It takes a couple of picollos at my favourite coffee joint, Ubud Coffee Roastery, to finish my blog. I’m not really sure how to fill the rest of the day. I knew I didn’t want to do a tour or sit in a car. I was going to hire a bike but my search of reviews on Trip Advisor indicated it was not such a good idea – hilly, wet, boggy tracks, and bikes that are not well maintained. If you went on a bike tour it would probably be ok but these all had touristy add-ons I didn’t want. Plus rain was still imminent. So I decided on a trip to the Water Palace, Jalan Kajeng paved road, Threads of Life (textiles) and a late afternoon hike through rice paddies. All conveniently around the same part of Ubud.
The Water Palace, which has been tourified with accommodation, cafe and swimming pool, is located behind Starbucks!. There are parts that are quite beautiful, including a large lotus filled pond. Pura Taman Saraswati honors Dewi Saraswati – the Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, and the arts.
Jalan Kajeng is the road that I need to walk up to begin my hike and it is also a famous landmark in its own right. This street leads north out of Ubud and is paved in cement tiles inscribed with individual messages and artworks.
Also on this street is the textiles shop which showcases traditionally made and dyed ikat weavings and supports the people in their villages to continue in this traditional artform. The shop included educational displays and a very funny video looking at the effect of tourism and the Western economy on the cultural life of the Balinese people. For example, the government encouraged farmers to replace the local cotton plants with cashews as they would make more money. Now there is a deficit of cotton for the weavers and the price of cashews has gone down.
Jalan Kajeng continues out into the countryside as a smaller and smaller track meandering through rice paddies. This is where my habit of downloading google maps to use offline is useful. I felt I could wander up tiny little tracks without the fear of becoming lost as the gps always knew where I was. I kept going much further than I had intended and the track become increasingly muddy and narrow.
On the way up the hills I bought a tiled coaster and tried to chat with Mr Orang Utan. An old fellow who looks like the masks that he sells and that adorns his motorbike. Turns out he only speaks Balinese so I chatted to the younger guy who was sitting with him.
It was interesting watching the locals go about their work in the paddies. They have little huts that they shelter in during the heat of the day, or when it rains, and also during breaks. Most of them live in nearby villages. I watched a dog having fun chasing the ducks in the paddies. Not sure if he was supposed to be guarding them or was hunting his dinner but the ducks certainly outwitted him!