Hello All, I am not good enough to be here! Bali is indescribable. I am pretty sure this place was designed by god for a couple of friends of his. Adam and Eve, you may have heard of them. It is our last day here and I am sad to leave. Such good people, good food, good art and good vibe.
I don’t ever want to leave. If I relax anymore my cells will separate and I will have to be taken to the plane in a bucket. Every morning around the place we are staying they go and make little offerings to the gods.
They put two offerings on top of each other. Little palm leaf baskets made fresh every day.
They fill them with flower pedals and a bit of rice or a cracker and some incense and then sprinkle them with holy water. It is beautiful to watch the woman in her colorful batik Sari performing this ritual with such care. The top offering is to the gods of goodness and the one underneath is to the evil spirits, to keep them at bay and from what I can see it is working. Each morning the air is filled with the smell of incense and the path is littered with these gifts.
I am staying in the art neighborhood where wood carvers, beaders, silversmiths,weavers and dyers sell there wares from there store fronts…and again in front of each store on the side walk, these lovely little arrangements. So beautiful and soooooo peaceful…
until I step on them or trip over them. I just cant seem to stop doing it and it makes me crazy.. I feel like such a damned oaf, and fat american. Oh why can’t I just once be one of the cool kids! Yesterday I went to a chinese healer who washed me with leaves and some green stuff and then gave me this to drink and that to snort and finished with a massage that sent me to another place. But there again, as we are about to get started I start to worry that I didn’t bring enough money so I am trying to ask how much its going to cost and if she takes Visa… she rather curtly replies NOT NOW… I am sitting in a little reception area and she is doing something behind me and I can’t exactly see what… language can be an issue so I am thinking that perhaps we aren’t understanding each other and wondering if “NOT NOW” means I don’t have to pay until the services are rendered or if her credit card machine is broken or if the internet is down, so I persist. “When its time, can I use a credit card?… you know VISA?”… I say it nice and loud so she understands better. I can hear her rummaging around with something and again she says “NOT NOW!!! ” So I get myself turned around where I can see her and there she is standing in front of her alter trying to be serene with incense in her hands… PRAYING. Oh god why do I have to be such a bafoon! I did finally get her to laugh with me about it later but I love it so much here and I want to come back but I am not sure they will be glad to have me.
The other thing is they all weigh about as much as my leg… if you stop at the knee. Oh well. Tomorrow is India and dental work… I hope I don’t turn up on the evening news.
So David got the first words and I get the last. Bali is indeed an amazing place. Janet DeBoer you are sooooo right about this place. We got recommendations from Janet out our lodging at Alam Indah. This was the view from the breakfast table every morning.
We stayed in a little arts community village called Ubud.
Our resort was a quick walk down to the Monkey Forest. The Balinese believe that the macaque monkeys are the spiritual protectors of the temple located in the forest and so are protected.
I’ve not spent time around monkeys before. Quite amazing creatures. I understand many other cultures consider them pests. I can see why but was fascinated nonetheless.
We met some amazing and warm, welcoming people in Bali.
Andrea is a Canadian who is teaching at an international school in Singapore and will be taking a sabbatical to volunteer in Africa working with inner-city kids and elephants. Sounds way too cool. So was Andrea. We hope she reads this and sends us her email.(you’re welcome at Ron and David B&B anytime!)
This is a local celebrity who we got a chance to meet. Mr Ketut Liyer was colorful, warm, and reassured us that we were “good men.”
We both realized the first morning that we would be coming back and for a much longer period of time. 6 days wasn’t enough to scratch the surface. oh well that part of what this trip is all about. To see snippets of the world.off to India for teeth and more snippets.
So I’m still running a country or two behind with the blog. I gave you a teaser by posting the pics first. I got a couple of comments, one in particular asking why I’m showing a naked picture of Mickey Mouse with a partially naked man in the foreground???
As it turns out, we got to Singapore after our fast and furious trip through New Zealand. We arrived after a Ten hour flight from Aukland. Bleary-eyed and looking forward to a good nights sleep…we were told we could stay at the Changi Airport Hotel. So I didn’t book us a room, I mean it was only going to be less than 24hours, right? Alas, no room at the inn… So, bleary-eyed we stumble over to the booking counter and she gets us a room for $120/night which turns out to be the WORST room of the trip so far located in the Red Light District. The hall noise was amazing, finally quieting down after midnight. The pillowcases were made out of tissue paper. Ick! We lasted about 6 hours and had to vacate. Which means we woke up bleary-eyed and went exploring Singapore before s/afternoon. Singapore is a City state located at the tip of Malaysia and just north of Indonesia.
