A Travellerspoint blog

Indonesia

Ubud to Nusa Lembongan

Four weeks down - Two to go

Note: We're in Nusa Lembongan and after checking email last night via wi-fi at one of the small cafes, I tried to down download a photo...and it went - easily....so there are a few more photos and I'm going to try and download some from Myanmar and Bali. Enjoy

11 February 2012

Today is Kuningan which is the last day of the Galungan festival. The Balinese people are up very early to make offerings to the temple. A very quiet day in Ubud.

One thing we did work on yesterday was finding a place to stay on the 15th and 16th. Steve came through for us. We’ll be spending the two days in Villa Paul (VP) which is right behind Warung Bubu (about a three minute walk from Kembali). One less thing to think about.

Also…rain, rain and more rain!!!

12 February 2012

Off on a full day car trip around the eastern part of Bali with Nyoman Bawa …aka Blue (www.balibluedriver.com), a recommendation from Barbara and Henry (just in case we needed a driver). He came through for us when I had to go to the hospital last week – a great find. Blue is a great driver with an in depth knowledge of Bali. Having spent his whole life on Bali, he knows the island, its people and their customs, plus his English is very good and he is so funny. We ended up laughing the whole day.

Our first stop was just outside Ubud at some rice fields, nice view but he warned us…the best was yet to come.

As we drove the back roads, Blue stopped to show us how vanilla is grown in the wild and at that stop we also visited a carver’s studio. We saw four to six foot tall, incredible wood carvings of the Vishnu riding Garuda whose wing span was about three feet.

Upon arriving in Bali, Jim had jotted down a “to do” list. The list isn’t long but today we checked off one more item by visiting Gunung Kawi, near the village of Tampaksiring. This 11th century shrine is settled along a beautiful, lush green river valley. The stone shrines (candi) are 8m (25’) tall and are believed to be memorials to members of 11th century royalty. Temple decorum is different in Bali than other countries we’ve traveled. Hindu temples in Bali require a sarong and sash for both men and women but you don’t have to take your shoes off (which is generally the case in most Buddhist temples). Sarongs and sashes can be rented at the entrance to most temples but always up for a little bartering – Jim ended up buying a nice one for about $8. The shop lady reminded him (as they were discussing price) that being so large, it would also make a nice table cloth. Good point!!

Down the road from the temple area is a small town that is known for bone carving. Jim came up with a great idea. Since I’ve decided to try and continue a little carving when I get home (from the class I took in NZ), why not try and buy some bones that are already dry. I will be able to buy, clean and dry bones at home but it will take quite a while before they are dry enough to work with. Blue came through for us once again. We stopped at a shop and picked up two bones (about $10 for both). Explaining to the shop keeper why I wanted just the bones was successful with Blue’s help. The shop owner and his family wished me luck in my work…now I just have to see if they make it through customs.

More rice fields and Blue is good at explaining the different aspects of rice farming. Bali has an island wide commission that controls the water (via a basic aqueduct system). Also, most people own, at least, a small piece of land which supplies rice to their families with any excess being sold. Those that don’t have land may work by the day and other groups use a barter system: i.e., I’ll help you harvest your land if I can have the grass for my animals. It all seems to work well but boy is it hard, back breaking work – all done by hand.

It’s lunch time and we pulled into a little parking lot and my thought was “is this a temple?” Nope!! We walked through the property to the restaurant area which sits perched on the edge of a hill looking out to Mt Agung with terraced rice fields as far as the eye can see. Although we don’t usually hit the “tourist bus route” for dining, this was an exception. The lunch was buffet style and since it was midafternoon – we were sure it will last us for rest of the day. Tasty food and a beautiful view….

For our last stop of the day, Blue dropped us off near some outlying rice terraces. He told us how to get to the next town, which was to walk along a trail adjacent to the aqueduct. We started off, over the river via a basic bamboo bridge. From there, the trail (small and almost none existent at times) followed the narrow waterway. Blue told us he’d meet us at the other end: about a 45 minute walk. What a wonderful walk!! Up the hill and along the cement wall, we were alone most of the time. The only other people we saw were three different groups of children bathing, one man carrying grass (probably back to his cow) and a lady and her little boy. My favorite photo was of one little boy who found joy in using a simple green bucket as a toy.

