Saturday, June 25, 2005

Day 3 - Goodbye Sanur, Hello Ubud

It being our last day in Sanur, we woke up early to catch the sunrise.

Sunrise in Sanur

Early bird

Then it was time for breakfast. We shared an American breakfast set that included scrambled eggs on toast, two sausages, a basket of danishes and rolls, fruit juice, coffee, and a bowl of hot oatmeal. The oatmeal was strangely peppery which we didn’t discover till we had already added honey to it. The bill came up to 97500 Rp (S$20), perhaps not the best value for money.

After breakfast we had just enough time to take a last walk through the Griya Santrian grounds.

Still too early for a swim

All dressed up with nowhere to go

One last look

The garden wing was indeed prettier, if somewhat more melodramatic. Maybe next time, we should opt for a garden wing room.

Gateway to the garden wing

The garden wing pool

The garden wing rooms come with their very own "guardians"

Yet another garden wing porch

Stairway to heaven (the upstairs rooms)

Alas it was time for us to leave. Made from Tegal Sari had arrived to pick us up (at least I think that was his name!) It seemed a little early to be leaving. It was only 10 a.m. and there was a possibility that we would not be able to check in at Tegal Sari till 2 p.m. But we wanted to get to Ubud while it was still cool out.

As it turned out, we needn’t have worried. Grey clouds loomed as our Kijang wound its way north. Made told us that it had rained the night before in Ubud but he was confident that it would not rain that day. Barely fifteen minutes later, big fat raindrops pelted our windscreen and Ubud welcomed us with a tropical downpour.

The ride went by really quickly, Made providing useful commentary now and again. Once at Tegal Sari, we found out that no one had cancelled their bookings after all, so we would, as expected, have to stay in three different rooms in our four nights there. Looking on the bright side, we were poised to experience all that the hotel had to offer! And our room was not ready. Not inclined to waste energy lamenting, we settled down in the teeny-weeny restaurant area with our cups of Balinese coffee, to contemplate the front garden in the rain.

Our first impression of Tegal Sari - rain!

The moment the rain let up, we hoofed it out of the hotel to explore, armed with umbrellas courtesy of Tegal Sari. Immediately, we encountered the Ubud version of that Balinese game where one has to sidestep the dog poo, avoid falling into uncovered drains filled with rushing water and rubbish, and fend off drivers offering transport, all at the same time. This version had a higher level of difficulty because there was more to avoid, and the sidewalks or pavements were unusually high, requiring extra effort when hopping down and up from the road.

Down Jalan Hanoman we went, taking mental note of where the Balispirit Yoga Studio and the Nur Salon spa were, for future reference. We eventually made our way to Jalan Dewi Sita, for a leisurely brunch at Batan Waru.

Mie goreng and ginger fizz

Papaya ginger yoghurt and a carrot beetroot and ginger juice

Our take-away - a veggie burger with lentil and almond pattie

Again we were impressed by the quality of the food, and decided we’d go back again, time permitting. Lunch, plus a take-away veggie burger, came up to 101640 Rp (S$20).

We made our way up Monkey Forest Road. By this time, we knew what we were going to be doing for the next couple of days – shopping! So many pretty little shops, so little time…

Unfortunately the rain started again. As we rounded the corner of Monkey Forest Road, there was a deluge of water running down the slope towards us. We sloshed our way back to Tegal Sari, soaked to the skin even with our umbrellas, so it was a relief to find out that our room was ready. There’s nothing like a hot shower and a soak in the tub after being drenched.

Room Number 11

Room No. 11 turned out to be such a comfortable room, remarkably spacious actually, and with a view that took our breaths away. Our favourite part was, unsurprisingly, the dining area outside.(We’d find out later that, of all the three rooms we stayed in, this had the best view of the padi fields.) It was so green and lush that these two city “kids” just sat there in awe. In any case, with the rain, there was nothing to do except gaze out at the padi fields. No real hardship there, although about two hours of it was all we could take. Not a thing moved.

The view that Tegal Sari is justifiably famous
for - from Room No. 11

One of the perks of No. 11 - the pond in front

Bird magnet, as we discovered eventually

This was, for me, an apt moment to start reading A House in Bali. What evocative writing, about life in Bali! It was a truly peaceful afternoon, the epitome of a holiday.

Dinner that night was at Bebek Bengil 1, since we were too lazy to venture far. We should probably have arrived earlier, as by then, it was too dark to appreciate the view that BB1 is known for. Still, there was always the food.

Inside Bebek Bengil 1 (Dirty Duck 1)

Bebek betutu

Stuffed chicken breast with shitake mushroom
and vegetables

More urap urap

Accompanying side dishes

That was our first taste of bebek betutu which we quite enjoyed. Although others have complained that the duck can be rather dry, we found it moist enough under that crispy duck skin. The stuffed chicken was also yummy, if a bit deepfried. Including hot lemon ginger honey for two, the cost of the meal added up to 124740 Rp (S$24). Notch another one for the Balinese restaurant experience.

The only downside of Bebek Bengil 1, we felt, was the service. Whoever the elf was who served us that night, she was clearly grumpy. Throughout our trip, we experienced good service. Not all were warm and friendly, like the Tegal Sari staff. Some, like the Griya Santrian, were more formal, less personal, but our least favourite service experience was there that night. Perhaps she’d had a bad day.

With that, our first day in Ubud drew to a close.


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