2014 Indonesia

We are heading to Indonesia; Jakarta, Bandung and Bali. Why not come along with us . . . it’s going to be WARM!


Of course a trip like this requires some research . . . and why is the window color so blown out . . .


. . . because it’s winter here, even though technically it is still Fall!


We’ve treated some of our clothes with a Pyrethrum spray to help ward of mosquitoes, which evidently can be a little fierce in the back country. It’s supposed to last through 6 machine washings or 42 days of exposure, whichever comes first!


First issue of course is getting there . . .


A long hop with several legs . . . speaking of legs, We bought seats from Denver to Tokyo with additional leg room. We’ll see how that works out!


Once we get to Jakarta, we’ll stay there for several days, then van down to Bandung, about 100 miles away, and stay for 4 days, then a quick flight to Bali for a little fun in the sun!


Day 1


Seems like every trip we go on lately starts at ‘O-Dark Thirty’ as was this mornings departure. Up at 5:00AM!

Like many trips the ‘getting there’ is always the toughest part. This one will be no exception with over 30 hours of travel, 22 hours of it in the air.

18 degrees this morning so, before we left MSN for Denver, the plane needed to be de-iced. We were bathed in a slurry that looked liked ice tea!

But what a difference two hours west can be as we landed in Denver to to balmy 44 degree temps.

The wide open prairies of the front range . . .

. . . outdoor deplaning . . . nice. It can only get warmer as we head west. High of 92 yesterday in Jakarta.

Our  ride to the east, at least as far as Tokyo, would be one of the new Dreamliner 787’s. Nice. Mostly carbon and composite construction, this ‘fly by wire’ plane has lots of great creature comforts. Interestingly,  the viewing windows are an LCD window, that as soon as you are airborne, turn a dull grey making it look like dusk outside, even thought it’s blue sky. That, combined with the soft interior lighting, makes one feel like a fetus inside the womb floating around not knowing if it is day or night. Even the bathrooms have a soft blue light that makes you feel you are stepping into the twilight zone, until you lock the door and the harsh reality of while LCD light blast you. Felt like you could get get a sunburn if you stayed in their too long.

As we settled into our Economy Class seats you could look ahead and see how the business class world lives. In front of them of course was First Class with their little cocoon type enclosures. Reminded me of baby carriages for adults . . . looked very comfy!

Lots of entertainment potential with over 60 movies to watch. Something for everyone . . . I watched three before napping!

. . . which turned out to be quite easy. We purchased an upgrade termed, “Economy Plus’ . . .

. . . which basically gave one about 9 inches more of legroom. Very nice . . . fully reclined and stretched out, my legs came no where near touching the seat in front of me. If you are over 6 feet tall it is definitely worth the extra cost . . . especially on a 12 hour flight like this one to Tokyo. Our flight to Tokyo was long and uneventful taking us on a great circle route through Canada, Alaska on down into the Pacific rim. Feeding us was constant, however no free liquor on international flights anymore with United, at least in Economy Class.

We landed in Tokyo to 58 degrees and very heavily ladened skies. Could not see the runway until we just about made contact with it. Had an hour or so to look around . . .

Warnings about buying counterfeit goods . . .

. . . warnings about buying items made from endangered resources . . .

Health warnings lost in translation .  .  .

. . .except for this one!!!!

After a two hour layover we were on the plane for our next leg to Jakarta. Problem was the fog was so thick it backed everything up two hours. After a short delay,the captain announced we were number thirty for take off and it took the next two hours of sitting on the tarmac before it was wheels up.

emJay and I were not initially seated together so requested a seating reassignment, which went through very easy. That and the fact the waiting room didn’t seem that full, lead me to believe the plane might not be full. And it wasn’t .  No more had the doors been shut when those of us looking to recline began moving around claiming vacant center aisle seating, consisting of three empty seats. I got three right next to our original two seats and settled in!!!

Thee seats, three pillows and blankets, ear plugs and a black out mask . . . plus two sleeping pill. I slept the first two hours on the tarmac while we waited for the fog to lift!

. . . and after a nice meal, slept several more hours arriving at 3:00am in Jakarta, fairly well rested! It was 79 degrees!!! Our driver, Imron, had patiently waited for us and whisked us to our hotel in downtown Jakarta. Although we had been warned the traffic in Jakarta is terrible, and never rent a car or try to drive yourself around, it wasn’t too bad at 4:00am talking only 1/2 hour to get to our hotel. Even Jakartans need to sleep sometime!

