Archives for the month of: April, 2012

Finally got the photos in again!

Iwent fishing with Geoff  from South Australia the day before we left Candi Dasa but we only got a bit wet and caught no fish.  It was good fun surfing the swell.

Komang took us on a wonderful drive from Candi Dasa to Ubud through the hills to Sidemen where from the Mahagiri restaurant and resort where we had lunch you get a lovely view of Mt Agung.  We could see down the valley but the mountain was covered in cloud so Komang showed us where it should be.

 We drove through the mountains and over rivers where you can “white water raft” and the scenery was spectacular.

I never get sick of the views of the layered rice terraces which are beautiful and very green  at the moment.  Most of the roads through the mountains have clear water channels running by them with people bathing and washing clothes.

Ubud is very busy with tourists compared with Candi Dasa.  It is also a major centre for Art, Yoga, Meditation, shopping – virtually everything somebody would want but we are lucky as we are staying in a hidden away part where there are not so many tourists or shops.

Our villa with plunge pool is very private

 and quiet most of the time except for the Toke (giant gecko which likes to give about four loud calls in the middle of the night and also the roosters(really fighting cocks- cockfighting is illegal but it still goes on) that are just behind our villa and like to start their crowing about 4.30 in the morning but they do stop so you can go to sleep again.

There is a very good supermarket for westerners here called “Bintang”( like the beer)  where you can buy vegemite, tim tams and a lot of western foods.  You can even buy the old fashioned Kraft cheese in the rectangular packet wrapped in alfoil and it tastes like the old version that we used to get and the prices are cheaper in most cases than at home.

Maurice was getting some moisturizer for himself and a girl came up to him and suggested a new one on the market with whitening properties.  Maurice did say that he didn’t want to be any whiter and if anything he could do with a bit of a tan and the girl saw the funny side with that and couldn’t stop laughing.

We have had some lovely walks through some very green rice fields and some rice fields ready for harvesting and seen the poor women slaving away threshing and winowing the rice – they get two crops of Balinese rice a year compared with the other variety grown here where only one crop is grown.

Other women (some of whom look at least 70 but are probably 50) cart large metal bowls of stones and soil on their heads to building sites, most of which are only reachable by small pathways.

There are more and more villas being built here which is understandable as people like having the privacy (as we do) for only $60 a night with fruit/toast breakfast included and the villa and pool cleaned and looked after. Most of the men are either building the villas/shops etc or are sitting at the side of the road with signs saying “taxi” or saying “do you want transport”.

At least the balinese landowners are making money and improving their and their childrens’  lives.  The little warungs (home cooking style small restaurants) around us are very cheap and the food delicious and are run by the few women who manage the place and cook there.  You can get eggs on toast for about $1.50 and a whole meal for 2 with drinks for about $10 so I haven’t been cooking apart from one omlette.  Nothing is too much trouble and all done with a smile.  Some of the menu items are funny – the Indo-english is as funny as the Chinglish.  They have meshed potatoes, creeps, pameloes,smocked duck and rubber apple pie! 

 The map of Ubud shows the “Four Sessions hotel”.

We  have a beautiful spa about 20 paces away  and most of the massages/facials etc only cost $9-$10 for an hour.  We are making the most of that.  The Australian owner of our villa owns 9 others and is in Sri Lanka on holiday at the moment.  We have a lovely Balinese chap called Lopo looking after us at the villa.  His wife works at the spa.

Komang took us up to the Botanical gardens today which are very spread out and you can look down on Lake Bratan.  As we got out of the car the first thing we saw were Bottle brush bushes all around us!

We walked through some of the gardens and drove through other parts.   It was cool and misty there and Komang was ready to put on a jumper.  There were no western tourists there only busloads of tourists from Java having picnics on the grass.

The vegetation everywhere here is so varied and lush – we are talking about changing the garden into a tropical one when we eventually get home.

We had to stop on the road for a cremation procession going past with men banging  cymbals and the coffin carried along on a platform up high.  The whole village usually turns out in  their traditional clothing to transport the body to be buried and then it stays in the ground for a varying period sometimes 3-4years until only bones are left and then they exhume it and have the cremation ceremony.  Komang commented that there were not many people in the procession so this person was probably not well liked or the whole village would have been there!

