Part 2…A wild and fascinating cultural experience…All new photos….Do YOU have a story to tell?

We’ve often seen balloon guys hauling these big batches on their motorbikes.
 

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

These boys were fishing for several hours in the heat of the sun.

Often, we share an experience in more than one post. With wifi limitations preventing the posting of too many photos and our desire to maintain a reasonable length of any daily post, a particular story or event may require multiple day’s posting. Today’s continuing photos from yesterday’s post clearly illustrates this fact.

Buffaloes were lining up for their turn at the races.

Yesterday, was our 1400th post since the date of our first story in March 2012.  At the onset, we posted few photos and posted a few times a week, having no idea how many readers we’d acquire other than friends and family over these years.


A young “jockey” in position for the upcoming race.

Much to our surprise, as our readership grew.  Readers came from all over the world and began sharing our posts with their friends, relatives and neighbors. In the stats in Blogger which we can review at any time, we’ve watched the list of countries from entries into our site grow and change over the years.

Flower petals and burning incense are lined along the road providing prayers and good fortune for the race.

This has been exciting for us.  Our enthusiasm over this growth has never lost its magical charm in motivating us to continue with the telling of our ongoing story and our daily lives, albeit at times mundane existence.  

The smell of the incense burning was pleasant among all the other smells.

In March 2013, one year after we started our first post (on March 15, 2012), we began posting daily as opposed to a few times each week.  This feature manifested from the discovery that often our experiences couldn’t be told on a Saturday to be continued two or three days later and maintain its flow and significance.


Many of the elaborate costumes are handmade.

For many of our readers it was comparable to reading chapters in a book…one doesn’t want to have to put it down and wait three days to read again.  As an avid reader, I’ve become impatient waiting a day for the next part of a story, although each night I do so when sleepiness befalls me and I turn off my phone.

Any of our lives are a continuing story. Although, our story may not seem interesting enough for any of us to share, we may surprise ourselves how we can find a way to extrapolate tidbits of our daily existence worthy of note by others. 


Off they go down the narrow race course, lined with spectators on both sides.

Our thoughts, our dreams and our hopes all encompass a story to be told that is easily illustrated in Facebook whether its a new bloom in your garden, a smile on your grandchild’s face or a lopsided cake you’ve baked in your kitchen, it all holds a certain appeal most of us find interesting enough to give it a “like.”


The buffaloes stayed relatively calm until it the race began.

When looking through the timeline of any FB participant in our list of “friends” we can easily formulate a story of their lives as they’ve progressed over the years with events big and small, powerful and insignificant.  At times, our stories are profound and at other times, outrageously humorous.



This is the queue where race participants awaited their turn.

We all have a story to tell.  Years ago, Tom’s mother, Mary Lyman, narrated a book about her life and her family which was penned by an author who’d done this for many others with a desire to document their life story and family history in the written word to be bound into a book upon completion.


The buffalo’s horns were covered in this “socks” adding to the wide array of decorations.

Once completed, every family member was given a copy, a gift from Mary. Although blind, her memory was keen and her head was filled with stories that held significance to each family member in one way or another. What a gift to bestow upon one’s family! Mary lived until 98, only four months from her 99th birthday. 


Somehow we made our way through the crowds to find a decent viewing spot.

The content in Mary’s book wasn’t for the mass audience but the treasures of the stories she told will remain in the hearts and minds of her family for generations to come. 


The air was thick with cigarette smoke.  It appears many Balinese men smoke although we’ve seen few women doing so.

Perhaps, there’s a story inside of you to share.  Its relatively quick and painless to start a blog.  If the concept is intimidating, perhaps a savvy grandchild or friend can set it up for you. 

You need not worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar.  The flow of your words will be what matters to those who love you and those who will be blessed to read your words in years to come.


Pretty little flowers blooming along the entrance road.

And for us, these average everyday people who we are, we remain in awe of our readership that continues to grow each and every year.  We thank all of  you for “traveling along with us” as we tell our stories…however trivial or meaningful they may be, however repetitive or fresh they may appear, knowing we’re never alone with each of you at our side.

Tell your story!  We’d love to read it!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 31, 2015:

Vacation/holiday huts set into the side of the mountain on the island of Moorea, photo taken while on a dolphin tour.  We saw many dolphins but the sea was too rough for any good photos.  For more, please see here.

A wild and fascinating cultural experience in Bali…Buffalo races! Video and photos!

Our video from yesterday morning’s buffalo race.  Two carts took off at a time
while the others awaited their turns.
 

 “Sightings on the Beach in Bali”


This morning we spotted this large fishing boat close to the beach.  It was surprising to see how many people were onboard.
Moments later they were hauling this little blue boat onboard. 

Buffalo racing is a popular sport in Bali.  Two highly decorated buffaloes are hitched to plowing type carts, modified and also elaborately decorated for racing, the “jockey” sits in the cart, reins in hand, knees bent, holding a leather whip, not unlike one would find in horse racing.

After our first steps out of the car, we could tell the path ahead would be congested.

Yes, there are many animal cruelty activists that are adamantly opposed to buffalo racing and we understand their intentions.  But, we’re not here to judge a centuries old tradition. 

As all of our readers well know, we love animals and are also vehemently opposed to animal cruelty.  But, we aren’t here to espouse our personal beliefs over worldwide racing of a variety of animals  nor are we taking a stance on such a position in this post.

We arrived well before the start of the race with many of the buffaloes still in the trucks.

We’re here to describe this unusual experience we’d yet to see in our world travels as a way of life for many Balinese and others throughout of the world.  Their passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the sport is not unlike the dedication one finds for football and soccer worldwide where humans are the target of considerably rough encounters centered around much hoopla and wild celebration.

Buffaloes aren’t intended as “runners.”  Their bulky physiques and ungainly gate make them poor candidates for such a sport.  But, boy or boy…can they run and it didn’t appear it take much encouragement to get them on the move.


The buffaloes were being dressed in their elaborate costumes.

Yesterday morning at 7 am, Butu, our alternate driver for the villas, picked us up for the 20 minute drive through unbelievable traffic early on a Sunday morning.  It wasn’t as if everyone was heading to church and brunch in Bali. 

Most of the population adheres to Hinduism, with approximately 14% Muslim, 3.5% Christian and .5% Buddhism who don’t  necessarily worship on Sundays. 
It appeared that the bulk of the traffic resulted from trucks hauling buffaloes to the races and other trucks hauling various goods to the island. 

Many hands were involved in prepping the buffalo.

Weaving in and out of traffic while constantly passing other vehicles on the narrow two lane roads is a harrowing event in itself, not intended for the squeamish. 

If such traffic scenarios are an issue for you, Bali wouldn’t be a good vacation/holiday spot for you, unless you parked yourself at a resort for a few weeks to enjoy the balmy weather and beautiful beaches.  In reality, driving in Bali is not unlike the buffalo races…one wild ride, for sure!


