We made it! On our daunting 14 hour flight we managed to sleep the first 10 hours. Everyone else on the plane was Asian, and so were our meals, so the cultural experience started early. The Taipei airport is strikingly clean and modern. Each gate has its own theme like Hello Kitty, nature or movie theater. We eagerly ate chinese dumplings and gratefully reclined in free heated massage chairs. With all of the excitement of being in a totally new and far out place on the globe, the 5 hour flight to Bali was easy.
We took a taxi to our hotel in Ubud through rice paddies and religious processions. The first cultural difference we noticed was the more lax approach to safety. Entire families squeeze onto mopeds with no helmets, even infants. Our hotel is littered with flowers on seemingly every surface. Cut flowers are scattered on beds, tables, floors and even on the street. The streets are lined with tall streamers, cut flowers and offerings to the gods (fruit ribbons flowers etc).
We began walking around Ubud trying to find a vegan restaurant Aubrey recommended and it turned out to be closed because it's a Hindu holiday. We noticed the rainclouds rolling in and ducked into a tiny warung restaurant that rests on the street, open on all sides. We slipped our shoes off outside, as is custom, and sat on cushions laid out next to low tables. The warung served all vegan food and offered free wifi - the perfect combination. We watched the sunset during the rainstorm as people in traditional dress and sarongs headed to the religious celebration. We kept our eyes open for rainbows as we dined on pumpkin vegan lasagna, quinoa tacos, fresh juice, cucumber sushi and a raw carrot cake, all for about $20.
Tomorrow we are being picked up at 2:30 am to hike up a volcano at sunrise so we better turn in early.
Erin and Davey
Adventure Travel Guides