We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the mountains and valley and then went on to Mengwi which I had been wanting to see for years.  It is a temple and garden built in the 17th century with a moat for the royal family of Mengwi.  It was featured in the 80 best gardens of the world series and was beautiful.  A very tranquil place with perfumed shrubs and fruit trees covering about 4hectares.

We then went to a coffee/cocoa plantation where we tried several types of coffee – Bali coffee and Ginseng coffee and lime (which they call lemon)  tea – and lemongrass infused tea which was delicous.  The most expensive coffee there was Luwak Coffee – the luwaks are small animals a bit like large ferret. They eat the coffee pods, pass it through their system and then it is processed and packaged for tourists who pay $30 for 200gms.  We just bought some lime tea which tasted delicious there but has more sugar than anything in the packet we brought home.

Friends Frank and Raema came up to our villa for the day and we had a lovely time.  Komang took us to a wonderful restaurant at the edge of a rice paddy where the rice was ready to be harvested and we all had grilled duck which was delicious.  We then went back and sat in our plunge pool and then went to dinner all together and Komang and his wife Putu came to the “Bridges” restaurant which is owned by a French Canadian who is very welcoming.  The food is western and Komang and Putu asked if they could also have rice as there was none on the menu and the Balinese don’t feel as though they have had a meal unless they have rice.  If they have a noodle dish they have rice with it.  Most of us settled for the Barramundi which was delicious and the service was exceptional.  A great find for a special meal.  Still about 1/3 price you would pay in Australia.  The only thing we didn’t have was wine which was very expensive and not as thirst quenching as the delicious juices or beer which is very reasonably priced.

We have been in Ubud a week and have one more week here before flying to Singapore for 1night and then get the train up to Bangkok for 5nights and then onto Chiang Mai for 6nights before heading to Laos and up the Mekong river.

Hope all is well with everyone. 


Teresa and Maurice

The traditional village with woven banana leaf decorations.

We have been doing a lot of walking around the side streets and villages around Candi Dasa.

We  walked to a small traditional village which specializes in weaving intricate and beautiful baskets. There was some kind of ceremony going on but they were all very quiet so we didn’t hang around.

The children are so confident even at an early age and get around the village in groups on their own.

We are enjoying our time in our beautiful little hotel Pondok Bambu (14 rooms) of which there are only 3 occupied in this still off season up here.

 The hotel is owned by a dutch person who also owns a restaurant accross the road and he has included all the little “attention to detail” – excuse the pun! things of a 4star hotel all contained in this little place right on the water.

 The 22 staff are all lovely and can’t do enough for us and I’m sure they would be the same if the place were full of guests.

 There is a breeze most of the time and it is so nice sitting at the water’s edge just looking over the ocean. The meals here are delicious and the breakfast is fantastic – all for $40 for a room including breakfast.

The place is so well planned with each bungalow at an angle so you don’t see into anyone else’s place and a long central garden with masses of flowering trees and shrubs so it is very private.

 We kept our massage guy from a few doors down and at $5 a massage Maurice and I have been having one nearly every day.

The ocean here is very clean and clear and a lovely temperature.

Looking down the garden towards the restaurant, pool and the ocean.

The Bahasa Indonesian I learnt years ago is slowly improving and the staff here and our friends Komang and his wife Putu correct me and help me withwords that I’ve forgotten or don’t know.

All over the island the women are threshing the rice and the fields are a mixture of brown with rice already harvested and growning fields of rice.

We went with Komang and Putu on Sunday to a place called Tirta Gangga which is a beautiful water palace to the north of the island and translated means Water from the Ganges as the Hindus believe it has healing properties.

It was built by the king of Karangasem in 1946.It was nearly totally destroyed by an eruption by Mt Agung in 1963 and then rebuilt.

It was then restored and it now a series of pools some containing enormous koi and other pools for swimming and bathing.

We were lucky that there was noone around in the deep pool and we had a nice swim in the rather cool, clear water.

We then went on to Amed a fishing village further to the north where some foreigners have built houses like in many areas of Bali. 


We had some delicious seafood in a small restaurant high above the village.

I had read in one of the local brochures about a Balinese dark chocolate producer who also produced naturally scented soaps and lotions.  It was a strange collections of buildings not unlike the “hobbit” houses from “Lord of the Rings” and located right on the edge of the water.  It was hard to find and Komang had to negotiate a narrow driving path through a coconut plantation.  He was scared of a coconut falling on his car.  The chocolate was 70-85% cocoa and one called “Krunch” had roasted black rice in the middle – very nice but very unusual and the whole place was unusual to say the least. 

