We just arrived in Lovina, a small fishing village on the northern coast of Bali. Bali, where the soundtrack is, "Helllllooooo, taxi? Transport? Hellloooo, you want see dolfin? You want fresh papaya? Helloooo, you want see cremation?" I wanted to see the cremation. Mia wasn't as enthused. If we go 15 seconds without a "Helllloooo" while we are out walking on the beach it is a miracle. Very difficult to take a relaxing stroll when you have an entourage of pedlars followingyou and refusingto take no for an answer.
Off the beaten path is a whole different world of relaxation however. Never have we felt so at peace. Our bungalow in Ubud overlooked a coconut grove and a rice paddy. The second story patio always had a thermos of hot water and two clean tea cups with tea bags, sugar and coffee grounds. Breakfast was served by a little girl who, as far as I can tell, ran the whole place herself. She couldn't have been more than 12, but the breakfast was exquisite! Sliced banana crepes with fresh coconut shavings and fresh fruit that appeared to have been hand carved into ornate little abstract sculptures after being peeled. (See picture of Mia about to enjoy one such feast.)
We also saw a show in Kuta in a club right near the 2002 bombing memorial in which break dancers, body builders, a japanation style asian Justin Timberlake, and some male and female models all shared a stage in a huge dance and fashion show which culminated in a number starring all of them to the tune of "You're So Sexy". The driving techno was punctuated by blasts from free whistles which they handed out to the crowd. Mia proved that she can really blast a whistle to a tecno beat when she gets riled up.
I took two days of surf lessons on the beach. Mia is much more comfortable saying she is the girlfriend of an amature surfer than she was saying she was the girlfriend of a 100% champion boogie boarder (which I remain).
The monkey forest in Ubud is a huge monkey sanctuary where you can go into the jungle and feed bananas to thousands of monkeys. The setting is incredible, (slightly reminicent of Congo for those of you who saw it) and features old temples and statues overgrown with vines and moss. Ancient stone bridges shapedlike dragons criss cross over a stram and some waterfalls. The monkeys seemed relatively nice once we figuredout how to feed them, but one suddenly turned on Mia when she made the mistake of sitting in it's personal spot on a bench. It rushed her, hissing, teeth bared, and from then on we should have learned our lesson... but we didn't! I saw a tiny monkey playing with a stick that was much too large for it, and I sat down to play with a part of the stick myself, because I too can appreciate what fun a stick can be. I thought that monkleys knew how to share. Again I was greeted by teeth and a hiss, but this moneky got it's friends and they all jumped on me, pinching me and pulling my hair, and when they had me all hunkered over and terrified, a giant monkey grabbed my water bottle and procceded to open the twist top and drink all of my water right in front of me, using no hands,. All the while the tiny monkeys continued to hiss at me and crawl all over me. Even when I broke into a full run.
In the end nobody was hurt and we all had a great time. We being Mia, I and our two french friends Charllot and Nicola who we seem to run into in every town accidentally and hang out with a good deal of the time.