We finally decided on Bali for our getaway and booked a villa at a hotel in Ubud, a town several miles out of the main city of Denpasar and farther up in the hills and away from the over-crowded beaches. When Spencer's aunt and uncle arrived we had a couple of days to show them around, take them to Fremantle and such with the boys before taking off. I was not feeling the best and was taking antibiotics for a chest infection and I blame my somewhat foggy state on the fact the I forgot to bring a camera along on the trip. That was disappointing, but I soon discovered that not having a camera freed me up to "live in the moment" and simply absorb the sights, sounds, and smells all around us.
At Denpasar we boarded a shuttle that would take us to our hotel and I rolled down the window to better appreciate the sights/sounds/smells and the fresh, humid air. Driving through the city was a little crazy, with trucks, motorbikes and taxis nosing in around one another and rushing together in, what seemed to us, total chaos. The longer we were there the more we saw a method in the madness, but we were nevertheless happy not to have to drive in it ourselves. As we drove along the highway we passed a motorbike with a man driving and a woman seated behind him. I noticed two tiny feet sticking out on either side of the woman and, as we passed, saw a small child sandwiched between them. This became a very common sight. The drive to our hotel followed the highway along which we saw every manner of commercial enterprise, set close to the road where their proprietors looked out at the traffic. As we got farther from the city these thinned out and gave way to rice paddies and wooded areas. We reached Ubud as night was coming on and were greeted, at our hotel, with frangipani leis and juice. The whole place oozed relaxation and was just what we needed after a long day of travel.
The next couple of days were filled with exploring and sampling the local fare (which was very tasty). The antibiotics I was on weren't really doing anything for me and my increasing shortness of breath held us back a bit, but we nevertheless made it to the monkey forest, a Hindu temple outside Ubud, and a spa.
At the monkey forest women were selling bananas to those who wanted to
The Hindu temple we visited was a short taxi ride out of Ubud and our taxi driver had a sarong and sash for each of us to wear when we arrived. He helped us into them and sent us on our way. The temple was in a ravine and a winding stone staircase, bordered with merchants and rice paddies, led us down to it. It was a beautiful site with water bubbling through the centre. The temple itself was open air with enormous figures carved into the rock cliff on either side. The vegetation was plentiful and lush all around and young girls walked quietly about in brightly coloured sarongs and lace blouses. It was well worth the climb.
We were only there for three days, and I was getting more and more ill with each passing day, but in spite of that it was a very enjoyable trip. Eating breakfast in our hotel restaurant every morning on a balcony over looking the river valley and the distant mountains, wandering the streets of Ubud, sitting in our hotel's open-air cafe for afternoon tea, watching people going about their daily business. It was wonderful.