The aqueduct hugged each bend in the hillside and around each corner the fields rolled down to the river below. Being late afternoon, the light on the rice fields illuminated the different levels. Click, click, click of my camera was all I heard.

Jim and I both agreed: our rice field walk was the highlight of the day and maybe our whole time in Bali.

13 February 2012

Only a few more days before we head to Nusa Lembongan (if the MD gives me the OK) and it’s time to start packing.

Warung Alami for lunch finished a book I was reading and Bayu’s for dinner.

14 February 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

It’s very hot today; we could actually feel it in the air when we woke up.

Off to Ibu Oka (babi guling – roast suckling pig) for lunch. I wanted to eat there one more time before heading home – so bad (diet wise) but sooo good!!!

15 February 2012

Up too early today – Damn chickens (or rather rooster)!!! 0530 he started and didn’t stop. Ughhhh!!

Our last breakfast in Villa Kembali for a while. Jim dropped one bag off to Steve and Upik helped Jim and Wuk (the house staff for Villa Paul) bring our bags over to our casa for the next two days. Villa Paul is a bit bigger: two bedroom, two bathrooms, bigger living room, kitchen and pool. It would be great for two couple or family and it’s very nice but a little big for us or maybe we just had gotten used to Kembali.

We settled in VP, then lunch and a nap before meeting Mr. Blue at 1630hrs for our last (hopefully) trip to the hospital. The trip down was uneventful as was the stitch removal. The MD was very pleased with how the wound looked and I’m good for swimming in the islands and also for a massage…Yes!!!

It felt like a long day and I almost fell asleep on the ride back to Ubud.

Since VP is right in back of Warung Bubu, that was our stop for dinner. Plus, Jim just loves the ladies that work there. He tries to teach them English and they laugh…..

16 February 2012

I had a really good night sleep – no chickens (at least that I could hear)!!!!

Packing……….and not really much else.

Warung Alami for lunch. We’ve found their food to be really good and inexpensive.

I felt like a little pampering so as Jim hung out at VP, I went next door to Eva’s Spa and had a facial and a pedi.
Off to Lembongan tomorrow.

17 February 2012

We’re all packed, so it was just an early breakfast and we were off to meet the bus in front of Bayu. From there the process is pretty simple: the bus takes us to Perama over on Hanoman, another bus takes us to Sanur (about 45 minutes) and then, about an hour later we walked to the beach (maybe three minutes) where our boat was waiting for us and we were off to Nusa Lembongan.

The boat looked much newer in the photos: funny how that happens but it appears sea worthy. Less than half full we all spread out a bit but then one of the workers asked most of us to sit towards the rear of the boat, “engine not so good!” Hmmmm.

As we get underway, the fresh, sweet smell of the sea struck me. It’s a smell I wish I could bottle. There was a variety of people on the boat: one couple, Teio and Gaeli, brother and sister from BC are also stay at Secret Garden).

Lembongan is only an hour away, so as we leave Sanur, the big island of Bali is always present in the background. NL is very small (about 3km long) and seems to melt into Nusa Penida (the island just behind it) until we’re more than half way there.

My first impression of NL was that this is what Bali must have been 50 years ago: though more modern I’m sure, there are small shack type buildings along the waterfront and as we walk from the wharf to SG we pass the bamboo and palm leaf huts where locals live.
Secret Garden is less than a five minute walk from the waterfront. An open area leads to the front entrance and from the very beginning; I knew this would be just what we were looking for. We’re met by Tim (the owner), who tells us about SG and shows us to our room. He also tells us where we can book the boat for our trip to Gili Air on Monday.

There is only one way to get to Gili air from NL without having to go back to Sanur, so we’re off to Scoops to book the boat: 10am on Monday – 600K Rp. It’s a little expensive but it’s a fast boat and we’ll be there by noon.

