Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May - Day 7 and 8 in Bali

Today we are leaving Ubud. We have had a great stay here and really enjoyed ourselves. At 7am our driver is coming to pick us up and take us to Tulamben which is on the east coast.

We are staying at the "Wreck Divers Resort" which is across the road from the main diving spot in the area. It is just a short 300m stroll to the entry point for the shore dives.

As part of our accommodation package we are getting 4 resort dives each, which basically means we have a dive instructor each.

We arrived in Tulamben after about 2.5 hours of fantastic driving! I'm sure Made our driver drove F1 in a previous life. He caned the absolute crap out of his manual Toyota 4x4 the entire trip.

On arrival at the resort we are greeted by Suka our dive instructor. He showed us to our room (which was very nice, clean and spacious) and we arranged to have breakfast first then take our first intro dive.

For our intro dive we had some class time learning about all the equipment and how it functioned and then different things we should expect and how to address them correctly like ear pain or fogged up goggles.

We also covered all the hand signs that are required underwater.Being a typical Aussie Rachael struggled at first because the sign for wanting to go up or surface is thumbs up which to her means good and good or okay is thumb and pointer together with other fingers up. She eventually got the hang of it and we did warn the instructor before we went diving. Once this was done we started off in the swimming pool for about 25 minutes practicing with our instructors (we had one each) all the stuff we had learned in class.

We were both a little more confident now. We went on our first shore dive which we basically went up and round the shipwreck which is not very deep. We went to about 10 metres on this dive.

After this we went back to lunch and arranged for a second dive. This time we went to the Coral Garden which is the underwater aeroplane shape in our pictures. The guides had suggested this area as I had mentioned I would like to see a shark and we did. We were swimming along and suddenly one of the instructors was putting his hand on his head like a fin to indicate shark and pointing. He started swimming after the shark trying to get a good photo of it!

That evening we dined at a small warang across the road. The diving really took it out of us so we retired for an early night.

The next morning we wanted to get the dives out of the way nice and early as we have a long trip to Kuta later that day plus the instructors had told us that earlier is better as it gets quite crowded as the tour buses arrive.

Our guides also wanted to get away as they had to get home to their families (or cock fighting) and prepare for the festival that started the next day - Galungan. The festival is a Hindu tradition and is important to them like Christmas is to us. About 75% of Balinese are Hindu and the rest are Muslim or other.

We did the first dive for the day at the shipwreck and it wasn't a great dive because I had a lot of trouble with water getting into my goggles and Rachael felt nauseous as she had not eaten yet.

At breakfast we met a great guy from Perth who was traveling alone. His name was Shane and he was very easy to talk to. He gave us same great tips for shopping in Kuta and how to deal with the hawkers. Rachael sat out the second dive and I went back to the ship wreck with Shane and our dive instructors. We didnt have a camera this time which was a shame. My instructor took a banana down with him and we fed that to some of the bigger fish which caused quite a frenzy around us. The fish loved it!

Onto Kuta and we had the same driver as yesterday. We left at about 11:00am for our 3 hour drive (2.5 hours with Made driving). On arrival at Febri's Hotel we were 30 minutes short of check in time so we sat in the lounge and took a skype with the boys and had a Bintang and a cocktail while we waited.

The hotel was a lot bigger and nicer than we had expected. The main pool is big and deep and has elephants spouting water and a fountain in the middle and well as a shallow baby part. There is a second smaller pool near our room that also has a baby section. The kids club aslo looks really good. The room is spacious and comfortable and the aircon is cold. The bathroom is even bigger than ours at home! This is a really great resort for the money!

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Sunday 9 May - Day 6 in Bali

Today is our last day in Ubud!

On our scooter and off to Juice Ja Cafe to breakfast. We had a little trouble finding it so we stopped by the Circle K for directions and to stock up on sun cream. With directions in hand we had no trouble finding it and in we went. Steve ordered a Cafe Latte for 13 000 and a Chicken and Avocado Sandwich for 27 000. I was excited when I found out they had soy milk and I ordered an Iced Coffee and a Passionfruit/Chocolate Crepe for 22 000. Steve's order was very nice but mine was not so great. The coffee was very watery and the passionfruit filling in the crepe was very sweet and there was lots of it.

