Following closely behind Justin with my hair blowing in the wind I suddenly jolt my bike to the right to avoid slamming into the back of Justin as we ascend up a steep hill. His bike had stopped and mine was about to. I tried to gun the gas and get up the hill but my bike just wanted to slide. As I pressed the brakes to freeze I began to slip with my bike back down the volcano on the loose rocks that scattered the ground. I was quickly falling backward but still halfway on my bike wondering if i should bail and drop the bike or hang on for dear life and try to stop it. As I was about to drop the bike two hands came up behind me and squeezed the brakes over my hands. Two Balinese guys that were close behind saw what was happening and quickly stopped to help. All was okay as I slid out from underneath the guys grip and he took over my bike. He proceeded to drive my bike up the hill for me as I walked with Darja as the second Bali guy helped her (same thing happened to Darja and Justin.) It was a very steep uphill and it felt like it went on forever as we kept ascending up the mountain. At a less steep spot, the Balinese guy stopped and told me to hop back onto the back of my bike- he would continue driving until we got over the top. He wanted to make sure I was safe so he grabbed my hands and wrapped them tight around his stomach to make sure I didn't fall off the back. When we reached the top we rested our bikes for a bit and then they proceeded to help us go down the mountain on the other side which surprisingly was even worse. We paid them for their help and we took back over after a well needed break. They were so kind to help complete strangers and take so much of their time. They would now have to walk back up the mountain and back down to where they left their bikes 5 miles ago.
We had rented bikes in Ubud to drive along the coast and make it to Lovina. Lovina is a place that is known in Bali for watching dolphins and for the beautiful beach. We drove the 3 hours that day over the mountain and down the other side to our airbnb for the night. We decided to pay a little more and live in luxury for the night. We paid $60 for the night and got a three bedroom villa that came with the friendliest hosts I have ever meet. If you think you have met anyone nicer than these people you are mistaken!
We sat down with Arik when we arrived to have her help us arrange a dolphin tour and snorkeling. She sat with us for over an hour as we tried to figure out our plans and what the next two days would bring. When we told her we wanted to get some fresh fish from the market to cook in the house she randomly said that she could pick it up for us and that she would even teach us to make Balinese food. We were so excited and couldn't wait for dinner the next night and our private cooking lesson.
Morning came early once again on a boat this time. We went out with our guide as he searched for the dolphins with many other boats. As the sun came up we saw a beautiful sunrise with a group of dolphins swimming through it. After we spent and hour on the reefs near by snorkeling in an amazing crystal clear ocean. The reef just feet below us and the fish swimming so close they would nibble on justin as we swam. A few hours later after some naps, yoga, and lunch… we got back to the house in time for our cooking adventure.
As we pulled up Arik and G'day (her husband) and their little girl were all there waiting to start cooking dinner. They had bags of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, shrimp, and spices galore. We were making grilled fish, prawns, Gadu gadu, tofu, tempeh, and a few other things. It was incredible to see how much work went into these dishes! There was not a single thing from a can or a package, there was no spice that was out of a container. Each thing was made with real ingredients and pummeled on a stone to make the sauce. Even the coconut oil used for the meal was made by G'days mother fresh from the coconut that week. After more than 2 hours in the kitchen we set the table for dinner and began to eat. It was really calming hanging out and chatting with the locals. They told us so much about the culture and we shared so much about us. By the end of the night it felt like we were long time friends just enjoying a meal. We ended the night with dessert made by us. We wanted to thank them and so we made an "American" dessert of apple crumble with sautéed cookies on top and ice cream. It was a hit and they wanted to know the recipe. We were happy to be able to give something to them, even if it was nothing compared to the hours they had put into preparing our meal. The night ended with a few beer and a lot of laughs as they giggled at us cleaning the kitchen, laughing that they were now the bosses and we were the workers.
Then next morning after some more self led yoga we got back on the bikes for another 3 hour ride back to Ubud (a different way) stopping along at some waterfalls and beautiful places along the way.