Lunch a cute island café along the waterfront. Jim had the special of the day: grilled snapper and it was really good.

Hot day …..and it’s back to our room and while Jim read, it was nap time for me.

The sunsets are supposed to be really nice and Scoobydoo’s on the beach has a great view. As we walked up, Teio and Gaeli invite us to sit with them. A little mai tai type cocktail, nice breeze, beautiful sunset and great conversation – what more could we ask for. The four of us talked and talked and for dinner headed to a place that had been recommended. I really hadn’t expected a lot but the quality of the food here has been really good.

Posted by pjburke 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Midway through Bali

.....with just a little hiccup!!

04 February 2012

Rain…rain and more rain and I, for the first time in Bali, actually felt a little chill, but that could have been the infection.

Our mission was to make it down to the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA). It’s not far but not too close either: south of Jl Hanoman and Monkey Forest. Another first, we actually accepted when a taxi driver asked if we needed a ride. Normally, we’re out with the intention to walk so no taxi is needed. Note: All over Ubud there are independent drivers, just about on every corner, asking “Taxi???”, “Taxi?? Maybe tomorrow??”, “Taxi??” for the most part, always with a smile. A simple “No thank you” works just fine. One day we counted and between our villa and downtown Ubud, we were asked 15 times, and that was a slow day.

Not this day – we accepted the first offer. If it’s not raining, our plan is to walk back.

ARMA is a set in a lovely garden and has quite an extensive collection. The admission is 40K (about $5USD) which includes a cup of tea/coffee or water in the Kopi Warung. We spent, at least, an hour wandering through their two buildings before sitting out a heavy downpour with our coffee. Nice way to spend the morning.

From ARMA we wandered up Jl Hanoman and found a nice café for lunch (can’t remember the name). From there, we made our way back to the villa, just in time before another deluge which continued through the evening and overnight.

….Before we left for the museum, at my husband’s suggestion (gotta love that man!), I called Putri Bali Spa for some spa services tomorrow. Yes!!!

05 February 2012

We woke to beautiful blue skies and the prospect of some pampering tempered the irritation in my back. 1030am and the driver picks us up and off we to go. Jim got a 90 minute hot stone massage and since I can’t have a massage right now, I got a facial and a reflexology (foot) massage – heavenly!!

Feeling very refreshed (though a bit tired) we made the short walk to Fly Café for lunch. – Good food. Walking back down Jl Raya Sanggingan, we stopped at Bintang (grocery store) to pick up just a few things. On our way back to the villa, we decided to stop by Henry and Barbara’s (from Myanmar) villa. It’s right along the pathway to Bintang and we’ve walked by a few times. I told Barbara I would say Hi to their housekeeper Pia but until now we hadn’t. We knocked on the door and were met by June and Len (from NY) the current renters who invited us in. Pia was out for just a moment but June showed me around while Jim chatted with Len. The villa is lovely and this couple is having a wonderful time and enjoying Ubud similar to the way we are – relaxing. We talked with Pia and told her to say HI to Henry and Barbara and that we would see them before we left Bali at the end of the month. It’s starting to feel like our trip is winding down.

06 February 2012

Well it’s Monday and back we went to Ubud Clinic to check with Dr Wayan. Jim thought he would say all was ok – keep up with the antibiotics. I wasn’t really sure.

Dr. Wayan took one look at it and decided that I needed to head to Denpasar to see a surgeon down there. Double Shit!! He wrote out his diagnosis and documented the care he had given me and we walked back to villa to pick up my passport (didn’t even think I’d need that) and to arrange for a driver.

We had the name of the guy who took us to ARMA but he wasn’t available. Then we asked Steve (manager of the villas), but his driver wasn’t available either, so our third call was to Mr. Blue who was recommended by Henry and Barbara. Blue wasn’t available but he sent Wayan to get us. Grabbed a quick lunch at Bayu’s (I had a feeling it was going to be a long day) and off we went.

