Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bali revisited: Day 3

A holiday with me isn't complete without a spin on a quad bike. We booked a morning riding tandem on an ATV at Bakas Levi Rafting, which evidently offers more outdoor attractions than rafting. First time using a manual shift but got used to it pretty quickly. Again, prior experience (as in Port Arthur and Chiangmai) didn't make this ride any easier. Though this ride is much shorter, it's more challenging because of the steep gradients and the narrow dirt track bordering a nasty drop into a ravine. The route was simple: one way down, and then back up the way we came. Part of the challenge was to avoid things on the track like butterflies; the odd working elephant; and a gaggle of PRC tourists strolling to their rafting start point. 

Our guide, Jerry, was a jolly, easy-going fellow who knew how to pace our jungle ride. He was close on hand over more difficult terrain, and kept a distance when I got more confident so I could feel the illusion of independence. Though with June riding behind me, safety was always first in my mind, regardless. Being quite experienced with the camera, he was also responsible for many couple shots on this trip which our holiday albums are usually devoid of.

In the afternoon, we trekked the Campuhan Ridge trail. June copied the route directions off TripAdvisor which up to a point were quite accurate.

The trail offers some gorgeous views of the rural countryside. More locals than tourists frequent this area, and for some reason there were a number of high school students clustering along various parts of the trail today. School's out, maybe? Or is today a school holiday? At the end of this nicely paved trail is a number of well-hidden art galleries; a couple of spas and guest houses... and our directions got real hazy after that.

We could have gone back the way we came, but we took the other option suggesting that we make a huge loop back to Ubud central. "Huge" was an understatement. The road took us up and down steep slopes with vehicles whizzing past us and no sidewalk for a buffer. The area we were walking in began looking increasingly rural, and we had no idea what lay in front of us at the end of the road. Turns out we were going the right way, but if we wanted to take this walk, we should have started in the morning. In the end, we hitched a ride with an obliging young man in a Honda Jazz who offered to take us back to civilization for IDR20,000. We gave him 50K as we didn't have anything smaller after we tipped Jerry (above).

We had sate campur at Coco Bistro to celebrate our return. I was quite impressed with the quality of the skewered diced pork; chicken and beef. Served with a plate of plain white rice topped with a sprinkling of fried shallots, smooth peanut paste and a salad of chopped cucumbers; onions and tomatoes, this dish really hit the spot.

But this was treasure for our parched throats. It tasted like sparkling toothpaste, but it was cold and so thirst-quenching, we felt quite assured that were were home from the wilderness at last.

No comments: