I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful and different Bali feels to me as I devour the scenery during my drive in to Ubud (the Eat, Pray, Love village) from the airport. The city falls away behind us as we climb into greener lands. I stare out the window at the stone sculptures and carvings alongside the road, which are deliciously foreign and artistic. If I didn’t have a suitcase weight limit, I’d be bringing home some of these green-covered ageless statuaries for the garden. Even the architecture feels ancient and full of meaning. You’ll have to wait for photos, though, since it was dark by the time we arrived in Ubud. Many people head straight for Kuta, the closer tourist area that’s near the beach, but as my driver said: “you’ll feel at home there”, which is all the more reason not too spend all my time there! I guess it’s quite the party town, but it sounds like it’s comparatively expensive and dominated by Westerners.
During the 2 hour drive to Ubud (if Kuta is the party capital, then Ubud is the artistic and temple capital of Bali), we passed rice paddies and banana trees and corn! Corn, of all things, for the girl from the midwest. 🙂 My driver was friendly and helpful, explaining things about his country to me. Though he works horribly long days, he said he prefers driving a taxi to his previous job as a waiter where he only got to work for 8 hours at a time. Actually, that conversation was a slow one, because when I tried to ask him which he liked better- waiter or driver, he thought I was asking about the weather (I’d never thought about it before, but you can see how “weather” and waiter” could sound very similar.) Hilarity ensued. Though we talked about how expensive Australia is, he said the place he’d most like to visit is Sydney, so that he can see the Opera House. So, I promptly showed him photos of it on my camera. Somehow, he managed to look at those photos while avoiding the kamikaze motorbikes that wove in and out of traffic, sometimes 4 abreast. The rules of the road seem a little loose here.
But we made it safely into town and I purchased my first bottled water, since I’ll have to start avoiding tap water from now on. It was so nice to see the Balinese prices. Only 2,000 rupiah or less for a bottle of water. My nasi goreng dinner cost 22,000. And I picked up a can of Seaweed Pringles (!) for only 16,000. The conversion rate on the street is basically $1 = 9,200 rupiah. What a change from Australia, where you can’t find a small snack bag of potato chips for less than $2.50- $5.00. I shall live like a king ! 😉