Settled in to hotel…Simple pleasures…Cultural experience…

Beautiful couple, our hosts and owners, Francoise and Egon from Holland, who spend nearly half the year in their houses in Bali. Thank you Françoise and Egon for this 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 selected the fish we wanted in that cooler.    Pioni and I chose cooked crab.  Tom and Egon chose the chicken fried rice and Francoise chose a grilled fish.    More photos are coming 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 at 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 hotel entrance, security opened massive metallic doors and inspected our vehicle with a mirror sweep of the underside of the vehicle.

The little crabs got weighed.

After that inspection, our baggage with us went through a security screening comparable to that 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.    The flesh is soft and mushy while I prefer the hard and 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 other upcoming cruises departing from Sydney for which this hotel would be ideal for overnight stays in order 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 have seldom seen him as tired as he was last night. We both knew we had to stay awake at least until 10:00 to avoid an early alarm clock. 

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 awakened around this time. Most nights I’m able to read for a while and go 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. It’s 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 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, it’s 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. It’s 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 appear to be suitable locations close to each of the two vacant 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 our arrival in the US where health clubs are readily available. From there, we’re 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 brings you everything you need or want!

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

Handmade raft for fishing, which Ratnesh 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.

Crabby?…Pillowcases and clothing…Change in plans effective in four days…What was the cost?

Large visitor came to call after high tide during the night.    Look at these eyeballs!

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This tiny white sail was able to pull this boat through the strong winds.

Why we decided to leave the villa five days earlier than planned wasn’t easy. We really enjoyed this place.    However, the practical aspect prompted us to think about how to manage the next few days with limited Wi-Fi access, until we left Bali after midnight on October 30.

We’ll arrive in Sydney on October 30th, (the red eye), spend one night in our usual hotel in Sydney located across the street from the port and sail away on the day of our fourth anniversary of traveling the world, October 31st.  What a day to celebrate what we’ll happily do aboard the ship! 

After the overnight stay in the Sydney hotel we’ll have recovered from the red eye (who sleeps well on a plane?) and be excited to embark on the 33-night cruise circumventing the continent of Australia on Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas.

Our original plan was to take off from the villa for the four or five hour harrowing drive on Saturday where we’d stay for several hours, not a full night, before heading to airport as required at 10 pm to board the midnight flight to Sydney. With this plan, we wouldn’t have to hang out at the airport for hours.

A friend of Ketut made these two pillow cases to fit my new pillow that came in the last parcel. The cost for both of these was only US $3.07, IDR 40,000!

The cost for these two was just $3.07 USD, IDR 40,000!

Accordingly, we have booked a room at the exceptional Hilton Garden Inn Kuta which is close to the airport. We’d use the room as a resting point until 10:00 pm, to then depart for the airport for the nighttime flight. It made all the sense in the world when none of us wanted to sit around the airport for eight hours. 

We’ve stayed at this hotel twice in these past months and with their low rates, it was a no-brainer. Then a few days ago something came into my head. Why not go there a day earlier to make sure we had at least a good night’s sleep before the red eye? 

Neither of us ever sleeps much the night before departure from a vacation home when are minds are preoccupied with getting up on time, finishing last minute packing and getting on our way. Overall, our lives are comprised of some time constraints, other than departure dates. It’s easy to get carried away with the details when you can’t sleep last night.

After wearing a beautiful top like this when we dressed in Hindu attire as shown in this post, I decided to buy a few of these lace tops realizing this would be perfect for formal nights on cruises. Ketut has given me several colours to try. I ended up purchasing five colors at only US $12.29, IDR 160,000 each!  Now I’ll have to toss five items from my luggage to maintain the proper weight.

That conversation in the pool yesterday changed to the prospect of going to the hotel next Friday instead of Saturday. Then it all changed. We got out of the pool, showered and changed and tried over and over again to get online to add the one more night’s hotel stay.

Impossible to get online for several hours, even while restarting the router, we came to the conclusion that we should actually leave sooner than we had discussed in the pool.   the owners next door having arrived on Tuesday and their use of the shared WiFi router located between the two villas on a massive pole, we had a difficult time getting online.

We definitely do not blame the owners of this beautiful property. The property listing was clear that the shared signal was sketchy. Over these past almost four months we’ve somehow managed but now, with them sharing, it’s become all the more problematic. 

Ribud and the new guy who works next door, were raking the grass in front of the pool after a very high tide brought in debris overnight.

The weak signal is simply not strong enough to suit our needs while they’re  using it as well.  Nor would we ask them to do anything differently. After all, this is their property and they’re here only a few weeks.  Like us, they also need to be online.

After waiting a few hours, entertaining ourselves otherwise, (neither of us complains), we made the decision to leave for Denpasar (Kuta) five days earlier than planned.

Finally, around 6:00 pm, we managed to get online and book the hotel at the same unbelievable rate of US $50, IDR 649,149 per night for five more nights. (We’d already paid the same amount for Saturday’s non-overnight booking). This rate includes the buffet breakfast. See below for the five-night total:

Payment details

Price for room 1
Monday, October 24, 2016 $50.47
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 $50.47
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 $50.47
Thursday, October 27, 2016 $50.47
Tax recovery charges and service fees $42.40
Total amount paid $244.28

Click here for photos and amenities for this excellent hotel.

The hotel has a free airport shuttle, a coin operated laundry, an enormous pool and a beautiful affordable dinner menu.

Last time we dined at this hotel was on June 28th, (click here for the post with photos) when the chef had come to our table to confirm that I’d been happy with the special meal he’d made for me. 

We don’t leave here early flippantly. We’ve paid for these final days and won’t be getting our money back nor would we ask for it. We appreciate all the kindness and attentive care we’ve received each and every day by the beautiful and gentle Balinese people and our household staff of four.

Guy in the ocean at sunset.

Over the weekend, we’ll pack to prepare for Monday morning’s departure from Sumbersari at 9:00 am for the four or five hour harrowing drive. Once we arrive at the hotel, we’ll be happy the long drive is behind us. 

We’ll have time to get caught up on some future booking tasks we’ve had trouble completing while here with slower Internet and of course, on Monday once we arrive, Tom will be able to watch the Minnesota Vikings football game.

Prior to leaving the villa on Monday we’ll post our final expenses for the time we spent in Sumbersari. Then, on the final day at the hotel, we’ll do the post for the expenses incurred for the six booked nights at the hotel, meals, drinks, tips, and transportation.

Regardless of the difficulty of getting online, we’ll continue to post over these next three days as we wrap up our time at this lovely villa.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2015:

Fiji’s version of a “quick and easy,” or superette. Please click here for the year ago post.