Up early to finish packing. Set off with Dawn and Jodie to see if we could hire a car and driver for the same as three seats on the shuttle bus. It took a lot of effort (they really didn't want to take us for that price) - but as we were trying to buy are seats on the bus one of the drivers agreed. The drive was pretty again (this is the same pass I drove through twice yesterday on my way to Dano Bratan). The drive took less than three hours and by one o'clock we were checked into a recommended hotel.
The hotel was a little disappointing, adequate was the best that could be said about it (grimy, characterless would be more accurate) - does have a nice garden and the family that runs it are very nice. I've heard so many good things about Ubud, that I was disappointed to find I don't like it. It's very crowded with tourists compared to Lovina, and the people aren't the friendly, happy people I thought was standard for Bali. For the most part they are cold and mocking as soon as it seems they're not going to get another rupiah out of you. At one point in the afternoon I was really regretting coming since it has sort of spoiled my idealized opinion of Indonesia.
I went with the girls to find a restaurant for lunch, but everyplace that looked good was very expensive. Ended up having cakes at a bakery - but discovered the most amazing brownies! Walked around the Ubud Palace which is beautiful and tranquil, and not at all exciting. Ubud is famous for its huge crafts market - and it is big. I found the people not very engaging, and for the most part not at all interested in talking if it wasn't about money a disappointing change from the north. After a couple hours I was completely fed up and I left - without buying anything!
Spent a half hour in an internet cafe (mostly getting my journal caught up - I couldn't access it from Kalibukbuk), then headed back to the hotel. Or tried to head back to the hotel. It's not a very big town, but I got hopelessly lost and wandered around for over an hour before finding my way. Met up with the girls and went to the Balinese ballet Ramayana. The show was pretty good. An amazing gamelan (percussion orchestra) played with the dancers. The little synopsis that came on the ticket was enough to make the ballet accessible. It was really good that there was none of the forced audience participation that most tourist shows insist on, and I certainly don't regret the experience. But I don't anticipate going to another.
After the show went to a small restaurant for diner. It was cheap, and it ended up being delicious, but my meal came a good thirty minutes after the girls had finished theirs. Went back to the same bakery for dessert - the brownies were still excellent, but the staff was very snotty. I've decided that instead of staying another night I'm leaving for Kuta tomorrow. While the cooler mountain air is nice if I'm going to have to deal with big city attitudes then I'd rather be in a big city.