After a week in Ubud, we are ready to discover a different part of the island of Bali.
We have a home exchange waiting for us in a village near the Southern beachside location of Canggu.
One of the fun parts of home exchange is that it provides impetus for finding ourselves in locations that we would not go to otherwise. Canggu is not as far South as the built up, overly touristy Kata and Seminyak, and the house we are headed to is located between 2 small villages, and about a 15 minute bike ride from the beach.
The family’s driver picks us up in Ubud ~ a rather nice perk, and we relax as he winds his way through the countrysides curvy streets, past rice fields and small houses, motorbikes and children playing, until he says “We are here!”
In this case, “here” is an attractive modern joglo (teak Javanese house) guesthouse, right next to an inviting looking pool and the main house. The only sounds are of the water filling into the fish pond directly next to the little house, and the distant sound of Balinese gangalang music
And in this case of home exchange, the U.S. family is here in the main house but nonetheless have offered us the use of their guesthouse. Jenn and Dave live here in order for their 14 year old son to attend the unique Green School in Ubud.
The first time I ever got interested in coming to Bali, was when we were immersed in the world of bamboo and our business CO2 Bambu and we read about Bali’s bamboo school, constructed from soaring bamboo and focused primarily around providing an environmentally focused curriculum. We visited green school in 2014.
Talk about coming full circle…..
We have loved doing home exchanges over the years, against our home in Nicaragua. It has been such a unique and economical and fun way to travel! Not only for the houses and places we have stayed in, but often for the people that go along with those houses whom we have occasionally met and in some cases, still keep in touch with.
Those of you who have been following the blog and or know us, know that we have stayed in home exchanges in a medina in Marakesh Morocco, the ancient cities of Toledo and Granada Spain, a Parisian atelier, Istanbul, Portugal and overlooking rice paddies in Bali, to name but a few.
One of the disappointments with selling our home in Nicaragua was our expectation that we would lose the ability to do home exchange. Then it occurred to us that we can exchange our loft in Chicago. Though not as exotic a location, still nonetheless an attractive destination to barter with.
So, we are doing a (our second) non simultaneous exchange for future use of our loft in Chicago.
Well, we luck out, big time. Score!!
The family are super friendly and hospitable. We are offered the use of the family’s driver for taking us out on day trips, as well as use of their rented motorbike. Talk about easy…
Now we really feel like we are on vacation. We take time to discover the rural area and villages nearby by motorbike, go to the beaches, get massages, jump in the pool, relax! We drive down small lanes, past temples, past women crafting offerings and placing them along their path. .
The house driver, Oka used to be a tour guide. He plans a day’s outing for us, and we head first to a beautiful butterfly sanctuary (much like the ones we visited in Laos and Cambodia), always a treat.
From there, we go to hot springs nestled amongst the rocks, under trees adjacent to a river flowing by with cool water and hot boulders. Peta loves hot springs, even when the climate and the air around us, as in this case, is hot. We are the only ones there today and have the place to ourselves.
The next stop on rural adventure is a beautiful huge temple, with ornate deities, stone carvings, pathways and gardens, situated in the shadow of a misted mountain behind. We slowly stroll through the ancient sacred grounds, visualizing ancient processions of Balinese kings and commoners who frequented this temple. Easy to visualize given the fact that Balinese men and women dress today, much the way they used to. (Although the women used to be bare chested until less than a 100 years ago.)
We then proceed through the central region of Bali, which is dominated by terraced rice fields. The tones of green, from deep emerald to bright lime are so intense that they seem surreal. Farmers here and there work the land in its varying stages of growth.