|Just one of many freshly squeezed fruit juices.|
We waited and waited for the rain to clear but it didn't happen. When the rain eased to a steady drizzle we took our chances and headed further up the mountain in search of the great lake. The rain came down again, torrential at times. Jimny's slow wiper blades were barely able to keep pace with the down pour. Steve was smiling all the while and the old car loved every minute of it. We never saw the lake; she was lost in the clouds somewhere on the right as we drove along the ridge road. So down the mountain we went, one bend after another. In places the water was a foot deep. But Jimny had big wheels and a big heart and he just chugged away, taking it all in his stride, as if he had made the journey a thousand times before. By the time we reached Gitgit falls the sky had cleared and the temperature was back to 30deg. It hadn't rained on the coast all day.
|Can't get any further from Denpasar on Bali.|
We left Lovina for Ubud on 19th May 2012. In The Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok, Steve found an old Hindu temple, Pura Medewe Karang, which seemed to be worth a visit. We rented our sarongs and disclosed our temple donation in the guest book; we were the first tourists for three days. Our guide was 30 years old. He said he had been coming here every day, with his father, since he was a small boy. He learnt English from tourists as he didn't go to school. The only money he got was from people like us, who may leave a donation if they enjoy his guided tour. He was not trying to get sympathy, he was just telling it like it is. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and made an appropriate donation. As we were leaving, the temple's Hindu priest turned up wearing a humble robe and bare feet. He greeted us and pointed out some of the important statues that guard the temple. Then, with a calmness that I hadn’t witnessed in a very long time, he proceeded to clear the road way of weeds with an old hoe.
|Kids coming home from school on a Saturday.|
On the road down the mountain we had a close encounter. We had been told to place Rp50000 inside our international driver’s license. When Steve saw the very large and official looking roadblock he said "take the money out of the license" but it was too late, we were stopped, and a copper was leaning inside the driver’s window. "Where you from?" said the copper, with a smile." "Australia." "I'm sorry but I'd like to see your license." When he saw the money he flicked it back to Steve and wasn't quite so friendly after that. We never placed the money inside the license again.
We checked out one of the silver shops in Celuk but four shopkeepers, standing only 2 feet away, were not conducive to falling in love with a piece of jewelry. So we left the silver smiths behind and went to the monkey forest instead. Ubud's clan of monkeys are well fed and well behaved. We spent a long time admiring the baby monkeys; some were only a few days old. The forest was cool which made a refreshing change.
On one particular day, as we drove out of the hotel car park, the hotel security guard called out "stop, flat tire." Sure enough the left rear tire was a little flat. Within seconds, about five locals swarmed around Jimny chanting "we change, we change." "How much?" asked Steve. "Up to you" said one of the locals while Steve tried to find the wheel brace. Luck comes in many shapes and sizes and Jimny's wheel brace didn't fit. Neither did five other wheel braces, which seemed to materialise out of thin air. We had to abandon the wheel change idea and pump the tire up instead. The tire never went down again!
|Amed and Gunung Agung.|
On the 27th May we flew with the flock one more time and returned Jimny to his rightful owner. It was sad to say goodbye, we had a lot of luck along the way and we will be forever grateful that we survived our drive around Bali.
|Sundowner on Seminyak Beach.|