Monthly Archives: February 2015

Slopes of the Centre of the Universe!

694“Don’t speak to any of the villagers” Dewa, our driver, widened his eyes and continued, “you guys are with me”.

The instructions given before heading for the Mother Besakih Temple reminded me of stories involving secret societies. The temple complex was infamous for louts forcing tourists to hire local guides who then extorted high fees from the naïve targets. Any resistance by the visitors led to aggressive vocal display of expletives.

On our way to the village, our car was stopped by a few women who held plates with flowers and incense. They demanded monetary offerings for our safe passage. I handed them the smallest possible rupiah note. They demanded more. I looked at Dewa “No more! I come from India; This is extortion!”

The gang backed off and let our car go.

Moments later, we made a pit stop to wrap sarong around our waists. Dewa changed into a figure of piety by dressing in white.710 Continue reading


Ubud, an Indulgence in Finer Things



It lay lifeless on an elevated platform, with its sides already being eaten. Its mouth was partly open, possibly its last scream. Packs of hungry carnivores sat next to it waiting to get their share. The crisp crackling of the roast pig glistened in the glow of the filament lamp and lured us in. Babi Guling is to Bali as what haggis is to Scotland!

We sat in the warung or food stall to try some of the famous suckling pig from the Gianyar area, next to Ubud. It is eaten with lawar, which is a mixture of spices, scrapped coconut, vegetables and rice. It was not my favourite thing in Bali but at least it was off my bucket-list. It was a pig and not a spider!

Gtilled Fish with Fern-tip salad

Grilled Fish with Fern-tip Salad and Grilled Vegetables

The previous day, whilst walking down the street of Ubud someone offered, “We have Indian food… come in for lunch”. It sounded enticing but I gave it a pass. I would rather have something local. I had grilled marinated fish wrapped in banana leaf served with fern-tip salad, it could be called a neo-Balinese dish. Fern tip salad is steamed edible fern mixed with spices and coconut. The taste was refreshing and reminded me of rain-washed tropical forest foliage.

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