Ubud is a town but it is also the name now of the surrounding area that includes stone and wood carving factories and shops. Ubud itself is horribly touristy but there are some areas such as the traditional market that appear unspoiled. Here we got drenched in a torrential downpour, one of the two or three that occur daily at this time of year. Nothing much seems to stop while it rains though.
One of the reasons we want to visit Ubud is to visit a wood carving shop. On the way we happen to spot an incredible entry to a store, UC Silver. We visited this factory in 2009 and were happy to do so again this trip. The factory itself is open to visitors. Each artist is self trained and does incredible work. Each item is made piece by piece in a painstaking process, one person makes an entire item, no production line here. Pat and Gisela purchase a few items and do some tough bargaining to come out very happy.
Our visit to one of the better wood carving factories resulted in another purchase. It got wrapped up before I could photo it though so you will have to wait. It is wrapped ready for an airdrop from 35000 feet, no chance of shipping damage! The particular piece purchased is by a now retired carver. Some items take over a year of work.
The roads around Ubud are lined with an incredible array of factories.
Ketut now knows us quite well and is used to our non-typical tourist ways. For lunch we go to a warung where he eats regularly with his family. Next to a temple, it is clean and friendly as all these warung’s seem to be. Why visitors are afraid to eat at these wonderful places is beyond us. The specialty here is Nasi Tjampoer, which means you get fried rice and then pick your own additions such as pork, chicken sate, vegetables etc. Krupuk (shrimp) and Emping crackers are always in baskets on the table.
We are now ready to head into Ubud itself. Located right downtown is a royal palace, an oasis of peace in the bustling city. Pat finds the traditional market. While there is starts to rain, hard! Ketut has to bring the car over to save us from the ‘river’ running down the intersection where we were to meet up.
Our last stop for the day trip is Kerta Gosa in Klungkung. We visited here in 2009 but it was interesting how having more time to see it changed our experience. The drizzle somehow increased the effect. The court hall here is fully decorated in paintings representing cause and effect between life in the world and after death. A nearby monument commemorates the mass suicide in early 1900’s of the local royal family who did not want to be ruled by the Dutch.
This was the end of 2 wonderful days with Ketut, our driver/guide. We said sad farewells at the hotel in Sanur. We highly recommend contacting Ketut if you visit Benoa or Tanah Ampoh ports. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course the day was not over yet. Since the ship was not leaving until 1130 pm there is time for, yes you guessed it another dinner. This time it is a warung, Warung Bebel D’Uma, set in a rice field near Sanur. The owner Wayan Sudiarta worked for HAL in the 1990’s. Chas was craving Bebek Bakar, roasted duck, and that is a specialty here. All the food used at the restaurant is organic and grown locally, spices (grown at the side of the rice paddy field), duck (running around – although a few favourite are kept as pets and allowed to wander freely) and rice. He also runs a cooking school here (lucky Gisela and Chas signed up for a lesson on Saturday morning – we are so jealous) and is he plans an eco hotel where you can work in the rice field for a while.
And so ended an incredible 2 days in Bali. Good friends, good weather, good food, good sights.