I returned to my homestay after an exhilarating afternoon of jungle river rafting. As it does precisely everyday in Indonesia, the clock chimed 7pm and the sun began it’s glowing, blushing descent down below the horizon. A still, lazy evening drew in and the crickets hiding amongst the rice fields began to chirp their evensong. With all this quietness, the sound grumbling from my hungry stomach was very much amplified. Time for some food, I thought.
I had arranged to meet a fellow solo-traveling girl named Bee (who I had met that morning) to go for dinner in the rice fields. Both dressed in long, flowing dresses, we walked around the back of the homestay and began the same traipse through the rice paddies that I had made the day before, but first with a little shortcut. The first few steps of the shortcut proved easy, as we walked along a paved path that was lit with tiny candle lanterns. But when the paved path stopped and met the mushy, muddy, sogginess of the rice paddy path, then things proved a little trickier. Bee and I looked at each other and then looked out into the distance. It was almost complete pitch black, but as our eyes adjusted we could vaguely make out shadows and shapes. I had led Bee through this ‘shortcut’ so I decided to be chivalrous and take the plunge. I moved my foot forwards and placed it on top of the grassy path. The earth was stable and hard enough to bear my weight. Ok, good going so far, I thought. I put down my other foot with the same success.
‘It seems ok,’ I said over my shoulder to Bee.
I took a few more steps and walked about two metres. And then, SPLUSH!
My foot slipped along the muddy banks of the path, I lost balance and slid down into the rice field. I burst out laughing. Yes, only I would fall into a flippin rice paddy. It was so dark, that Bee couldn’t tell what had happened. ‘Yeh, be careful around this part,’ I advised her. ‘I just fell in a rice paddy.’
Ankles now muddied and the hem of my dress (why did I have to wear a maxi dress?!) now wet, I scrambled back onto the path. We whipped out our phones and through the glare emitting from the screens, we carefully continued on with our journey.
Instead of going to Sari Organik as I had done so the day before, we pit-stopped at another café that was a few hundred metres before, named Café Pomegranate. Made from mostly wood and bamboo, the little café had a shabby-chic sort of vibe, with bright orange and purple throw cushions strewn about the place. Bee and I sat down on the woven floor amongst the cushions at a small wooden table. We both ordered fruit juices and Balinese and Indian curries.
We sat chatting away about life and all of its fantastic quirks and how different things were living away from home – and of course, how we both missed our homes. The sun finally blinked and disappeared for the night, leaving only a purplish tinge in the sky. Fireflies and dragonflies came out to play and as the sky got darker, they zipped above the rice fields, leaving flashes and traces of luminescent red, orange and electric blue that for a second hung like mini firecrackers against the black sky.
*Tune in next time for a Water Palace and some Bali farewells…
Go Go Go!
Where: Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
Why: Rice paddy fields, culture, art, food, elephants, rafting and monkeys.
How: Direct flights from Jakarta run regularly, numerous times a day with most airline making the route. Fares can differ grealy depending on the time of year, beginning at around 400,000 Rp (approx £20) till around 2000,000 Rp (approx £100) for a return ticket. From Denpasar airport, Ubud is around a 2 hour drive away, dependant on traffic.