It was equally interesting watching the prep required as the buffaloes were “dressed” for the event.

Once we arrived at the race track, we discovered a somewhat unusual aspect to racing on this particular course in Malaya.  Wherever we stood near the track, there wasn’t a good vantage point in which to see the race other than for the first 100 yards.  Once the buffaloes were on their way, the vegetation and distant areas of the track only allowed us to see the bobbing flags on the carts at a distance. 

From what Butu explained as best as he could with our language differences, the race of each buffalo cart is timed, determining the winner(s) who’d go on to the bigger races for the finals in several months. 


It was the look on the mouth of the buffalo on the right that inspired me to get a close up of his teeth.  Please see the photo below for details.

Here’s more information from this site further describing these events:

“Makepung is the name of a major grand prix in Jembrana, West Bali, which features racing buffalo races. Hundreds of pairs of buffaloes are teamed up together with their jockeys riding the traditional wooden ploughs that are slightly modified for the competition.

The racer buffaloes, called kerbau pepadu, compete in various open race circuits in assorted heats around the district of Melaya, leading up to the finals, or what has come to be known as the Jembrana Regent’s Cup, and the Governor’s Cup, held annually.

Makepung is derived from the base word of kepung, meaning ‘chase’, similar to the expression ‘steeplechase’. Makepung is one of the unique traditions stemmed from the agrarian life scene of the island, and is a widely enjoyed event in the regency of Jembrana, west Bali.

The grand-scale events inspired from such a simple, traditional pastime preserves the unique traditions of this part of the island, as well as to promote tourism to this far flung western location. The competitions also provide positive impact on other local sectors such as agriculture and farming.

The tradition has partly prevented the shift of land for farming use, and it has also encouraged the people to improve the quality of animal husbandry, raising winning buffaloes for the yearly events.”

Once we entered the grounds for the race we walked along a narrow path weaving in and out of the rows of buffaloes.  I could tell Tom was a bit concerned we’d be kicked or stepped on by the huge beasts but I was so busy taking photos I never gave it a thought. 


This is how close we were to the buffaloes when we were able to get this close up of his teeth.  Even munching on all that vegetation causes tarter of the teeth. 

Being up close and personal was “right up my alley” and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to look in the eyes of these amazing animals, admiring their individual expressions and elaborate decorations that the Balinese people design with considerable care and attention to detail.

At no point did we see any of the buffaloes handled with any rough treatment other than the first moments “out of the gate” when their tough hides were swatted to get the show on the road.  Often, while they waited their turns, we noticed the owners and handlers petting them in a revered and appreciative manner.


Many of the costumes worn by the buffaloes were elaborate.

Now, we get it…the buffalo on the beach every day being walked to the river for a cooling soak.  For all we know, they too participate in the races. Apparently, the buffalo races have contributed to tourism in this more remote part of the island, four hours from the capital city of Denpasar.

We had to walk quite a way to get to a spot on the sidelines in order to see the beginning of each racing cart, most often starting two at a time.  The walk was somewhat tedious over rough, slippery terrain with room for only one  person at a time.  Gingerly, we made our way to a good place to stand on the sidelines only a few feet (meters) from the track with no fence or guardrail to protect the spectators in the event of a mishap.


We ended up walking down this uneven grassy area on the right finally staying put close to the official’s tower on the left. 

We positioned ourselves a reasonable distance from the starting line when we noticed the helter-skelter nature as the buffaloes and carts took off. An official yelled something in Balinese in a loud and intimidating voice that immediately triggered the buffaloes into action.  You can hear this on our above video.

After quite a while and with all the photos we wanted, we decided to head out before the end of the race since we couldn’t tell who was winning anyway.  With the lines of vehicles, participants, spectators, buffaloes and carts it was evident it could have taken two to three hours to get back out to the highway.


The buffaloes were adorned and ready for the races to begin.  In a perfect world animals (including humans) wouldn’t be subject to these types of sporting events and customs.

We’d hoped to make a stop at grocery store on the way back to the villa but Butu misunderstood taking us to a farmers market with mostly fruit, some veg, clothing and trinkets, none of which we needed to purchase.  The two Kataks purchase all of vegetables, eggs, chicken and fish each morning for the day’s meal.  Next time we go out with Gede we’ll make the stop.

At the moment, we’re outdoors on the chaise lounges on a dark and somewhat dreary day.  We can’t see across the ocean to Java, the Indonesian mainland, as on most sunny days.  We’ve already had our coffee and are showered and in our swimsuits as always. 


The buffaloes are being led to the starting gate.  More photos will follow tomorrow.

Regardless of the weather, we’ll stay outdoors all day and swim in the pool even if it rains.  The cabana provides good cover from the rain and will have slightly less flies than inside the house.  There’s no way we can describe how bad the flies are especially after it rains, especially during dinner.  But, like everything else, we’ll manage just fine, flies and all.

One month from today, we’ll already be in Singapore. Its hard to believe we’ve been in Bali over a month.  How the time flies when you’re having fun!

May your weekend be enjoyable and meaningful!

______________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, May 30, 2015:


Rough seas aboard ship one year ago had resulted in the closing of the swimming pool.  Walking about the ship had been tricky for 24 hours as the rough seas increased.  Luckily, neither of us suffers from seasickness.  For more photos and details, please click here.
 

We’re “off to the races” with exciting photos tomorrow…Routines we all love…Final photos of the Pulaki Temple…

Butu, our driver and guide is in the left of this photo, looking out to the ocean across the road.

Yesterday, Gede stopped by with our passports.  Our visa extensions have been accomplished with appropriate stamps inside each of our two passports.  Of course, we’re relieved this is accomplished and thank Gede for making Trip 3 on our behalf.  We’d written a letter on my laptop authorizing Gede to pick up our passports, printing it on the villa’s printer.  The immigration officer had explained this letter would be acceptable for Trip 3 only.

The hard part has been the concept of going through this same scenario all over again when we return to Bali in September.  With this in mind, I contacted the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore by email asking if we could apply for the 60 day visa while we’re there in a month. 
They sent back a long list of requirements but…it looks like we can get this done while we’re there between June 28th and July 5th.  In addition, while in Singapore, we’ll apply for the visas for Vietnam and for Thailand, each of which are required in advance.  We’ll be in Singapore for only one week with five business days necessary to accomplish all three of these visas. 

It appears the nature of our week in Singapore has now been determined although we’ll make every effort to go sightseeing and enjoy the city as much as possible.  Surely, we’ll have some time in between waiting in line and applying for visas.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This funny looking creature was scurrying across the sand.

This morning at 7 am, we took “off for the races,” not expecting to return until long after our usual posting time.  As a result, I prepared this final Pulaki Temple post, hoping we don’t bore our readers with this three day story.

Sign posted at the entrance to the temple.  If you’d like to read it, please zoom in.

If we’ve bored you with this lengthy representation, please check back tomorrow.  Our morning outing will surely be of interest to many of our worldwide readers as we embark on an unusual experience so early in the day. 

