Discovering the walking tracks through the rice paddies tucked in behind the main part of Ubud town could be quite a challenge for a tourist if you do not have a very good expat friend and her very own personal trainer on hand. I am not sure that I fit into the category that would use a personal trainer, preferring to be a bit of a sloth that likes to amble and smell the roses on long walks, rather than striding with determination and the intent to build up muscle. Having to get up early for such a sojourn was also another hurdle I had to get over.

So one beautiful and early Sunday morning, the three of us set out for a “walk” through the rice fields. I am not sure whether they were trying to get the alcohol out of my system from the night before, or they were perverse and into torturing people. My somewhat short legs had trouble keeping up with their long legs, especially as we had to hike through town to even get near the beginning of the walking track. I was exhausted before we had even really begun.

Tucked in behind the main street is a maze of tracks meandering through rice fields taking you into a farming area that could be in the middle of nowhere. Various small guesthouses along the way and the field workers, of which there were many as it was harvest time, use the tracks. After five minutes on the rough concrete path, an overly friendly dog came up and joined our little parade, walking one behind the other. I might add, the dog would not go back from wherever he had come from and was to be our companion for the duration of the trek, much to our dismay in the end.

We soon came across a rice paddy where numerous ducks were busily going about their own business, until our erstwhile companion decided they were too much of a temptation and felt the inclination to chase them. I have never seen such a commotion as he chased them every which way amidst their squawking, flapping of wings and his mad barking as he merrily tried to round them up. Much to our horror and despite our trying to get him to come back, he would not be deterred from his game of cat and mouse. The comedy level stepped up a notch when suddenly a very irate Balinese lady appeared with a broom. She began running after the dog to get him to leave the ducks alone. Not content to do it just this once, he fled this scene, only to create havoc further along the path at a different duck/rice paddy.

The fields were full of the activity of workers as they harvested the crop, or occasionally we came upon them sitting, relaxing and eating. Their big grins and happy smiles belied their hard and relentless work in the hot sun. We shared the skinny pathway with women carrying huge baskets on their heads and stood and watched bobbing coolie hats amongst the long stems of rice. The tinkling of trickling water followed us, as the irrigation system ran along the side of the walkway. It was a window to a perfect Balinese scene, passing hand crafted offerings to the fields as the straw colored rice glowed under the early morning perfectly blue sky.

I am not sure who had the best workout. Whether it was the dog, the field workers or I. Apparently, it was a leisurely stroll for my friend and her personal trainer.