Our plan was to go to Kintamani first thing in the morning. But according to Gede, we should catch a Barong dance at Batu Bulan on the way to Kintamani. We weren’t sure if we should go at first, because KF had seen someone comment in the forums on the ‘fake-looking’ dancing at Batu Bulan..it might have been the Kechak dance, because I thoroughly enjoyed the Barong dance.
The Barong dance portrays a mixture of myth and history, about Barong(good) and Rangda(evil). I really enjoyed the play even though I am usually scared of such things. And it was quite difficult to hear what was being said because we were all the way at the back. Anyway it probably wouldn't have helped that much even if we were in the front, because they were speaking Balinese or Indonesian, and I didn't much understand them even when I could hear them. Thankfully we were each given a piece of paper when we entered which tells us the different scenes in the play and gives a little summary of what happens.
I asked Gede about the dance, because I remember him saying that in Barong dance, the dancers go into a trance, but not so for the Kechak dance. So I was asking him which dancers were in a trance, because we couldn’t see anyone who seemed like they were in any sort of trance (even though they were all a bit scary at first). He said that the men at the end of it were in a trance, and that the ‘keris’ that they were using to try to pierce their abdomens were real ones, not fake plastic ones which was what I thought they were..lol.
Shopping at Sukawati
So the next stop, was…Sukawati! We were looking forward to this so much(I was!), but by this time we realized that we had totally under-budgeted our trip and were running out of Rupiahs! So with a heavy heart I told myself to have a proper look at the things and control myself from spending too much there.
When we arrived, there was a flock of vendors waiting for us to get out of our car and convince us that we needed a hat, sunglass, batik, keychains, blablabla.
We walked into the market, and found lots of little keychain penises hanging everywhere. By this point, I realised that this is very very very common in Bali. I do not get the point of something like that as a keychain. To me, there is no aesthetic value to it, or any other value either! Feng gets excited and mentions again that she would love to buy some. Haha!
We keep looking for the sarong that we saw the day before at GWK, but to no avail. *I feel like going back in time and smacking my head now, because only on the last day did we find out that the sarong we were looking for were just normal sarongs with a little clincher added to it. We thought it came together with the sarong! Could have easily gotten a simple sarong anywhere cheap and buy the clincher separately. Argh!!*.
We went upstairs where there were bags. I was planning to buy bags, so that was my stop. I saw 2 which I liked, and started bargaining. She offered 250,000Rp for the 2 bags, I finally got them for 92,000Rp! Hehehe. Feng and KF didn’t get anything though.
Mount Batur and Lake Batur, Kintamani
On then to Kintamani to see Mount Batur(the volcano). When we arrived at Kintamani, Gede warned us that there will again be many vendors swarming us, and that if we weren’t planning on buying anything from them, it was best to just completely ignore them. Otherwise, if the others see that we show even the slightest of interest, they would come swarming around us as well and there would be no point of escape. Ok I added the last bit in, about no point of escape =P. But you get the idea, right?
So we got down, and started taking pictures. Thankfully, the swarming didn’t come too bad! I’m sure it would have been 10x worse if we had white skin, so..yeah. Sometimes being Asian is not all bad. LOL. The view, I have to admit, wasn’t the best. It was drizzling and overcast. No good pictures of it at all. Sad..
Gede asked us if we would like to have lunch at Kintamani. As we had already seen from the forum(notice how much we learnt from the forums – or, another way to put it, how much we depended on them) that the buffets there were super expensive, not tasty, and totally not worth it, we decided to only have our lunch when we got down. It was already about 2pm when we got down, and I was famished!
Pura Tirta Empul, Tampak Siring
We proceeded to a place called Tampak Siring, where there was another temple – Pura Tirta Empul. “Pura” means temple by the way(I think), not the same as in Malay where it means ‘pretend’. It was raining quite heavily when we got there, and we had to use umbrellas to walk around. Pura Tirta Empul was quite beautiful. It really reminded me of Nepal, where they have lots of public baths and where people would go there to pray and bathe in the sacred water. It was the same here.
There was a lady there who really caught my attention. It was really starting to pour at the time, and she was still kneeling there, praying very piously, totally unfazed and unaffected by the big drops of rain pouring down and soaking her through. I could see her murmuring with her eyes closed, in her own world, worshipping her God. I remember thinking to myself “I wonder what she is praying for.”
It seemed almost as if she really needed something, or that she was very very grateful for something her God has granted her. She looked really beautiful at that moment, even though her hair was stuck to her head, and her clothes were drenched. I don’t know this lady, but I felt that she has what we call, inner beauty.
Bebek Bengil Diner, Ubud
We then travelled down to Ubud. It was quite a distance, and we passed by many paddy fields. One of them was Tegalalang, where Gede stopped and let us go down to take some pictures. It was drizzling at the time, and we quickly snapped some pictures. We were there for such a very short time, but I will forever remember the beauty of Tegalalang terraced paddy fields.
Since we didn’t have lunch, we had our meal at Bebek Bengil restaurant, Ubud. It’s a famous restaurant which we had also read about in the forums. We had read that it was totally worth it, but for some reason (I think it was to do with us running out of cash) we had decided earlier that we want to pass it up for our next visit to Bali. But Gede insisted, he said that anyone who comes to Bali MUST try the bebek bengil and babi guling. So we changed our minds and went for bebek bengil.
