Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Elephant Ride

After meeting with the travel agent yesterday and getting everything sorted I got a taxi into town to go shopping. You get taxis everywhere, the roads are long and winding and my hotel is a long way from anywhere. I asked the lady at reception where the best place to go is and she said Seminyak square, about 15 minutes away. There was a market and a row of shops which were actually quite expensive as the had a DC and a Quicksilver. I found a new incredible designer, Lillie Lane but I couldn't afford any of her stuff. I had a look round the market then went into the small supermarket. There were fruit in there that I have never heard of and I bought something that looks like a green peach and something the guy called a giant orange. It was green, and the size of a coconut and he cut the skin away, about 3 inches of soft spongy material with insides that look like a giant grapefruit. They taste a bit like a grapefruit to. I'm going to go back and try some of the other things. Then I walked down the road,  figured it wouldn't be to dangerous in broad daylight, and found another much larger market and a row of outlet shops. I bought some fake Ray Bans and a green silk dress that I haggled for. Lillie Lane also has an outlet there and I will see how much money I have at the end as there were some very nice shoes that I want, which were more reasonably priced. After that I had lunch, something called chicken porridge which I decided looked interesting and I had to try. I had prawn crackers, crispy noodles, chicken and nuts sitting on a bed of what seemed like overcooked rice cooked in chicken stock. It was nice, very flavorful, but very filling. I came back after that and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the hotel. To be honest its pretty boring being on my own, and not wanting to go anyway in the evenings for safety reasons.

Today I got up and went on my elephant ride. I was picked up then we wen t another hotel to get an Australian family. I'd signed up for the full treck, over an hour, and they the half treck so we were to go sepaately, me first then them so that we had our lunch at the same time. I went to wait for my elephant and they pointd t another traveller on her own and asked if we wanted to share an elephant and we said yes. It was so nice to have another person to talk to , this isn't like New Zealand where there are travellers everywhere. I never thought I would miss dorms and hostels but its so much more sociable. She was telling me how she was on hoilday for 3 weeks, Dubai, Kenya, Perth then Bali. She said she had signed up for all these tours and she was doing them on her own, like a bus turned up to collect her at Masai Mara in Kenya and she was the only one on it, they didn't think to put her with another group. We rode on a sort of bench attached to the elephants back with the guide sitting on top of its head. We went first through the rain forest then around a local village, on off the main roads. There were rice paddies everywhere and a few cattle and chickens. Buildings which weren't houses were temples and they were everywhere. Being a polythiestic religion Hindus have gods for everything, the god of the river, the road, the crops. And every god has to have a temple. Half way through we were given coconuts with straws in them to drink out of, then we gave it the the elephant to eat. We got back and had our lunch together, it was included in the price. The portions here seem small to me, as I'm used to eating out and having the plates filled with food. But actually if you looks its probably the size that they should be, and after a 3 course lunch I didn't feel full, or uncomfortable, just satisfied.

It was a long drive there and back so although I left at 9 i didn't get back till 2:30. Outside all the shops, sitting on a rack placed next to the road sit vodka and gin bottles, full of a clear brown liquid. Turns out its petrol, there are few petrol stations so those with bikes buy it on the side of the road, and its only about 5,000 Rp per litre, about 40p. I sat by the pool again, and will probably get room service tonight. Most people seem surprised that I came to Bali alone so I'm not leaving the hotel after dark. Like I said I'm pretty bored on my own, It's nice here but it would be better if I had company.

I have hired a car for the day tomorrow (it comes with a driver/guide) which is actually fairly cheap so I get to make my own itinerary and go and stop where I want. I want to try Durian fruit tomorrow. It smells so bad its banned from public transport and they don't have it in supermarkets but its in season now and they sell it on the side of the road, so that's one of the things I want tomorrow.

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