We went back to the Circle K where Steve had been speaking with the locals the previous day and asked Gede (who rents out the scooters) if it was possible to get a scooter tour. In the end Gede rented us another scooter for 50 000 and his friend Wayan agreed to be our guide for 250 000. We asked Wayan just to take us around the quieter roads in the surrounding villages. First he took us to some rice fields where we took some photos. The view was beautiful but unfortunately we were hassled by a man, a young girl and a women to buy some stuff. It was pretty full on and quite overwhelming. Next he took us to a large building where people were carving wood sculptures. A man explained to us the different types of wood and how it is done and then walked us through the shop. We felt obliged to buy something but quickly changed our minds when we saw that a small elephant cost 250 000 and it was a set price. We tipped the shop assistant and left as quickly as possible. We told Wayan that it was not quite what we had in mind and he took us to a local wood carving village where we bought a small wooden box for 20 000 and large orangutan for about 110 000.

We rode back into Ubud - I was hitting about 40kph by now and I thought I was flying!

Steve typing - We went back to the Circle K and dropped off one of the bikes as the path to the restaurant we were going to lunch at was through the rice fields and very very narrow. Rachael jumped on the back with wayan and i rode mine.

We had lunch at Sari Organic which is a restaurant surrounded by rice fields, the only way there is a small path through the fields, everything in the restaurant is grown locally and prepared in their kitchen. I had the "Chicken Mushroom" with steamed vegetables and rice, Rachael had "Chicken Fried Rice" and Wayan had "Balinese Nasi Campur" (Mixed grill). We all enjoyed our meals the food was pretty good. It was great to sit with Wayan and chat with him, his english is pretty good. He explained that slowly the traditional Balinese family is changing. The younger people don't want to work and many move away from home now to work.

After lunch Wayan took us back to our hotel and dropped us off, I grabbed his card and will email him in the future.

Rachael typing - We went back into town to drop the scooter off and the old guy who we rented it from was a little painful. First he tried to tell us that we were half a day late to drop it off and wanted to charge us for it but Steve was very clear with him that that was not the case and he gave up pretty quickly. He then asked us if we needed a taxi service somewhere and when we told him no he started sulking and saying we had promised him a job when we had hired the scooter from his nephew. Again, Steve told him this was not the case and when that did not work Steve apologised that he had misunderstood what we were saying. That worked and we left as quickly as possible! I think it is important to mention that this guy was Javanese and not Balinese...

We walked up the road towards Bali Healing - we had received a brochure from them a couple of days again and their packages sounded very good. On the way we stopped in at a Internet cafe and had a good chat with the kids.

Bali Healing was only a few doors up from the internet cafe and we went in and asked for the Ultimate Indulgence Package. It was 350 000 each and included a foot bath, a 4 hand massage (2 therapists), a body scrub, a facial and a foot massage for 2 1/2 hours! I loved it but my experience was very different to Steve's even though we were in the same room! For me the massage was perfect...the therapists worked perfectly together. They were in sync and both used the same amount of pressure - Steve's therapists were each using a different amount of pressure. I thought the green tea body scrub was great! The scrub was quite rough which I liked and was great for my skin leaving it really smooth but Steve had a lot of trouble with his hair! As they rubbed the scrub over his arms and legs it ripped on his hair (which I find quite amusing!). We then took a shower...I went first and felt very refreshed.Steve got in the shower, lathered himself up with soap and then the water stopped! The power had gone out and the water could not flow. They were very apologetic and got him a bowl of warm water and a face cloth to wash himself down. By now I was already having a facial and a foot massage which went for extra long due to the bathroom hiccup and then they put cold cucumber on my face and left me to rest. I don't think I have ever felt so relaxed! For me it was absolutely amazing and I am so glad we did it but I don't think Steve shares my sentiments!