. . . big bed . . .


. . and big bathroom


The Indonesians are evidently very space conscious (Jakarta has a population of over 10 million). No room for a bidet in the bathroom. But . . . notice the faucet handle on the left side of the toilet . . .


. . . controls a little, after market add on, ‘fountain’ in case one just wants to take a little ‘spritz bath’. Very clever!

. . . and it finally time to rest our heads on terra firma, the first time we could entirely stretch out for the last 32 hours.  It was 5:00am and the question was whether to stay up an hour and have breakfast, which started being served at 6:00am or turn in now . . .


Day 2

Although we had been up for 32 hours I guess my body was still on central time or some variation of that because I woke 3 hours later at 8:00am Jakarta time and was wide awake . . . and hungry again!

I decided to get up and go the the breakfast buffet and scout around to see what the placed looked like during daylight hours.


Our hotel. . .


. . . and lobby, quiet at this time of the morning.

. . . and very secure! Doorman there 24/7. At times we are were directed through the detector and sometimes not. Sort of depends on who is staffing it at the time or maybe how ‘dangerous’ we look!!!


If one did get hungry during the day there was a little café/coffee shop in the lobby where for about $2.50USD you could satisfied your hunger and sweet tooth in one stop!

After breakfast, I went back up to see if emJay was awake yet. She was . . . but decided to sleep ‘a little more’. At 1:00pm, Jakarta time, I jiggled her and said she might want to get up!!!! An hour later we were having a nice lunch, in the hotel restaurant, emJay Pad Thai and me a HUGE club sandwich. We were ready to do some exploring.


Right down the street was a familiar logo from Wisconsin, the local Harley Davidson store. We didn’t see one on the city streets today, just A LOT of small Honda scooters, sort of a cross between a moped and motorcycle. Haven’t really seen anything like it in WI. Judging from the looks of the way they operate, they might not pass US emission standards.


One of about a dozen urban malls in Jakarta was located a block away from our hotel so we ventured over to check it out, on the lookout for some batik and a SIM  card for my phone. Block M had something for everyone. We first ventured into the five story market that was PACKED with people and merchandise on every square inch. Each little shop had a store from of about 20 feet wide and maybe 20 feet deep. They reminded me of vendor booths at one of our state fairs. The first four stories were filled with clothing shops and each one appeared to be selling the same merchandise, at the same price. Not sure how the locals decide which one to visit.


Near one of the entrance’s was a Burger King which surprisingly had three scooters outside offering delivery service. Wow, in Indonesia . . . one  could really have it your way AND delivered too.


Shopping vertigo!!!! The place was mobbed and we soon moved on to what looked like a higher end 5 story building down the road. It looked very much like one of our Macy or Boston  Stores. Wide aisles, merchandise ‘professionally arranged’, smartly dressed sales staff and 20% SALE signs everywhere! The quality and prices of the merchandise seemed MUCH higher. We looked around a bit more on our ‘scouting mission’ and by 6:00pm we were wore out. We headed back to the hotel bar for a few vinos! The only thing I had purchased was a SIM car for my cell phone. The shop keeper helped me install it. He spoke ‘a little English’ which ended up being a lot more than the amount of Indonesian Bahasa I could speak (which was/is Zero!)!

A year or so ago I had purchased a Chinese ‘knock off’ of a Samsung, directly from Hong Kong, (that was interesting experience). It work fine until I dropped it off a night stand in a Czestothowa, Poland hotel room while on a biking trip. When we got to Zakopani, Poland, I purchased an unlocked Samsung Galaxy World phone which was the same model as my regular US cell phone. It is unlocked and GSM technology so can be used anywhere in the world, other than the US.

(Postscript for my  Chinese phone story: I thought it was dead but once we returned from Poland I put it in the closet and over time the battery completely discharged. After about 3 months I charged it up again and it now works fine!!!) Background photo on the Samsung World phone above, emJay enjoying a ‘fat pill’ at the bakery before heading out on a days adventure in Poland!)

