Last Wednesday morning, my friends left me! We spent a few hours at the pool together before they left for the airport and I headed into the center of Ubud to new (read: cheaper) accommodations.
Earlier that week, I’d stopped by a few home stays on one of the main roads to see what they were like and get pricing. I settled on Indraprastha home stay for a single room and private bath for $15 per night. The room was extremely basic – bamboo bed with a thin sheet, a worn bathroom (again, just a shower head from the wall), and no a/c. It did have a fan and a patio surrounded by mango trees, along with breakfast and wifi. So for $60 for 4 nights, I think I got what I paid for!
Just for comparison, had I stayed at Sri Ratih, it would have cost $60 each night, so I definitely downgraded a bit 🙂 no matter what the accommodations, life in Bali is beautiful!
Now that I am traveling alone, I have the opportunity to define all of my time. I had a few ideas on what I wanted to do, so I organized my days around those things – tour of the nearby volcano and temples, a lot of yoga, a woodcarving class and perhaps a bit more massage.
First on the list was yoga. I found my way to the yoga barn and purchased a 3 class pass for about $27 USD. Yoga prices are reasonable by American standards, but when you eat a meal for $3, it is a bit overpriced!
The yoga barn was its own little oasis and I ended up taking four 90-minute classes over the next few days. All of the classes were different and challenging – yin yoga (poses focused on the hips, legs and spine where you hold each pose for 3 to 5 minutes), an advanced vinyasa flow (where we worked with partners to do forearm head stands and assisted straight arm handstands), a free “community yoga” class (which included an opening dance circle, a 5 minute hugfest and some funky noise making) and finally a core flow class (lots of abdominal work and some fun sequencing for standing postures).
All of the teachers were funky in their own right and very different from the sterile vinyasa courses back at home.
I spent Friday afternoon at the barn taking the advanced vinyasa and free community class pretty much back-to-back. It was a small taste of how sweaty and exhausting Costa Rica will be, but I loved every second of it. By the end of the three hours of yoga, I was drenched in sweat, completely limber and had a goofy smile on my face 🙂 kinda like this little guy –
Thursday was spent on a nearly full day tour of the nearby Kitamani volcano and many temples in the Bali countryside.
It was a celebration day for Hindu’s as there was no moon, so the holy springs temple was particularly interesting to meander through. There is a natural spring where the water comes up from the ground and Hindus believe bathing in the spring water cleanses them for the afterlife. It was completely packed!
The views of the volcano, lakes and rice paddies were spectacular. It was nice to walk around in the cool mountain air and see some other sides of Bali.
We did stop at some other temples – the elephant cave with some crazy rock faces and Besaki, the largest temple in Bali with over 25 small shrines along a mountain side.
At the top of the mountain, I met a little girl who was the best postcard saleswoman I’d ever met. About 7 years old, she spoke bahasa Indonesian, English, French, and another language I couldn’t quite make out. And no matter the language, she drove a hard bargain. She was one smart/tough cookie!
My last Bali experience was with Balinese woodcarving, which I was so excited to try! I worked one-on-one with a wood-craftsman to create a traditional Balinese design.
I’d never used a chisel and hammer before, and boy, woodcarving is some painstaking work! You have to be so careful with placement and strength to avoid splitting the wood or completely ruining the design.
My guru certainly helped “clean” my piece 🙂
Overall, my “alone” time in Bali was spent with a lot of community – between the yoga barn, the 4 folks on my tour, my carving teacher and a new friend made at my homestay, I barely spent any time alone at all! I have a feeling I’ll be back to the peaceful streets of Ubud again soon!!