We were referred to a private hospital, Kasih ibu. Dr Wayan had asked if I wanted to go to a private hospital or the public hospital – thank god for insurance. (We have our own and we always take out travel insurance – this will be the first time we’ll make use of it.)

Travel time was 90 minutes down to the hospital and we arrived at the ER, filled out papers and were told that the surgeon was still at another hospital but would be there in about an hour. Compared to the wait in US hospital ERs (from personal experience-I worked in one for four years), an hour wait is nothing.

It was just about an hour and the surgeon arrived, took one look at the cyst and the words, general anesthesia were mentioned. Aghhhh!!! I won’t go into the whole medical thing but he didn’t feel comfortable doing the excision under local so I was admitted. Within an hour of the surgeon arriving, I was in the OR on my way to lala land.

I made it up to my private room (with flat screen TV) about 2130hrs and had a fairly good night sleep.

07 February 2012

Breakfast of my choice (betcha never saw Nasi Goreng on a breakfast menu in a US hospital), more antibiotics, mid-morning tea and then lunch, some more antibiotics and I was on my way back north by 1230. All and all, pretty efficient, and the staff could not have been nicer (in their cute little green uniforms).

The rest of the day was pretty much a blur.

08 February 2012

Feeling pretty crappy this morning!! Anesthesia has never liked me very much so my goal for the day was to drink tons of water to flush my system and sleep until it worked its way out. Not much else to do until later this afternoon, when we have to go back to the hospital so that the surgeon can check the wound.

Bayu’s was a life saver today. Tomato soup for lunch and they delivered it right to our dining room table.

Our appointment is at 6pm but Blue arrives about 4pm to take us down. Traffic in Denpasar is crazy. The Surgeon arrived just about right on time, the wound looked good and he applied a waterproof bandage so that I could take a shower – Yes!! I’ll need to come back next Wednesday to have the stitches out which also means we’ll need to adjust our travel plans to Nusa – Friday instead of Wednesday and we’ll have to find a place to stay in Ubud for two days. Hmmm....

09 February 2012

I felt great this morning. Imagine that!! BUT…as my husband reminded me, my body is still healing and I needed to take it easy.

A little internet surfing, a little reading, a lot of sleeping.

We did try a new warung for lunch. We’d walked by it a couple of times and I really don’t know why we hadn’t stopped – our loss. Warung Alami was really good. It’s a deli type place with good healthy food: some veg but also non-veg. Cafeteria style: you pick what you want and they put it on a plate for you and you are charged by the item. I had a spicy fried (stir fried) pork with cabbage, a green bean with tempeh dish, potato croquette and miso soup. It was soooo good and inexpensive!!

Bubu’s for dinner – we’re so lucky to have so many good warungs within a ten minute walk.

10 February 2012

I bounced back pretty quickly. Good night sleep (only ½ pain pill – I hate to wake up feeling stupid). My incision site hurts, but that’s to be expected.

On our trip to Denpasar on Wednesday, in one of the villages we had passed, we saw a large group that appeared to be highly entertained. What???? Ahhhh, cock fights. Very legal here and part of the Balinese tradition. Blue asks, “Mr. Jim would you like to see??” Jim wasn’t quite sure but as we’re driving back, he decided that he would.

About 1030, Wayan picked up Jim and off they went. I was invited, “Thanks, but no thanks!” They went to the big arena, about 500 people and Jim thought it was pretty interesting. But not interesting enough to spend the whole day – an hour or so was enough. Lunch was a better idea and with Wayan at our service we had him drive us to Delish, an Indian place down near ARMA. Ohhhh, it was so good. Masala dosa just like I remember from India! Plus we stopped at the Tourist Office to get tickets for the Friday Evening performance of the Kecak/Fire Dance at Pura Dalem Ubud.

The Kecak/Fire Dance performance was really good. At the Pura Dalem, it is performed open air in the outer area in front of the temple. There were about 30 men singing and then 10 main performers who act out the struggle between good and evil. (In truth, the Barong Dance was nice but this was more entertaining.