The interesting thing about buying a SIM card overseas for a GSM phone is anyone can buy one without a long term contract. I purchased a simPATI card from Telkomsel  generally considered to have the broadest coverage over Indonesia for the best value. I bought a text, phone and 2.5gb data card for about $4USD. I pay about $70/month for the same thing! No question who is making money on that deal!!!!

As soon as I powered up the phone text messages started showing up including the one shown above between Gary and me from September of 2013. It was from our Poland trip the day my derailleur and axle disintegrated.  I took a taxi, with me and my bike, the forty miles to,  Rzeszow, our home for the night to get it fixed. I had a nice lunchy which I remember it was quite tasty, (see photo above)! Where the message has been floating around for the last year is anyone’s guess!!!

After a few glasses of wine in the bar, two each to be exact, we decided to regroup and stretch out for a minute or two on our bed to decide if we needed dinner or not, still being quite full from lunch. A minute or two stretched soon into 8 hours as we slept away our jet lag. Hopefully . . .

Day 3

Sleeping was no issue last night an before we knew it, 7:00AM!!! Hopefully we are caught up and our internal clock has started to adjust. We both had empty tummies so it was soon down to the breakfast buffet . . .

. . . omelets to order and even a little Thai Fish to go along with it all . . .

. . . what’s a meal with out a little dessert, even breakfast. These little mini 2” donuts were just waiting to be sampled.


emJay had a meeting with the Rizal, the Nature Conservancy country director for Indonesia. The building TNC is headquartered in is literally wrapped by our hotel. An easy 15 second walk to work today for emJay!

TNC’s office  building, they are on the third floor, as seen from our pool. Close by!


We decided to do a little Christmas shopping in the afternoon and this time chose the higher end department store located on Block M. Lot’s of staff and very few customers so we had lots of attention. Again, like the crazy market we were in yesterday it’s a six story building with a large atrium.


Everything in  Indonesia is ‘on the left side’. The steering wheel and driver of vehicles are on the opposite side of our cars and the road direction runs the opposite too. I forgot that as I crossed the busy road outside our hotel, looking to the left to make sure it was clear, when all the traffic was coming from the right instead. Lucky I didn’t get creamed. Even the escalators are opposite ours!


One happy shopper . . .


. . . I found a little bauble too, at the ACE hardware store. Just a little over 12,000,000RP or about $1,800USD. Wouldn’t fit  in my suitcase!


Since we like food, we always like to stroll through the supermarkets to see what they have to offer. At this one the liquor was right out front. The Tanquery was about $51USD and the Henrick’s was close to $100USD!  They didn’t have a bottle of wine for less than $27USD . . .


. . . but if you were a beer drinker, you could get Bud for about $4.00USD a can.


Cheese was expensive with the chunk of cheddar going for about $70.00USD. The gruyere to the right was over $200. Sort of brings a whole new meaning to a simple cheese and cracker appetizer!

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The meats were all pre-packaged and vacuumed sealed. Not sure where they came from . . .


. . . but there was no doubt where these  babies came from, Sheboygan, WI They had there own chest freezer, but no price listed. I  guess if you have to ask . . . maybe in Indonesia you can’t afford them!


And something for our four legged friends too!


By the time we were done shopping it was rush hour and fun to watch all the activity as we headed back to the hotel with all of our goodies. Lots of bus traffic in Jakarta and here was one of the major bus loading areas. The buses entered the tube like passages from the  left, and once loaded, exited to the right. Lots of exhaust from everything that moves. The 90 degree temps didn’t help either.


Fun to watch this major intersection where when the light turned red, all the motorcycles from at least a block back scooted up through traffic to the front. When the light turned green  . . . it was like the start of the Indy 500!

Day 4

Today it was time to move on from Jakarta to Bandung for emJay’s conference.

For the last several days before I have got out of bed I’ve made mental note of how nice it is to stretch out COMPLETELY! Having spent 22 hours sitting upright in a plane or in a semi-prone position (three open seats = about 60 inches) + (one six foot, two inch person = about 74 inches) = Uncomfortable scrunched sleeping. Don’t take things for granted, enjoy the little pleasures of life!!!

Time to take inventory. A money count showed we didn’t need to hit the ATM machine. We are of course dealing in the Indonesia currency, the Rupiah. About 11, 000 to 12,000 = $1.00USD. As they say on the literature, when you buy something over $100.00USD you will become a millionaire as you need just over the equivalent of $1,000,000RP for the transaction!

