Waterfall and Crab Heaven.
The staff at our accommodation, Bukit Kembar Ecotourism, were very accommodating and kind. Only a few knew how to speak English and mostly their children were called in to help translate as they were being taught it in school. We waited a little while for the rain to slow a bit before attempting to make a dash to the room with our bags because although the walk was short and mostly covered the rain was so hard you would get drenched in a matter of seconds. Finally it did slow and we managed to check in properly. Whilst sitting in the common area I started to chat to 2 American lads who were planning on making it out to some waterfalls in the area when the rain stopped. I thought it was a long shot but they did get an opportunity and took it… apparently that was a bad move. Well, not entirely a bad move but they did get caught in some heavy rain on the way back from the waterfall.
We had a fantastic afternoon nap and Jo was right as rain again and had managed to kick the Bali Belly in the Balls. The weather was not much better so we stayed in the guesthouse and had dinner and drinks. We sat with the Americans, who also have names – Sunil and Everett. They were friends from high school travelling together, although Everett was going to be flying home in about 2 weeks time and Sunil was in it for the long haul…
We sat talking politics and non-politics, we mixed in some travel war-stories and experiences and drunk a few beers and had dinner.
We were then given an interesting talking to by the owner of the establishment about peoples responsibilities towards looking after the planet. He had a microphone and stood on a stage, it was a proper seminar. Some of it was a little long winded and repetitive but I felt that the world was a better place with people like him in it.
The speech was followed up with by a fantastic traditional dance show given by the owners daughter. The owner was playing some local instruments with some of his buddies whilst she did the dancing. Then as a finale she called Sunil up to the stage to show off his dance moves, which were surprisingly good, almost too good! Everett also had a go and did a good job, although we were getting worried that we were going to be summoned up. It never happened, to our delight.
We swapped details and had made Sunil and Everett our true friends by adding them on Facebook!!! We were likely to be bumping into them on Java Island in Yogyakarta.
The next morning we woke up quite late and decided that the weather was decent enough to make it to the waterfall. We put on our walking shoes and started trekking. It ended up being a long walk down some steep terrain, which meant it was going to be an even more strenuous walk up. We walked through a coffee plantation, past a bunch of barking dogs that followed us for a bit until you turned around, then they would run away from you. We finally arrived at a small parking lot which had a little hut and a group of guys who we paid the entry fee to. After a 5 minute decent down a slippery path we arrived at one of the most magnificent waterfalls I have ever seen. It was not the same majestic or vast falls like Victoria falls or anything of that sort but it was just beautiful. It was probably 20 to 30m tall and maybe 7 to 10m wide. It had this Ivy looking plant stuff growing down it and the valley was just stunning. To be honest I am probably just doing a botch job trying to explain it so here is a picture… keeping in mind this does not have the same effect as when you see it with your own eyes!
I had a small dip in the crystal clear and cool water before we had to make our way back up the long and steep road and paths back to the accommodation. We had to do it at pace, because Eko was meeting us at around lunch time to take us to our next destination on Bali. Jo was borderline on a heart attack by the time we reached the top and I did feel like I had been a bit of an Army Training General all the way up. We did make it just in time though because as we were buying some snacks and water on the way back, Eko drove passed us. He was cheerful as ever and also highly disappointed in us for going through the whole thing with the Taxi driver, to get up here from Ubud, instead of calling him up. We apologised profusely and promised that we would always give him a call before going anywhere, even if we were in a position that seemed too far out of his way.
Also just so you have a small insight into how much he had saved us, we paid him 2/3 of the price of the taxi, which just had to drive us for 2 and a half hours from Ubud to the Twin Lakes (and then back with possibly nobody in the car). Eko had to drive about 3 hours, at least, to get to us and then drop us off in Sanur which is a 2 and a half hour drive and then from there it is another 30 minutes back to the city where Eko operates out of. Bear in mind that these times are generally because of traffic and also a much slower pace of driving than that in South Africa. The times may vary greatly depending on a lot of different factors but just the inconvenience of the whole thing shows how amazing Eko was to us. Thus our point of view on the Taxi industry in Bali (actually anywhere in the world really.)