Posted by pjburke 00:08 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Five Months, Two Weeks Down - One Month to Go

20 January - 03 February 2012

20 January 2012

We’ve been here a week and we’re really enjoying Bali. We’ve found (like we did in Hawaii), when you’re in one place for a month you don’t have to go, go, go. It’s lovely to take your time and get to know a place, little by little.

Again I worked on the website and for some reason, today, I was able to download photos and sent off the first posting from Myanmar.

One, not so good thing, I have a cyst on my back that has become uncomfortable. I was able to SKYPE my MD’s office in Tucson and make an appointment to be seen when I get back to have it removed. Hope it can wait.

21 January 2012

This morning we had planned on a walk through some new areas but the weather had different plans. It started to rain right after breakfast and it rained ALL day.

Sometimes my husband has the most awesome ideas….”how about another spa day”?? We had picked up a brochure for Putri Bali while at Lala Lily’s the other day and Jim suggested we try them. Note: With so many different spas and restaurants we like to try different places, first of all to see what they have to offer, but also to support more of the local businesses.

We called and got appointments for that afternoon and as with most spas in the area – they came and picked us up. Jim had a 90 minute Thai massage and I had a facial and a pedicure – about 300K Rp for both of us. We had a lovely afternoon with an early dinner at Warung Pulau Kelapa (close walk from the spa) that completed it. The food was excellent.

22 January 2012

Quiet but dreary Sunday, it looked like it would rain all day…but never did. I’m jazzed that I finally finished the narrative for Myanmar and was able to post it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add photos soon.

Yellow Flower Café has a buffet each Sunday starting at 6pm. At 65,000Rp ($7USD) for the buffet, soup and dessert, it’s a real treat.

23 January 2012

Happy Lunar (Chinese) New Year!!

Rain all night brought clear skies this morning. I headed off for my second batik class. Again, it’s a private lesson just for me. I’m really enjoying the class and this morning we worked on blocking with different brushes and crackling. Red is the color of the day. We need to let it dry so that when I come back next Tuesday we’ll put on the final touches – I think!!

Jim met me at the end of class and we checked with the Post Office to see if our passports (with extended Visas) had arrived. Fortunately, they were just being delivered. From there, it was off to lunch – Warung Little India on Hanoman. Yum!!

24 January 2012

Up early, nice day outside but Jim’s a bit grumpy – just one of those days. We decided to get out and walk a bit but it’s really HOT.

A jump in the pool when we get back and Jim notices that the cyst on my back is getting redder. Shit!! Off to Ubud Clinic to see what the MD says. The clinic is about a ten minute walk from the villa. We get there and their power is out. In Myanmar it was not unusual at all for the power to go out, sometimes two or three times a day, but this was only the second time we’d experienced outages in Bali – even with some really bad lightning storms. Anyways…MD sees me, ups the antibiotics I’d already been taking for Malaria prevention for Myanmar (I was almost done with those-ugh) and gave me some ointment. If it’s not better, I need to come back in a week. The only bad thing is – I can’t touch it – which shoots the hell out of a full body massage – guess I’ll have to stick to my feet.

Dinner at Sari Bamboo makes me feel a little better. Did I mention, they have the some of the best lumpia we’ve had. They don’t fry theirs – more like a think crepe with veggie filling. Sooooo good!!!

25 January 2012

At breakfast, Upik tells us there will be a procession to one of the big temples in Ubud today and he will be there playing the gamelan (Balinese instrument similar to a xylophone). We head into Ubud for lunch (a place near the football field that was only OK) and we catch the procession about 3pm but we never saw Upik. (We found out later he was up inside the temple.)

Mendez for dinner – I tried their pasta with tomato sauce and was really good – I was in need of a western food fix.

26-29 January 2012

These couple of days were down days for us - both physically and mentally. The weather was hot and rainy and it was good for us to try and re-energize. Both Jim and I have been going through books like water. Thankfully, there were some good books in the villa but we (actually my totally non electronic husband) have decided that it’s Kindle time when we get home.

One morning we checked out the Puri Lukisan Museum. It is small but very peaceful.

Igelanca for lunch one day…it was really good.

