to Kebun Bistro. They had a huge variety of food and an amazing dessert selection, which each of us got something from. A couple of us decided to try out the cocktails but boy were they strong! It was at this point I decided that ordering cocktails just wasn't for me. I think we ended up sitting there for a few hours before we all began to fall asleep at the table and decided it was probably time for us to head back. I think all the excitement of our first day, combined with our screwed up body clocks meant we were all exhausted by the time we got back to our villa, so it was straight to bed to crash out for all of us.

Stayed tuned for part 3 of my Bali travel diary to hear about the time my friend kicked a monkey!

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