Continuing on with the adventures and pictures…..
The next day after happening across the rice paddies we woke up and decided to to take it easy after all of the adventuring the day before. We decided that would would drive around for a bit, maybe get some food and then go sit by the pool. Little did we know that after some energy drinks, our plan for a relaxed day would be tossed aside like the empty Red Bull cans we had just finished.
We hopped on our Motorbike and started traversing unknown roads once again. Passing more amazing rice paddies and sights, we continued on until one of the roads led us back to a main junction heading for the hills. We decided that we would just start driving upward and turn around soon. After charging up the road for about thirty minutes the clouds were getting darker and the air cooler. We knew that Mt. Kintamani must be close so we decided to push on despite the fact that we had left with no planning,no jackets, no pants and only about 15 dollars on us combined.
About ten minutes away from the volcano, we ran into our first bump in the road (aside from all the potholes). Two Indonesian police saw us coming and quickly stood in the middle of the road flagging us down. Bribe time. The officer asked to see my registration and international drivers license. The registration I had, but my license I had left behind (not that it made one bit of difference). The officer put on quite the performance, pointing to parked cars down the road which he had “impounded” and explaining that he was going to take our motorbike for a week and that I would need to go to court. We patiently waited for him to finish, after which I asked if I could just pay now. He said yes and that he wanted 400,000 rupiah, more than 3 times the amount of money we had on us. We were able to talk him down to 50,000 ($5) and he smiled and let us go on our way.
Shortly after paying off the police we found ourselves driving along the ridge at Mount Kintamani.
Arriving at the mountain we realized that our lack of preparation was quickly taking its toll. A top the ridge the temperature was by far the coldest we have encountered yet in Bali with dark clouds looming overhead and the air a cool 50-60 degrees, which felt even colder with the wind whipping at as we charged around the mountain roads on the motorbike.
We headed town a curving road with forests on either side that resembled those of Northern California as you drive over Mount Tam. This road eventually lead to Lake Batur and initially we were going to try to brave the cool weather down to the Lake. Yet, as we drove we could feel cool rain begin to fall and we decided it would be best to save the extra 10 Km trek for another day. We quickly pulled off to the side of the road and were blessed with the incredible view of Lake Batur seen above.
Turning around we were starving and decided to try to find a place cheap enough for us to eat. Much to the chagrin of our stomachs all of the restaurants along the boarder of the mountain have expensive prices coupled with spectacular views. We pulled over to check the prices at a buffet and the moment that we stepped inside the clouds opened up with a torrential downpour with drops the size of small peanuts. Safely inside we realized that the buffet was a bit out of our budget at 150,000 ($7.50) per person. After gas and the police we only had 109,000 rupiah left. Fortunately for us the host there saw Sasha shivering and our dismay at the overpriced meal and let us eat for 100,000 ($10). We were so grateful to wait out the rain with a nice warm meal gazing over the spectacular views above. Just as we finished our desert and tea, the clouds parted, rain stopped and we decided to head back down the mountain with with our last 9000 rupiah ($.90).
Traveling back down the mountain we were relieved for the first time on our trip to feel the hot, humid air of Bali greet us after enduring the cold mountain air. Passing the spot where the police has pulled us over we laughed as all of the parked impounded cars the police had used as a warning of what could happen to us had magically disappeared. In high spirits, with full stomachs we raced back towards Ubud anxious to reach out last stop before a relaxing night of reading and naps.
Then, we felt a bump. Then, another. The road felt rougher than it looked and I immediately realized what had happened. Another flat motorbike tire! Upon realizing that we were at least 45 minutes from Ubud, with $.90 between the two of us, I grunted, “Again?!?” to Sasha with discontent as we got off the motorbike. But, before any frustration could mount we realized how lucky we actually were. We had gotten the flat just 50 meters from a motorbike repair shop in the middle of the mountains. Relieved we wheeled the bike in and asked how much to fix a flat. Initially the owner quoted us 30,000 rupiah ($3), but we were able to talk him into 5,000 ($.50) for a patch. Relived we waited for the mechanics to work their magic and after giving them the entire 9000 ($.90) of our remaining loot we were back on the road and on our way.
Within 20 minutes we were once again blessed with more Balinese beauty as we sat atop the terraced rice paddies at Telangan.
At the terraced rice paddies of Telangan we got off of the bike, walked down the stairs and collapsed in each others arms. Exhausted by the twists and turns of the day, but we could not help feeling immensely grateful for all of the wonderful experiences we were sharing. We walked along the terraces until we found a spot a bit away from the main tourist areas and walked further into the paddies. A young boy named Made spotted us and joined us on our walking, speaking to us excitedly of school, his grades and America. Made was one of the friendliest people we have met in Bali and his company was a wonderful way to end an already spectacular day. As the light began to fade over the rice terraces we hopped on the motorbike and eventually arrived at Ubud, then our hotel and finally bed.
The next day we got up exhausted, but ready for more. On our first day in Ubud we had spotted local animal rescue shelter that was in need of volunteers. After visiting the office and playing with the puppies there was no way we could avoid lending a helping hand. Within 20 minutes of walking through the door our paperwork was complete and we were ready to volunteer once the weekend was through. Arriving at the animal shelter on Monday we were greeted by wagging tails and purring kittens…
Volunteering with BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) was by far one of the coolest experiences that we have had so far in Bali and so much fun. The organization houses over 100 cats and dogs that have been hit by cars, just had birth, need vaccinations or to be spayed and neutered, and tirelessly strive to find these animals homes. With so many dogs and cats to help they can always use volunteers to help socialize and exercise the animals. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to give back to the island of Bali, but it was such a unique experience for us as well. The animals were so incredibly happy to be let out and seeing their sheer excitement at the chance to run made us wish we could walk and play with them all. Walking the dogs through the huge fields of rice paddies that are the backyard to BAWA, laughing every time they fell into the water and seeing how happy they were was so rewarding it is hard to describe. We absolutely will be volunteering there again before we leave. After about 4 hours of walking through the paddies, playing and laughing with the dogs, cats and BAWA staff we were ready to head back to Ubud to play with animals of a different sort.
As we neared the monkey forest my anticipation grew almost as much as Sasha’s anxiety. Suffice it to say, the monkey forest was awesome for me and terrifying for Sasha. The monkeys at this forest were very aggressive, albeit adorable and hilarious all at the same time. If you had bananas within seconds they were on you, climbing up your body to steal them out of your hands and then fighting amongst themselves over the spoils of their plunder.We will leave you with pictures of the forest and me smiling, while Sasha persevered through her terror and took some wonderful pictures of her monkey man bonding with his kin.
I cant get enough of the monkeys. Sasha on the other hand, has had enough of the monkeys. As can be seen by the look on her face in this picture as I poked fun at her about her monkey terrors. She told me not to post this, but it had to be done. I’m sorry Squasha…. Love you!