30 January 2012

It rained hard all night long and we had our doubts about taking our bike tour but things worked out. Gaday from Happy Bike Tours (www.happybiketours.com 350K Rp per person) picked us up at 0815 and we were the only people on the tour. Glad this company doesn’t have a minimum number for its tours. It was drizzling a little but as we made our way north (by van) it gradually stopped. These bike tours aren’t just riding, first we stopped at a coffee plantation. Balinese coffee (kopi) is pretty good and they are famous for Kopi Luwak (remember The Bucket List??) which we tried. The coffee tasting is free but the Luwak cost $3 a cup extra. Glad we tried it but I can’t say I’d try it again or pay the $100-$600 per pound (not sure why some are so much more expensive than others – poo is poo!!!)

From the coffee plantation we made our way up to a restaurant overlooking Mt Batur for brunch. We lucked out, the weather broke and we had beautiful blue skies and could clearly see the top of Mt Agung in the distance and the caldera lake of Batur. Still an active volcano area, Gunung Batur is constantly letting off steam, which we could see a small trail from our vantage point.

Back down the mountain, we got on the bikes on a side road to ride for about 25km (mostly downhill except for a few very steep short uphill climbs) through rice fields and villages. This ride gets the prize for the most children (and adults) who waved and said “hello” as we rode by.
The tour ended at the beautiful home of Made (Happy Bike Tours owner) for midafternoon lunch. Again, since it was just Jim and me, it was a private lunch with six or seven different delicious dishes made by Made’s wife. Before we headed back to the villa, Made came out and we chatted with him for quite a while: about him, his family, how the business got started. He’s a very hard worker as are his employees.

Quiet night back at the villa, we definitely didn’t need dinner.

31 January 2012

My last batik class. We did a little more blocking and cracking, the finish color and final rinse in boiling water to get rid of the wax. I’m really pleased with the final product.

Jim was going to meet me at class but I was done early and back to the villa before he left.

The cyst on my back was not feeling any better and I was feeling pretty bad in general. Tomorrow is the major Hindu holiday of Galungan so if it’s not better I’ll be seeing the MD again on the 2nd.

01 February 2012

Yes, it’s my birthday. Nice, quiet day today. No Upik this morning, so we were on our own for breakfast – I think we remembered how to do that.
Near us, many of the businesses and warungs are closed so we headed into Ubud. It’s a tourist town, so we knew we’d find someplace to grab a bit to eat and we did. Don’t know the name, but it was really small and down a side alley off Monkey Forest Rd but the food was so good.
Truthfully, I wasn’t up to any big celebrations. Jim let me pick out a five hour spa day for my birthday present - it will have to wait but I'll get it in before we leave Bali.

I’ll be seeing Dr Wayan tomorrow.

02 February 2012

Off to the MD in the morning and I won’t go into details but whatever was inside was taken out with three syringes and I was given stronger antibiotics and I’ll need to go back on Monday. If it hasn’t gotten better, I’ll be heading down to Denpasar (the capital) to see a surgeon… and I thought staying off a moto would keep me out of a hospital in Bali. Hmmmm!!

03 February 2012

Rained most of the afternoon and I really didn’t feel like going out so I spent time on line planning our trip to the beach in two weeks. If all goes well, we leave for Nusa Lembongan on 2/15 (staying at Secret Garden) and then on to Gili Air on 2/20 (staying at Juliantos by the Sea).

A good day to read!!

Posted by pjburke 23:21 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Four Months Three Weeks Down - Seven Weeks To Go

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Before specifics, let me say, Bali itself is a highlight. The island is lush and green. The Balinese people are very friendly. (Jim has made friends with the elderly lady who runs the small store next to our villa. He buys beer from her and she keeps track of us as we head out walking each day.) Speaking of walking: we’ve opted walking or hiring a driver rather than renting a motorbike. Neither of us has much experience driving motos and spending time in a Balinese hospital is not high on our “to do” list.

We’re spending a month in Ubud which is the cultural area of Bali. Ubud and the small towns in the area are known for different art disciplines such as: music, painting and drawing, wood and bone carving, batik and beading.