There are few activities that inspire us to be out the door so early in the day, although we are both early risers.  You know.  We each have our little morning routine that brings us a certain sense of familiarity and contentment.  Deviating from that routine can be unsettling.

Monkey hanging onto a pole watching the action below.

Oh sure, we attempt to be flexible and varied in our activities as we travel the world.  But, without having a home to call our own, we find ourselves especially appreciating some of the routines we embraced in our “old lives” including the showering and getting dressed for the day, the two cups each of perfectly brewed coffee with “real” full fat cream and the settling in to comfy seating to begin the day with idle conversation, coffee mugs in hand.

One of several enclosed areas for monks to work to avoid being pestered by the monkeys.

Its an easy routine, one requiring little planning.  That’s the whole idea about routines, not much forethought required to put them into action. As we sit here most days watching the activity on the beach in Bali, we easily see the routine the dozens of stray and owned dogs implemented in their daily lives.  We’re not a lot different as humans.

As we easily recall living in Marloth Park, South Africa for three months with wild animals roaming about the house each and every day, we reveled in observing the routines of wild animals.  No, they don’t shower, dress and make coffee but they do fall into a routine of investigating their surroundings for the most likely sources of nourishment and pleasure.  No, it wasn’t always about food.



Tangled family…mom, dad and babies?

Isn’t that what we do?  Check out our surroundings upon awakening for some sort of oral gratification (via coffee or breakfast) and settle in to our surroundings for that which provides us with the most comfort, whether it be taking responsibility in getting to work on time or for retired folks, determining the tone of our day.
Its not always exciting and rarely mind blowing.  Most often, its simple activities gleaned from our personal choices and desires that finds us with a smile on our faces, ready to tackle the day’s challenges, tasks and accomplishments.

This cat, who didn’t seem to mind, was getting a lot of personalized attention from these three monkeys, if you see what I mean.

Even for those less goal orientated, we all begin the day anew with hope and expectation of finding purpose and meaning to what’s ahead whether it be a favorite TV show on at noon, the continuation of a book we’ve been reading or a visit with a friend over a cup of tea.  It all matters.

At the entrance gate to the temple.

I suppose for all of us, it’s about embracing whatever we chose to do to spend our time which has the ability to bring us some degree of pleasure, familiarity and contentment. 

Monkey statue at entrance to the temple.

Who’s to judge what others do?  How easily one can fall into a trap of giving well intentioned advice to others on what they should do:  get out more, make new friends, stop eating cake for breakfast or whatever one may find to be less than ideal per their own standards.

Unless an individual is suffering with a severe emotional or physical illness, how they choose to spend their time is up to them.  Many write to us suggesting we get out more, see more sights, go scuba diving, snorkeling and to stop living in remote isolated locations. 

View of the beach across the road.

Why?  Why would we change what we love when we’re happy? If we don’t share enough experiences and photos each day, please tell us.  We’d love to hear from you.  But, in doing so, most likely we won’t change a thing. How does an idea from others inspire one to divert from contentment and happiness? 

Its this very concept that became the crux of why we’re traveling the world as we are…doing exactly what we feel like doing with the intent of fulfilling our personal dreams of experiences and gaining knowledge.  In that realm is the pure pleasure of the routines we’ve established in our lives that only add to the joy.

Another scene of the beach across the street from the Pulaki Temple.

So today, we’re off at 7 am.  Why?  Because we can.  Because we chose to and most of all, because we can’t wait to share it with all of you!

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2015:

While on RC Legend of the Seas, there was a ceremony to celebrate crossing the Equator with King Neptune as the star of the event.  Actually, it was quite hilarious. Its hard to believe that was a year ago! For more photos and details, please click here.
 

More photos of the Pulaki Temple in Singaraja…Deciding on which photos to post…To do “good works?”



Tom said, “Oh, here we go again…me wearing another “dress!”  We’ve found that men all over the world wear “skirts” and “dresses” as everyday wear.
Wearing the lightweight fabric sari over our clothes wasn’t as hot as one might think, except while in the scorching heat of the sun.




























“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This little hut is located in front of a villa down the beach.  A swim platform of some sort?

Often, when we visit a specific site, we may take 100 or more photos.  Although I’m still, and most likely always will be an amateur photographer, I rarely take more than one photo of a specific scene unless I want “insurance” for an unusual sighting.

More experienced photographers may take dozens of shots of a similar scene to later spend time sorting, editing and choosing their favorites.  I can’t take the time to do this every day or, all of my days would be spent managing photos.  Few photographers, professional or amateur, post photos online daily for the world to see on their own websites.

This obvious fellow was gingerly picking over an orange.

Sure, millions, if not billions worldwide (approximate world population of 7.4 billion) post daily photos on social media.  At this point, I’ve had little interest in spending more time each day on posting dozens of photos on a variety of social media platforms. 

Another adorable mom and baby.

Although, almost daily, I post one or two photos on my Facebook page for friends to see, most certainly as an inducement for them to visit our site.  We’d love for even more readers to stop by here each day.  Feel free to “friend” me on Facebook by searching for me at:  Jessica Lyman, Sumbersari, Indonesia.  There are many with a similar name.  Each time we move, I update our location at some point in Facebook.


The Pulaki Temple is diverse and interesting.

We encourage and kindly ask our readers to help promote our site with their Facebook and other friends if they’d so kindly do so on occasion, as we continually strive to increase our readership throughout the world. 

The monkeys seemed to spend a lot of time in quiet reflection when they weren’t eating perhaps inspired by the spiritual surroundings.

Increasing our readership is not about the potential income which ultimately is miniscule in the realm of things, not even covering the costs of managing our site.  Its about the opportunity to share this somewhat peculiar lifestyle with people all over the world who may find a few minutes of enjoyment or merely satisfy their curiosity as to the ins and outs of our world travel experience.

Adventurists may choose to tackle this hill.  Instead, we enjoyed the view and blue sky.

Its not that we’re all that interesting…but for those who’ve never traveled, for those who’ve traveled a little or for those who’ve traveled a lot, they may find a morsel of information we share appealing in one manner or another.

A nun worked in this caged area intended to keep the monkeys out.

Yesterday, I received a beautiful email from a young Australian man (20’s or 30’s) we met in the Windjammer Café on our latest cruise from Sydney to Singapore.  We’d started chatting and he expressed an interest in our way of eating.  We’d given him and his partner our business cards hoping we’d touch base sometime in the future.  Alas, I smiled when I saw his message in my inbox.

It made no sense to attempt this stairway beyond its first eight steps when they were uneven and precarious, especially wearing the long saris.

As I often do when people we’ve met or readers inquire about our way of eating, I sent him a list of books to read and online resources, suggesting he find a physician he can work with that has had education in new science surrounding nutrition (not all doctors know anything about nutrition and are still promoting high carb, low fat diets when recent study after study proves otherwise).

