Day 9: Fredy Day Three (Fredy’s Understudy)

We awoke again to the sounds of a glorious Ubud Morning.  Really I can’t see how I can ever drag myself away from this peace and return to Brisbane.  Seriously this place has an incredible calming influence over you.  I literally feel the stress melting away…..sorry a little too deep there.

Ok so today was the last of our Three Days we booked with Fredy (the champion driver incase you are coming late to these blogs).   I won’t bore you with the breakfast story – suffice to say it was as good as every other morning, and yet again we ate practically everything!

We went to the carpark to meet Fredy and to our surprise he wasn’t there – in his place was Nyoman (Norman).  Norman works with Fredy and Dean in their company and has a sense of humour that almost perfectly matches mine – a delicate balance between wondering if he is joking or telling the truth!  Fredy was unavailable today – not sure whether it was a double booking or if he was hungover – Norman was sketchy on the details.  No worries though, knowing the quality of all the drivers in the Drivers by Distinction Team I knew we would be in safe hands.

Off we set with Norman – the first destination this morning was to check out the Bamboo Forest at Bangli Town.  It is a pretty cool place, not what you would call a “normal” tourist destination, but was a few pretty cool photo ops.  Norman was a big fan of also dropping us in places and making us walk out – and again his humour made me wonder for a split second whether he was going to be at the other end – 🙂

Anyway before we got there we drove through a small village and the locals were preparing a number of shrines for a cremation ceremony.  The detail and artwork were amazing, I jumped out to take a couple of quick shots.

Norman was saying it was possibly one of the village Holy Men that had passed away, based on the amount of work and detail they were putting into the vessels.

Amazingly detailed – and lovely seeing a whole village come together to help prepare them.

It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, children love to ham it up in front of a camera – these boys appeared to only know 1 word “PHOTO – PHOTO – PHOTO”

So we made the Bamboo Forest at Bangli – and it is pretty massive – great sight to walk through the trees.  It is amazing for a product so strong, being that it is used in construction all throughout Asia, the Bamboo tree really feels unstable, moving around so much.  I would really hate to be in this forest at night, the creaking of the trees rubbing against each other in the wind was quite strange.  Likewise walking down the road with these giant trees growing either side of the road meeting each other in the middle – creating this dark tunnel effect.  Quite cool.  I know you wouldn’t think “Bamboo Trees Growing” would work as a tourist spot, and no I wouldn’t go making a special trip or anything – but it made a couple of cool pictures.

I asked Norman what the main use of the Bamboo was from this forest and his answer was “For your Satay Sticks” – so there you go!

The trees grow across the road, quite a cool look – although a tiny bit creepy – this is possibly the next cover shot for Steven King’s latest book…or one of those inspirational posters about reaching the light at the end of the road or something like that.

Ok so our first Main destination this morning was the old village at Penglipuran.  The Penglipuran Village is a traditional village which maintains much of the classical styles of Balinese houses.  It was lovely walking through the streets (car-less streets!).  A little local boy saw my wife and quickly collected some Frangipani Flowers from the tree and gave them for her as a gift – so sweet.

Looking down at the village from up at the Temple – quite a lovely view. Notice the distinct lack of cars – how refreshing.

The Village also has a lovely Village Temple – Pura Penataran.  Which has some lovely old stonework.

The lovely Village temple at Penglipuran – Loved the design and the stonework. Really impressive.

Do remember these are people houses, so don’t go walking through doorways – respect the locals privacy. The doorways/gates into the houses are amazing some quite old and others more modern construction.

We spent a bit of time walking around the village, just admiring the buildings and then met up with Norman at the other end of town.  We moved off onto our next destination which was a lovely old temple called Pura Kehen.  This place is not as well-known as many of the others but well worth a visit if you get the chance.  It is located high on a hill which commands an impressive view of the surrounding area.  The temple is split across a number of levels, not too taxing to walk up – probably about 30-40 stairs nothing too bad.    It is one of the oldest temples in Bali with records dating back to about the 11th Century.

Pura Kehen – The Imposing Entrance Stairs. Check out the carvings on the way up the stairs, they are pretty impressive.

I really loved the detail on the stonework carvings. Really impressive. Most of them appear to be reasonably original – you can spot the odd restoration but in general most of it is original.

There are some impressive shrines and also a huge Banyan tree that actually has a small TreeHouse way up high, I think it houses the wooden bells.  Really a lovely place, and so unique being high up on the hill and having a great view of the landscape.  There are also some amazing Merus – especially the 11 roofed one in the main courtyard which is dedicated to the god that protects the temple.  And the other smaller Merus  are for other gods for when they visit the temple.

