I got up early feeling like a million bucks! (thank you Mother Nature and yoga for always pulling through!)
I went to yoga and grabbed another healing juice of turmeric, ginger, pineapple and lime and headed back to my villa to shower and pack.
At 10:30am, my driver picked me up and we scooped up my friend, Louise (the one I met in the Taiwan airport) from her villa and left Ubud on our way to Uluwatu, a surf town South of Ubud.
In retrospect, we should have known better due to last nights crazy rainstorm… but it didn’t even cross our minds that the rains would continue all day long – and I am talking POURING with insane winds!
I’d mentioned wanting to find coffee beans for gifts so our driver pulled off to a coffee plantation on our way.
They not only had coffee beans, but turmeric, ginger, ginseng, aloe, chocolate…
Since we (Fitlife.tv) have our own turmeric supplement coming out soon, it was so cool to see the plant and freshly picked root.
At the end of the tour, they gave us a tasting tray – 5 teas, 6 coffees and 2 chocolates.
Now in Bali, they have Bali Coffee… and they have Luwak Coffee.
Luwak Coffee is interesting…
There is an animal here that looks similar to a cat, only with a longer nose and bushier tail. They eat the coffee beans and because they can’t digest them, they poop them out. The beans are then washed and dried for 2 weeks before being ground for consumption.
I tried Bali and Luwak Coffee and hands down, Luwak was way better! More depth to the flavor. But man… this shit is expensive (pun intended).
We made it to our new hotel, which was a complete joke. Recommended from another fellow traveler, Mamo Hotel is not a place I would ever stay if I had known any better.
We checked in and dropped our bags and left right away to grab a bite. Now the ocean view from Single Fin Beach Club (the reason we were drawn here in the first place) was unreal. But it was so stormy that we could barely see anything, let alone stand outside to enjoy it. No pics because of this.
After a sub-par meal, we pondered what on earth we could possibly do in this weather… and ended up back in our room to do a little research of the area to see if there were any indoor activities available. It was then that we realized this did not look like the room we’d paid for.
Online it stated “ocean view,” yet there was no ocean to be seen. It was worn and tattered, smelled like a sewer and construction was happening just outside our window.
I spoke with the front desk and showed them my reservation, which stated “ocean view” – however, this hotel does not offer such accommodations. They gave us another room (the one we paid for) and when we opened the door, it was a disaster. No sheets on the bed. Trash in the garbage cans. And still… no view.
I don’t want to sound like a snooty traveler, but I do have standards. Cleanliness being one of them. I went back and let them know this would not work for us and the only other option was a room with ONE bed, still no view and the sound of construction outside our window. Not to mention, bugs everywhere.
Mind you, they were very sweet about it all, as is standard with most Balinese people I’ve encountered (except for those scooter taxis!). But the room felt dirty… and it gave me the heebie jeebies!
We agreed that we would stay 1 night but requested a refund for night 2 and they understood.
We sucked it up and made our way in the rain to the Uluwatu Temple, another reason we chose this location. It was stunning! The views were incredible, despite the rain. It only took about 20 minutes to explore through so we opted to stay for the Fire Dance (same story as the other Balinese dance we went to in Ubud, but this time, no instruments, just chanting by a group of men and boys). We got rained on and were sticky from the humidity, but we were trying desperately to make the most of it.
We came back to our room instead of going to dinner, determined to research things to do for a better tomorrow…
We found nothing.
At this point I was over travel, over the language barrier, over spending money all day every day… and in serious need of some normalcy. I was craving the simple pleasures of home and felt that my time spent here was good enough.
I tried to switch my flight to leave before Christmas, but for $800, it wasn’t in the cards.
So I put on my big girls pants and made the decision that the best of my journey here was yet to come and nothing was going to stop me from having an epic experience abroad. Not even the insanely large welt on my ass from God knows what kind of bug. Not even kidding. 3″ around, about 1/2 ” off my skin. Welcome to Asia, my friends.
Fast-forward to Sunday – we made the decision to leave Uluwatu due to the rains. I am sure this side of Bali is incredible. I have seen enough pictures to believe that to be the case. But the timing was terrible and with limited time in Indonesia, we wanted to get the most we could from this experience.
We hired a driver to pick us up and made a pit-stop at El Kabron for lunch on our way back to Ubud.
The patio was closed due to the stormy weather, but we managed to catch 5 minutes of sunshine. Totally worth everything.
We had tapas, which were Spanish inspired. And got a sangria to wash it down. We deserved it. The food, view and company were lovely. It was a beautiful afternoon.
It took about 2 hours to get back to Ubud, where we went back to the cute villa I had found before leaving for Uluwatu. Biyukukung Suites & Spa is adorable. The rice fields are lush and vibrant, not like most I have seen here (although I know plenty of them exist). The rooms are clean, spacious and inviting.
Louise and I decided to room together until I leave for Legian on Wednesday – to save money and because it’s nice to have some familiarity. We make good roomies so it’s worked out great.
Once we got situated we headed to The Yoga Barn for class… but it was full. The downside of YB, even getting there 30 mins early.
So we went on a yoga seeking adventure and walked the 20 or so minuted to Radiantly Alive, another studio that was recommended to me by a friend back home. The space was beautiful. Since we were so early, we walked around, stopped at a coffee shop and made our way back to RA for a Restorative Yoga practice.
Side note: Yoga is different here for many reasons. The biggest being: each class is 1.5-2 hours everywhere; the instructors don’t give adjustments or massage (my fave part); the music is very low or non-existent; most of the instructors are transplants from around the world and understanding their direction can be very tricky; there is no “hot” or “room temp” yoga – it’s all “humid as F&%#” and that’s just the way it goes. I prefer Western yoga and although I absolutely LOVE experiencing new things, the styles here don’t leave me feeling stretched, worked or ALIVE. Can’t wait to get back to my studio and detox my entire being, leaving it all on my mat.
It was really hard to hear the instructor, despite being in the front row. There was no music, but the long held poses (on the floor) were a great way to release my anxiety of the previous days experiences.
We found our way through back alleys to hands down one of my favorite places we’ve been thus far. An adorable hippie cafe called SOMA. There were people playing live music, laughter filled the open-air restaurant (as most of them do), trees shooting out of the ground within the cafe, dreadlocks and plenty of B.O. (not my fave part, but such is Bali).
I ordered a veggie wrap with a side salad and a lovely warm drink of coconut milk, date, cinnamon & nutmeg. As we finished our meal, the rains begin. Rain here is DOWNPOUR, at least in my experience. Not San Diego rain… Seattle rain.
But we figured this was just how it was going to be and what better way to handle the situation then to embrace it!
On our way home, we got drenched. So I suggested that we jump in our pool in our wet clothes and have a night swim to cleanse the stress we’d been feeling. It worked. And it was so much fun!
By the time we got inside, it was nearly 10pm. Time for a hot shower and warm bed (plus AC, because that’s necessary).
Sunday was amazing. It made up for Saturdays shenanigans in more ways than one and in retrospect, I feel silly to have had such a moment of panic, trying to get home faster.
I am here for a reason. Whatever that is, I am sure it will come. Until then, I have to trust that I booked this trip because I am supposed to be here. And I know that I can withstand anything that comes my way.
So I am embracing the discomfort and giving thanks to the Universe for supporting me.
Rain or shine, this experience will be whatever I make of it. And I choose that it be beautiful.