Settled in to hotel…Simple pleasures…Cultural experience…



Lovely couple, our hosts and property owners, Francoise and Egon from Holland who spend almost half the year in their homes in Bali.  Thank you Francoise and Egon for an extraordinary experience.

Over the next several days we’ll continue to share Bali photos we’d yet to post including today and tomorrow’s photos from our last day in Sumbersari when we dined at a charming local restaurant with our hosts , Francoise and Egon and next door neighbor, Peoni, who joined us as our translator when no one at the local spot speaks any English and there are no menus.

Simple pleasure can easily be taken for granted.  As much as we loved the time we spent in the Sumbersari villa, we have no trouble transitioning to air conditioned comfort and high speed Internet. 

For the first time in two months, I’m wearing street clothes instead of a swimsuit while sipping a cup of hot tea made available in our hotel room with an electric pot and supplies as needed.  A midday cup of English Breakfast tea and I’m in heaven.

At the restaurant we’d select the fish we wanted from this cooler.  Pioni and I selected boiled crab.  Tom and Egon chose the chicken fried rice and Francoise chose a grilled fish.  More photos will follow tomorrow.

The four or five hour harrowing drive was actually the easiest of the four trips we made back and forth from Denpasar/Kuta in the past six months with two stays in the distant villa separated by two months visiting Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

As it turned out Butu’s excellent driving skills and a bit of luck brought us to the door of the Hilton Garden Inn Ngurah Rai Airport in less than four hours, a record for our four trips.  Upon arrival at the entrance of the hotel, security opened massive metal gates and inspected our vehicle with a mirror scan of the underside of the vehicle.

The small crabs were weighed.

After that inspection, our bags along with us, went through a security check comparable as to those at the airport. We checked in with our six nights already paid in full for US $50, IDR 651,775 a night including a full breakfast.  This is not a typical $50 a night hotel!

This hotel is comparable to the Holiday Inn, the Rocks Old Sydney hotel in Sydney which is as of today is going for US $335, IDR 4,365,048 a night.  In April, we’d be able to get a better rate at US $188, IDR 2,449,639.  Our upcoming booking on October 30th was priced at US $225, IDR 2,931,749.  What’s the deal?

A bin of local coconut.  I don’t care for Balinese coconut meat.  The flesh is soft and mushy while I prefer the hard crunchy meat found in Hawaiian coconuts.

When we arrive at the Sydney hotel on Sunday we’ll see if we can get a comparable price to the rate we had in April while awaiting another cruise embarking in Sydney.  We have three more upcoming cruises sailing out of Sydney for which this hotel would be ideal for overnight stays to reduce the risk of flight delays.

At the end of the long ride to Kuta we were both exhausted; Tom even more than me.  I’ve seldom seen him so tired as he was last night.  We both knew we’d need to stay awake at least until 10 pm to avoid too early of a morning awakening. 

A large group was seated in this area, at the table while sitting on the floor.  We selected a regular table and chairs.

Alas, our plans were dashed when I was wide awake at 3:40 am, never able to fall back to sleep.  Lately, I’ve been awakening around this time.  Most nights I can read for awhile and fall back to sleep.  No such luck last night and no nap today hopefully ensuring I’ll do better tonight.

After we settled into our room, not unpacking more than toiletries and digital equipment, I decided to check out the exercise facility in the hotel.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a cool, well equipped room with all the equipment I could possibly need or want.

This is the only sign on the restaurant.  We’d previously walked the beach to this restaurant but found no one around.  We were thrilled for the experience on our last day in Sumbersari.

Now 90% recovered from the June 1st injury and after a long hiatus from working out, I’ve decided I need to begin again.  It isn’t always possible to find health clubs and/or exercise facilities in many areas in which we’ve lived. 

Walking isn’t enough for me which I’d resorted to exclusively when there hasn’t been a health club within reasonable driving distance for over a year.  Its worth a 30 minute drive but not an hour or more.

Our next door neighbor in Bali, Pioni, from Java, Indonesia, who joined us for her delightful companionship and expert translation skills.  With my food restrictions, we’d never have been able to visit this restaurant on our own.

Yesterday, when I started out on the exercise bike I was shocked to realize how much strength I’d lost these almost five months of little activity other than occasional casual walks in the neighborhood. 

Sitting in a chaise lounge or cabana during the day, not cooking, cleaning and shopping, I literally became a slug.  It was only at night when dining or when we were situated on the living room sofa that my feet were flat on the floor. Sure, I did  a ton of walking on and off the grounds of the villa all day, in an attempt to increase the “steps” count up on FitBit.

Seated at our table looking out to the sea on a cloudy rainy day.

Beginning yesterday, I made a plan to work out each day regaining strength and agility.  Once we board the cruise, I will continue with a daily workout eventually building my strength and stamina sufficiently to be able to do HIIT (high intensity interval training) once again. 

