March 31, 2017 (Part 2)- Ubud to Uluwatu
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
First stop with Wayan was the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. My mom and I trekked the fields and enjoyed the amazing scenery. We passed two “stops” where the farmers requested money (which Wayan did give us a heads up about). Apparently the standard is 10-20k IDR (that’s 50-75 cents). After our short 30 minute – hour long trek, we met back with our driver. He later explained that the fields were private land so they charge tourists for walking through. They really don’t make a lot (I mean 50-75 cents, that’s a lot for them and nothing to Americans.) We did get a little lost throughout our walk but the farmers guided us and were generally very nice.
On our way, we ran into an American with a loud ass drone. Kind of ridiculous when you’re trying to enjoy the sounds of nature. Every time I see drone photography, I wonder how disruptive that photo could have been now…
Lunch – Bebek Joni (Not recommended)
After the rice fields, we had lunch at Bebek Joni along the way to South Bali. The setting of the restaurant is beautiful but the food was not very good and the service was not that great. This is shocking because service in Bali has been amazing every we’d been thus far! They gave me the wrong order- satay with prawns, tuna, and chicken. They weren’t very nice about fixing it, but they did in the end. When the right order came, the meat was very tough. The coconut water wan’t even good!
We told Wayan we didn’t like it (actually my mom said it because she is very blunt) and he was so shocked to learn this. Apparently it’s a very popular place among Australians (his primary guests). My mom explained that we were looking for local food, that she grew up in Taiwan eating Indonesian food, and that she owned her own restaurant. Once my mom said that, he was basically like why didn’t you tell me that earlier! And from there, he started thinking and explaining in detail about the food. I’m kind of glad my mom is extremely talkative and says whatever the hell she wants (super embarrassing as I child but not so bad now that I’m shameless adult). She and Wayan really bonded from there. He now new knew exactly what kind of food and cultural experiences we were interested in.
Padang Padang Beach
Apparently this beach was made popular by Eat Pray Love the movie. I’ve never seen the movie. I’ve only read the book. But thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert, Bali has become even more of a tourist destination than ever before. Her book didn’t directly inspire me but maybe subconsciously…although I did also consider a bunch of other regions in Southeast Asia. Bali felt like the best place for a mother-daughter trip since I had no idea what kind of vacation my mom liked.
Padang Padang was beautiful. We only had half an hour there but I could see how this place could become a movie setting. My mom was obsessed with picking up corals and rocks that had rolled up onto the sand. She really wanted to keep the coral but I don’t think you can actually travel with them right? It’s like when I stupidly picked up a piece of the Great Wall of China when I was younger…I still feel so horrible about it. (Is that comparable? Anyway, we took photos of her findings and left them there.
After our short trip to the beach, we headed to Uluwatu Temple. I had no idea how big this place was. We only had a few minutes to walk around and enjoy the area before the Kecak Barong Dance performance. I really wish we had more time to enjoy the scenery but I am so glad we watched the dance.
Kecak Barong Dance
The dance is a story of Rama and Sita. It’s told by performers dancing and acting out the story in beautiful, colorful costumes inside a circle of men chanting “cak” around a fire. The story is a great introduction to understanding Bali culture and their folklore. People keep saying Rama and Sita is Bali’s version of Romeo and Juliet, but the only common theme I found is love…
“The story is a fragment from the Ramayana, the Hindu epic which finds its expression in many forms, not only in dance, but also in painting and carving.“
It starts with Prince Rama and Princess Sita being banished to live in the forest. But the minute Sita is left alone, she gets tricked and kidnapped by the evil Rahwana, King of Lanka. Once kidnapped, Rahwana tries to woo her and fails. In the meantime, Rama and his brother are looking for Sita when Rahwana’s son engages them in some magic battle and they lose. Then the King of birds rescues them and they continue to go rescue Sita. Then they find the King of monkeys and asks him for help to save Sita. Rama borrows a magical bow from the gods, shoots Rahwana, and saves Sita! Whoooo!
We never actually finished watching the performance because midway through, it started pouring. As soon as it started pouring, my mom and I ran outside to wait for Wayan. But he was apparently waiting for us inside! He tried to bring us an umbrella so we could finish watching! If only we had waited 😦 He found us outside eventually and we headed to Jimbaran for seafood dinner.
Jimbaran Seafood Dinner
On the way to dinner, Wayan explained that we could do the Bali Gold special seafood package. It included lobster, shrimp, clams, two crabs, one huge fish, calamari and drinks —all for 300k IDR (~$21)!! Uhm, how could I say no to that?? A $20 FEAST? Yes, please. My mom said she was too full and just wanted to order a la carte (and whattttt a mistake). Once we arrived, we were seated at a table on the beach (literally a picnic table and chairs stuck into the sand!). It was so amazing and such a unique experience.
My platter was amazing and delicious! It’s at least a $60 value in the US. My mom had to pick her own fish from the front and she got it grilled. It was also very good but her a la carte fish ended up costing 250 IDR! That’s 1/10 the size of my meal for almost the same price. So the lesson here is definitely to get the special platter meal if offered. It’s more than worth it. Before our meal arrived, Wayan had actually bought me a coconut water because he couldn’t believe our lunch coconut was so bad He was so upset for us that he made sure we were properly taken care of for dinner! Small gestures like this really go a long way. I was extremely grateful he bought one for us because it was damn good. More coconut water for me in Bali! Oh yeah, I had so much fun eating my platter I injured my thumb eating the crab. Their claws are so sharp!!
We had such an amazing day with Wayan that we decided to cancel our next day tour with the hotel and book with Bali Golden again!