...& day-to-day stories

Stop 6 – Ubud (part two)

Ah my gosh Ubud feels like a lifetime ago! I got so distracted with all the fun in Thailand that I kind of let part II slip. BUT you can find the Ubud guide here, if what you’re looking for are the juicy tips on where to go, what to do, where to eat and all that. If you want the blah blah blah on our last days in Ubud then read on.

Second part, still the same
When I first wrote part I, I assumed we’d need a part II because we stayed so long in Ubud, and also because I was hoping some of our initial thoughts would change over time. They didn’t. We still felt pretty much the same about Ubud until the very end.
Don’t get me wrong, we clearly loved our place, and despite all the bugs, geckos, cockroach encounters in the middle of the night (read my newsletter peeps!), it was nice to have a little home, with our very own Wi-Fi (very important, I see this now), air con and a pool.
We went on a couple more walks around Ubud and the feeling is the same: the surroundings are beautiful, absolutely stunning, totally worth it. The centre itself? I’d give it a miss. Except for Gelato Secrets which are totally worth facing the tourist crowds, the taxi drivers and the rude comments when you don’t buy whatever it is someone’s trying to sell you.
So for most of it, after returning from our trip to Gili Meno, we stayed put and enjoyed the swimming pool as much as we could. (Although towards the end the rainy season really caught up with us).

Never too late for the best food in town
It’s typical isn’t it, that whenever something is coming to an end you seem to find all the best things? From now on, I am going to try and trick my brain into thinking it’s the last day on the first day to see if I find the good stuff from the start, you following me?
Anyway so yeah, every time we’d walk to town or the supermarket, we’d head to the Penestanan steps; just before getting there, in Penestanan village, we’d always go past this sign carved in stone saying ‘Made’s warung: the best food in town’. And every time I’d think ‘we have to try this’. On our very last weekend we tried it and Oh. My. Gosh. It is DELICIOUS. I haven’t tried all the food in town, but Made is no liar. It really is the best food of all the food I ate in Ubud. Naturally we ended up there again the next day.

Ubud without tourists
We also went for our last gelato (Amen to Gelato Secrets, that mango sorbet is the BEST) on one of our last days in Ubud. The shops (they have three) are located on the main road in Ubud, so we headed there one last time.
This time however it was all different. It was practically deserted. See, one or two weekends before Mount Agung, the volcano, erupted, sending the airport into absolute chaos. Flights were cancelled to and from Bali and loads of people changed their holiday plans. Once the airport was up and running all the people who were stuck left the island. All the tourists left. It certainly felt like that in Ubud, because the streets were half empty. The taxi drivers were suddenly being all friendly to us, as were shop sellers who before had been rude or even aggressive. There was no one to be seen on the street, other than the odd tourist and a few locals. It seemed like a completely different place. And I have to say, it felt like a much friendlier place than it had before.

This is the problem with places that are completely reliant on tourism. There seems to be a sort of love-hate relationship with it. And when the tourists suddenly go missing so does the work, and things get complicated for the locals, many of whom already struggle even during peak times. It’s really heart breaking, it is. And as much as I didn’t enjoy Ubud centre when the mobs of tourists were there, and preferred it when it was empty, I do feel for the locals, and urge you to go and visit on the next chance you get.

Nearly finished before the end
Still, despite the fact there were no tourists, a few days before our leaving day we get a text from our landlord saying we should be ready to move out on Sunday, two days before our actual leaving day. We text them back saying that’s not what we agreed, we’d agreed on the 12th, and they’re like ‘why would have we agreed on that, that’s two extra days’ (on the month). So we have to dig out the message where they had in fact agreed to it, and in the end it was all fine. But we spent two good days trying to figure out what to do and where to go, which was a bit stressful. This was my problem there – I never knew what I could count on, what’s a ‘set deal’ and what isn’t. It’s always fluid. But oh well, all was fine in the end, and it was all just a big mix up (or was it?), and we left on the day we were meant to.

We get to the airport, say our goodbyes and we’re ready to embark on a new adventure. Good timing too, we only had two days left in our visas!
Bye bye giant geckos! (Or so we hope)

Sayan sunset from our balcony

Oh,  if you’d like bite-size funny updates on what we’re up to and other silly things, subscribe to my newsletter, here. I promise it will (hopefully) brighten up your day!

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