This wad from my pocket was worth about $100USD!!!

Like Cuba last month, we are not drinking the water on this trip. The plumbing can evidently be iffy and there is a problem with heavy metals in some of the water supplies . . . so got to make sure we have enough to brush teeth and drink along the way.

As previously noted, The Nature Conservancy office was right around the corner and we headed over about 9:30am for our bus ride to Bandung.

A tour of the office looked very similar to the offices of WDNR and other state offices back home, cube land . . .

. . . and what self respecting office wouldn’t have a nice break room for their employees. Although I didn’t see any donuts around. At several meals, when it came time at the buffet for dessert, I saw Indonesian’s reach for fruit instead of cake. That’s a habit I should pick up from this trip!!!

emJay and Rizal, the TNC country director for Indonesia, and Charles, the country director from Kenya, Africa. Although from three different continents, they all spoke English and ‘TNC speak’!

Our wheels that will haul 60 of us to the 3 day TNC, country wide, staff meeting held every 2 years. The meeting would also included about 10 folks from the Australian and United State’s programs.

We had read about the traffic issues in Jakarta and it is best to avoid renting a car and trying to drive yourself. One needs to leave PLENTY of time to get where you are going within the city. Our 20 mile ride from the airport had only taken 25 minutes, but that of course was at 3:00AM Sunday morning.


When Charles, the country director from  Kenya, arrived Sunday night at 7:00pm, the same ride on the highway took 3 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!

Getting out of Jakarta was a chore! The city is in the process of finishing a subway system that should be completed in 2020, which will not be a minute too soon. The traffic in this city of 12 million UNBELIEVABLE!! At every stoplight the motorbikes work their way up the sides of the lanes, and between the cars, forming a large contingent at the front. When the light changes it’s like the Indy 500.

See the video above!

But that’s not where the funs stops! On the way out of town the road had two lanes running out of town and one lane coming into town. See white line separating the lanes above. This appeared to only be honored by car drivers because the motorcycles snaked on the left side and WAY into the opposing lane as you can see above. If there was no traffic coming they swelled into it, taking over the whole lane. Must be common practice though because everything moves along and there were no accidents, although I did see a few close calls!!!!

It was about a 3 hour bus and soon it was time for a boxed lunch that had been brought along.

Yummy! Rice, fried spicy chicken, tofu, veggies and a few other goodies I didn’t recognize. It all hit the spot though!

We rode on one of the freeways most of the way to Bandung and although all three lanes were bumper to bumper, going both directions, the traffic moved right along. Until we got to Bandung. Bandung and it’s suburb’s are ONLY about 3-4 million in population so not quite the traffic issues as Jakarta, but still stop and go and it was only 3:00pm!

Plenty to keep you amused though as vendors passed among the lanes of traffic selling most goodies to eat. This guy was selling funny glasses that when you blew into an attached tube, the yellow retractable extensions would blow out the sides. Wandering musicians would, when traffic was stopped, walk over to small Suzuki buses that held about 6 passengers and sit in the door playing their guitars hoping for a tip. All on about 5 minute intervals!!!

Soon we were at our home for the next three nights, The Padma Hotel in Bandung. Everything is glass or open to the out of doors. The resort sits at a higher elevation so a light wrap may even be required during the evening. Here is the lobby. Let’s look around a little . . .

The resort is multi level and built into one side of a valley. The other side is forested. In this photo, the pools sit between these two levels. The room emJay and I have is in the lower right corner with the drapes opened.

About half of the resort complex. Even the 8 floor elevator is glass. One of the restaurants located on the top floor of the building on the right is open air. No windows.

The elevated infinity pool . . .


The outdoor top level restaurant. As you can see, the Indonesian’s are ready for Christmas! In the 2010 Indonesian census, 87.18% of Indonesians identified themselves as Muslim, 6.96% Protestant, 2.91% Catholic, 1.69% Hindu, 0.72% Buddhist, 0.05% Confucianism, 0.13% other.

Our room was still being cleaned when we arrived and soon it was available . . . lot’s of light!

. . . a huge bed . . .

. . . and a jungle view. Will need to get a bottle of wine and wait for the howler monkeys to make their rounds at 5:00pm!

First room I’ve ever had that came with a pillow menu. Since I am on vacation now, emJay is working, I went with the StressFreeSleep option!