Scary looking statues to ward off bullies and evil spirits.

In his own way, he’ll do diligence and find what may work for him and his lifestyle.  But, for us, having the opportunity to point a reader in the direction of all this emerging science in order to encourage them, along with their medical provider, to find a path suitable for their health and needs, gives us added purpose and considerable joy.

The main entrance to the temple.

Our travels aren’t about the seeming hedonistic personal enjoyment of lounging in a cabana, living a life of leisure.  Any of our regular readers are aware that our lives stretch far beyond that.


The bell tower.

And, in this life we’ve been gifted with the opportunity to “to do good works.” However, our humility prevents us from boasting about that which we may do for others along the way.  Not everything is a “photo op.”  The greatest donation of time and money are those done quietly and/or anonymously without fanfare, “tooting one’s horn” or looking for recognition or accolades.


The staff at the Pulaki Temple provide food for the monkey as an incentive to keep them on the grounds during the day for tourist viewing.  Bags of feed were available for sale but we didn’t want the monkeys climbing all over us, although a few grabbed onto our legs.

The exception to this is when we promote a small locally owned business which requires the online exposure to possibly build a greater online presence from our well intended endorsement.

Blooming plants highlighted the beauty of the Pulaki Temple.

As our friends and family members in the US roll into the Memorial Day weekend, we wish everyone a safe and meaningful long weekend.  For the rest of the world…stay safe and be well.

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, May 28, 2015:

Part of the “sexiest man aboard ship” competition was to do pushups.  This passenger did the most number of pushups, 66 and eventually won the competition with his excellent dancing skills.  For more photos and details, please click here.

Mastering cultural differences takes practice….Embarrassing outcome when I got it wrong…

 
Here we are wearing saris standing at the foot of the steps at the Pulaki Temple in Singaraja.  This isn’t the first time Tom’s worn a dress/skirt.  Please see below. 

 “Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

At quite a distance…a barge carrying coal, pulled by a tugboat.

On the return trip from Lovina to the villa, the second tourist attraction we visited was the Pulaki Temple as described at this website:

Pulaki Temple or Pura Pulaki is a Hindu shrine located in the hill bank with beautiful beach just in front of the temple located in north part of Bali. It is one of the biggest Hindu temples in Bali situated in the coastal side west part of Singaraja town or 1 hour drive to the west from the town. This temple is set on the flat land with stone hill bank as a back drop meanwhile the blue ocean is just in front of the temple. The holy group of monkeys are living around the temple and keep the temple from the the bad influences according to the local people believes. These monkeys are coming from the Macaca Fascicularis group or Long-Tailed Macaque. Pulaki Temple is one of the places appointed by Bali’s government as a tourist destination that you must visit when traveling to Bali in particular north part the island.”

Bat-like ears on this monkey.

We were the only tourists at the popular location during the entire visit.  Our driver, Butu, escorted us through the temple having been there many times in the past with other tourists.   His English is limited although he managed to communicate a few key aspects worthy of note. 

These two were sitting on a wall observing the activities of the others.

We were charged a nominal fee for the cost of the saris, IDR $50,000, US $3.69 (for both) which are required to be worn upon entering a Hindu temple.  It was hot and humid but this level of dress wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as it was when I wore the “abaya” and Tom wore a “thobe” when we visited the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE as shown in this photo below, coincidentally about three years ago in the later part of May.  Here’s link to that post in 2013.

In 2013, we lived in Dubai for two weeks in a high rise vacation condo.  Unfortunately, I was ill during our entire stay in Dubai with an awful virus and sinus infection which developed on the prior Middle Eastern cruise.  It was during this time while I was still ill that we visited the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi.  The temperature that day was at least 40C, 104F.  The black silky fabric over my long pants was uncomfortable.  Tom was OK in the cooler lighter fabric of  white thobe.

The attendant at the Pulaki Temple dressed us, over our clothes, in the sari with the accompanying waistband.  Tom had a bit of difficulty walking with the long skirt reaching to the ground. 

Many of us have worn our share of long skirts and dresses, easily able to walk without tripping.  I laughed when he mumbled under his breath about the tangled fabric around his legs, making walking up the steps difficult. 

Nice teeth!

We were both fascinated with the design of the temple taking many photos we’ll share over the next few days.  I was particularly excited to take photos of the Long Tailed Macaque monkeys who were relatively tame but nonetheless wild animals. 

In many ways, they’re so much like us.

At night, the monkeys live in the forest behind the temple visiting the temple during the day when they’re fed not only by the religious personnel but also by the tourists.  They weren’t as pesky as we’d expected although on a few occasions they wrapped their arms around our legs. 

A baby hanging on for dear life!  Notice the little point atop the mom’s head.

We’d read stories online about tourists being bite by monkeys at temples although not a common occurrence.  In any case, it made sense to stay back a reasonable distance as we’ve learned in our travels after spending considerable time in the presence of wild animals.  They are “wild” after all.  And, even tame animals, especially monkeys, can attack unprovoked.

This monkey had lost an eye.

Now on to the embarrassing part…

After we were satisfied we’d seen all we wanted to see and do at the Pulaki Temple we’d handed back our saris.  I asked for “toilet” a word commonly recognized the world over as opposed to asking for a “restroom” or “ladies or men’s room.”  In many countries the letters “WC” for “water closet” are posted at the appropriate locations.

This fellow checked us out as we entered the temple.

We were pointed in the direction of the water closet, a short distance from the entrance area to the temple requiring we walk over uneven terrain and a grassy yard without a path.  An attendant followed us to collect the payment for using the WC of IDR $2000, US $.15 which Tom handed her promptly.

Opening the door to the WC, I was stunned.  This was a first for me in all of our world travels to date, keeping in mind, that I try to avoid using public facilities as much as possible.  There was no toilet so to speak, only this similar porcelain lined hole in the floor as shown in this photo I found online:

Not our photo. (I never take the camera into a WC with me).  Some of these squatting toilets are raised a little.  The one I used at the temple was flush (no pun intended) with the floor as shown.

This isn’t a position I find required in our daily lives.  And, at my age of 68, not one I can easily maneuver purely from lack of practice, although now I may start working on this particular stance.

Angry statues at Hindu temples are intended to keep “evil” and “bullies” away.

Recalling how well I mastered peeing in odd situations referred to as “checking the tire pressure” as our guide Anderson described during our safari in the Masai Mara in October, 2103, I wondered how I’d manage this.

But, I ran into a few obstacles; one, I was wearing  long pants; two, I couldn’t take the pants off without removing my shoes and the floor to the small enclosure was very wet.  There was no way I was going to stand in bare feet on that floor.  Plus, my pants would undoubtedly get wet as I removed them.

Cats are often depicted at temples.

As fit as I attempt to be, considering my precarious spinal condition, there was no way I could keep my pants on without getting them soaked from the floor while attempting to “check the tire pressure” which over the long drive and sipping on my iced tea definitely had become an urgent situation.

