We've chosen to stay slightly off the beaten track in Tabanan. It's near to where we want to go. We've a really comfortable villa to retire to at night (replete with a very clean dip pool, Nespresso machine and AppleTV!) and could trek across the region in the day.
I want to climb Mount Batukaru, surf at Medewi and check out the Taman Nasional Bali Barat. Last month in Bali, I was a total sloth. That was swell. So this round, I want to get the muscles moving. By the end of this trip, I wouldn't just have taut thighs and arms or a flat tummy. I would also have gotten abs to boot.
Tabanan Regency is known as the 'rice bowl' of Bali and it's rightly so. Acres of majestic lush paddy fields stretch from end to end and all the way from the mountains to the sea. It's amazingly unspoilt and breathtakingly beautiful.
As I traverse the area, I'm beginning to feel damn cheated about Ubud. Ubud might be a centre for the arts, but only because the tourists made it so. It can't claim to have the most verdant rice fields. Not when there's Tabanan. Tabanan's unspoilt beauty wins Ubud's meagre slopes hands down. There aren't flocks of yakking tourists here. There're no souvenir shops, no nightclubs and no shopping- my idea of heaven.
This is the Bali that I remember and am glad to have found it again along the pastoral roads from Antosari to Papuan. The eyes have been thirsty for this undulating vista. There is a feeling that this timeless beauty will remain as such forever. I certainly hope so.