Biiiiiiiiig bathroom with walk in shower . . . and

. . . a hop-in free standing tub.

The bathroom backs up to the bed and the wall is made of glass. There is a full length blind to pull for privacy. During the day, with the blind open, it really gives an illusion of open space. Nice idea!

Looking down towards the pool area . . .

. . . which has a separate pool for playing basketball . . .

. . . and a large separate hot tub.

Interesting little pods you can curl up in and enjoy a drink.

Outdoor eating area where tonight’s welcome banquet will be held.

The grounds are expansive, very manicured and very lush.

with lot’s of lowers in bloom . . .

Here is a children play area . . . complete with bunnies and geese. You can see one of the bunnies under the bird feeder in the foreground . . .

. . . which was unlike any bunny I had ever seen. It’s fur was almost like feathers!!!!

The honkers let me know they were there, too.

The welcome dinner was yummy with a buffet of traditional and western foods. The presentations were in both English and Bahasa. No liquor served but emJay and I enjoyed some vino afterwards. Wine is expensive here in Indonesia, ranging from $15-$20USD a glass!!! Since we both woke up this morning, wide awake at 3:00am, sleep came early tonight. Hope we are finally adjusted to our new sleep patterns!

Day 5

We are sort of back into our old sleeping habits. I get out of bed early, and my place is usually immediately occupied by our poochy, and have breakfast while emJay and Daisy sleep in a little longer.

Breakfast at the Padma starts at 6:30am so up I went to the rooftop restaurant.


Nice view from the restaurant.


Some people need a little exercise before breakfast. Sunrise yoga offered daily on the apron round the pool. Got to try that tomorrow.


Here is a nice little idea for bicycle panniers . . . seems sort of Frenchy!


A wide assortment of foods, western and Indonesian available at the HUGE buffet. So much food . . . only one tummy!


It’s quiet at this time of the morning . . .


Breakfast with the Jakarta Post, English version.


Usually by the time I’m done emJay show up and I will continue to have coffee with her. The she is off to her meetings and I am . . .

. . . off to the pool??!!!

At the buffet tonight there was a great talent show put on by 10 groups that formed among the staff. The shows are quite popular at events like this and many have been practicing for some time. Rizal, the country director for Indonesia, had been in the private banking sector before coming on with TNC said that even at his banking conventions,  talent shows were a BIG deal with some of the participant’s even hiring acting coaches and spending LOTS of money on props!!!

Tonight’s show centered around the environment with many of the groups singing, dancing or playing out little skits, complete with music and PowerPoint animations. The non-Indonesian visitors at this conference served as the judges ranking the groups talent, ambition and skills with a score from 1-100. The results will be announced before the meeting is over. Most of the groups had us all up dancing and trying to sing along with their finale. The Indonesians are REALLY fun people!!!

Day 6

I had some travel plans to change today because we decided to change one of our locations from a beach side resort on Bali to a beach side resort on another island, Nusa Lemgonan. Got some good advice from the Bali director. Soon it was time for lunch. I met emJay in the restaurant and implemented my lunchy, and dinner routine I have developed.


I follow here through the line and check out what there is being offered . . .


. . . the in an effort to treat my medical situation (READ: terminal sweet tooth) I peruse the dessert area next to see how much I should have for lunch, ensuring there is enough room for a goodie or two. My goal is to return home at at least the weight I left.


. . . today’s lunch winner!


emJay’s plate, not mine . . .


I ‘scrimped’ in order to enjoy these two yummies.


Each day around noon there seems to be a 15-30 minute storm . . . and here it came right on time. No lightning seen, but BIG TIME thunder.


But the Indonesian’s are set up for it. There is not usually much wind the the rain falls straight down. Wide 12 foot wide roof overhangs keep the rain out of the interiors. As you can see, life, and lunch goes on . . .


. . . and there are automatic rain shades that descend when the rain starts.

Then emJay was off to her meetings. This afternoon she would be co-presenting with Fitri, the Human Resources Manager for the country program. She and her staff did a GREAT job setting up this meeting. Firti has actually traveled to the US, shadowing several state meeting planners to pick up ideas. She is a quick study!

One thing Fitri learned in the US is having goodies at each break out session. Not only sweets but dumplings, meatballs, etc. Here you can see what emJay gravitated to!