This is the place where they will give you a ticket for chewing gum or cain you for spray painting graffitti on cars. Mandatory Death Sentence for Drug Trafficing. I was a little nervous about my injectible arthritis medications, but no problems. It turns out Singapore is beautiful, filled with trees, hot, and interesting. Before we actually got to Bali, we considered coming back a day early to explore some more…but Bali was awaiting us. They dry their clothes in a most unique way. David thought I was having a petit mal seizure when I saw these close racks(I’m alway looking for innovative ways to dry my clothes…hate the electric dryer)
We ended up walking around until the shops started to open up around 10am. We went down this Alley and found a section of the city with all the religious houses all on a street. This was the Hindu temple.
next to it was the Buddist temple, and next to it was a christian and then moslem house of worship. All very civilized all living next to each other.
We ended up at a coffee house(no starbucks in site)and loved the decor. Ultra modern, hip and cool. Cute waiter as well.
As for that first pic, It was just a fluke. I thought the poster was a interesting commentary on US mass media/mass marketing and as I took the pic this guy walked in the picture. I didn’t even realize he was there until after I downloaded the image onto the computer…really was too funny. I don’t know if he knew I took his pic, if he was imitating Mickey or what. But it’s also an interesting commentary on our trip to Singapore. later, ron
Next we headed for Christchurch.
(we saw this on the way…any idea what they are? I thought maybe aliens…)
Unfortunately the Rain never stopped and now when I think of Christchurch I think of Driving Rain. We didn’t spend much time there but headed up to rejoin some of the crew who were at the conference on the North Island from the previous week. We met them at a sleepy little coastal town called Kaikoura.
Beautiful place where we had a wonderful time and great meal. We all got a little happy and really enjoyed eachother’s company. Glenys Mann was a delight to hang with and hopefully we will be seeing her again in the not toooo distant future.
I got to go on a little nature walk not too far from our hotel and ran into the little fella who was just singing his heart out. Pretty too!
The next day we were off for the North Island again and finally for some wonderful blue skies and warmer weather. Napier was a beautiful town with lovely Art Deco Building everywhere. We found the monument to David’s saying: “Titties to the Wind.”
We continued to drive north into volcano country. Spent the night in Rotorua and saw the Geothermal activies firsthand.
The smell was enought to knock you off your feet. Our friend Mike Gerred told us we had to ckeck out the luge track in Rotorua. It was alot of fun!
These little guys were a suprise as well. We happened upon them by accident. During out last trip downunder, we saw the black swans in Tasmania and thought they were just the coolest thing ever.
The next day was a mad dash to Aukland and Goodbye to New Zealand. This was the view from our Balcony.
Aukland was way too short and lots of fun. See you later. Ron
So after our week of teaching in Paraparaumu, we got up really early and got on the 8am ferry to Picton on the South Island.
The weather was really blustry but we were still able to go out onto the decks. It reminded me of when I was a kid playing “North Seas” adventure games. The wind it was a blowin’ and the boat it was a rockin’. Despite this we arrived without problems and then got to spend a few days traveling around the north shore.
We stayed in Monteka and Tapawera. We decided to spend a day hiking Abel Tasman National Park.
We walked about 5 hours at a distance of 17km.
The weather was fantastic and the scenery was amazing.
Big Tonga Beach was just idealic.
We were able to take off our shoes and walk in the surf. We spotted this Echidna (Spiny Anteater) on the road the first night
and then saw this living one on the road as well. Cute!!!
After we left the north end of the island, life became wet again. Really wet and really cold.
We didn’t let the rain stop us from crossing the longest suspension bridge in New Zealand and then take the zip line trip back across.
For those of you who know David’s extreme dislike of heights, this was an amazing feat for him to accomplish. We got wet but had a great time.
I know that these blog reports aren’t coming as quick as I’d like but it seems ya’ll are enjoying following along at what ever pace. my love to all, ron
Dear New Zuzilund- Thank you for not raining on us today, I loved Abel Tasman park and I love the sheep. So glad to be here for the baby ones.
