Seeing as Merapi was out of the question for our second day in Borobudur due to the torrential rain and blistered feet, we decided to hire a driver and check out the ancient Hindu temple called Prambanan.
It was near the airport apparently, so easy to just head over for our evening flight from there.
As we had nine hours, I thought we might be able to also squeeze in a visit to the local and rather delicious, Monggo Chocolate Factory. On my previous post, I did mention it was an Indonesian long weekend right?
The traffic was insane! Due to the fact that our chosen destinations both closed at 5pm and were on opposite sides of the city, it meant we could only choose one.
Much to the complete horror and disgust of Miss P, we chose Prambanan temple.
I really don’t think she could look at me for the next hour, traumatised by my decision. The torrential rain that decided to make its appearance not long after my decision also seemed to cement her conviction that I had chosen poorly. I secretly prayed for the rain to stop, otherwise I hated to admit that perhaps I had made the wrong decision and she was right.
Thankfully Prambanan surpassed any expectations we may have had, even Miss P thought so. It was entirely mesmerizing.
Even in the rain, which had eased somewhat. I do believe the rain actually added to the mystique of the area and an added bonus, kept a decent percent of the crowds away. Having said that, the local paparazzi still managed to hunt us out for a constant stream of photos, but I think Prambanan left a bigger imprint as a truly magical and mystical place more so than Borobudur did for me.
Perhaps because I had no expectation of Prambanan temple.
I had never even heard of it until a week prior to going there.
Maybe poor Borobudur had no chance with the high level of expectation that I had set.
Anyway, after a delicious late lunch of Ayam Bakar at a small local warung we hopped into the car to head to the airport…. Where we purchased a block of Monggo chocolate.
Turns out you can purchase a pass to the Borobudur airport ‘lounge’, a blessing as we had a decent wait before boarding our plane, especially with the added flight delay. Now don’t get too excited, yes, food, and non-alcoholic drinks are free, but remember it’s a Muslim country, so no alcohol. Just warning you now. For the three of us it cost $27.00 AUD. Deal!
Miss P had begun to feel somewhat unwell during our time at the airport but was managing to hold it together.
The car rental dude was however not so delighted with our delay into Bali and said he’d rather deliver the car tomorrow rather than at midnight, unaware that we actually needed to head back up to Ubud.
I did start to think maybe we’d be better off staying the night in Denpasar at some cheap digs, rather than a long and potentially dangerous drive back up to Ubud, considering we’d get back around 2am.
Our flight was finally called and I was still involved in a steady stream of texts with the car hire company involving the manager as well as another staff member telling me he was still happy to wait at the airport. Only in Bali!
I decided on a hotel and hit the ’book’ button as the flight attendant waited for me to turn my phone off. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute.
An hour or so later, we were back in Bali.
We walked across the tarmac and onto a terminal shuttle bus, whereby Miss P unleashed, exorcist style.
Yep! She really hadn’t been feeling well and here was the evidence, all over the floor of the crowded bus.
In Bali I travel everywhere with tissues now (mainly for other reasons, like going to the toilet) so I tried my best to clean her hands (she tried to catch it – like that was going to work), and cover it up neatly as best I could. I couldn’t apologise enough to the poor staff that were now faced with cleaning it up.
Okay, a quick clean up, through the airport, off to the car and then to our hotel… or so we hoped.
I did actually remember to bring the Tom-Tom (GPS), however it had no idea where our hotel was and there are no street numbers here to give an accurate location.
We did manage to locate it on Google maps on the IPhone, however Siri must have been asleep (it was late) and refused to talk to us. This meant my 14-year-old son had to navigate from the back seat. It was already around 12.30am and our sense of humour was not at it’s finest let’s just say.
Poor Declan struggled to read the map and I was getting frustrated with the, what seemed to be, aimless driving around.
We got lucky with a few correct moves, a hotel sign and a few U-Turns along the way. When we pulled into the laneway, I think the kids (because I know I did) thought where the hell has she taken us now? However the hotel was clean, cheap & comfortable. Perfect.
I think we all passed out around 2am after showers and some very deep breathing!
