Archive for the Category ◊ Bali ◊

23 Mar 2009 Bali Photos
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22 Mar 2009 The Real Bali – Bicycle Tour
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We did a downhill cycling tour with Bali Eco tours.  It was amazing! They picked us up in morning and drove us up the mountain where we had breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur, the volcano and its crater lake. The view was spectacular! You could see the black rock from the last lava flow which happened in the ’60s and took out a big temple. Next we stopped at a plantation where they were roasting the coffee by hand and we got to sample the local coffees, teas and fruits. We tried some crazy looking fruits…snakeskin fruit was probably the strangest looking but actually tasted pretty good. We even tried the Luwak coffee which is made from beans that are 1st eaten by certain species of cat, the beans ferment in the stomach and then are cleaned and harvested from the cats poop before being roasted and brewed into coffee. If you’ve seen The Bucket List then you’ve probably heard about Luwak coffee. It actually tasted ok…just very strong and I’m not much of a coffee drinker anyway.  Then we got on our mountain bikes with our guide, Ketut, who was super cool and funny!  Plus he made sure to stop for lots of pictures! It was 25K, mostly downhill through tons of little villages and rice fields.  Children would run out as we ride by shouting “hello”, waving and giving us high fives. We stopped at one family compound and got to go inside and see how a traditional Balinese family lives. Many generations all live together in a series of small huts or buildings, at the back of the property were the animals…a cow, pigs and chickens. Each family compound also has a temple in which they make offerings every day. Most of the women were busy weaving bamboo mats. Balinese women work very hard in the home and in the fields. Even the grandma was busy weaving a mat. We also stopped in the rice paddies along the way and planted rice and harvested rice. The ride ended in the afternoon with a wonderful lunch overlooking the rice paddies. Yummy smoked duck and chicken, chicken satays, fried rice, gado gado, peanut sauce, vegetables…amazing! We ended the day at the monkey forest in Ubud.  These monkeys weren’t nearly as aggressive as the ones at the temple but they still tried to steal some things from peoples pockets and handbags. You definitely do not wear a hat or sunglasses when seeing the monkeys because they will steal it and they are sneaky!

22 Mar 2009 My Bali Haircut
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On our last day in Bali I decided to get my haircut. I had originally planned on trimming my hair before leaving on our trip but I ran out of time.  So we found a nice spa in Ubud where Sherri and my mom could get massages while I got my haircut. The girl who was cutting my hair seemed pretty professional but she didn’t speak English very well, so I showed her the length I wanted cut off to be about 4 inches. My hair was very long to begin with…all the way down to my lower back, so it takes quite a bit of work to comb it out. The hairstylist only had a small skinny tooth comb to try and get through my thick, long hair…this was going to take awhile, or so I thought. Before I realized what she was doing she gave up trying to comb out the tangles and was hacking away at my hair, cutting them out. My long beautiful hair is gone…it is now layered and falls just about to my shoulders. It was shocking at first but I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s definitely is a lot easier to take care of while traveling. Plus I definitely cannot complain about the price!  It was only $6, which included wash, scalp massage,  cut and blow dry!

19 Mar 2009 A day with the Orphanage
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Scott and Jenni, a married couple from Colorado, along with Tina Augustina, a Balinese woman, run a home caring for about 20 children in Bali at the Yayasan Permata Bali Home.  This orphanage was founded in 2000 by Tina, who grew up with poverty, abuse and a dysfunctional family. Tina has been able to relate to street children enduring similar conditions. This Bali orphanage cares for the needs of these children by supplying them with shelter, food, medical treatment and a loving family-home environment. All of the children are in school Monday through Saturday but Sundays are always a fun day which is usually spent at the beach.
Sherri, my mom, Eliana and I got to spend a very special Sunday with the kids.  Once a year, if they get someone to sponsor it, the children get to spend the day at Waterbomb, a huge water park located in Kuta.  This is a real special treat for the kids and this year another orphanage went to the park on the same day so there were over 80 people including the kids and staff!  It was awesome seeing all these adorable children running around the water park.  We floated down the lazy river with them and went on some of the bigger slides with the older children. We sat at the bottom of the kiddie slides and watched the younger kids as they just went over and over again down the little waterslides…each time they were so stoked. And then they’d come over and splash water at us or give you the thumbs up. As we sat there watching the kids we talked to Scott and Jenni, who told us more about each of the children and what their background story was.  It was heartbreaking…each child has a unique story and are very fortunate to now be in such a loving and caring environment where they are getting the opportunity to get a good education as well.  The youngest one was 3 1/2 and he was so loving.  He kept coming over and hugging us and jumping in Sherri’s lap. He was rescued by the home about a year ago.  He had been living in the streets surviving on whatever he could find. His mother died shortly after childbirth and his father abandoned him. When they first brought him to the home he couldn’t talk at all, he just barely made noises…now he is slowly learning a few words. There were many stories like this…it’s just good to know that there are people out there that are trying to help and make a difference.  We ended the day in Nusa Dua at church with the kids, Jenni and Scott.  It was an amazing and eye opening experience.

