Monday, September 12, 2011

Bali solo

We needed, and loved, the downtime in Ubud before tiring of yoga, good food and the perfect weather. The deep called... so we hired a little Suzuki jeep and hit the backroads on our eis, destination Amed and Aas, the dry and comparatively deserted east coast.

Mastering the rules of the road here took a little time, but was well worth it - we had our own go-anywhere transport for about R150 per day, fuel included. Mastering the roadmaps not so successful. The lonelyplanet offerings are best described as "illustrative", the official roadmaps disagree as much as not, the both reduced us to a mixture of navigation by altitude, road size and condition, and sign language with locals.

Aas greeted us with quietness, lava beaches, perfect grilled tuna, and spectacularly colourful reef.

Before we realised it time had jostled us on to Munduk, in the mountains, surrounded by cinnamon, coffee and cacao, scattered amongst marigolds, citrus, hydrangea and vanilla. Bali highlands are steep, and the villages cling to ancient (and not so ancient) ridges stretching down from the semi-active volcanoes that stand astride the centre of the island.

Our route took us around the coast, through spectacular winding roads in the highlands, fascinating temples and village life, and eventually back down to the reef, this time offshore in the Bali National Park where we dropped off 40m coral walls, grinning like mad water rats.

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