We have made friends with a fun couple from South Australia who are at the same hotel and have had some nice meals with them here.  On Friday we move on to 15mins walk south of Ubud for the next 2 weeks before flying on to Singapore and then by train up to Bangkok.

The lovely thing we have found still in Candi Dasa and Lombok is the way the locals all smile and say hello if they meet you on the road.  The tiniest child who can wave will do so and say hello if they can.






The kids are so cute.  This lot were on their break at school.




 Candi Dasa town is very quiet at the moment with a lot of the small hotels with many vacancies and only a few of the tables occupied at the many restaurants.   Everyone on Lombok in the Sengiggi area and here in Candi Dasa has said how quiet it is. 


The restaurants said that this year their only busy time was when a few cruise ships came in for the day.

We have a good massage guy come to the hotel at the bargain rate of $5 each and he is very experienced and does a good job.  I am starting to have a massage now that my bruises are starting to heal.

Tomorrow we will walk down to the Candi Beach Cottages a few kms out of town to see our friend Gustu who is now working there.  Komang our friend is going to come and take us to Tirta Gangga – a royal water palace in Karangasem where we can also swim.

A lot of people on the street wanting to transport you somewhere by car or motorbike. Most of the reasonably priced accommodation in Candi Dasa is located along the main road which is extemely noisy at various times of the day.




I should have known when I booked our hotel on the net that no bathroom was shown – a good indication of what the hotel is like! 

The walkway down to the infinity pool is impressive and the view lovely but our room with no window is like a cave as the lighting isn’t the best at night like in most of the smaller hotels here on the island. Maurice uses his torch to read at night!

The bathroom has an open area good for letting the mosquitos in and is facing the walkway so a person could easily come over the wall. The door which we have trouble opening sounds like one you’d find in  a haunted house as you open and close it!  We have decided to move on to a small hotel two doors down which has a lovely garden setting, windows and a more secure feel to it.

We have had some delicious Indonesian food so far -delicous fresh fish and fish in banana leaf with Balinese spices. There is the usual amusing English -pancakes with “crashed coconut” and I had an iced tea which was hot tea in a glass with ice blocks. 

Today we took a lovely boat trip about 1/2 hour away to what they advertise as the “white sand beach”  – well the sand was a little less black than around the hotels in Candi Dasa but a long way away from being white! 

The small bay however was just beautiful and the water was crystal clear. 





On the way to the “white sand beach” with Mt Agung in the background.





                                         Leaving the beach with our boat man.

Even coming into Padang Bai harbour on the ferry from Lombok the water was very clear and we saw a lot of small fish                                      

                                                    Maurice and friend Ganesh

On Lombok one of our lovely staff at the hotel said that he wouldn’t wear a hat like Maurice’s one as only the peanut sellers wear one like that.  Never thought of Maurice as a peanut seller – maybe we could do some business here!

We had a lovely trip back to Bali from Lombok on the slow boat which was very relaxing. We opted this time for the air conditioned section which cost us each $7.50 for the 4 1/2 hour trip.
Even though Lombok and Bali are so close the difference is enormous with Bali being much busier and more affluent even up on the east coast where we are.

A lot of transport on Lombok is by horse and cart





or by bemos (very small buses with bench seating
along each side of the vehicle. We didn’t use these as we would have to fold ourselves in half to get into them and sit with our legs around our heads.                                        





 Worksafe would love to see this truck on Lombok!




The main tourist area of Candi Dasa is along one main street and there are a lot of restaurants all touting for businesss. There doesn’t appear to be many tourists here but quite a bit of traffic up and down the main road which is used by noisy motorbikes and large trucks.Our little hotel with about 10 rooms is again right on the beach
and away from the street noise. We managed to get to the shops to
buy some tonic to have with our gin every night. There is an abundance of fresh fish and seafood here so that is what we have been eating. Our friend Gustu (the ex Qantas manager) is managing a hotel up here so we will catch up with him in the next few days. I also want to go up to the botanical gardens near here which are supposed to be beautiful and the temple gardens at Mengwi.

 Ferry landing circled.  Our hotel location shown with an arrow.

The staff here at our “SunsetHouse” hotel in Senggigi are very friendly and helpful and many often singing so they must be happy!

