Everyone we know who has been to Indonesia says that Ubud is a must-see and we couldn't agree more. We have fallen in love with this little town, as it is like no place we have ever been. Ubud is small and very artsy. There are two or three main streets that are lined with galleries, shops and adorable little restaurants. Ubud has a very European feel to it which is a pleasure to have when in Asia! There are hundreds of tourists here but it's a very different tourist feeling than anywhere else. There are no trashy tourists... Everyone is very classy and polite. The town is filled mostly with couples and a few families. It's hopping during the day yet very quiet at night with only a few places playing live music. Once off the main few streets, there are gorgeous rice paddy fields that you can walk through. There is an undescribable feeling you get in Ubud and you just have to come here to understand :)
We happened to plan our stay in Ubud unknowingly when the biggest ceremony was taking place. The Queen of Ubud passed away 6 months ago and they have been busy preparing for her cremation this whole time. Yesterday, all power was shut off in the town until late in the evening so that people would go and enjoy the festival. We were there with a thousand other people in the sweltering heat to witness the new king ride into town on an enormous tower and the queen to be inside a huge fake cow which they later burned with her body inside. We didn't always understand exactly what was happening but it was certainly a good insight to a special part of the Balinese culture.
I'm not sure our choice of accommodation was quite the best... but it was of course the cheapest! It's run by a crazy local who goes by the name of Mr. Chicken. The bungalows are nice and there is a pool but it is very loud. Our neighbor in the next bungalow snores so loud that we can hear it when trying to sleep. The power here is also a bit unreliable along with the water but hey that's a part of the experience, right?!The free internet is definitely a bonus and something we won't have very often in our travels.
Nate is currently down the street at the Post Office trying to send a few items back to the States that we picked up for our future home. There is beautiful woodcarving here and it was difficult to choose between a few items. We eventually decided on a beautifully framed painting, a mirror with a wood cut frame, salad tongs made from bamboo wood (random purchase) and another small painting. I hope he has better luck than we had in Taiwan with the huge frame we tried to send home!!
We are headed to some islands tomorrow for some R&R... will write more when we can!