On the job . . .

This afternoon the group had a team building exercise using a local entertainer. Sort of a young Indonesian Don Ho.

He did  wonderful job engaging the group. The final outcome . . .

. . . with some co instruction by the country program Terrestrial Program Manager, was the gang playing a song using bamboo instruments. Each employee had an instrument that played one note and had an assigned number. When the number was pointed to on the board, you shook the rattle.

See and hear the result above.

There were group photos of each  office and island represented. It was a great afternoon.

The evening dinner was superb, as usual, and included an appearance by one the the country programs trustees who addressed the group in Indonesian and English.

Meetings tomorrow morning then once the conference ends, we are on the way to Bali!! Stay tuned.

Day 7

Today we leave Bandung and jet down to Bali, a quick 1 1/2 hour flight, but getting there would be the fun part.

080At breakfast, I opened the English printed newspaper The Jakarta Post, and to my surprise on Page 2, right under an article about Russia, was a touch of home. DATELINE: Mayville, WI. Small world. I wonder if the kids were our riding buddie Dave E’s grandkids!

emJay says goodbye to her new friend Astrid, the TNC Executive Assistant to the Country Director, Rizal. Fitri and Astrid were REALLY instrumental in making our visit go VERY smooth, handling all the logistics for us.

082The estimate was 1/2 hour drive to the airport but it ended up taking over an hour. The traffic in Jakarta, and now Bandung is UNBELIEVABLE, though we did make it in time. For an urban area over over 4 million, the airport was about the size of the one in Baraboo. The one door in was blocked by a uniformed officer who checked everyone’s ticket before allowing you to enter. Then your luggage went through a metal detector for which I did not see an operator.

083A mad dash to the Air Asia counter and soon we had our tickets on hand and headed upstairs to the one and only gate. Crowded and loud! We passed our goodies through another metal detector. As I picked up my goodies from the conveyor belt I noticed the woman monitoring the detection monitor was checking email on her smartphone!!!!

084Soon our plane was called and we walked out on the tarmac to our plane . . . trouble was the plane on the left of the picture was just taxiing in from the runway . . .

085. . . nobody seemed too concerned about it and we just ‘moved to the right’ as it passed by!

087Soon we were in the air, looping around Bandung, and heading east to Bali.

088Air Asia must size their seating for their average Asian customer who is not 6’2”. NO LEG ROOM and my knees pressed into the seat the whole ride.

089We landed in Bali which because of its tourist jumping off point had a HUGE airport . . . and they were ready for Christmas even though Christians make up less than 6% of the population. Our driver from Netafari Villas,  Catah,  was waiting for us and we were whisked to the villas in 1/2 hour’s time.

After we checked in, and enjoyed a welcome cocktail, we were escorted our villa, Pucuk, and its welcoming front door.

The main room . . .

with lots of room . . .

. . . and an open outdoor bathroom!!!!

Here is one of the outside sitting areas by our pool . . .

. . . our pool!

We had not eaten, it was 9:00pm and too late for us old folks to go into town, so we order room service from the Netafari kitchen Two entrees and two glasses of wine for about $12USD!!!! It will be interesting to see what the rest of the place looks like tomorrow.

Day 8

A  very peaceful evening for sleeping and when we woke up it was bright daylight. Let’s look around . . . The pathway leading to the entrance of the walled villas. Very private . . . can’t see in, can’t see our . . .

The entrance to Pucuk. Even has a door bell . . .

emJay still in her PJ’s getting ready for a little morning wakeup dip . . .

. . . our front porch

Click above to see a video tour.

Guests can either eat in the restaurant or have breakfast room service. We thought we would try the restaurant option today. By the parade of trays exiting the kitchen it looked like most guests chose the eating-in option  . . . tomorrow! Above is a table on an island available for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We chose the elevated restaurant.

Great flowers everywhere . . . this is plumeria we believe…

. . . another beauty with intricate details.

emJay ordered the banana pancakes, palm sugar syrup and bacon.

Like many of the guesthouse/villa options the Netafari is about three miles out of Ubud, nice and quiet, and offer free shuttles to and from town whenever you wish. All of the service industry pays into the Chamber of Commerce and part of the agreement is as a  visitor you can go into any store, shop, etc., that has a phone, and ask them to call your hotel for a ride back. Nice!!!