I worry about one thing though, I have noticed that you have a popular drink here that is Tequila based and comes in a can perhaps you know the one, well, far be it from me to judge, but is “Crazy Mexican” really what we should be calling such a thing… I’m just saying, I mean I know Australia wants to make Dwarf Tossing an Olympic sport and thats probably not what we need to be doing, and Singapore does cane people for chewing gum, and, the U.S. did elect George Bush… twice… OK, I am sorry, never mind.
Our second teaching gig was for the wonderful and interesting Glenys Mann (you will get to meet her shortly…next blog.) It was located about an hours drive up the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand.
The flight into Wellington was a little hair raising. The runway for the Wellington Airport is SHORT and the wind between the two islands can just whip. They closed the airport for a time the next day because they had gale force winds. The Kapiti coast is beatiful.
Glenys put us up in a great little motel next to the school where the forum was held the view outside our unit was great: green, mountain, and sheep.
But that really describes ALL of New Zealand. David’s class was good, a mix of beginner and expert beaders.
Everyone seemed to come away feeling like they had accomplised something, even if that was only a small handful of samples! Thanks for a good time! We also met some wonderful people from the other classes. Kathryn taught the lamp working bead class and Jenny was one of her students.
Joan is an amazing fiber artist from San Francisco who we had a really great time getting to know…hoping for an invite to SF soon.
Lastly, this was something David found walking to class one morning. They tell us it’s an eel.
What I’d like to know is what was it doing in the middle of the sidewalk and how did it get there? Are they able to climb on land and can it get into my bed? Eewh!
After our great visit to Sydney and all the fun we had with Pauline and her family, we headed south via Jetstar Airlines to Victoria,
one of the southern states in Australia. Geelong (or Corio is really the name of the town we were in but the name of the school comes from the nearby larger city,) is situated on a beautiful bay.
There is a walking path next to the school that goes around most if not all the bay. We saw blackswans, ducks, geese, sandpiper and Heron. Beautiful setting…and if you can believe it, David got me up and we were able to see the sunrise the first morning.
Geelong Grammar School is an affluent boarding school for overprivledged children, much the way Hogwarts was for the wizarding children…I mean how many muggles do you see at Hogwarts??? The grounds are amazing and the Dining Hall was directly out of one of the Harry Potter Books.
We had 11 students in the class and they were all GREAT. They all got it and were able to head off in different directions and push themselves exactly as they should. Thanks for a great and fun filled week at Tafta Forum. The last night at the Forum, there is a party which included a swingband in the dining hall. The theme was feista. Do you think we knew that or even planned for a Feista themed party? NO, but we were able to come up with some eye-catching outfits. Flo and Don Hoppe were there as well (Flo is writing THE BOOK with David which will come out next year and Don her husband is an AMAZING carpenter and all around good guy.)
As you can see from the pics, a good time was had by all! Next we headed for New Zealand. Not too much time in Australia this year, maybe more touring with the next visit.
Dear Gelong, especially the folks in the kitchen at Gelong Grammer School. I know how hard you worked as I spent the first half of my adult life working in kitchens but heres the thing. Food can be art but you mustn’t be afraid of spice. I know you have a certain amount of dullards who gather round your tables and complain loudly if there is so much as a spec of pepper on there plate which is why I am going to break my own rule of never complaining about food that is prepared by someone elses hands. I do love to be cooked for and I appreciate the effort but let me offer a proposal. Make boiled oats every night for dinner along with something glorious and aromatic and beautiful and delicious. Soon the oat eaters will certainly want to know what they are missing. I for one am tired of the whining complaining dullards taking over. It is time to take back our tables. Thank you for listening to me I hope this will be constructive.
Your doing bacon all wrong.
David and I arrived in Sydney after a lovely flight from San Francisco. We were able to upgrade our tickets at the last minute to business class on United. Oh my Gawd there is nothing like business class for those transoceanic flights. We were greeted by Pauline and pampered during our entire stay in Sydney.
Dirk and Maxine,
who are to be married on the 6th of October, took us out for a wonderful dinner and then Dirk took us up in a 4 seater plane the next morning to see Syndey from 1500ft up…
We got to hang out at the Opera House
and see Pauline’s family the next day after a trip to one of our favorite Sydney sites, the Fish Market.
Addendum From David:
Thanks for the great food and the great company. I loved looking at the Harbor from the air and you hold some of my favorite people.
Thanks for looking after them so well and please continue to be good to them.