It is an great place to stay – a small hotel right on the beach with a lovely breeze blowing most of the day. The other tourists are a great mixture – a swiss family, Russian family, two Italian couples who are building their own place here on the island and a couple of Australians.

The seafood here is wonderful and I had a whole fresh small snapper
at a beautiful Italian restaurant right on the beach for $7.50 –
prices we only dream of in Australia especially for fish.    



Daily $10 1hour massage for Maurice.


We have been walking for 1 1/2 hours every day and eating only breakfast and dinner so we are trying our best to stay in shape or getinto some shape after much eating drinking in Sydney and Melbourne!




The sunset house is at the tip of Maurice’s hat.

We have been walking along the beach areas and back streets of the Sengiggi area which lead straight into the jungle and to several small villages.

Some lovely views from the top of the hill.




The photos of the beaches and Mt Agung on Bali in the distance were taken after we climbed up a large steep hill. The views from the top were beautiful.





The farmer ploughing his land shouted hello.





The men stripping the teak were friendly and eager to chat to us with their limited English. 





Peter our friend in Java put us onto Kudus a lovely young man and driver who took us into Mataram the capital which has grown considerably since we were here over 20years ago.We then went to his village Orong to meet his wife and two cute little girls,one seven years old and an eight month old baby. He lives a long way off the main road in the jungle in a village of 180 people and in a compound that he shares with several of his siblings and their families.

We sat on the raised sitting platform in his yard which allows the breeze to circulate around it and drank his home brewed Lombok coffee which was delicious. We just did not to drink the last mouthful as the grinds are at the bottom of the cup.

Everywhere you see mounds of dried coconut shells used for fuel for when they make bricks. There are a few foreigners who have bought land with Indonesian friends who own the land. The foreigners then build a house – even in Kudus village there are French,
Belgian and Dutch people who have built houses there even though it is well of the beaten track.

According to one of the staff at our hotel 85% of people on Lombok are Muslim, 10% Hindus, 5% christian and the rest Buddhist and others. There are Christian, Muslim and Hindus working at our small hotel. They are all lovely and extremely helpful. Maurice would like to take home a little muslim man with a great smile named Mohammed – he is so friendly and works like a trojan from morning to night with a sleep in the middle of the day.

Wayan pictured with Maurice is Hindu and likes working at our hotel as it is small and he can get to practise his English and other languages and likes to talk to the guests.He was working previously in the Sheraton here but he said that they were not allowed to really converse with the guests so he likes it at our hotel much better. He also only earned 275,000 a month at his old job which was only about $27 whereas he makes 800,000 now a few years later – about $80 a month. He lives in a Hindu village and moved here from Bali to live with his uncle when he was a boy and has since brought over his mother and father. He says it is cheaper and quieter to live on Lombok.

On the 10th we will again take the slow boat back to Bali and stay 10days in Candi Dasa on the east coast before moving to south of Ubud for 2more weeks.

We finally arrived in Bali after a few hectic days in Perth selling the boat,fighting with telecommunication companies and sorting out minor problems.

It was nice to get to Bali which is constantly changing with more and more construction of hotels, shops and villas.

Maurice managed to find a new hat (his old one looked worse for wear after getting wet in Sydney) and as soon as he had given the old one to the shop owner to dispose of, she promptly started wearing it.

In Bali as in China some of the signage is amusing. At one of the local shopping complexes the sign in English was fine – Shopping centre but underneath next to a word in Russian script was the word “crap”.

After two days in Seminyak Komang our friend took us to the harbour for the slow boat to Lombok (4 1/2hours). Maurice’s discarded “financial review” newspaper was promptly snapped up by several people who wanted it as a covering for the floor so that they could stretch out and sleep. Recycling is alive and well! Lombok for me is like going back to Bali 30years ago. A poorer looking infrastructure compared to Bali, a much slower pace, much more rural land and friendly, smilingpeople who want to get ahead like their counterparts in Bali.
Maurice and I both fell down some stairs – not the same ones so I have not been able to have any massages yet – am still rather sore but we have still been walking, swimming and Maurice is having $10 massages every day in one of the
lovely huts right on the beach at our small hotel.

The staff are all very friendly as well as the local hawkers who are not upset even if you don’t buy anything. We have ordered a whole duck for dinner tomorrow night as it has to be ordered 24hours in advance – a specialty here in Bali and Lombok so we are looking forward to that.