Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bemo to Ubud

The bemo is public transit in the form of a minivan, usually seating 10-15, and Ubud was my destination this morning. The driver didn't speak much English and I don't speak much Baha Indonesian, though he was taking glances at my journal as I wrote this. Fear not, even a learned English scholar couldn't decipher my chicken scratch as we bounce down the roadway. When I told him the only words in Balinese I know are "maktur suksaman" (thank you) he immediately turned to the other passengers in the bemo and told them what I'd said which got a good laugh from them and a returned smile from me.

As I'm told by my trusty Lonely Planet guidebook it is normal to sit and wait for a bemo to fill up before it departs, which can sometimes be quite awhile.  I was a bit surprised, then, when we left with 5 passengers after only a few minutes. The ride was smooth, especially given that those strange white lines painted on the road don't seem to be there for any apparent reason and there's nary a seatbelt to be found anywhere.

Ubud is gorgeous! I definitely made the right call in bailing out of Kuta and coming here. So lush! It reminds me of Carmel, CA (just add Korean tour buses) how the foliage seeps onto the roads lined with little fine art and boutique clothing stores. But it one-ups Carmel with the ancient looking architecture highlighted by stone walls, carvings and statues bordering almost every home. And since we're in the tropics the stone is covered with bits of moss, giving it an even more impressive look.

Lunch today was at Warung Ibu Oka as recommended by Tony Bourdain in his Indonesia episode and it was nothing short of amazing. Fresh suckling big in four parts that I will have to ask more about when I return for lunch tomorrow and the next day. First there was the pork, so tender and moist and flavorful. Second, the skin -- about a millimeter thick, half of which was hard and crispy, the other half pure fat -- definitely interesting and pretty tasty. It's the other 2 portions that I'm not quite sure about, but were even more mind opening. One was, I think, blood sausage. It looked like what I've seen depicted on the TV but I'd never had it before to compare.  Soooo tasty! I'll certainly be seeking that out in the future. The fourth different bit was dark bround and kind of crusty/chunky with maybe a tad of the crispy skin in it. I have no idea what it was but it was the highlight. Alas, it was only about 3 small bites worth. All this was served over rice with some mixture of herbs & spices on the side. Add in a bomber-sized Bitang beer and I ran up a $6 bill.  That's right, one of the greatest meals of my life for a mere $6! They're only open for lunch and I can't wait to go back tomorrow.

After lunch I browsed the streets and popped into a little bar called The Laughing Buddha. As I selected a barstool I noticed a little Pink Floyd quietly wafting over the sound system.  "Wish You Were Here".  Indeed.


Karin said...

Love reading your blog! Can't wait for the next :) I am hungry now for lunch but know that mine will not even compare!

Dan D said...

Sounds like you've found a great spot.Is there a signature drink at the Laughing Buddha (perhaps named after their local version of Bob Lurtsema)?

Keep the updates--and the Floyd--coming.

Kristen said...

Loving the updates Kirk. Wish I was there too... sounds fantastic. Hang 10.

Sarah said...

all sounds amazing. please keep the food reports coming. to your previous update, i hope you get to take in at least one gamelan performance while you're there!