13 January 2012

Four hours to paradise!!! Oni (our driver from Villa Kembali) meets us at the airport and we make the one hour drive to Ubud (actually Penestanan) and arrive at our villa. It looks just like the photos!! We check in with Steve (the owner) and are introduced to Upik, our house boy. During our stay, he will be making breakfast and cleaning the villa each day. Oh my, this could become addictive.

We were a little tired so we decide on Bayu’s Kitchen for dinner. It’s owned by Steve and his partner, Bayu (hence the name) and it’s right next door, convenient and the food is pretty good!!

14 January 2012

After a really good night sleep, we’re greeted by Wayan, it’s Upik’s day off. Breakfast is tropical fruit, toast (bread from Casa Luna bakery), coffee and/or tea, just what we need to start the day.

We’re here for the month, so our first day was a bit of a “housekeeping day”. Not that we had to do the housework but we got laundry together (Wayan took it to the laundry), made a trip to the grocery store (Bintang Grocery Store) for munchies, beer, tonic, etc. and just getting familiar with what’s around us. Note: We got the heads up from Henry prior to our trip. Alcohol is pretty expensive in Bali, so we made a stop at duty free in Bangkok. This is definitely G/T weather.

Jim headed out for a walk while I worked on the Myanmar narrative portion of our trip for the website. I started on the task of documenting almost a month of Myanmar travels. He found a place to get his haircut and with a shave - $5USD.

Not far from our villa is Warung Mendez – warungs are small cafes/restaurants. It was recommended by Barbara and Henry, so we headed there for lunch. There are so many restaurants in Ubud that we really want to try as many as we can but I think Mendez will become one of our “go to” places. The food was really good. Our afternoon consists of a swim, some rain, a nap. All is good!!!

This evening, it’s Sari Bamboo for dinner, also really good. Sorry Myanmar, but Bali has it all over you as far as consistently good food.
There is a reason it is so lush here…rain!!! Similar to Florida or Hawaii, it rains a bit every day.

15 January 2012

About 0815 and Jim headed off to a cooking class this morning at Paon Cooking School. We agreed it’s good for both of us to have some “me” time. For me, some more website time.

Jim’s class went really well. The small group headed to the market, rice fields and a temple for a little Balinese culture before class. Fortunately for me, most of his classmates were staying at hotels so Jim got to bring back enough leftovers for our dinner. Yum!!

16 January 2012

Off to check out Ubud today. Our villa is about a 15 minute walk outside Ubud in Penestanan. The walk into the actual town is along a fairly busy (with small cars and motos) small road. Once in Ubud, we find the post office and checked out a place for me to take batik class. We also stopped at the Tourist office to see what information they could offer. Boy, they could sure take lessons from the NZ i-Sites. This location was probably the worst tourist office I’ve been to on our whole trip. Both people (a man and a woman) working there decided that they would much rather read the newspaper than give us any type of help, which is really odd because we’ve found most Balinese people to be extremely helpful.

Back in Penestanan, along a lovely side path (which is used as a main walk way to many different villas), we find Yellow Flower Café. It seemed like the perfect place for lunch. The location is very tropical, the food especially good and as we chat with Aday (the owner) we find out he knows Barbara and Henry very well.

What to do this afternoon??? Eve’s Spa is less than a one minute walk from our villa and we decide to take advantage of their inexpensive services. Note: Bali is heaven on earth for someone who enjoys a little pampering. For less than 300K Rp ($35), Jim and I both had 60 minute massages and I had a manicure. This could become habit forming!!

Dinner tonight is at Bubu’s. We were going to go to a place along one of the paths but we left our flashlight at the villa. Being very narrow, the paths are quite dangerous to walk along after sunset with no flashlight. Our lack of lighting was actually good luck for us. Bubu’s was really good, especially their “award winning” black rice pudding with coconut milk. I’ve got to make this when we get home!!!

17 January 2012

Before breakfast, I headed off for an early morning walk along the back paths and rice fields. Morning mist still in the air and very few people, it was so peaceful.

