I spent a couple of days wandering around Ubud, with no real plans to speak of. I am getting quite tired of racing around trying to see things and exhausting myself, and one of the merits of travelling by yourself is that you can afford the luxury of doing things your way. So I dipped in and out of shops, galleries, down gangways and sat down in cafes to enjoy cups of tea, fresh juices and iced coffees. Not a bad way to spend a few days, however I noted that although Ubud is supposed to be quieter and more relaxed, it has indeed become a tourist hub and it’s impossible to walk down any street without noticing this.
Signs are written in English everywhere, drivers are desperate to get you in their car to show you the “real” Bali, There is an abundance of salons, cafes, restaurants and accommodation to fit every budget.And there is a tourist price tag on most of it unfortunately.
Speaking to a couple of locals I am informed that Ubud before Eat, Pray, Love was a completely different place – a small town centred around the market, surrounded by rice fields and a slower pace of life. Now however, the regular flow of tourists ( a large number of Americans not surprisingly) who stay and the huge number of day trippers means traffic is often very congested and it can take over an hour to drive the length of Monkey Forest Road, which is a couple of kilometers. It also means that those attractive looking street facing restaurants on that street come with exhaust fumes as well as the constant hum of scooters.
I am please I went – glad I got to sample the local fare, as well as learn to cook it, and also happy to have the opportunity to get out and see the are surrouding Ubud.
More to come…
I wasn’t even sure where it was when I booked my flight home for Christmas, via four days in Hong Kong.
But here I am in the city that calls itself “Asia’s World City” and here are my observations so far…
It’s not cold. I expected the Northern Hemisphere to shock me with its temperature difference… I guess England will do that for me next week.
The level and use of English here is remarkable.
You can buy genuine fakes of anything here.
People here burp. They don;t cover their mouths, apologise or get embarassed. Two people have burped next to me on the train.
There are a lot of people wandering around wearing surgical masks. No there is not an unusual number of surgeons or dentists and hopefully not a new epidemic of some killer flu either…
It’s normal to hoik up and spit.
People here like to smell things. That is that carry little tubes of something, that look like a lipbalm, or a small perfume and regularly put it in once nostril, close the other and sniff, Regularly, and lots of them.
Lots of people who appear to be Indian or nearby, dressed in suits, keep asking me “nice lady” if I would like a “good copy watch-handbag or handbag-watch miss”
LOADS of people smoke. But there are many outdoor public spaces where it’s prohibited and the fines are LARGE.
It’s wonderfully cheap to travel around. Melbourne and London, you suck!
The markets are a world in themselves. Everything has a “special price”, just for you!
Food is interesting, sometimes alarming. Today I found “Vegetarian Chicken”. Yester Fried Chicken’s feet.
So many things to talk about, but here are a few pics to paint the picture!