One our neighbors . . .

In town there are many temples to visit  . . .

. . . and many of the entrance statues have been dressed by the holy man for an upcoming ceremony, held every 210 days. The belief is that the statues dressed are thought to be magically charged.

After a brief walk about through the market, where there were hundreds of vendors selling everything we didn’t need, it was time for a gourmet lunchy at the number one rated restaurant in town the French, Locavore. As the sign on the chalkboard behind emJay says, they are full for the night. We were lucky to get lunch reservations.

The restaurant opened at noon and the kitchen was already a flurry of activity . . .

The chef’s gift to the table was lightly fried spinach leaves and marinated mushrooms, with a sweet potato puree . . .

. . . another gift from the chef was a pureed tomato sorbet served on top of a sweet cherry tomato. A hot tomato consommé was poured into the bowl around the sorbet. It was a hot/cold thing going on in your mouth at the same time. NICE!

I had the Sorrel Duck Egg soup as a starter that included a poached duck egg, with a pureed Sorrel consommé and small potato croutons. Great flavors.

emJay had a roasted beet appetizer. Her entrée was a piece of Queen fish with fresh mussels surrounded by green and carrots. A foam infused clam broth was then poured over the whole works.

My entrée was a nice piece of barramundi topped with a fried soft shell crab surrounded by greens and veggies topped with a cauliflower coulee. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

emJay had not had enough and went with the five servings of chocolate dessert. I was full but our waitress brought me a small scoop of white chocolate mousse just so I didn’t feel left out. emJay was to start from the left and progress to the right going from sweet to bitter chocolate. First up was white chocolate mousse, followed by a warm sweet chocolate mousse, followed by a chocolate liquor followed by a slightly bitter chocolate mousse and finally a dark chocolate beignet. A meal in itself but she finished the whole thing!

As we walked out and back through the market we saw these two chickens in the entry way of a shop. Word was they had been told they had a job for the night . . . unknown to them it was on someone’s plate!!!

It started to rain but we headed over to a temple located on a lotus pond. Beautiful, even more so in the soft rain . . .

Inside the courtyard were artisans working on icons including this large puppet . . .

The inner temple.

An interesting note is that Bali is the major stronghold of Hindi in Indonesia. A practice that takes place all day is the placing of small offerings to the gods that are scattered everywhere. Placing them outside of a temple makes sense but why they are also scattered all over the city remains a mystery. They are refreshed several times during the day. Here a young woman appears with her gift tray and leaves an offering. In the morning they are all swept up and it starts all over again . . .

. . . some include food for the god’s like this one. mmmmmmmmmm . . . do I look like a god!

Some of the motorcycles even have an offering placed on them behind the license plate. I bet it’s the ones they rent to tourists. Good luck!

What . . . where did this gem come from . . . did we time warp through a black hole back to Cuba???   Actually, it was parked outside the Havana Cafe where they offered salsa dance lessons every Tuesday and Saturday.

Local urban forestry staff working on a planting project along the main drag . . .

. . . they just plug them into the ground, add some support and wait for the rain to bring them back to life.

Here is a fun shop we saw along the way. I thought it should be Flipper but they left out the ‘l’.

129 One of the local royalty died and there will be a HUGE event, unfortunately for us the day after we leave. The body will be hoisted on top of the bamboo tower that is being constructed and moved by over two hundred men to the cemetery . . .

. . . here was a parade preceding the event that was honoring several of the royalties’ granddaughters.

oh . . . one does see some Western influence even here in Bali. And of course there was the requisite Starbucks which has really made a presence here, all  over Indonesia. When you walk by one they are mostly filled with what looks to be Americans and Japanese.

After a big lunch and walking around it was back too the shack for a little swim and nap. Got to get ready for tonight . . .

. . . when we attended a local Bali music and dance troupe presentation . . . and it was quite a show.

. . . the girls were beautifully made up  . . .

. . . and there was even a demon, who wore a mask. Sort of creepy!!!

Click above to see part of the show.

After the show we had a few hunger pangs, even after having had the large lunch, so at 9:45pm, we ordered a little snack and a couple of Bitang beers. Like happened several time in Cuba, the Nefatari had run out of vino. We may have been drinking too much these last several days.

Day 9

Today we decided to order breakfast in and within 10 minutes of placing our order . . .

