Monday, October 7, 2013

The Ubud Market, Palace, and Water Palace

Once we had had a good night's sleep, we were ready to do some real exploring. We ate breakfast in our hotel around 7:00am. We had pancakes, sausage, toast, japple (a kind of fried pastry filled with fruit), scrambled eggs, an omelet, fruit and juice. Once we had filled our stomachs, we started walking down the road towards the Ubud Market. It's very large and made up of vendors selling all sorts of goods - from clothing and jewelry, to fruit and fish. The girls were excited to go and get some Bali dresses and Jessica and I were thrilled to do some shopping.

The market itself was... unreal, really. It was my first real experience inside a third-world country and it's culture. The market was dirty, it was smelly, it was crowded, and just about every single person there is living in poverty. My oldest daughter, though she enjoyed buying a dress, did not like going to the market for several of the aforementioned reasons. I'm not really sure how I felt about seeing elderly women asking us to buy bananas - probably what they've done every day for years - with teeth falling out and worn, tattered clothing, while we were looking to buy some souvenirs. I guess I just can't help but wonder why the dice fall like they do. My children - and myself - are so fortunate. But anyway... that's a whooooole other can of worms to open.

After walking around a bit, we found a stall with a woman selling TONS of clothing, quilts, and sarongs. The girls all found matching Bali dresses and they couldn't wait to put them on. Jessica also bought dresses for her girls, some clothing for herself and family, a quilt, and later on, some artwork and jewelry.

After leaving the market, we headed right across the street to the Ubud Palace. When you hear "palace," you automatically think of something huge. It's not huge by any means, but it is ornate. We snapped a couple of pictures, but before we knew it, we had become the attraction. Groups of Chinese tourists, and then Indonesian tourists, wanted pictures of and with our children.

It had only been a couple of hours since breakfast, but the kids started saying they were hungry. I remembered reading about a great cafe overlooking a water palace not far down the road from where we were. So I asked a couple of men working at the palace to give us some directions. Maybe one block later, we were walking into Cafe Lotus - a MUST if you visit Ubud. You walked out of the busy, loud street traffic and into something serene and beautiful. In front of us was the water palace, with a long, narrow bridge surrounded by lotus flowers floating in a pond. To the right was Cafe Lotus, with open-air, Asian-style seating along the edge of the water. The walkway down to our table was lined by all sorts of different orchids. It was simply stunning.

After having some banana juice (more like a smoothie), yogurt with honey and fruit, we walked down the bridge and up to the palace front. When we weren't jumping to grab the girls from falling off a ledge or into the water, we were able to snap a few pictures. The handiwork overwhelming most of Bali is so intricate that it's hard to imagine the work that goes into each piece. The statues and architecture of the Water Palace were so detailed and ornate that you couldn't possibly expect to notice every bit of it while standing there. I'm glad I took pictures because I think every time I look at them, I'll spot something new.

After leaving the Water Palace, we started walking back towards our hotel. There were a couple of shops that we stopped in, some with wood work, some with ceramics, some with beads and jewelry, and it wasn't long before the kids started saying they were hungry again. I remembered reading online about a Cafe that a family with children had visited while in Ubud. It was called Cafe Wayan and supposedly had some garden areas that the kids might enjoy. The best news was that this Cafe was literally right across the street from our hotel. We decided to check it out for lunch, and I'm soooo glad we did. It was one of our favorite places during our trip. It was so wonderful that it deserves its own post. More details on Cafe Wayan up next....

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