We went back to the hotel and had a quick shower and changed into some fresh clothes then we went to dinner at Cinta Bar and Grill (Cinta means Love in balinese). We were told that cinta is the word for love. It was a very nice restaurant and the staff were extremely friendly. For starters we ordered Grilled Garlic Sourdough with Gorgonzola Cream for 55 000. It was delicious and we knew that we had picked a great restaurant for our last meal in Ubud! For mains we ordered Baby Back Pork Ribs with Rice for 92 000 and Bali Grilled Chicken with Garlic Turmeric Paste, Basil Mashed Potato and Grilled Vegetables for 57 000. Both mains were fantastic! The ribs were so tender they could be eaten with a knife and fork and the chicken breast was very moist and juicy - it was cooked perfectly! The basil mash was also very good and Steve is trying to work out how it was made so we can make it at home. We shared a dessert of Gelato for 24 000 and it was also very good - nicer than the gelato from Gelato Secrets. For drinks we had a large Bintang for 36 000 and a Cinta Mocha cooler for 75 000. This was by far the most expensive restaurant we had been to yet but we both agreed that it was worth it and it still only come to about $55aud all up.

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Saturday 8 May - Day 5 in Bali

We skipped breakfast and headed back into town on our new red scooter to Ubud Market Place. Between 4am and about 10am the Ubud Market Place is a full of stalls selling fresh and cooked foods for the locals and then from 10am or so the stalls change over and sell clothing and trinkets to the tourists. We were after cooking utensils and was told that the earlier market is the place to get them from. We didn't find much however we did buy two mortar and pestles (one smaller one and one larger one like we had used in our cooking class) for 100 000 (about $12.50AUD). I was extremely impressed with this buy and can't believe how cheap it was...I almost didn't even bother bargaining with her when she told us 150 000 for the larger one but Steve did a great job and we ended up getting the two of them.

We then headed over to Warung Enak for breakfast. Their menu looked so good we decided to order straight from the regular menu. We stared with drinks and had an Ice Coffee with Honey and Hazelnut for 32 000, a Banana Coffee Smoothie for 32 000 and a Mixed Juice for 16 500. The coffees were delicious...especially the Ice Coffee with Honey and Hazelnut. Then we ordered 2 serves of Lumpia Samarang (Spring Rolls) for 28 000 each and an 8 piece Sate Campur (campur means mixed) for 60 000. This is another resaurant we are adding to our favourites list!

We headed to the Ubud Information desk where we were to meet the shuttle bus that would take us to Bali Safari and Marine Park. The shuttle was going to pick us up at 11am and we were a little early so we walked up the road a little to the Circle K store and got some drinks and some spare batteries. Outside Steve struck up a conversation with the locals who had some scooters for hire and I had a look in a couple of the nearby shops and bought a little activity book that teaches English for children.

We went back to the information desk and our shuttle soon came. It took about 40 minutes to get to the Safari and Marine Park from Ubud. We looked around at the fish first and took note that the phirana feeding was at 3:30pm then we went and had our photo taken with a tiger cub and a young orangutan - she was so cute! By the time we had a good look around and gone on the sarari shuttle it was coming up to 3:30 so we headed back to the aquarium for the Phirana feeding. Apart from the rude, pushy Europeans it was pretty didn't take them long to get through half a raw chicken.

Back in Ubud we decided to go to Black Beach Italian Restaurant for dinner. We found it without too much trouble and walked up the stairs to the bar on the first level. Inside the whole floor is covered in a deep layer of black sand! We sat at the bar and ordered a large Bintang for 36 000, a Black Beach Cocktail for 42 000 and a Pizza Bianca for 15 000. Again, the girls behind the bar were checking out my husband and one at a time the ladies came out of the kitchen to "use the toilet". I can't take him anywere! After our drinks and entree were finished we headed up to the second floor eating area. The view was great and there was a nice was very relaxing. We ordered a main and a dessert to share - Spaghetti Carbonara ffor 49 000 and Pannacotta with Chocolate for 42 000. The flavour of the Carbonara was nice but we were dissapointed that it was made with packet pasta rather then fresh and the Pannacotta was nice but the chocolate was more like Cottees Chocolate Topping.

