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.

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.  Check out those eyes!

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This tiny white sail was able to pull this boat in high winds.

Why we decided to leave the villa five days earlier than planned wasn’t made easily.  We’ve loved it here.  However, practicality came into play inspiring us to consider how to handle the upcoming days  with limited Wi-Fi access, until we fly from Bali after midnight on October 30th.

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 which 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’s made these two pillowcases to fit my new pillow that arrived in the recent package.  The cost for both of these was only US $3.07, IDR 40,000!

We could have planned a later departure from the villa to head directly to the airport but with the long drive, the physical stress of sitting so long and the outrageous traffic, we decided several quiet hours at the hotel was certainly worth the low cost for the hotel.

As a result, we booked a room at at the exceptional Hilton Garden Inn in Kuta which is close the airport.  We’d use the room as a resting point until 10 pm, to then depart for the airport for the nighttime flight.  This made all the sense in the world when neither of us wanted to spend eight hours hanging around the airport. 

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 dawned on me.  Why not go one day earlier to ensure we’ve had at least one good night’s rest 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 consist of few time constraints, other than departure dates. Its easy to get caught up in the particulars when unable to sleep during the 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 these would be perfect on formal nights on cruises.  Ketut brought several colors for me to try on.  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.

This conversation while in the pool yesterday changed to the prospect of leaving for the hotel next Friday instead of Saturday. Then everything 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.

Unable to get online for several hours even when rebooting the router, we came to the conclusion that we should actually leave earlier than we’d discussed in the pool.  With the owners next door having arrived on Tuesday and their use of the shared Wi-Fi router located between the two villas on a massive pole, we had a difficult time getting online.

We certainly don’t blame the owners of this wonderful 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, its become all the more problematic. 

Ribut 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 complaining), we made the decision to leave for Denpasar (Kuta) five days earlier than planned.

Finally, around 6 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 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 the slow 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.

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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.