01.03.2008 - 04.03.2008
Goodbye Ubud! We're off on the adventure trail. That took us to a very small, little town called Sideman (see-deh-man). This is situated along the volcano's hill, though we still had several great views of the volcano peak itself from town and our hotel. We chose Sideman because we ran into a hippie couple from Berkeley (yep, small world) who spoke highly of its beauty and nature. And, because it's the road less travelled by tourists.
Sideman proved to be a mixed bag for us. First of all, yes, it was very pretty and perhaps more traditional and virgin than other locations one visits in Bali. People without fault would all stare at us (happily) and smile and say “hello”. Kids without fault would smile big and try their 5 or 6 words of English on us. And as we walked around, we saw Bali folks working hard along the rice paddies (make that really hard). Often barefoot. Several of the men just wearing a sarong instead of shorts. Women carrying huge heavy things on their heads while climbing the muddy paths along the rice paddy.
The hotel in Sideman left a little something to be desired (patty thinks it left A LOT to be desired). When we checked-in, we were the only guests there. Mind you, the Berkeley hippies loved the place. And, there was some charm--it was an open air hotel. So, your room couldn't completely be sealed-off from insects and spiders and such. We saw a spider that was probably about 5 inches across. (The woman, who came to give us a massage, actually touched it!!) Patty didn't care for this too much. Then that evening, we had the delightful surprise of finding ants crawling all over our bed. On the plus side, the bathroom was also an open air bathroom. That was pretty cool. Ren showered with rain water as well as the hot water from a pretty good shower. We took pictures. Patty won't let us share them.
Our most poignant memory of Sideman is likely our “small” hike. We were hoping for a 1 hr hike in the morning; ya know... before the sun rose into a scorching, burning, hellish mass above our heads. Nice idea. But when you're more or less mapless and looking for landmarks on freshly rained-on rice paddies, you might miss a few turns. Our trail of tears took us about 3-4 hours to complete.
With the noon sun approaching, we were sure we were lost. As we walked further in-land, villagers seemed to look at us whiteys more and more puzzled... “Why are they here? What do they want?” We encountered countless field workers with sickles for rice farming firmly in their hands. The sickle sure would be a simple way to shine these silly westerners. No?
Eventually we made it out unscatched though perhaps 5lbs lighter due to water loss. People, as always, were as friendly as can be. Including the topless woman bathing herself and her children along the road.
The picture below is of rice midway in the harvesting process. We saw this several times during the hike :-)
We stayed in Sideman only one night. Next morning post hike, we were on our way to the next hippie-recommended location—Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off the southeastern coast of Bali. The reason for going to Nusa was that the beaches throughout Bali were mediocre at best. Very little sand and lots of trash. We're talking real trash too—bottles, bags, old shoes, and all sorts of plasticy non- biodegrable junk that washes up ashore from other islands or Bali itself. Progress!
Supposedly Nusa would afford us beautiful clear blue waters. Thus, we planned to spend one night on the tiny island.
Getting to the island was quite cool. We took the local boat from Sanur at 8am. This was a 30 foot (maybe longer) wooden boat. Without a dock, the boat comes perhaps 40-50 feet from the shore and then we just walk towards it. This while holding onto your luggage. Watch out for the waves!
90 minutes later, we were ashore. We rented a scooter and we're off to find the hotel we reserved. The roads, if you can call them that, weren't driveable at times, but that's part of the adventure. Once at the hotel, we just kind of beached, rested, ate, etc.. We did find a pretty little white sandy beach. It's not the stuff that beach dreams are made of, but it was quite nice. We assume we'll see those types of dreamy beaches when we finally make it to Thailand. At least, we're counting on it.