Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Trip Goes On

Every time I arrived at the airport I felt like it was about time for me to head back to Korea, but no, the vacation just kept going. After one last delicious meal at the airport in Kuala Lumpur it was time for me to board my last Air Asia flight, bid Malaysia adieu and head for Bali.  The major downside of this flight was that i'd be arriving in Bali at 11:30pm, not optimal but you get what you pay for.  I guess I was getting too lucky with my trip because shortly after arriving in Bali I encountered my first "oh shit" moment of the trip.  To begin with I didn't realize i'd be standing in a 10-mile long line to get a visa, but that was just annoying, the real problem came when I tried to use my phone to contract my couch surfing host.  No service, no wifi, and no public telephones - oh shit. So I get to the taxi stand and am immediately bombarded by the relentless taxi drivers asking where I'm going and if I'd like a ride. Seeing as I had no where to go I really just wanted them to get lost...I put my timidness aside and approached a couple whom I overheard were headed for Kuta (popular beach town where I was planning to stay) and asked if I could tag along, praying there would be a room open for me. Long story short, the couple was awesome, there was a room, I spent 10x what I planned on, but I got breakfast, a free drink and a pool! 

Seeing as I paid for a nice pool I figured I should fit in a swim and some sun time before heading north to Ubud. Check-out time was 12 but I pushed my luck and meandered down to reception at about 1pm, before having to catch my 1:30 bus. Kuta was crazy busy with hawkers trying to lure any passerby into their shops, I made the mistake of stopping in one shoe store and had a hard time leaving "okay miss, you name a price, how much, good price!" That and it seems every person in that city could magically turn into a taxi driver or transport service at the drop of a hat. "Miss you need ride? Where are you going? Taxi miss?"  So per the advice of a few friends I booked a bus ticket with Perama and was soon on my way to Ubud. 

Upon arriving I was again under attack..."Miss, you need room?" "Taxi????"  "Miss, where are you going, I have room" "Transport, miss?" if you know me at all you might understand how annoying I found these people.  I mean, I don't even like when sales people ask if I need help finding something - leave me alone! So as I walked the streets of Ubud looking for a homestay I pretty much decided I wouldn't be staying anywhere with pushy, relentless owners.  I stopped in a few places, one too high for my budget, one just to humor the poor man that was begging me, a few decent, but ultimately kept walking until I found myself at Raka Guest house. My two requirements were WiFi and a swimming pool, seeing as they had both, the owner was nice and I was exhausted, I was sold.  After a much needed shower I made my way out to explore the town and find something to eat. As I was walking back to my hostel I did a double take thinking I recognized someone, but who would I know in Ubud Bali?  As chances would have it I ran into a couple from the airport whom happened to be on my same flight and briefly talked to in the Visa line after arriving in Bali.  We shared a few beers and loads of travel stories at their hostel before I decided to call it a night. The next day was spent exploring all that Bali had to offer - including a 7am yoga class. 

Ubud market 
Lotus Pond

After a morning of wandering I decided to make my way to the south side of town and check out the Monkey forest.  I heard/read mixed reviews  of this place and knew that it'd be more of a tourist stop than nature walk but I figured when in Rome.  It was only a few dollars to get in and it's not like I had anywhere else to be. Definitely different than the natural parks I had visited and spotted monkeys at earlier in my trip but still beautiful and entertaining.  They aren't kidding when they say the monkeys aren't shy and will approach you, especially if you have food.  I saw a few different people with monkeys jumping on/at them and heard the squeals of one child that didn't enjoy his monkey encounter.  

I wanted to take full advantage of the yoga studio in Ubud so I singed up for a week unlimted pass - although I would only be staying there for three days it was cheaper than the "3 class" pass so I figured as long as I made it to four classes it'd be worth it.  I started my day with the 7am vinyasa class which was perfect and returned later that day for an afternoon hatha class. Honestly these "world famous teachers" the studio boasted about didn't impresse me, or maybe I was just partial to Sue and Alvin, the teachers I met in Kuching. 

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