Travel is about choices.
Accommodations. Rates. Location. Number of days.
This requires much planning well ahead of the travel date.
Destination: Ubud, Bali Indonesia October, 2011
Wanting a true cultural experience, we chose for three nights the Sawah Sunrise Bed & Breakfast which is located in the middle of centuries old cultivated rice fields and only accessible by foot or on motorbike. Just a five minute walk, according to the information. No cars. Just chickens, ducks, frogs, and geckos. It was suggested we bring flashlights for the footpath at night and earplugs for the roosters in the morning. After two trips to Haiti and one in Africa, the roosters we could tolerate, even if they were under our window.
Just finding your destination is part of the journey.
As we get closer to Ubud, I read the directions again and again.
Sawah Sunrise is located on the North West side of Ubud village, close to Sari Organic Restaurant in the the rice fields. Driving, follow JI (which is Indonesian for street) Raya Ubud to the West, pass Casa Luna Restaurant and Puri Lukisan Museum. Turn right/north at Abangan Bungalow before the road starts to head downhill. You can park your car at the top of the broken dirt road, in front of a small family temple. Follow the smallest footpath on your left, following signs to Sari Organik. After Gusti Bungalow, at Cantika Spa, turn right and follow the footpath to the 3rd house on your left. That is Sawah Sunrise.
Seeing the sign for Abangan Bungalow, we make the turn and head up a steep incline on “the broken dirt road.” We don’t see a footpath or even signs for Sawah Sunrise.
Komang, our driver, leaves us in the car to get directions. We block everything. The driver in a car behind us puts his vehicle in park, walks up to us unsmiling, gets in and moves our car into someone’s driveway. Satisfied, he gets back in his car and inches past us.
Someone on a motorbike comes down a small enclosed sidewalk and we stop him and ask, “Sawah Sunrise? He gestures toward the direction he came from, and smiles. We nod with sighs of relief. It is hot and humid and we look ridiculous rolling our suitcases down a narrow, broken sidewalk. No longer backpackers, it would have been more practical in this situation.
It’s all in the semantics.
We have been looking for “the smallest footpath.” Instead, it is a walk way enclosed with six foot high stucco walls. One is covered with deep red bougainvillea while broad-leaf crotons line the other wall that hides the private family compounds and temples behind them.
Lagging behind, Ron turns around to check on me and says, “ya comin”?
Just then a young man attired in sarong and t-shirt rounds the bend on a motorbike and continues slowly toward us. Our driver is riding with him. Introducing himself as Komang, (a common name), he puts one of the suitcases on his lap, turns around and disappears.
As soon as we get past the walled sidewalk, we pause for a moment and take it all in.
We are now in the rice fields and on a “footpath” to Sawah Sunrise.
For more great travel photos, visit Ron Mayhew Photography.