Holding onto a pole while thinking.

I challenge any of our dear female readers to undertake this position with your pants still on.  If you can do this, I’d love to hear from you and how you accomplished it.  Keeping in mind, there was no place to hold onto for support.  Had there been, I may have been able to accomplish it.

We didn’t want to disturb the monks to discover what they were doing.  For more on Hinduism, please click this informative link.

Alas, “checking the tire pressure” resulted in my peeing all over my light tan pants.  Oh, by the way, there was no light and no window in the little room.  It was completely dark.  I couldn’t even see “where” to aim, let alone be in an appropriate position while aiming.

Not wanting to draw attention to myself when I exited the WC, well aware my pants were entirely soaked, Tom walked back to the car close behind me.  Luckily, I had a pair of shorts in the bag which I’d intended to change into at some point but never had. 

Looks like a teenager with that hairdo.

Both the immigration office and the temple require visitors to wear long pants.  I changed in the car while Butu and Tom waited outside.  With the seat pulled forward all the way for Tom’s legs in the backseat, even getting changed wasn’t all that easy.  At this point, I was hot and sweaty from both experiences.

I placed my pants on the floor in the backseat for the remaining one hour drive back to the villa, hand washing them with laundry soap in the bathroom sink when we returned. Whew!

Watching and waiting for action.

Was I the first female tourist that had such an experience at that or other “squatting required” toilets?  Probably not.  Nor will I be the last.   Embarrassed?  Certainly not in front of Tom and I doubt Butu or the temple staff noticed me.  I supposed it was a “foolish me” moment, one that I’ve already found myself chuckling about. 

However, it was a lesson learned about cultural differences.  Guess I’d better start working on those deep knee squats…with pants on and pulled down of course. 

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Photo from one year ago today, May 27, 2015:

Tom’s miniature lemon merengue pie for dessert on the first night aboard the cruise from Honolulu to Sydney. For more cruise photos, please click here.


Part 3…Visas…Not a good day for Tom! Visited Proyek Penyu Turtle Hatchery!…Check back tomorrow for my embarrassing cultural experience!



For more information and details on the Proyek Penyu Turtle Hatchery, please click here. The cost to visit the site was a donation of IDR $50,000, US $3.68 for both of us.
Stats were a little outdated but the efforts of the staff appeared dedicated to the project from what we could observe.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
It wasn’t Tom’s favorite day.  As a matter of fact it was his third less than stellar day since we arrived in Bali almost one month ago.  The first was the four hour harrowing drive from the airport in Denpasar to the villa, with the remaining two to Lovina this week (four hour round trips ) for our visa extensions.

We arrived at the Reef Seen Resort, the location for the Proyek Penyu Turtle Hatchery in Pemuteran Village, Gerokgak, Singaraja, North Bali.

As an aggressive driver, albeit a good driver, not being at the wheel for long road trips leaves him with a degree of angst only he and others like him can understand.  Surely, many of our readers can relate to this.

This is the sandbox where the recovered turtle eggs are placed while they mature.  There were 126 eggs maturing in this enclosed area.  Once hatched, they’ll be moved to the pools and later released to the sea.  Turtle meat is a delicacy in Bali.  Fishermen are paid to bring the eggs and baby turtles to the hatchery, more than they’d be paid as “food.”  Although, this hatchery isn’t as natural an environment as we’d like to have seen, the intentions are good and the concept suitable for saving the lives and further preservation of many sea turtles.

With him in the backseat, upon his insistence, allowing me to take photos from the front, I can feel his discomfort especially when the cautious drivers we’ve had drive too slowly or someone darts in front of us, a common occurrence here in Bali. He doesn’t need to say much when the faintest of sounds escape his lips, perhaps only audible to me.

Looking closely at the sand, there was no indication or sign that turtle eggs are incubating here.  Often, dogs, other predators and humans dig up the eggs on the beaches for food.  This is a good alternative for the turtles eventual survival.  The optimum temperature as would be in a natural environment is between 30 and 32 degrees. If the temperature is predominantly 30 degrees, its like the eggs would all be male.  At 32 degrees they’d be female. 

Oddly, his angst doesn’t make me anxious although I do feel badly that he can’t relax and enjoy the drive, regardless of where we’re going.  Of course, the purpose of yesterday’s second trip to Lovina in three days only added to his discomfort of visiting the immigration office for trip two in the three trip five day process. 

There were over 100 baby turtles maturing for future release attracting tourists to the venue.

No doubt, its not a pleasant concept…spending an entire week, out of eight weeks, messing with this process.  Then again, as we sat there with others who’d also chosen to abide by the country’s immigration laws, we both wondered why such a process isn’t observed and respected (by many) throughout the world, let alone in our own USA.  Following the “law of the land” isn’t all that difficult.

Baby turtles that had hatched in the hatchery, not quite old enough for release.  We’d hope to release a few but the weren’t quite ready.

For tomorrow’s third and final trip, we’re waiting to hear from Gede that a driver will go to Lovina to pick up the final documents with a letter from us in hand authorizing him to do so.  The immigration officer explained this is acceptable for this third trip only.

There were three mature turtles on display (not the parents of the baby turtles) which we’d preferred were instead out to sea but were used as mascots to inspire donations for the baby turtle release program.

Luckily, we were photographed, fingerprinted and out the door within about an hour before lunchtime began, after paying the required IDR $710,000, US $52.14 in fees for the two visas. 

The other two confined turtles used as mascots to promote the hatchery.

We’d planned to visit two points of interest on the return drive but I was willing to forgo that idea if Tom would have preferred we immediately begin the drive back to the villa (considering another two hours on the road).  He insisted we continue with our original plans to visit the Monkey Temple (shown in tomorrow’s post) and the Proyek Penyu Turtle Hatchery, both on the return drive to the villa.

The hatchery is located on the beautiful grounds of the Reef Seen resort, known for its scuba diving and snorkeling.

It was an hour’s drive from Lovina to both venues within minutes of each another.  Over the next several days, we’ll continue to post the many photos we’ve taken this week, still leaving us with dozens more we’ve yet to share.  There’s certainly been no shortage of photo ops in Bali.

Religious statues on display at the resort.

Today, we’re blissfully staying put.  The weather isn’t as humid as usual, the sky is clear and the crystal clear pool awaits us.  We have a bit of “work” to accomplish for future planning that we’ll tackle in the afternoon while sitting in the cabana after our exercise and fun in the pool. 

There’s a variety of flowers blooming at the Reef Seen Resort.

We started our day as usual in the chaise lounges at 6:45 am savoring Tom’s perfectly brewed French press coffee, watching activity on the beach and the sea including dogs howling and playing, passing boats and barges and who knows what else may come our way today?

The road we drove to the Reef Seen Turtle Hatchery,

Tomorrow, I’m sharing an embarrassing culturally motivated event that occurred to me yesterday, one I hesitate to mention but, let’s face it, life’s not always a “walk in the park.”  Sharing such experiences are all a part of the reality of traveling the world which isn’t always pleasant.