We headed back up to Ubud and stopped at Highway Connections to check out what we’ll need to do to get our Visas extended. VOA (Visa on arrival - $25USD at the airport) is only good for 30 days and since we want to stay a little more than six weeks, an extension is needed. We know that it will be more expensive than the VOA but we’re not sure how much. Highway tells us they can do it for 900,000 Rp (about $100) each. Whoa – didn’t realize it would be that much. We can do it ourselves but we would need to take a car back to Denpasar (about 500,000 R/T) plus the cost of the visa. We had heard that the Post Office was another possibility and since it was just around the corner – off we go. Well, it’s actually an agency inside the Post Office but they can do the extension for 600,000Rp (about $65USD). As Jim would say, “then that would be less!!”

After handing over our passports we wander down to Ibu Oka for lunch. Ibu Oka does one dish and they do it really well – suckling pig. It’s been on a couple of TV shows (No Reservations being one of them) but you would never know it. There is a fair amount of both tourist and locals enjoying the wonderful food. We each got the “special” dish which includes, pork, some crispy skin, rice and a bean side dish. REALLY GOOD!!

It’s that time again and on the way back, I stop for a haircut at a little shop. It’s always a little unnerving for me to have someone I don’t know cut my hair. Add in the fact that English is a distant second language, I generally point and hope for the best. But as usually happens, with her skills and a little direction on my part, it didn’t turn out too bad. I did laugh though, when I first walked in, she had a local man in her chair. She had cut his hair and was dying it black but without hesitation she told him to move and sat me right down.

Dip in the pool (which we find we’re doing a couple of times a day), dinner and catch an episode of Haven that aired after we left in August.

18 January 2012

Morning was spent with me continuing to work on the website. I’m still having problems downloading photos. Sometimes I can get a few downloaded and then they just seem to stop. Aghhh???

We decided to start looking at the last couple of weeks of our trip and think about what we want to do. Right now the plan is for some beach time - five days on Gili Air (an island off the coast of Lombok), five days on Nusa Lembongan and then three days back here at Villa Kembali. We’re hoping that Steve will let us leave bags here and we’ll just take the basics: shorts, swimsuits and sunscreen.

Lala Lily for lunch and Warung Made for dinner: both nice little places along the same paths near Yellow Flower.

19 January 2012

I started a class on batik today day. After checking out a couple of schools, I decided to take a class offered by I Nyoman Warta. I really like his approach. Having the advantage of a long stay, my class would not be just one long day but a few hours one day and then a few hours another day until the piece is finished. Works for me!

Walking from the villa, to Ubud I realize that it’s only when the buses arrive around noon time, that Ubud really becomes busy. Even the Market area was fairly quiet. I get to Nyoman’s home and find I’m the only student. In addition to the batiking portion of my class, I learned a bit about basic drawing, the initial stages of setting up the piece (I’m doing a scarf) and became familiar with some of the tools I’ll be using. Nyoman helped me draw the outline on the fabric and then how to fill in with wax using a tjanting. After applying the first layer of wax, then came the first colors: yellow, green and blue. It already looks beautiful to me but this is only the first step. I’ll be coming back next Monday for “part 2” – more detail work and we’ll be adding some red.

In theory, this is very similar to the Ukrainian egg (Pysanky) coloring class I took at Sharon Miller’s house. Color doesn’t adhere where the wax has been applied – wax on….wax off!!

Jim met me for lunch and we ended up at Black Beach – had my first sandwich in a very long time- it was pretty good. I’m in desperate need of some new clothes – especially lightweight cottons – I found one shirt today.

Dinner today is one that Jim’s been looking forward to – it’s Goat day at Warung Mendez – so off we go for dinner. Like any good carnivore, his goat is served “meat on the bone” with a really tasty sauce. I opted for soup with goat meat that was also wonderful.

It’s that time of year…. as any good AI fan knows. We head back to the villa so I can catch the season premiere – yes, “this” season but we get it about twelve hours after the US.

Posted by pjburke 19:22 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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