Visiting Ubud

Today was pretty awesome.

It didn’t start out that way, though. We’ll get to that shortly. Last night, we went to The Bounty; it’s a dance club nearby that contains an indoor pirate ship with a two-story dance floor inside it. It doesn’t just SOUND amazing, it IS amazing! A hilarious Californian named Ricky bought us both a beer when he found out we were American and proceeded to entertain us with drunken antics, i.e. offering to buy a drink for EVERY girl that passed by, often with pointing and fist-bump-the-air dancing. I’ll probably never see him again and that’s sad. The bad part about last night? Somewhere, I lost 300,000 rupiah, approximately $30. I got appropriately chastised this morning for it.

I recieved an offer from our former Couch Surf Host, Barb, to join her and some other couch surfers on a trip to nearby Ubud. I gladly accepted. Indi said she’d rather relax by/in the pool today, thus granting me freedom. I set out walking at about noon. Halfway there, Barb pulls over next to me, as she was en route to the airport to pick up her newest surfer. I get in her SUV and am greeted by a car full of people. I was introduced to Joe (a local Indonesian along for the ride), Julie (fellow photograph enthusiast from France) and Juliet (also from France). We were on the way to pick up Juliet’s sister at the airport. Once that was accomplished, we stopped back by Barb’s to pick up her friend Ilona and we were off.

Our first stop was a small eatery off the beaten path. I had just eaten breakfast so I wasn’t hungry, but it was a good learning experience. Many local establishments offer a wide variety of foods; you pick what you want (one of these, two of those, etc) and pay piecemeal. Once we finished, it was off to Ubud. Ubud is known for having a lot of classes that tourists can take, as well as a monkey sanctuary and a lot of accessible temples. We didn’t do any of this, though.

Our first diversion was to visit the most impressive rice paddy I’ve ever seen. Placed on a hillside, it looks like a painting or something someone dreamed up. It was beautiful. Not only that, but it was seriously outside of any city center, so the trip to/from was my first view of rural(ish) Indonesia. I am really happy with some of the pictures I captured from the drive.

Once we piled back into the car, we drove to nearby Petulu, a small satellite villiage of Ubud that is famous for the flocks of heron that return home every evening at sunset. It also turns out that Barb is friends with an artist that lives here named Yan Suryana. We went to his home and were welcomed for several hours as we were able to view many of his works (displayed throughout his multi-level home), see a spectacular view of the nearby fields/heron flocks, and talk at length to him and his family about his paintings and history. Not only that, but he invited us to paint on some blank canvas! Julie was eager to express herself, and Barb soon joined in for a nice little coproduction. Yan’s wife even served us some blackcurrant tea and cake. I loved every minute of it.

After the sun had set, everyone was hungry. Our final stop of the night was a local favorite: The Dirty Duck Diner. The name comes from when the restaurant was nearly built; a group of ducks walked through the place and muddied up the floors. The owners decided to name the place after their first customers and crispy duck is their specialty! I had some and it was delicious. With dinner finished, we returned to Kuta where I found Indi at a cafe finishing a book she’d bought earlier in the day. She had a relaxing day today, which is always welcome. I’m going to get some rest myself.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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