*Bebek bengil means 'dirty duck'. But there's a story to it, and it has nothing to do with us eating unclean/unwashed duck meat. Hehe.*
We ordered 3 dishes. One was, of course, the bebek bengil. It was roasted to perfection. I never liked duck. NEVER EVER. Its dry, rough, and there’s no nice sauce to go with it. But bebek bengil has changed my mind about duck meat forever.
The skin was roasted till it was super crispy, and the meat was sooo tender!!! Just thinking about it now makes me salivate..lol.
The 2nd dish was also duck, but I can’t really remember the name of it. It had sauce on it, and it was absolutely delicious too.
And the 3rd dish was nasi campur, which was basically like nasi lemak. I didn't think it was special.
It was 3.15pm when we finished, and our massage/spa was booked for 5pm. We had already allocated time to look for a hotel. Gede said he asked him friend, and apparently there was a cheap but nice hotel on Monkey Forest road. So there we went, to Graha Ubud hotel. It was empty. More or less. But I liked the feel of it anyway. The man there took us to look at Room 1, and it was nice, but there was 1 bed which was situated farrr away from the other 2. And the toilet was very very dim, but huge! I didn’t really like the toilet to be honest. But anyway, we took it.
After leaving our luggage in the room, we start driving to the massage place. On the way, we pass by Ibu Oka babi guling up the street, but there was no time to stop, and there was probably no more babi for us anyway. Sad!! This is a very very famous place for babi guling!
Sang Spa, Ubud
We then arrive at the street the massage centre is on – and it’s a small alley that gets smaller and smaller. Sang Spa was well hidden almost at the end of the road. Gede used his phone to call the massage centre and ask where it was. Finally we found it, number 29.
We go in, and were served little cups of tea. Gede arranged with the receptionist to send us back to the hotel after our spa. He then arranged to come pick us up at the hotel at 10am the next morning, enough time for us to have breakfast and a little walk to the Ubud Market.
Then, we were escorted into the massage room. We requested to have a room for the 3 of us. There were 3 beds, I was asked to go to the middle one. Feng went to the toilet. KF and I were asked to remove our clothings – much to our horror!! I knew there had to be something for us to use to cover ourselves up, but there were no sarongs in sight! So we looked around, and finally I saw the sarongs laid so beautifully on the beds, as if they were a part of the bed linen. So KF and I agree to the policy of “I don’t look at you, you don’t look at me” and take off our clothes. Feng then comes in and proceeds to do the same, and KF and I make sure to look away. Hahaha.
Our masseuses then came in, and asked us to lie facedown on the beds – naked. Another horror! How are we supposed to do that?? It would mean a few seconds between us taking off our sarongs and climbing unto the bed and lying facedown and the masseuse finally covering us up with the sarongs! But there was no choice. We kept giggling and giggling, and kept our eyes to ourselves as we did what we had to do.
Then started the massage. I was supposed to feel so relaxed and I expected to fall asleep. But no, I was too fascinated with the beautiful colours of the flowers in the bowl beneath my bed and the yellow frangipani candle in the middle of the red and pink petals.
So, we started facedown, with the massage beginning at our legs. Then it moved up to our backs. Then we were asked to turn our to face upwards. That was alright too, as we were quickly covered again with our sarongs and our eyes were covered with clothes. The massage continued on our legs. But then it came. The moment where the masseuse suddenly pulled on the sarong covering my chest and it suddenly feels so cool and bare and totally exposed! Man was I thankful that the other 2’s eyes were closed!!
I kept silent, knowing that the same thing was about to happen to KF and Feng. Sure enough, I hear a loud giggle from Feng’s side. Her sarong has been pulled. And infectiously, it spreads to KF. I try for a few seconds to remain professional and serious, but I failed. I joined in the giggling, and think to myself “This is so embarrassing! We’re acting like a bunch of schoolgirls, when we – look at us – we’re hardly school girls, in fact, farrrr from it!”
The massage continued, and the most eventful part would have to be when KF had finished her traditional massage and Feng and I had to jump into the tub for our flower bath. I went in first. The problem wasn’t with the bath. I’m sure both Feng and I could fit into it. The problem was…there wasn’t enough water! My chest wasn’t even covered when I sat upright in it. And it wasn’t big enough to lie down in! So what could I do??
Then Feng came in. And we shared a bath - no clothes on. I said aloud “Who would have ever known when I met the both of you, that one day, we would have to see each other naked and share a bath together”.
An unforgettable experience.
After we finish, the owner of the spa drove us back to our hotel. We decided to go for dinner first before going back – saves the effort of walking out again.
So we stumble across a little hidden place, which was upstairs. We looked at the menu, and the prices were cheap enough for our almost empty pockets. Under the stairs, there was a drawing of 2 pigs at it. I can’t remember the name of the place, but this is how I will look it up the next time I am there. So up we went. It was a quaint little place, everyone else there were guai lous. We were the only Asians there.
Feng ordered spaghetti and avocado juice, and this detail is important. I ordered some sort of chicken fillet and I can’t remember what KF ordered. We snap some photos while waiting for our food – it was special because we were sitting cross-legged on the floor instead of a chair!
We ate our dinner, and started walking back home/hotel.
Ka Fui was having a headache, so we went to a small little convenience store opposite our hotel to get some Panadol for her.
I spotted something really special there – bottled Starbucks ready to go! I wish we had that here in Malaysia.
Feng wanted to continue walking around somemore, but KF and I were tired and I felt so greasy after all that massage oil involved in the spa that I just wanted to go back to the hotel and shower then sleep.
After some time, Feng comes back safe and sound and we all have a shower before we're all drifting away into dreamland.