Though I had finally managed to escape the stagnation of Kuta, the unappetising tourist cavalcade mediocrity of Ubud found me wasting another entire day devoted to reading. I reneged on the promise of the local museums since they were merely art galleries in the main and my plan for a circular walk out of town was scuppered by equally unappealling weather. Well rested then, the next day saw me rise early all bright shiny and new, my enforced compulsion to allow no further delay meant I had to get out of town pronto. I still rejigged my plans to squeeze in an appraisal of the rice paddies to the north of town beforehand however. A lime green sea of mature rice revealed the crop for the first time in mywhole trip as something discernible as the grain that I knew, further redeemed by the appreciation of a complex, well organised irrigation system attended by random shacks borne out of elephant grass. The locals had had to go to some concerted effort in order to protect their crop, and bird scaring measures included conventional scarecrows, dangling T-shirts and miniature windmills burling in the wind as they hung from great curls of bamboo perhaps 10 metres tall. Some of the windmills were even geared up to noisemakers in the form of small rudimentary drums. Another ensuing downpour found me curtailing my intended loop yet the chance meeting of another tourist bloke confirmed the viability of a shortcut back south down the other side of a river gully, discovering a more jungly trail past some fine loaf shaped thatched roofs and women thrashing rice bails. It was great to elicit beaming smiles from the habitually reserved farm women in enquiring as to whether there was any work going. More than once I also stumbled across lone women performing their ubiquitous deity offering ceremonies, but now made ever more exotic as they ritualised in front of shrine pillars dotted around in isolated corners of open fields. It was only left for me to avail myself of the finest and most generous curry I'd ever eaten before tracing the now paved track back into the town centre, just one more artwork in a town fuill of it, emblazened as it was with grafitti. A lone example raised above the predictable to becry in superb harmony with my skeptical vibe "Ubud. No effort, no hope, just holy boredom". I felt appeased that that there had been at least one other poor lost soul out there who had seen the same bullshit for what it was. Grabbing my bag and retracing the Perana bus office, I had had time to further contemplate the impending onward move, and though I had already elected to jump off at Padang Bai, a small resort town which more importantly served as the ferry port for services East, I realised that there would be no further charge for thefurther 7Ks up to the larger resort town Candi Dasa. That might have seemed like a superfluous indulgence had it not been for its proximity to the promise of an alluring traditional village just inland, and its appeal meant that I could surely afford Bali one more day at least.
It was an unexpected bonus of sorts then to hook up with the only other soul with the same intention, Lin from Taiwan had learned English in London and so we both opted for the same crashpoint, actually the overindulgence of a very sweet bungalow complex by the sadly eroded beach. She wasnt the only new admirer however, the presence of mosquito nets betrayed their renewed attention for the first time in ages. Though camped right by a fine vista of rice fields dotted with thatched shelters and rolling palm lined hills beyond, Candi Dasa proved to be just a characterless low key strip of restaurants and hotels, its sole momentary redemption being a lotus studded lagoon. The story went that in trying to promote the spot as a resort they had incredibly decided to excavated the offshore reef as a source of building mortar. Having devastated the littoral the now unprotected beach was swept away for good measure, thereby negating the viability of the resort in the first place. That smacked as being just so damned Indonesian. Underwhelmed, we opted for the least touristyrestaurant we could find, offering empty seats, sensible prices, real food, and good conversation.