Saturday, 18 August 2012

18th August 2012 – Last Few Days in Spa Village Resort Tembok

The last few days at Tembok have followed a pretty similar pattern to the first! More beautiful sunny days filled with plenty of good food, relaxing spa treatments and missing the early morning activities through laziness! The highlight of the past few days has definitely been the evening of the 15th. Instead of the guests making their way to the restaurant for dinner at their leisure, all the tables and chairs were rather set up on the lawn so we could watch a performance of the 'Kecak' (kechak) dance while eating BBQ!

Tables on the lawn for BBQ and dancing later
The food was OK, not enough meat for me to get my teeth into but the dance was spectacular! A fairly recent interpretation of Balinese dance, it told the story of the brothers Sinurit and Sinurat and their quest to slay the giant bird and marry the beautiful Dyah Satya Wati. They successfully kill the bird, but inevitably they eventually fall out over the woman and fight until they each mortally wound the other. The dancers were all local men and the main feature of the performance was them chanting 'Chak-chak-chak' in an acapella style. Changes in tempo, rhthym and pitch combined to create a hypnotic beat which rose and fell along with the action. After watching them for the first half of the performance it was then wonderful to see the sole female performer come out in beautiful costume and a flowing, graceful style of dance which made a mesmerising contrast with the arm-flaying, staccato style of the men. (See Becky's last post for pictures of the dancers.)

The latest addition to the dance troupe!
The treatments we've been having have all been as fantastic and indulgent as the first few: we've been scrubbed, moisturised, wrapped, rubbed, bathed and massaged into a near-comatose state! ~he food has been just as good, with fresh fish, prawns and shredded beef salad all delicious. We've even managed to make it to some of the activities! We tried our hand at making little Balinese cakes with the chef, where grated galangal root is pressed into a little ball, stuffed with palm sugar and then shallow fried. I made mine bigger but it got mixed up with the others in the frying pan so my greed went unfulfilled!

Making Balinese puddings
We were due to leave Tembok on the 18th and after settling our bill (which was mostly beer – the excellent Bintang – plus 21% sales tax and service charge!) we ate our last meal and waited for our driver to arrive to take us to our next destination – Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali. Once again we travelled in air-conditioned comfort and once again we took the mountain roads, but this time we were able to see the spectacular scenery as we left the coast behind and climbed up through the mountains. Our driver was also very nice, stopping at Kintamani so we could get some pictures of Mt. Batur and Lake Batur (a huge lake filling the crater of an extinct volcano).

Mt. Batur & Lake Batur
We also stopped at a coffee plantation (although they grew all sorts – we saw cacao, cinnamon, bananas, papayas, chillis etc.). The staff there demonstrated the techniques they used to sort, roast and grow the various types of coffee beans they grew. They also gave us free samples of all their different coffees and teas, most of which were delicious (apart from the ginger tea!). As they had been so nice we agreed to try a cup of the 'Lewak' coffee. This particular coffee is famous (or infamous!) for having first been eaten by a type of civet cat, partially digested and passed out naturally before being dried, roasted and ground in the usual way. At 50,000 rupiah (about £3.35) it was still cheaper than a coffee at Costa/Starbucks, but it was rather bland to my taste and didn't seem to have much ooomph – one for the experience, nothing more.

After a quick look around the giftshop I had a bit of an odd experience – a Japanese tourist approached us and proffered his camera. We though he was asking if we could take a picture of him and his family, but no. He actually wanted to take a picture of me with his son! We obliged of course, but it was quite amusing to think that they had me confused with some celebrity, and would go back to Japan showing off the picture only to be told that I wasn't whoever they had supposed me to be!

The second leg of the drive took us back into civilisation, through the smaller villages surrounding Ubud and then into Ubud itself. After the quiet and solitude of Tembok, it was a bit of a shock but very refreshing to see loads of people, scooters and general life! Our driver took us all the way to our second resort, Waka di Ume, a little north of the centre of Ubud. After checking in we were shown to our room, which at first glance looked even nicer than the room at Tembok: canopied bed, sunken bathtub and a private terrace.

Even more luxury!
This time we are on a bed and breakfast deal however, so no more three course meals! We decided against heading into Ubud, opting instead to eat in the resort restaurant, where we had a chicken and bacon salad and pasta before retiring to our room to use the fast WiFi connection. I watched a little bit of the Arsenal game while Becky read before we both turned in.


  1. Stephen Tribbell18 October 2012 at 05:39

    Glad you guys are having a good time. I would give anything to be where you are now! Reading your blogs when I can. I'm surprised you haven't had more people asking to take your photo's, it was a reoccurring theme for me and Helen, especially in China and India. Keep up the good work and don't work too hard! And Becky, hope you get well soon xxx

  2. Thanks Steve! This is still the only time we've been asked for a picture - maybe you've just got a friendly, more approachable face than me!