May your day be pleasant wherever you may be in the world!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2015:

One year ago today, we boarded Royal Caribbean Legend of the Seas in Honolulu on its way to Sydney, Australia with 1400 Australians on board for one of the most fun cruises we’d experienced. Here’s our balcony cabin before we messed it up with our stuff!  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…A cultural day…A mixed bag of pleasure and red tape..





While shopping at the Carrefour market, I couldn’t resist stopping to admire these colorful Dragon Fruit.
 

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

In yesterday’s post, we shared a photo of two buffalos wandering by during dinner and here are four buffalos on a hike from the river.

Upon returning to the immigration office for the second time in one day, again we took a number and waited our turn.  We’d arrived about five minutes prior to the end of lunchtime at 1 pm hoping to have a short wait. 

Alas, “island time” prevails as the various officers mulled around behind the service desk until close to 1:30 pm although the posted sign clearly stated they’d be open for business at 1 pm.  Again, we waited patiently with nary a comment about the time. The next number up was 025.  Our number was 027.  Certainly, we wouldn’t have to wait too long.


A room was offered for rent at this property for IDR $150,000, US $10.97!
At 2 pm we were called to the desk.  With our copies, passports and documents in hand, we were fully prepared.  Fifteen minutes later we were out the door with a receipt for our passports.  We won’t get them back back until Trip 3 on Friday.


And again this morning, we’re heading back to Lovina for Trip 2 (two hours each way) for fingerprinting and photos.  We’re not looking forward to the four or more hours on the same road. 

If time allows, we’ll stop for a few sights after we’re done at the immigration office.  Again, we’ll wear long pants as required to enter government buildings bringing shorts along for any sightseeing stops we may make on the return drive.


As we drove past this decorative wall, I asked Gede to stop for a close up photo as shown below.

On Monday, after the second visit to the immigration office we stopped at the largest supermarket in Lovina.  For the first time since our arrival in Bali we found a few grocery items we hadn’t been able to locate during other outings.  These included a ball of gouda cheese, cheddar cheese and two little bottles of baking soda.

We’d hoped to find baking soda, an important ingredient in making homemade toothpaste since last night we’d run out of the organic non fluoride toothpaste we’d purchased at the health food store in NZ. 

So beautiful.

We’d already used the entire batch we’d made while in NZ. When we ran out of baking soda shortly before we left we purchased the organic toothpaste as a backup from the store. Unless kept cold, the toothpaste is runny and could make quite a mess in our luggage thus, it doesn’t travel well.

We’d never seen a flowers only farmer’s market.  Flowers are commonly used as offerings to the Hindu temples and at many of the resorts and villas.

Yesterday afternoon, I made the new batch of toothpaste, enough to last during our remaining weeks in Bali.  Here’s the link with ingredients, photos and instructions for making the toothpaste if you’re so inclined.


Simply lovely.  I could smell them from across the street where I stood taking these few photos.

On Monday, we didn’t return to the villa until 5 pm. Gede stopped at a few worthwhile points of interest which greatly attributed the 100 photos we took that day.  Also, he asked if we could stop so he could eat his lunch. 

Goofy us!  We may not eat breakfast or lunch but most people do.  We encouraged him to stop anywhere he’d like for as long as he’d like.  As it turned out, he stopped at the beach where we were able to get out, walk and take photos, one of the highlights of the day.

When we entered the villa, two Kataks were busy in the kitchen preparing dinner.  By 5:45 we were seated at the big table for eight, facing the sea, both of us starving after the busy day with lots of walking and riding in the car.

We stopped at the curb on the outskirts of the village so I could take a photo of the flower market.  Instantly, we were approached by  “traffic cop” asking for money for parking and two others asking for money, unrelated to the traffic.

Today, providing we’re done with time to spare before “rush hour” in Lovina we’ll make several stops hoping to see a few sights that Gede had suggested and particularly appeal to us. 

We crossed a modern bridge in Lovina.  Many bridges and overpasses are marked by Hindu statues although this newer bridge was not.

Again, our goal is to return to the villa around 5 pm so the “girls” (as they’re so called by other staff) can get home to their families at a reasonable time.  Most tourists dine at 6 pm but we’ve chosen to dine at 5 pm to allow them to be done with the cooking and cleanup and out the door by 6.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with the update on today’s Trip 2 journey to immigration in Lovina and…we’ll see how plans for Trip 3 roll out for Friday.

We hope our US friends/readers have safe and meaningful plans for the upcoming long Memorial Day weekend. And also, safety and well being for all of our friends/readers worldwide. 

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Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2015:

When we were back in Honolulu, we took the Ala Moana bus to the mall to purchase a pair of white jeans for me.  Before dark, we arrived at our favorite restaurant in Honolulu, Cheeseburger in Paradise, for another great meal; burger, fries and onion rings for Tom and fabulous Cobb Salad for me.  For more details from that enjoyable day before we sailed on the cruise to Australia, please click here.
 

Part 1…A cultural day…A mixed bag of pleasure and red tape..

Sorry for late posting.  Wifi issues.
Gede with his gracious parents.
“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
Every evening when we dine at the large table facing the pool and the sea, at least two. sometimes four buffalos pass on the beach.  We’ve never watched buffalo while dining. Its quite entertaining!

Who are we to say that obtaining a visa extension should be doable in one stop?  We’re from a one-stop-society.  You stop at a market, cash or credit card  and walk out the door with your groceries in hand.  You visit a doctor and walk out the door with a prescription.  Isn’t that what most of us throughout the world expect in our daily lives?

Expectations?  They don’t apply when traveling the world as we do.  Each country has its own manner of conducting business and we’re the captive audience stepping in line to comply whether we like it or not.

On our walk down the narrow road to visit Gede’s family home, he pointed out this temple where his family worships.

Yesterday we headed out with Gede at 9 am, wearing long pants, in the hot weather, as required when entering a government building in Indonesia. With our passports in hand with copies made (they keep our passports over the three step/visit process over the five day period), we were on our way.

As we’ve traveled the world over these past 43 months we’ve come to many conclusions regarding what we like and don’t like.  We’ve discovered since our arrival in Bali that we’re not keen on long road trips unless we’re traveling for a specific final destination, not a round trip excursion. 

We walked down this road to Gede’s parent’s home.  In Bali, most citizens don’t own the land on which their home is located but they have the right to live there for life, paying taxes and upkeep.

What does this mean?  For us, its simple.  We prefer a road trip that doesn’t require we turn around and return to our original destination.  We like new scenery. 

I suppose in part its due to the fact that we’re always searching for new photo ops and material for our posts.  Heading back and forth to a same location provides little stimulation and excitement when we’ve “been there, done that!”

The entrance gate to Gede’s family home which includes his parent’s home and his brother’s separate home.

