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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ubud 'Taro Elephant Safari Lodge'

One night only

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We flew from Lombok to Bali with Merpati air no complaints, I'd fly with them again. Arrived at the domestic airport fully expecting to just jump into a cab and drive to Taro, not so easy. Beyond belief in Bali of all places they wouldn't let the four of us with our bags in one cab, you have to be kidding! We had already been travelling for nearly two weeks, we all fitted in one car everywhere else.

 We argued our point for ages at the taxi office but they stood firm and wanted 600,000 for a van. We remained friendly and tried our hardest to get a fair price, I told them we could get to Pemuteran for less than that!! I was so annoyed that we didn't yet have a local sim card and couldn't contact a driver, well no use getting upset. We had a huge crowd of taxi drivers around us, they were all  nice about it, saying they understood but those were the rules... hmmm.

So we grabbed our bags and followed our driver. I wanted to find an atm machine and went into a shop while the driver got the car. When I came out Ross said "look" while holding up our passport folder, I didn't know what he was showing me "What?", "a guy just came up and gave me this". " What do you mean?" I asked.
While he was standing there with the kids a porter came over and said "is this yours?", knowing porters as we do he just waved him off, "no thanks", the guy was persistent but Ross wouldn't make eye contact LOL as the porter started to walk away Ross looked up just in time to see his picture in the passport! 
I had dropped our passport folder with all four passports plus about $1000 cash! What a wonderful porter to give it all back, can you believe Ross was in so much shock he didn't even tip him!!!!
Ross kept on saying he felt sick, me being me just smiled and said I felt fine because I never really knew they were gone:) I was much more careful after that though.

Taro Park

We had just spent the last few nights on Gili Air, a tiny island off the coast of Lombok. Gili Air had no fresh water, we spent our time there swimming in the ocean,  the hotel only had salt water showers. I arrived looking rather feral.

Can you imagine how surreal it was to go from the sand and salt waters of Gili Air to this five star hotel ?
No sand on the floor, free wifi, television, fluffy white robes and slippers!!

There was even moisturizer for your hands, in case they were dry from washing? OMG totally out of our normal Bali environment, but quite happy to enjoy the ride:)

As is our habit we drop the bags then head out to explore, first stop feed the elephants.

Feed me..

feed meeee..

We wander around the park and are very impressed, it is extremely clean and well organised. The staff are wonderful and everything is set out for us, they ring our room about ten minutes before our two elephants arrive to take us dinner.

Yes that's correct, an elephant came and picked us up from our room and took us to dinner:)

I'm a little afraid of horse riding as I feel like I can't control them. Lets just say I had to let go and not over think things right about now...

Riley and Tanna on their way to dinner

We ate dinner... then it was time to go on our night safari, it was also time for a huge,big,massive,scary storm to start!!
We are given ponchos and assured for the fourth time (I keep asking), that the elephants are fine, the rain, lightning and wind doesn't bother them. I can't help it..."are you sure?"... "YES", "ok ok... I'm coming"

Ok Tanna are you ready?

 Tannalee and I  learned quickly that thongs are extremely hard to keep on your feet when your on top of an elephant and there is a torrent of rain running down your legs, so we took them off. Therein lies one of my all time best travelling memories.

 I'm riding on top of an elephant through the Jungle in Ubud while a freak storm rages around us, knocking down trees and whipping us with rain and branches. 
It is black except for when the lightening flashes, Tanna and I pretend that we live in the jungle and our elephant is taking us home to safety.
  My feet are moving up and down in rhythm to the elephants steps, the rain is cool but the soles of my feet are warmed by the thick skin they are resting on. "Remember what it feels like Tanna' I yell over the storm, "really, really, feel it Tanna"

I will never forget this, I go from being terrified of the storm, to feeling very lucky. After all.. anyone can go on a normal elephant ride. 

We thank our elephants and mahouts, then head back to our rooms where fresh water, fluffy towels and moisturizer await!!

Our little cake

After a lovely buffet breakfast it's time to get to work

Let me tell you this elephant was dirty!

Happy face!

