After a not-so-brief hiatus, we’re back! The trip was incredible, and the figurative cake was iced by a visit from Jack and Grace and a few more days of toodling around Thailand before coming back to work. Which is where I sit now, first day back, after receiving a bit of strife from some administrators about taking the time off to travel (which, mind you, we’d been told months before that we could take). And of course for the past hour Wayne and I have been the only ones here.
No worries though… I just consider it to be more blogging time, of which I’m in desperate need right now! Alright. We arrived in Ubud just in time to celebrate Wayne’s birthday in the third fun-and-exotic place in as many years (two years ago found us in Hangzhou; last year in Bangkok). Since it was our first full-day in town we thought we’d just do some wandering in the morning to see what we might find.
we were really excited to see an announcement for the bali spirit festival in the airasia magazine on the plane, stating that we were coincidentally going to be in ubud at just the time of the festival! when we finally found someone in town who knew about it (a harder feat than you might imagine) we knew we had to go. rented a motorbike and were on our way… only to find out that entrance was over $100– and the day-time portion was full anyway. too bad…
After our morning of walking and riding around we headed back to the guesthouse to chill out for a little bit. Wayne had seen something about the Elephant Cave UNESCO World Heritage Site nearby, and since we had the bike we thought we might as well check it out. The directions we got were pretty straightforward (“Turn left, go straight, go straight, keep going straight and you’ll see it.”) but after a lot of straight-going we did not see it. Let it be known that the Balinese name is Goa Gajah, and that’s the only name you’ll see on the signs in the vicinity, should you also make the trek. It was definitely a cool place, though I must admit I didn’t walk away with a lot of knowledge pertaining to it (but maybe Wiki can help you out).
When we finally found it out of the maze that became the exit route from the depths of Goa Gajah, it was almost time to choose a birthday dinner location! (Well, in my case, first a proper garment for the occasion needed to be found, then dinner considerations could be made.) An unexpected bit of rain had begun, the place we’d intended to go was booked solid, and we remembered seeing a vibey Cuban place during our meandering the night before. Café Havana it was! And no regrets at all in this respect… the food (and sangria!) was great (I’ll do a comprehensive food post at the end of all these other posts, don’t worry), and the atmosphere was as lively as we could have ever wished. The live band was playing the likes of Buena Vista Social Club, Manu Chao, and Gipsy Kings flawlessly and energetically; and to top it all off the members of staff kept abandoning the floor to salsa with one another. I can’t say any of the customers seemed to mind! A definite recommendation for anyone traveling to Ubud, even if it’s not exactly what you might expect to experience in Indonesia.