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Friday 7 May - Day 4 in Bali

We made a late start today. We slept in and then took our time to shower and go down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Before we even had a chance to sit down two ladies who were sitting at a table eating had jumped up and were squealing and giggling...there was a large male monkey sitting on the roof next to them. On the other side of the restaurant another smaller monkey had jumped up onto a table and was eating the leftovers from a table that had not yet been cleaned up.

We ordered an omlette and a banana pancake for breakfast. The omlette was not so great but the pancake was very good. We looked at our photos, updated our blog and chatted with Lau.

We walked into town through the Monkey Forrest at about 11am. When we go into the main street we stopped a small shop where a lady was selling clothing. She had some shorts that Steve liked and some nice dresses so we asked her if we could try them on. We could see that she did not have a fitting room so when she said yes we started stripping off right then and there...Steve already had the shorts on by the time we realised that she had a curtain that she was going to pull across for privacy. She was quite amused and was having a good chuckle! Anyway, the shorts were no good but we did by a dress for about 110 000.

We continued up the hill on our way to Ubud Market which is right at the top of the very long street. It was very hot and we had a long way to go so we took a taxi to the top. We had a great look around the market and bought a few things...a bowl, some sarongs, a few Bintang singlets, a t shirt and a couple of fans. By this stage our backpack was full and could not hold anything else so we decided that was enough shopping for one day.

We were walking back down the hill in the direction of our hotel looking for somewhere to eat lunch. We checked out a couple of places but nothing really took our fancy until we came across Ibu Rai which had been recommended to us by a staff member of the hotel.

For starters we had Calamari Fritty for 28 000 and Vietnamese Rolls for 24 000. The calamari was so tender and among the best calamari we have ever had and the rice paper rolls were also very good but not quite as good as the ones from Nomad.

We then ordered Ayam Rica Rica for 57 000 and Nasi Goreng for 38 000 and for drinks we had a Storm Pale Ale 23 000, a large Bintang for 25 000, a Pina Colada for 47 000 and a Banana Raja for 47 000. We both really enjoyed our meals and drinks and decided this restaurant is up the top of our list of favourites.

Steve typing:

About half way through lunch Rachael jumped a little and started saying swear words... no one in the restaurant even battered an eye lid as none of them had heard these words before... after a moment I realised that she had a gecko running up her leg. We scared that off and had a great lunch.

After lunch we went back to the markets and had a bit more of a look around before walking towards home. Along the way we bought a present for the boys.

A short distance past this we came across a scooter rental guy. As I had been very intereseted in the scooter pricing I asked and was amazed that for $5 AUD per day we could hire a realitivly new scootr which could save us a fortune in cabs and also be a lot of fun.

We decided that we would give it a go and hired one scooter.... Rachael was very scared ... lol... she is such a chicken.. I'm an excellent scooter captian.

Our first scooter didn't even make it out of the parking lot as it had a flat tyre so they got us a newer (better) one and the best thing about this one was it is red so you know what that means! Now that I had my new wheels we did a few tough laps of the Ubud circut as any Aussie would, then braved the single lane track back through the Monkey Forest to our hotel.

As we were a little early we deciideed to have a dip in the pool, the temp of the water is around 27c so it is beautiful when its over 30+

After a dip and a cold beer lazing by th pool i suggested we get a massage as we still had some time to kill before the show started that evening. Well therre only one large area on my body that didnt get a rub dowwn.. it was exccellent.

Rachael typing:

After our massage we had a quick shower and freshened up for dinner. The hotel was hosting dinner and a show for $25US. Dinner was a 4 course set menu of traditional Balinese food and the show was traditional Balinese dances preformed by a group of six 8 to 10 year old girls.

And that is the end of day 4...

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