We saw a stunning looking Hindu Temple on the side of a lake whilst driving to Sanur and Eko explained that it was a big attraction in the area and was surprised that we had not heard of it. He told us a bit about it and we stopped there to have a look around, which ended up being about an Hour and a half. It was beautiful. There were lots of different shrines and buildings set in amazing gardens. We also witnessed a ceremonial procession taking place with a few men and women carrying shrines and offerings through the gardens. The weather was a bit dull and there was the occasional drop that fell so the lake looked a bit dreary in the photographs.
Once we made it to Sanur we had a little difficulty finding our accommodation due to there being a road on google maps that has long since been overgrown with trees and grass and then a building had been built on it. When we did find the place we were walking and driving around the property a bit to find the entrance because it was not so clear. The heavy rains and winds had apparently blown down the reception/entrance sign.
We had already made arrangements with Eko to take us to the airport in a few days because we were going to be flying to Yogyakarta on Java Island. We said goodbye and then had a small marvel at our accommodation. It was very very neat and tropical in feel. There were palm trees and a pool, and the room was big and bright. It had lots of amenities and a TV with cupboards and a safe, which is normally all out of the backpacker budget that we were on. We had got the recommendation from Sunil and Everett who had stayed here previously. They were right about everything! We were highly grateful for this recommendation. The place was called Griya Pasir Ukir.
We spent our 2 nights wondering around the town and the beachfront looking for good food, which we certainly found, and seeing the scenery. We spent most of the daytime in the pool and writing this blog and drinking gin & tonic and wine.
The first night we had dinner at a local stall along the beachfront market, where we both had different soups. The one I had was good except for the large floating bits of “Meat” that was a little chewy and did not come from any of the usual cuts of meat we are used to, but its best not to ask. Jo had a decent one though.
The following day we spent our time wondering down the beachfront looking for breakfast. We came across a place right on the beach and we noticed a capsized and washed up boat in the shallow waters of the beach. A small crowd had started to gather and ropes were being strategically placed. When everything was in place a mass of people ran in to give a helping hand in trying to tip the boat back up. I went down to offer my services, which was very warmly welcomed. None of the other foreign onlookers were interested in helping, which I guess is their perogotive.
On the second evening we were approached by a smiley girl with a French accent, asking whether we had hot water in the shower. We did and for some unknown reason I had been onto our little patio area where our gas water-heater was and made sure it was on maximum. Jo had also had an issue a little earlier with the water not being hot but the gas heater had just not fired up properly so she just had to turn the water off for a bit and then back on again. I explained that the heater may not be firing up or the gas bottle is empty. She then tried to find someone from the property who could assist with this. There was no one to be found anywhere and I do remember that she really needed hot water for washing her hair… I have no idea how this works or what the relevance of hot water is, but it is best to keep quiet in these kind of situations… 😉 We had seen her and her partner around the accommodation and they were staying about 3 rooms down
That night we had a fantastic dinner. We took cover in a local tent restaurant on the side of the road because the skies had opened up and decided to drop a crap load of water on Bali. Finally after a short while and no sign of the rain letting up we decided to order a fish and the chilli crab (It was a seafood tent.) My Word was it good. The fish was deep fried whole which is a scary thought but the skin goes super crunchy and the meat is still so soft and tender. The highlight was the crabs though, and even though I have a shellfish Allergy, I know what good shellfish tastes like (I wasn’t always allergic.) There was a boat load of them on Jo’s plate and they were covered in this amazing chilli sauce that was so good and pretty hot, it brought tears to our eyes and our noses were constant waterfalls, but shit it was good. I also thought that the chilli would neutralize any of the stuff that I am allergic to… 😉
It was the perfect end to our 2 week Bali excursion. We were never expecting to stay for so long but with getting sick and also realising how big the place was we had to stay for that long.
Eko picked us up at “stupid o’clock” in the morning and took us to the airport. We said our goodbyes and we swore to recommend his services to anyone that we met who was on their way to Bali.
Once we checked in and were sitting having coffee we happened to bump into the French couple who were at our accommodation. They were also heading to Jogja on the same flight, so we sat and chatted to them until we boarded the plane.
Then it was onwards to Yogyakarta on Java Island!