The largest Meru – this is for the God that protects the Temple.

The carvings in this temple are really quite amazing – really great detail.  It is really easy to overlook some of the detail when walking around a place like this, but do take the time to look at all the shrines.  After wandering around the temple for a while we returned with Norman to the car and moved onwards.

Our next destination was to tour through the area of Sideman. We had met some people yesterday at the cooking class who stayed in Sideman for a while and we had wanted to check it out – Norman must have read my mind! The views here are spectacular – really impressive.  I am amazed at the rice terraces of Bali – they are all subtly different but yet they are all amazing.  These were so lush and green.  Really impressive scenery.

A Panorama of the Sideman Rice fields – sorry for the quality this is my Samsung Phone. But you have to admit its pretty impressive?

Look at that Green – that hasn’t been enhanced much in Photoshop – the fields were so lush. I wouldn’t mind staying in this area for a couple of nights, it seems like it would take my Ubud relaxation to new highs!

By now we had worked up a bit of an appetite – you know sitting in the car and taking pictures all day is quite taxing! – so Norman had a little place in mind for lunch.  It was a “simple” place by his words, honestly I don’t care so long as the food is fresh who cares what it looks like.  Well the view alone was impressive – our Lunch destination was a place called Enak Warung.  It is a tiny little place with a quite varied menu – varied in that they offered a number of Pizza and Pasta dishes.

Our amazing view at Lunch – Enak Warung, Sideman – Karangasem. I can’t find any reference to them online so if you are in the area call them on (0363)41672 or email them umagung@yahoo.co.id.

If you have been following us thus far you probably wouldn’t have needed to guess what we ate – Nasi Goreng Chicken.  Total price for 2 drinks and 2 Nasi Goreng was 94k – amazing value! Plus the food was pretty darn good.  I don’t know how they infuse such amazing taste into Rice but it is seriously a meal in itself.  And honestly I would have paid 94k just to sit and look at the rice field view.

We started to head back towards Ubud, we asked Norman if he could stop off at Celuk on the way through we wanted to check out some of the Silver places, so he obliged – we stopped and bought a few pieces from a lovely boutique jewellery factory – prices were a little on the high side but the quality was very impressive, perfect for a nice gift to take home to Mum (hey you gotta look after ya mum!).

Wallet sufficiently lightened we headed back to the hotel and bid Norman a farewell.  If you can’t get Fredy I heartily recommend Norman – he is great fun and lovely to talk to.  I don’t want to say one is better than the other – each driver has their own unique style and personality but I can say that after meeting Dean, Fredy, and Norman – they are all great guys.  Do look them up and book them for a tour.

Following our usual daily plan at this point we headed into Ubud town – Massages were the order of the afternoon, or Facial and Hair Treatment for my lovely wife.  We just picked one of the many along Monkey Forest Road, I think from memory it was called Daisy Spa.  I got the Massage and Body Scrub – massage wasn’t brilliant but good enough – the wife got the facial and hair treatment.  All up 230k total.

Dinner tonight we chose a lovely little Restaurant called – Sjaki Tari Us, which is a restaurant attached to the Sjaki Tari Us school/training centre.  They assist mentally disabled children and provide education and training; thus dinning in the restaurant also assists some of the older students a chance to practice their restaurant craft.  Overall a lovely little place to eat, good honest food – nothing too fancy but it all tasted good.  Even the fruity cocktails were pretty nice as well.

We finished dinner a little early and weren’t quite ready to head home so we picked a little spot for dessert – Gecko Resto.  The poor girl working the floor tonight appeared swamped, the restaurant was quite busy and she seemed like she was all on her own – so struggling.  We didn’t mind – I mean when you live your life on Bali time is it really waiting? We didn’t mind and the desserts were pretty amazing when they came out.  After the cooking class yesterday – any dessert that mentions Boiling Banana is going to attract my attention.

What was really lovely was when we went to pay my wife left the girl a small tip and she said “oh no – you had to wait, I am sorry but I can’t accept this” – my wife insisted and the girl was so grateful and apologetic she told us to come again and see how good she is when there is no waiting.  Such an honest people – I was blown away.

So that is it for Day 9 – tomorrow is Kunigan Day – which is a pretty big day on the Calendar for the locals, many of the shops won’t be open so I think it will just be a cruisy day.  See you tomorrow – thanks for ready.

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