Monday, February 20

My Last Days in Bali

Well, I missed one tour because I was not well enough, but a day in bed and a looong sleep and I was soon pickingup, though not ready to eat yet.  I drank plenty of water, but was still incredibly dehydrated - so much that I was considering seeing a doctor.  Well, it was a thought, but I just kept drinking hoping my kidneys had not failed.  Luckily, all was well in the end.

The next day I was to go to Ubud, and at the appointed time my driver and a guide turned up.  There were just three of us in the car - I was surprised that I was the only traveller, but it worked in my favour.  I had an appointment to go to The Green Village which was some 20 minutes from Ubud - and I asked my driver if he could take me there later in the afternoon.  He and the guide chatted in their own language for a few seconds, and the guide said that they could go there on the way to Ubud - but it would cost more.  The price was settled, and I handed over y written instructions on the way to get there, and the map.  I should have been a bit alarmed at that point as they turned the map around several times, looked confused, but then changed their demeanour - they were positive they could find it.

The car wound its way through villages, around rice fields, winding roads over rivers, and on and on we went.  I knew my guides were challenged by the route, and they stopped several times and asked people along the route.  Sometimes we were sent back along the route we had come, other times we were pointed into dead ends.

I could see the frustration on the driver's face, and he said some words that suggested they were swear words or similar.  Then we left the sealed road and travelled along a dirt road for a while, before turning left and up a steep bitumen entrance to a car park, adjacent to some awesome bamboo houses.

The driver gaped, and said the first English words I had heard from his mouth.  "Holy Sh..!"

The three of us climbed out of the car, and were met by our guide for the village.  Leon, (the village guide) and my guide, looked at each other in shock and then embraced each other.  They had been ship mates some 2 years previously when they were seamen on an international cargo ship.

I asked that my driver and guide come on the tour - which Leon was happy about, especially having been reconnected with an old friend.

We were not allowed to take photos - so to see some of what we saw you will have to visit this site - Green Village.  It was awesome.  We went through several of the buildings, saw builders at work completing others, and came away after an hour totally inspired.

The driver now spoke in English to me.  He was amazed.  He said something to the effect that he, a Balinese had no idea about that place, and no idea of the versatility of bamboo.  He resolved, as we were leaving the car park, to build something wonderful for his wife.

We soon found our way to Ubud, and I was duly welcomed at Pertiwi Resort and Spa, in Monkey Forest Road.

I renegotiated my accommodation.  I did not want the hassle of climbing stairs (I admit to being a little weak from my Bali Belly), and settled into a lovely room in the midst of some awesome gardens.

The following morning I was game to tackle breakfast and did so in the restaurant of the resort.  Not my favourite brekky but I was glad to start eating again.   Later I set out to find a driver, but didn't have to go far from my room.  As I walked past, a gardener bowed politely and asked me what I was going to do.  I told him I was going to look for a driver.  He excitedly asked me to follow him, and took me to a car at the front of the resort.

We negotiated a price - and set off.  This guy turned out to be quite a find.  His name is "Braus" - I said "Like Bruce?" "Yes call me Bruce Willis he said."  And we set off.

First of all  we went to a Kit Making factory - where I bought some awesome kites for the grand children. One looks like an hawk, and the other three were the butterflies.  So beautiful.



Then we went on to a 'Bamboo Factory' - where a man was working on a Bali hut for a client in Paris.  It would be sent as a 'flat pack' to be installed there at some stage.  He had quite an array of furniture, and a darling little daughter.







Afterwards, I returned to Pertiwi for lunch, and Braus arranged to meeting me again at 3 pm for another tour.  I returned to my room hoping to have a 'nana nap' but could not sleep, so went walking up Monkey Forest Street, and found Braus - doing nothing.  So I said to him, I was ready to go whenever he was, so my afternoon journey started earlier than planned.

Along the way, he made comment that I was 'not a normal tourist' - far from being upset by his comment, I was impressed.  Certainly I did not want to go where the crowds were, and I was not keen to 'shop', and I asked him a lot of questions!

That afternoon he took me a long way up into the mountainous area to a small but amazing village.

Clearly it was bamboo territory - bamboo forests surrounded us on both sides.  There was quite a lot of fallen bamboo too, as apparently a severe storm had caused a lot of damage just a week or so earlier.
It was the village that Braus had wanted to show me - quite an old village that had a strong association with bamboo of course.








It was here in this village that I met the old woman in the bamboo cage - this is how I would bet describe her 'home'.  But that is for another story.

You can learn more about bamboo here.

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