This took place in March last year.
This is our fourth trip to Bali and the second with Sean and Sara, so I did not expect to be surprised or to discover new things in Ubud. However, this was our first Bali trip with Robyn Fleming; good friend, family member and fellow runner, and we were there to run in the Bali Half Marathon.
As expected, Ubud did not spring any surprises. In fact, Ubud seemed tired and weary or perhaps it was my eyes that weary from seeing tourists dressed like hippies trying to fit into the ‘zen’ scene of Bali, or the rows of shops selling colourful trinkets.
Luckily, we met some wonderful people and they became the highlight of the trip – Gede, our guide who brought us to a different ‘babi-guling’ stall every morning at nine; Cat Wheeler or ‘Ibu Cat’, author and rescuer of cats, dogs and feather-less cockatoos; Robyn and I sat in companionable quiet each morning while we waited to be served our breakfast, she wrote while I sketched; Grace who send us on the pleasant assignment of searching out a honeymoon getaway; the lady who operated the training hotel that we stayed at, training children from the poverty islands nearby in the hospitality trade; the street urchins who approached Sam for money at the night market and ended up with dinner instead.
The personal highlight was the personal best time for a half marathon but it paled in comparison to the friends made and friendships reinforced.