Sure, we’re “mental stimulation junkies.”  Otherwise, we’d be living in a retirement condo in Scottsdale, Arizona, looking for the next coupon for seniors for breakfast at Denny’s.

As we review the types of activities that “trip our trigger” we both agree that local culture, history, wildlife and other animals, vegetation and exquisite scenery fall into the category of our deepest interests and hunger for life changing experiences. 

The kitchen in Gede’s parent’s home.

Due to my physical limitations of a precariously delicate spine and neck, physical adventures don’t fall within that realm.  We’ve accepted this reality embracing the things we can do as opposed to the things we can’t

How often we explain ourselves when others suggest we scuba dive or try white rater rafting.  Even snorkeling has its risks when a sudden movement could put a fast end to our travels.

The bed where Gede’s mom sleeps and rests, day and night.

Instead, we embrace the endless array of other types of “adventures” that stimulate our minds leaving us with some of the best memories we could ever dream of carrying with us in our hearts as we continue on.

Thus, in essence, yesterday’s somewhat painstaking visit to the Immigration Office in Lovina Bali proved to be an unusual, albeit annoying, interesting experience that befell upon us. 

Gede’s brother’s home where they’re building a cement wall.

Complain?  We could have.  Tom’s bubbling annoyance was palpable.  Mine was tempered by my usual “overly bubbly” mentality that all will work out in the end, which in itself could be annoying to him, although he keeps it to himself.  How does one criticize a relatively optimistic cheerleader?

When we were turned away at the Lovina Immigration Office for missing copies (we had no idea these were required) of our airline reservations for our route out of Bali, we had one choice but to head to a local “Internet shop” where I actually struggled bringing up our reservations to enable us to print the required copies. 

The computer was old with a version of Windows I hadn’t seen in decades and I had trouble using a mouse with my obvious lack of dexterity.  Unable to get into Expedia, I found my way to gmail, where I was finally able to dig up the tickets we’d received by email when we booked the reservations months ago. 

A bird in a cage at his brother’s home.

We printed multiple copies of the tickets at a total cost of IDR $10,000, US $.74.  Where else could one buy anything for 74 cents?  That even included my sweaty 15 minutes (sitting outside in the heat) on the old PC attempting to get my gmail  account to pop up.

While I was sweating on the computer, Tom and Gede were nearby while Tom was also sweating while busy filling out a double sided questionnaire for each of us that we also had to complete and return to the immigration office after they returned from lunch at 1 pm.

This photo of Gede’s grandfather on the wall in his family home.

With almost an hour to kill before we could return, Gede suggested we stop and meet his parents who live nearby. He grew up in Lovina. We couldn’t have been more thrilled.  This is the kind of experience that we treasure as opposed to a visit to a local tourist-jammed attraction.

Minutes later, we were walking down a narrow road to his parent’s home as Gede pointed out the homes  occupied by a variety of his relatives.  In Bali, the locals tend to live together in clusters of individual homes. 

I took this photos without flash to illustrate the darkness of the living area in Gede’s family home.

We were a little concerned to barge in on their day unannounced. Gede’s mom is suffering with Parkinson’s Disease and he had no doubt they’d be home and happy to greet us.  As we entered the gates, his dad immediately approached us with a welcoming “hello” (same English word used in the Balinese language) and a gracious bow with the meeting of his hands.  We returned the same greeting as an added warmth washed over us.  The grace of the Balinese people is breathtaking.

For us, it was an honor to be able to visit his parents, see where he grew up and grasp a better understanding of life for the people of Bali.  As Gede explained during the many hours in the car, in Bali, there are only rich and poor, nothing in between.  The concept of a middle class is unheard of in Indonesia, particularly in Bali as we’ve seen on the many occasions we’ve been out and about.

The narrow road we walked to Gede’s family home in Lovina.

As it neared 1 pm, we headed out to return to the immigration office with heartfelt goodbyes and thank you’s.  Although his parents speak no English, the communication was clear…kindly, humble people appreciating every moment of life regardless of how tenuous it may be at times.  It was a valuable reminder for us especially on such a hot, humid and at times tenuous day.

Tomorrow morning, again leaving at 9 am, when we must return to the Lovina Immigration Office for Trip #2 once again we’ll post earlier than usual sharing the “rest of the story” and more sites we’ve seen in our full 9 to 5 travel day.  Back at you soon…

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Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2015:

We posted this last video of the Laysan Albatross mating dance as we shared our final expenses for the four months we spent living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai as we prepared to leave for a cruise to Australia.  For details, please click here.

Time to extend our Indonesian visas…Four hour round trip to Lovina…Photos while we’re away…Back with more tomorrow…

One of the narrow roads we walk in the area.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”



The midday sun reflecting in the river running along the neighboring property.

At 9 am this morning Gede is picking us up for the two hour drive (each way) to his hometown of Lovina Beach where we’ll visit the local immigration office to extend our visas an additional 30 days.  As mentioned in an earlier post, we weren’t able to extend the visas at the airport upon our arrival.

The details we share today will have to be repeated midway through our second stay on this island beginning on September 1st when most likely again, we’ll be unable to get more than the 30 day visa at the airport. 

So it goes.  We knew this well in advance, when we’d investigated the visa requirements for Bali as we do before booking each new location.

Each house’s style is quite different from others with the most common feature, the Hindu statues in the front yard.

The odd aspect in Bali is that extending the visa for an additional 30 days requires three and yes, I mean three, visits to Lovina to accomplish this for each of the 60 day periods we’re here:

Trip 1:  Apply for visas
Wait one day
Trip 2:  Return to Lovina, get fingerprinted and have photos taken.  Pay the fees.
Wait one day.
Trip 3:  Return to Lovina, pick up visas

Each of these three days and the days in between are required with no exception.  Gede explained that Trip 3 can be accomplished by hiring one of the workers to make the drive for us to pick them up.  We’ll choose this option. 

Blue Gecko is the name of a neighboring villa.

We don’t want to have to return three times if we can avoid it.  Much to our dismay, we have to leave our passports at the immigration office for pickup on Trip 3.  Neither of us is thrilled to be without our passports in our possession during this five day period.  We’ve made copies in the interim.

Trip 1 and Trip 2 require that we are personally in attendance.  Guess we’ll be on a road a bit this week. Luckily, there are a few good sights to see along the way and we’ve decided to spread them out over each of the few days.

Here’s a map of Bali we found at this site. Lovina is located in the north:

We’re currently located 35 minutes north/northwest of Negara as shown in the southwest. Lovina is almost center in the north.  Denpasar, the four hour harrowing road trip is located in the south.  Luckily, we don’t have to drive all the way back to Denpasar until we eventually leave the villa for the airport in approximately five weeks.

“Lovina Beach is a laid back 12 km stretch of coast to the West of Singaraja in North Bali. It is a welcome break from the bustle of the South. These days the mix of tourists is mainly families and couples rather than the backpackers of yesteryear. It is comprised of several narrow stretches of black volcanic sand. Lovina, like most of Bali, fills up with tourists from all over the world in August and Australians at Christmas.