. . . it magically appeared . . .

. . . .mmmm they say a hearty breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

. . .  Hubert, our pet snail, had reappeared for breakfast so I gave him some left over butter. When it comes time to eat him . . . he’ll be basted!

I may not have given our unique bathroom its full due in prior descriptions so here it is . . .

. . . PLENTY of hot water.

not a Kohler but their main competitor in the Asia area, Toto!

Go here for the bathroom tour!

Ready to hit the road, we helped ‘clean up’ a bit from all of our meals.

When a guest needs a ride into town it may be any of the staff who provide the lift. One of the chefs gave us a ride into town this morning and had his knives lying on the front seat. As he showed them to me he related a funny story of how he was transporting some guests from the airport to Nefatari and he had left them lying on the seat. They asked him if they to be used to protect them from bandits!!!!

The big preparation for the royal family member funeral continues. This is the temple where his body will be laid into a carved bull casket. His body will then be ceremonially carried up the ramp to this tower . . .

. . . which is still being constructed. It is now draped with plastic to keep the rain off the floral appliques they are applying. You can see the loading tower in the left of the photo . . .

By the day of the ceremony all the metal scaffolding will be removed and all that will remain will be the tower. This tower will be lifted and carried by 200 local residents from one of the villages. After 1/2 mile they will be replaced by another 200 and several more times too as they wind the street to the cemetery. His body and the bull casket will then be burned. Sorry we will miss it, sounds very interesting.

some of the sculptures that will be included on the tower, made out of Styrofoam . . .

Here is an old beauty, a Fiat.

We will be hiking along this river today out to the rice fields. Here four young Caucasian women hold some kind of spiritual event in the foreground. Might have been yoga!!!

We toured the local temple as the construction crew who was building a new roof on the place was having their lunch break. Very impressive with the many side altars and ornamentation. Got to read up more on these.

Here was an offerings graveyard where in the morning they are all swept up and thrown away. Some still have some yummy rice and meat on them though and the local pups makes their rounds for breakfast!

Some  of the little shrines are very picturesque.

Like many tourist towns, it doesn’t take long to get out of town, and as we headed north on the trail to the rice fields, emJay stopped at one of the shops in the rural area to buy some batik.

Another nice shrine along the route . . .

. . . which is all about rice . . .

emJay blazes the trail with rice paddies and irrigation on the right and left . . .

Seems like rice farming may be quite lucrative for some!

The paddies are separated by walls of mud and roots . . . and are flooded and drained several times during the growing season.

This chap is doing VERY well . . . just like your typical American farmer except instead of looking out over corn field it is rice!

This guy followed us for quite a distance and took refuge in the shade whenever we stopped.

Opening a diversion ditch . . .

Time for some bird watching  along the way too . . .

Tending to the soil . . .

. . . and the final process after cutting and drying . . . hand thrashing over a screen . . .

. . . the rice would then be bagged brought to a central area and transported out  . . .

by motorbike!

Heading back into town we were getting hungry . . .

. . . and as we passed this offering to the god of rice I wondered if the god might not be willing to share some of his Ritz crackers!!!

New construction was everywhere. The economy of Ubud is booming. Most construction is poured concreted columns. Columns and floors are held up by bamboo poles until they are cured. in the US we use the same method but use telescoping metal poles to hold things up while they dry. The women were carrying the mixed concrete to the site in baskets balanced on their heads!!!

Wifi is EVERYWHERE and any merchant or store needs to have it for their customers to stay competitive. Even here out on the rice trail, the Pomegranate Café that featured wifi and had their router/hotspot right out in front to prove it!

It was clearly apparent our rural rice field tour had ended and we were back in Ubud when we started seeing stores like this . . .

This was a funny name. Only saw women’s clothes inside. Maybe the woman shops . . . and the guy pays???

There was lots of produce available too, in the local market.

Quite a skill to do this whether carrying groceries or cement. One must need a strong neck.

Soon we were back at our cabana where right outside our door was this bamboo growing. Nice!

It seemed like there might be  time for a nap before dinner . . .

but instead we ordered a couple of beers (no vino available yet as their supplier has not come) and took a swim.

Then time for a shower and getting ready for a BIG dinner event tonight. One of the local kitties had stopped by . . .

. . . and like cats everywhere, didn’t give us a second look!