Worth the money?? Absolutely!!


Cheeky little babies!

Going on a day time ride, picked up from our room again

During this trip the elephants helped to clean up the mess from the storm last night, while we ducked around fallen branches etc.

Ohhh... don't look down.

Ross and Riley in front, us girls following

Time to get off

Just thought I'd show you how awkward I can be:):)

Feed me...

Feed meeeeee..

Wonderful, amazing  24 hours, but that was enough .....

Next stop Greenfileds hotel for fireflies, rice fields and 'nice cow'.

The driver from Greenfields comes to pick us up, as we drive towards Ubud there is a big clean up going on from the storm the night before! Everywhere we look the road is a mess and people are picking up branches etc.

next stop greenfields hotel...

Ubud Greenfields hotel, rice field walk

We spent three nights at Greenfields Hotel in Ubud the first night was just our family, on the 2nd night our friends met up with us for the remainder of our trip. Elly and Con have both travelled a lot, their children had never been overseas before so it was pretty exciting.

On past visits to Ubud I had wandered around Greenfields and looked at rooms, so I knew it was nice. Our rooms ( Bale Sukat) were basic, but very Balinese. They had that certain air and grace that areas around Ubud seem to exude.

During the night we saw fireflies almost skipping along the very tips of the green shoots. See that little tree in the middle of the field? the fireflies would congregate around it, I think they must live in it.
The distance jungle is the monkey forest. I tried really hard to see trees moving, but there were no monkeys to be seen:( 

View from the down stairs rooms

around the pool

Stunning pool

View from our upstairs room

Our day bed upstairs room number 203

a visitor in the garden

eating around Ubud:)

My favourite dessert 'black bottom tart' from Kafe

We tried a new restaurant, just up the street from  Greenfields, walk to road and turn left... best food! I have the name somewhere something like 'The Lilly Pad' ? I'll look it up.

Our friends turn up we go from four to nine and life gets even busier!!

Lots of thongs off at dinner time, funny how many white pairs, we often got in a muddle:)

Bali Zoo

feeding the tigers

saying hi to the lions we feed them later but I have video not photos

The Ricefield Walk

Behind the Museum in Ubud is a rice field walk I have wanted to do for years. It started off with a cement path and although it was  very pretty I was disappointed that we weren't really in amongst it. I needn't have worried, by the end of the walk we were well and truly amongst the water and mud:)
It was long walk maybe three hours.

One of Cons thongs couldn't handle the mud sucking, it broke. So funny... about twenty steps on he found a replacement, the right size, correct foot, almost the same colour!

It was a very hot day so the kids and I sit down to cool off our feet.

We were tired and all we had to carry was water, lazy Aussies!!

Somewhere along here we had to climb up a grassy incline, past a man with a cow.
"Selamat Pagi" we call out one by one as we climbed past him. He doesn't smile and watches us quite seriously as we walk around his little patch of baby rice plants, they are fenced off with netting.

 I wonder at his lack of reaction and think that a) maybe he couldn't understand what we said? we all speak our few Indonesian words with what I'm sure are terrible accents b) he is worried that we will hurt his plant nursery.

 Behind me I hear Elly say " Hi how are you?" there is a big pause, then a nervous little... " nice cow".

I look back at her and laugh "nice cow?"

 Elly laughs  " What? he looked so cranky, I was trying to be nice. But I don't think he understood me. Maybe I insulted him and his cow?"

 I guess you had to be there but it was hot, we were tired and the casual comment of "nice cow"  had us in hysterics. Whenever we walked past a cow from then on the call was.... "hey look, nice cow"

Giant snail

This guy has a little hut in the middle of the fields selling paintings, beautiful work and a lovely memento.I bought Tannalee a little painting from here for her birthday.

Elly having a chat with the artist... "nice painting".

We had so much fun in Ubud, even went to the monkey forest which every year I swear I won't return to.

Statue at the bottom of the monkey forest

Way down the bottom no monkeys around here:)

Lotus at 'Cafe Lotus'

From here we went to Pemuteran
Look in side bar for Pemuteran post, or press older post below