Kalibukbuk is the largest and most developed village but it is just two streets of hotels, bars, restaurants, and dive shops running down to the beach. There is a wide range of accommodation and restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes. There are two clubs and several bars, but the nightlife is generally low key and easy going.”



Although sardine factories may appear run down on the exterior, apparently they are run safely and efficiently supplying sardines to many parts of the world.
Realizing the necessity of this trip, we prepared today’s post in advance to ensure we wouldn’t fall behind in posting. Consistency is very important to us and as we’ve seen, many of our worldwide readers may stop by each day to see what’s going on.  We wouldn’t want to disappoint a single reader’s expectations if we can help it. 

We certainly appreciate the value to being able to bring up our favorite sites to read the latest posts, especially when we’re in locations such as Bali where we can’t understand the language on the TV resulting in no news updates, no entertainment and no channel surfing.  Reading news and the posts of others is a good alternative for those quiet times.

Sardine factories line the beach in a few areas.

I suppose in a way its not unlike this three day visa application process. There are no alternatives.  Instead of grumbling, we’ve decided to take it in our stride as one more opportunity to take photos and visit a few points of interest on the way.

Of course, we’ll be back tomorrow with another new post and the story of Day 1 on our trip to Lovina and back.  Hopefully, all goes as planned and we don’t encounter any issues.  This reminds us of when we also had to renew our visas while living in Belize in January 2013. 

A local mosque.  We can hear the call-to-prayer from a mosque near the villa several times a day. 

In Belize we had to go on a very small boat packed with people, called the “Hokey Pokey,” to get to the mainland to apply for the visas.  For the humorous details of that outing, please click here.

We hope you find your day bring you humor in recalling your past experiences!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2015:

Another breathtaking sunset in Kauai when we’d posted some of our favorite photos with only one day until departure.  For more favorite Kauai photos, please click here.

Settling in…Two Kataks getting it right…Tom’s losing weight!



This close up of my dinner from a few nights ago appears there’s a lot of chicken on this plate.  But, once I dig in there’s only a few good bites on each leg and thigh section.  Tom eats the two breasts which are a little meatier but the dark meat which I prefer, is sparse as a result of locally lean free range chickens.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”


This is nature, a first for us…a mating pair  of dogs stuck during sexual activity. We’d heard about this but hadn’t ever witnessed it. The dog on the right looked on seeming concerned.  They stayed this way for a howling 10 minutes and then were able to separate.  Although one was collared they could have been wild. There was nothing we could do to help. One more unusual (to us) sighting on the beach!

I guess it took getting me out of the kitchen to help Tom lose a few pounds.  Over the past year we’ve been on three cruises during which Tom gained a few pounds, never quite getting rid of them with me doing the cooking.

Oh, its not that I wasn’t preparing our usual low carb, moderate protein, high fat meals.  It was due to the fact that he simply was eating too much food in any given day.  There’s no manner of eating that allows for an all-you-can-eat mentality.  Too much of any foods raises insulin resulting in fat storage, subsequent weight gain and possible health issues.

We love all the flowers beginning to bloom.

The fact that I tried not to tell him to cut back to avoid “preaching” which I can easily do given the opportunity, gradually he gained a few more pounds here and there.

Well, its entirely different here in Bali when some of the low carb, sugar free, grain free snack items he usually enjoys aren’t available in the tiny markets. When we’re shopping and cooking in many countries, the availability of foods we enjoy is a lot different than in Bali.  Its sparse here, particularly when we’re so far from the biggest supermarket Denpasar (the four hour harrowing drive). 

The local markets where the two Kataks shop only have basic items: eggs, vegetables, fish, seafood and chicken.  Since we don’t eat fruit due to its high sugar content and carbs, our choices are few. 

Not only are there lovely plants and flower on the grounds of the villa but there easily found on a walk down the road.

Shopping at the largest markets within a 45 minute drive left us with few items in our basket.  They don’t carry cheese of any sort other than the highly processed individually wrapped packages many tourists purchase.  A portion of natural unprocessed cheese is always nice treat if hunger pangs although not available for us here.

As a result of the lack of snack options and with the intent of dropping these excess pounds, unprovoked by me, Tom has steadily lost weight over these past three weeks since our arrival. 

Against a white stucco wall in a neighboring villa…

As we readily fell back into place on our 24-hour-intermittent-fasting, dining on one hearty high fat, veggie laden and moderate protein meal each day, Tom has since lost 16 pounds, 7.26 kilo, 1.14 stone.  The bulging belly is gone, gone, gone.

For me, its not about the “look” of the belly that is of concern.  As far as I’m concerned he’s always adorable to me.  Its the medical issues that may result from belly fat that easily could put a fast end to our world travels. 

We both share in the responsibility of staying healthy, utilizing every aspect of good health within our control, to ensure we can continue for as long as we’d like.  We don’t take this lightly.  In reality, at this point, the only thing that would stop us is a medical issue that we couldn’t resolve on our own. 

Although there aren’t a lot of chickens at the villas on our road, there are many on the side streets. Most aren’t meaty like this one.

I can’t tell you how many times over these past years that we would’ve visited a doctor in the US had we still be there. It was so easy to do.  Spend three or four days coughing, having a sore throat or feeling some new type of pain or discomfort and off we’d go (in our old lives). 

Now, its different.  If something doesn’t feel right, we don’t rush to a doctor or urgent care.  Of course, if it felt outrageously serious, we would.  Only twice in our travels have we visited a medical facility; once when I had a groin pain in Kauai (since resolved…nothing serious) and again when we had physical exams and tests last July in Trinity Beach, Australia. 

A type of orchid, perhaps.  Sorry folks, I just don’t have a knowledge of flower types and the wifi is too slow for research.

Plus, we’ve both had our teeth cleaned and, Tom had issues with an abscessed tooth which was since pulled in New Zealand months ago.  Not every country is suitable for dental work and cleanings.

Do we worry about being in Bali with less than stellar local medical care within reach?  Worry causes stress.  Stress causes illness.  Why worry?  Just taking good care of ourselves is our best worry reducer.  Sure, something unforeseen beyond our control could transpire. We have an emergency plan in place, just in case.  But worry?  Nah, not worth it.

This cat wanders about the neighborhood.

Instead, I’m reveling in his weight loss, as he is too, feeling its one more layer of health we embrace as we continue to travel the world.  In the process I too, have lost a few pounds I’d gained in Hawaii last year, now back to my comfortable clothes-fitting weight. 

Perhaps, the two Kataks are getting it right after all!  Maybe I’m learning something from them…less protein…more fat (coconut oil) and more veggies!

We hope your day finds you feeling well!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 22, 2015:

A year ago today, we were almost at the end of our four month stay in Kauai posting favorite photos such as this newly hatched albatross chick, nestled under a parent.  What an amazing experience we had in Kauai in many way.  For more, please click here.