What This Is

When I lived in Hong Kong I started blogging. I used Yahoo 360, which no longer exists. Fortunately I saved all my blog posts to my computer. So, I've finally recreating my blog. No pictures, just writing, but lots of it, from our three years living in Asia. Lots of interesting stories (at least to me!)...if you want to find out what we're doing now, check out my current blog. If you want to read about life in Hong Kong from 2006-2009 start reading below!

Monday, August 1, 2011

September 4 2008 Bali

Bali is hard to describe. Its beautiful, very green, with smiling brown people everywhere. Part of Indonesia, but a different culture with their own brand of Hinduism. We spent four days in Ubud, a town in the central highlands of Bali. It’s the town where the author of “Eat, Pray, Love” spent the “love” portion of her book. Part hippie haven, part tourist trap, part artistic and spiritual center, Ubud was like nowhere else I have ever been. There are hundreds of tourists walking the streets – Japanese, Europeans, Chinese, the odd American. There are people there that look like they got there in 1970 and never left. Everywhere you go, every street you walk down, there are temples, stone carvings of gods, spirit houses, and tiny leaf baskets containing flower offerings. The stone carvings are often draped in sarongs. The sarongs are of different distictinve patterns, usually with a yellow sash, not unlike the sarongs the people wear when they enter a temple.

We flew into Bali from Hong Kong on Wednesday, February 6th. Our driver met us at the airport and took us to our resort, Komaneka at Tangauda, a beautiful resort on the outskirts of Ubud. We explored the resort, which really was very small – only 22 water villas I believe – overlooking the river. It was quiet, peaceful and very, very green. We went to a pleasant restaurant in Ubud for dinner and then soaked in a stone bathtub under the stars being going to sleep in our mosquito-netting covered bed. I’ve actually never slept under mosquito netting before. It was needed; I ended up with plenty of bites even with the netting. My only problem was when I had to get up in the night to pee; I invariably got tangled up in the netting while trying to get out of bed. I was afraid I was going to knock the entire contraption down but fortunately that never happened.

Thursday morning we had breakfast in our room and this proved to be so pleasant that we continued to do this every morning we were there. The sun was shining as Jean and I went to have our first spa treatments. I chose a Balanese massage, followed by a steam bath, a shower and then a long soak in the jaccuzi. After lunch beside the pool Lee and I took a Yoga class, his very first ever. Unfortunately it was only a mediocre class, so he still doesn’t know how great it can be. That evening we went into Ubud to watch some Balinese dances. There are lots of pictures of the dances on Flickr and eventually there will also be a video on Youtube. The dances all tell stories, kind of like opera. They have their own orchestra for live music. Balinese music is very ethereal. Lots of bells, drums and flutes, mostly. After the dances we went to a bar called Naughty Nuri’s for barbeque and beer, martinis and margaritas. Lee had probably the best margarita I have tasted in Asia. There were lots of tourists and expat-types living it up at the bar, cute drunk Frenchmen and cool tshirts. I convinced Lee to get one that had a swoosh made out of a red pepper that said “Just Eat it” emblassioned on the front

On Friday we went shopping for batik, straw baskets and jewelry. We bought some nice baskets and I bought several swatches of beautiful batik material that I now have no idea what to do with. Everything was really cheap. I wish I could find a tailor that would be good at helping me figure out what would be good to make out of this material. One swatch is a black and white silk, the other two are more traditional batiks that for all I know would look better on a table or a wall instead of on me….

It was terribly hot walking around Ubud looking at all the little shops. We stopped periodically to rehydrate and eat, but eventually we just started walking to get back to a place where the resort shuttle could pick us up. The last little bit was up a hill. Jean decided it was the Bali Death March and it certainly felt like it for awhile there! We finally made it to the shuttle stop which was at another resort. They gave us drinks and cold towels, which felt heavenly and made me love being in Bali all over again!

After going back to the resort to rest for awhile we headed out again that evening, to a wonderful restaurant called Mosiac that had a tasting menu. The food was excellent, and the wine was fantastic because we had brought it to Bali ourselves! I love tasting menus – anything where I get to have lots and lots of different tastes is what I consider true hedonism. I had a chocolate martini for dessert, and then spent a short restless night trying to remember the US Democratic and Republican party nominees since Kennedy, knew I was missing one, which finally came to me - Dukaksis, ha. I guess he was pretty forgettable.
We had to get up early on Saturday to go on a trek along the river. We saw rice paddies, dams, suspension bridges, small temples, and an amazing operation using buckets on a steel cable & women carrying 60 pounds of wet sand on their heads that they dredge out of the river to make cement.

We climbed up from the river and entered a small neighborhood. Kids in school uniforms got so excited when I tried to take their pictures. Mangy dogs slunk everywhere. Besides the ubiquitous stone fences, wooden gates, spirit houses and flower offerings, we also saw fighting cocks resting in their cages, women carrying huge loads on their heads, and a man guiding his very large pig down the street.

After the trek it was time for another massage and then lunch. Later that afternoon we went back into town to look at artwork and antiques. First we went to the wood carving village, but most things there just seemed too mass-produced. We then went to some shops close to the monkey jungle. They had lots of interesting things but nothing we had to have. I start feeling sorry for the shopkeepers, which cramps my bargaining style. But when a large reclining stone Buddha starts calling to me its time to go. Actually the reclining Buddhas are still very appealing…

We laid down for a nap after tea and I almost didn't get back up. But we had a special poolside dinner planned so I’m glad I did. It was beautiful, with candles and flowers floating in the pool.  I skipped the alcohol except for a glass of champagne, since it wasn’t very good. I’m getting to be such a wine snob thanks to Lee and Sarah…

Sunday morning before we left I was lazy, catching up with friends on the computer and watching the electrifying Feb 9th primary results - will the Democrats have to go to the convention to decide their candidate or will Texas and Ohio make the determination? Time will tell.  Now it back to Hong Kong where it is a cold, sunny and damp 45 F. Its amazing how cold 45 degrees can feel here.

No comments:

Post a Comment