Looking back, its been  almost 14 months since I worked out regularly.  It certainly hasn’t been from a lack of motivation.  I’ve always enjoyed the process of getting myself to the gym for a good workout. 

Before we left the US, I’d worked out most of my adult life.  Its been sketchy since we left.  I can promise myself all I want but, when there’s no facility, I have a hard time making myself workout at “home” without the necessary equipment. 

During our almost four months in Bali we checked out this view daily hoping for a clear shot of these mountains.  Most days the smoke and fog from Java obstructed the view.  Ironically, on our last day, the fog cleared for this mountain view.  Thank you, Bali!

Once the cruise ends, I hope to continue working out in both locations in Tasmania.  There appears to be suitable locations close to each of the two vacation homes we’ll be renting for six weeks each. I’ll join with a day or two of our arrival.  Each offers a reasonably priced weekly plan without a contract.

From there, more cruises with excellent workout facilities and then arrival in the US where health clubs are readily available.  From there, we’re be off to Costa Rica. Later, we’ll research that possibility. 

We’re comfortable, content, cool and finally able to catch up on much needed research which can only be accomplished with a good Wi-Fi connection.  For the moment, this is all we need or want.

Hope your day bring you everything you need or want!

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Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2015:

Handmade raft for fishing which Rasnesh explained is safer than a boat when there’s no chance of being stranded or sinking.  For more photos of our Fiji visit to Vuodomo Falls, please click here.

A grand solitary visitor…Planning our upcoming departure…A goal of low stress travel…A funny photo…

 

Yesterday morning while writing on the veranda, I heard a “thump, thump” and alerted Tom, to look up, and once again, we had the most exciting visitor, a solitary giraffe. We’d assumed he’d stopped to munch on the treetops enabling us to take some photos. Alas, he dashed out of the yard so fast that we weren’t able to take another photo. It was the third time we’ve had giraffes in our yard. Heavenly.

It’s hard to believe that in 30 days, we’ll be leaving South Africa, heading to Marrakesh, Morocco, where we’ll live for 2½ months. Unquestionably, it won’t be easy to leave Marloth Park, to say goodbye to all of our friends both human and animals. 

These three baby warthogs, our familiar “Three Little Pigs” anxiously needed some liquid sustenance from mom after we shared some pellets with them.  Thirsty, they nursed with the one shown sucking a nipple from behind her butt.  We laughed at this tender sight.

Life in the bush with all of its challenges provided us both with a unique experience, one we’ll treasure forever.  But, “moving on” is the lifestyle choice we’ve made and we do so with excitement and anticipation of that which is yet to come. We have absolutely no regrets. 

On our way out to dinner last night at dusk. Wildebeest and zebra, who often hang out together.

The preparations to move on aren’t overwhelming by any means, but must be accomplished in an orderly and concise manner. Our motto remains forefront in our minds, “Wafting through our worldwide travels with ease, joy, and simplicity.” 

Stringent advance planning results in lower levels of stress, always our objective. Besides, the airlines create enough problems of their own without us adding more due to a lack of careful planning. 

We diligently prepare for the following, none of which is particularly time-consuming or difficult once the flights have been booked:

  • Flight arrangements/baggage restrictions
  • Packing, while complying with all baggage restrictions
  • Airport transportation arrangements at both ends, including the necessity of going to an ATM at the final destination for cash in the local currency
  • Online discussions with the owner/property manager to ensure everything we need upon arrival will be awaiting us: access/keys to the property, bedding, towels, bar soap, toilet paper, and bottled water. We require enough basic “hotel” supplies to get us through the first several days.
  • How do we arrange for meals and snacks as we settle in? Assessing nearby restaurants and grocery stores with a ready means of transportation.
  • Visa requirements. All of our previous visa requirements have been met at immigration upon entry to our final destinations with the exception of Belize, which required renewal every 30 days. Morocco doesn’t require a visa for US citizens entering the country for under 90 days. We’ll be staying for 75 days.   

Having booked our flight from Johannesburg to Morocco, a convoluted red-eye mess of multiple stops and layovers, today we’ll book the short flight from Mpumalanga/Nelspruit to Johannesburg, a portion of the flight that must be booked separately.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the details of the complicated and the only means of getting to Morocco from South Africa. It’s not comparable to the US, Europe, and other parts of the world where one can book a single flight from one big city to another big city.

It’s another scorcher today. We only lasted five hours on the veranda seeing no less the four Warthog families.  Plus, we had about 25 Helmeted Guinea-fowls hanging out with the warthogs. Lots of laughing over all of their playful antics. 

Tonight, we’re off to a birthday party in Marloth Park. Should be fun!

Happy day to all.