After a great sleep in we thought we’d hit the road and grab some brunch along the way.
Tom-Tom was partly co-operating but the traffic wasn’t and the petrol tank was flat lining! Yep… don’t expect petrol with your car hire. You have been warned.
We were stuck in bumper-to-bumper to traffic, no petrol and no idea when the next petrol station might appear.
I was also not entirely convinced we were heading in the right direction.
A petrol station! Yay! At least now I can breath.
It took two hours through the most insane traffic I think I have ever experienced to get back up to Ubud.
Not only was there the usual and relentless game of chicken, today was also about how many new lanes they could create. To say it was stressful is an understatement. Then as we approached Ubud, the heavens decided to open up and it absolutely poured. As only it can in the tropics.
Rain, motorbikes, cars and massive touring buses vied for a piece of the narrow and pot holed roads.
Forget food! I want to get the hell home!
Have I told you about the road we live on? Probably wouldn’t really call it road. I guess it is… of sorts, although it has been somewhat improved since I wrote this. Marginally.
It’s rock, sand, dirt, tiles, whatever they could throw at it I guess. Originally just a track to access the rice fields. Forget 2 cars passing each other. That’s a whole other story.
Now, do you know what happens to those elements when the heavens open up the floodgates? On a steep incline?
I went from a larger Toyota Avanza (with a higher wheel base) to a small ‘city’ car because I wanted something newer… mainly because I wanted brakes that worked, tread on the tyres and a wheel alignment that didn’t mean turning the steering wheel a full 360 degrees every time I went through a bumpy patch.
Yes, I’m clearly spoilt!
I have to admit I was a little worried about the wheel base/height of the small car on my road, but thought surely it should be okay?
Not in a massive fricken torrential downpour in the middle of the rainy season! No Lisa, no! It’s not okay.
I took two runs at it. One on the right side where admittedly there was more mud and less rock, however it also didn’t possess great deep canyon sized rivulets running down it. Nope, tyres spun, expletives were yelled and I admitted defeat and reversed back down…. Without gravity working in our favour, I think we may have been stuck.
After a little cry and a big deep breath (remembering it’s around 1pm by now and I still haven’t had a coffee, let alone breakfast), I thought I’d give the left side a go. Maybe the rock might give me some traction if I can avoid the deepening channels?
Nothing! Tyres span and the car rocked and I couldn’t make any headway. Time to back it off before we do end up completely bogged.
Whilst this was happening a local in his much larger van was patiently waiting his turn. I parked on the side and let him through. He also experienced the same thing, but after only 1 shot, gave it away, reversed and drove off in the direction he had come from.
The rain was still torrential, so getting out and just walking the one-kilometer home wasn’t really an option.
All I could think of was to call our landlord (who lived a few hundred meters away) to see if he could somehow rescue us.
He came immediately, first with his motorbike to make a quick survey and realized he needed the big 4WD if he was going to be able to do this.
We loaded our luggage, lock up our car and jumped in.
It’s still slippery and slightly precarious but we make it through and he delivers us safely home. Love my landlord!
Home to a house with little food and depleting amounts of water. Whatever! We are home! Safe!
Salad and toast for dinner and hey, I can drink the beer!
No electricity, Wi-Fi, water…. Nyoman!! (My landlord)
Out he comes again… has a check and states it must be the whole area. Two hours later it all seems fine. Until we go to bed and I realize there is no running water, however the electricity is working.
Oh heck! This can wait till the morning. I need sleep.
Nyoman! ‘Oops, I must have switched it off when I came to check everything yesterday’.
Lucky we have a pool to at least freshen up in.
I have to be honest, after those 36 hours, I wanted to go home! Back to Melbourne. To a comfy couch with a cup of tea. To my local shops, yoga studio.. And to just feel comfortable again.
To a ‘normal’ life. To the daily routine, the single working Mum juggle, the 9-5, the school drop offs, to a decent and stable income. To holidays. To having a goddam oven for crying out loud!
And then I got over it.
I moved through it. Found the absurdity in it and have embraced the change.
You just can’t give up too soon
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