It costs about $1,000 a year to feed, shelter, clothe, give medical care and educate each child. As the funding increases, they plan to expand their facility and take in more street children.  If you would like to make a donation you can do so on their website www.asianpacificchildrensfund.org

17 Mar 2009 Happy Birthday Rana!!!
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For Rana’s Birthday we made french toast with caramelized pears for breakfast followed by a day at the Spa. We all got four hand massages, which were amazing and only cost about US $10 for an hour. Then we went to a trendy oceanfront restaurant and bar called Ku De Ta and watched the sunset and sipped on yummy martinis. We had dinner at a very tasty Italian restaurant called Trattoria and then met up with friends in the town of Kuta for a night of fun!

15 Mar 2009 Bali Temple Monkeys
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Monkey Forest

11 Mar 2009 Bali – Villa MacBeth
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We’re staying in Uluwatu in the southwestern region of Bali.  A long time family friend and co-worker, Gary Clisby, told me he had a friend with a place in Bali, so he put us in contact with, Tim, who is letting us stay in an amazing place called Villa MacBeth, which is right on the cliff above the Uluwatu surf break. Eliana (Tim’s girlfriend) was even nice enough to pick us up at the airport!  Thank goodness she did as the driving in Bali is absolute madness.  They are supposed drive on the left side of the road, which after being in Australia was easy to adjust to, however there are so many motorbikes zigging in and out of traffic and people here just drive in whatever space is open…which includes on sidewalks if there happens to be one.  Eliana explained Bali’s crazy driving as “the rules here are there are no rules, drive in the middle of the road and use your horn a lot”.

Thanks to Tim and Eliana for being great hosts!  We had dinner with them the first night at this cute Warung, YeYe’s. It was great because over dinner and a couple glasses of wine we were able to pick their brains about what to do in Bali.  The food has been awesome as well! Just about every eating place is called a Warung, which simply means of small family owned business, often a casual, usually outdoor restaurant.

If you’re coming to Bali definitely inquire about renting Villa MacBeth as its an fabulous place to stay. It’s very spacious with four bedrooms each with its own bathroom. A high pitched roof in traditional Balinese style with doors that open all the way for indoor/outdoor living, which opens to a deck with a private pool with a beautiful view of Uluwatu and you can here the waves crashing as you lounge in the hammock.

We are loving it here!  Everyone has been so friendly and happy. We are also really looking forward to this weekend when we get to spend time with the kids from the orphanage.  They are in school Monday thru Saturday so this Sunday the 15th and the following Sunday the 22nd we’ll get to spend all day with two different groups of kids!

09 Mar 2009 Who Needs 1st Class when you fly Thai Air
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We absolutely loved flying Thai Air, plus it didn’t hurt that the flight was uncrowded so we each had 3 seats to ourselves.  Each seat had its own TV screen with several movies to choose from as well as video games.  Rana enjoyed playing the old school original Super Mario Bros.  The seats also had foot rests and would recline back more than usual, as well as slide out while reclining which made it very comfortable even if you didn’t have 3 seats to sprawl out on.

As we boarded the plane all of the flight attendants greeted us by bowing their heads with their hands in prayer position and they were all wearing different beautiful silk Thai outfits in bright colors.  Soon after take off they came down the aisle with carts of full sized bottles of alcohol and poured stiff drinks for free!  As soon as I finished my 1st cocktail they came by and promptly offered me another one.  Even the food was great!  When we landed in Bangkok airport I almost didn’t want to get off the plane.