Busy day at Puri Bagus Lovina Resort & Spa…What a glorious location!…

We lounged in this (one of many) cabana overlooking the sea at Puri Bagus Lovina, iced tea in hand, with books to read on our phones.  Rather relaxing.

With an appointment to meet with a resort manager at 11:00 am yesterday morning, I worked on the post while we watched the US presidential debate which was on TV here in Bali starting at 9:00 am. We were a little surprised it was broadcast here, but with tremendous interest in US politics from many we’ve met, I suppose it was to be expected.

We were a little surprised that it came out here, but with a great interest in American politics from a lot of people we met, I guess that was normal.The luxurious ocean-view suites offer two separate wings, a central dining area and a private pool.

To maintain our stance of not discussing politics on our site, we will only state that we watched it and then went about our day. I had an appointment scheduled for a tour of the Puri Bagus Lovina with Ayu, a manager and to discuss some of the features of this upscale serene property where many travelers come to unwind from the stresses of life in their home countries.

The bedroom in the suite is almost identical (although slightly larger) to our oceanview villa except we don’t have two bedrooms, an outdoor dining room, a private pool and the larger baths with added soaking tub and bidet.

As it turned out, I had an opportunity to speak with three managers as they gathered around our table in the bar sharing various points of interest in their respective departments and the resort. 

Inside the private pool in the two-bedroom suites are multiple sun loungers and space for entertainment.

Gede, the general manager; Ketut, the restaurant manager; and Ayu were enthusiastic in visiting with me, knowing how appreciative we are to learn their story and details of the property. They were curious as to our perceptions of their country and our experiences to date, all of which I enthusiastically shared.

Walking through the carefully designed gardens Gede pointed out many areas of mediation and relaxation, all designed with the sweet and healing Hindu philosophies in mind.

Built by the environmentally conscientious owner 17 years ago, the facility offers clean, attractive and comfortable rooms, many with ocean views such as ours and others with garden views with easy access to the beach.

The  Jaya Spa consists of several structures such as shown here each well appointed with its particular spa offerings in mind.

The pool is enchanting not only in appearance, but in its pristine filtered water system using the finest local spring water as opposed to the less-safe-to-drink local water supply, which we discovered in speaking with Ketut. 

Yesterday afternoon, we had the blissful experience of swimming in the cool, partially shady pool built into a natural rock and vegetation formation overlooking the sea.

Yesterday afternoon we had the experience of swimming in the cool, partially shaded pool built in a natural rock and vegetation formation overlooking the sea.The grounds surrounding the various Jaya Spa structures are equally peaceful and serene.

(I should mention here, as we discussed during our first two month visit to Bali, there are only a few first names given to Balinese babies at birth. Thus, this explains the similarities in the names of many people we’ve met. Please see below:

“The first born is Wayan, and if there is a fifth child, he/she is often called Wayan Balik (or Wayan “again”). Balinese children/people are given other names, including a new “name” after death. Generally, everyone uses birth order names to refer to each other, and to call each other constantly throughout the day.”Given” names may be chosen due, for example, to the influence of popular culture or politics. Like some other Indonesian cultures, Balinese do not use family names.

  • First born names: Wayan, Putu, Gede, Ni Luh(female only). Wayan is Balinese originally meant Wayah or oldest.
  • Second born names: Made, Kadek, Nengah, Made/Nengah means madya or middle. Kadek means little brother/sister
  • Third born names: Nyoman, Komang
  • Fourth born names: Ketut”
Each guest is provided a unique experience suited to their particular needs.

After spending considerable time in the bar with Gede, the general manager, he took me on our tour to see the luxurious suites and the full service spa offering a myriad of relaxing and beneficial services.

What fascinated me the most during the almost two hour conversation and tour was the dedication of the owner and the full staff to maintaining an environmentally friendly resort with an atmosphere based on the gentle, soothing and a spiritual persona in Hindu beliefs. 

The salon for hair, nails and pedicures was equally inviting.

Whether it’s an early morning yoga session in the exquisite yoga building as shown below, to lounging on one of the many comfortably padded cabanas scattered throughout the resort facing the blue sea, to a healing treatment in the spa, this peaceful resort caters to those seeking the utmost in service, ambiance, privacy and amenities.

Over the next few days we’ll continue presenting more photos of our blissful experience at Puri Bagus Lovina while we make our way through the five days of requirements of the immigration office. 

The building where yoga classes are conducted.

Busy preparing the posts, taking photos, dining at both breakfast and dinner, spending time at the pool and walking through the exquisite grounds has made our days and evening satisfying and complete. 

Add the delight of participating in many engaging conversations with staff, we’ve had a superb experience thus far and expect it will continue over our remaining two days until we return to the villa.

Tomorrow, we’ll begin to share the diverse, delicious and creative food choices at Puri Bagus Lovina and an exciting special event occurring tonight. Please check back!

Be well. Be peaceful.

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

These baby goats in Fiji were less than a week old.  Note the bit of greenery in the mouth on the one of the left. For more details, please click here.

Plans for upcoming mini vacation/immigration office run booked…We’re attempting to make a tedious task an enjoyable experience…

A beautiful beach scene from a stop halfway through the four to five hour harrowing drive.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

A coconut husk becomes an interesting find on the beach.

This particular Sunday morning with the household help off, we lazily lingered in bed, reading email, checking FB and drinking Tom’s delicious French pressed coffee. Six days a week we get up earlier, shower and dress (in swimsuits), exiting the bedroom earlier for the two Katuks to make the bed and clean.

On Sundays, alone the only morning all week, we find ourselves experiencing a day almost similar to our old lives, minus the physical copy of the Sunday paper, the possibility of family or friends visiting and the constant energy expended in cooking, laundry, household maintenance and repairs, and yard work or snow removal.

Eliminating all the above tasks and here, we’re left to our own resources; a daily walk on the beach or in the neighborhood, quietly staring out at the sea, preparing our daily post while often engaged in idle chatter.

Statue shop on the highway from Denpasar.

As I prepared today’s late post, Gede stopped by to say hello, the second morning in a row, giving us an opportunity to ask him questions about things we’ve seen on the beach that are yet unfamiliar.

Yesterday morning, Gede also stopped by after a week away visiting family in Lovina during the Hindu holiday. The 10 days of reverence and celebration was quickly coming to an end. He’d returned from almost a week in his home town of Lovina spending time with his family and friends. 

The time for us to visit Lovina was fast approaching (a two hour drive each way) where it’s necessary to begin the three day process required over a period of five days, applying for and hopefully receiving the 30 day visa extension. For new readers, we’d completed this same process during our last stay in Bali a few months ago.

Many shops in Denpasar sell decorations for Hindu holidays.

Over these past few months Tom’s been somewhat angst ridden about this lengthy process. While in Singapore for a week, starting at the end of June, we didn’t have ample time to apply at the Indonesian Embassy. 

At the time, we had to leave our passports for a few days at both the Vietnamese and Thai embassies. Shortly prior to the Mekong River cruise and subsequent trip to Phuket, it was more important to get the required visas for Vietnam and Thailand.

I could tell his angst continued while we were in Phuket, occasionally mentioning the dreaded process of driving four hours a day for three of five days. Aware of his angst, one day an idea popped into my head…Why don’t we book a hotel in the resort town of Lovina, starting on Monday, checking out on Friday while we take care of the visa extensions while staying in the resort town? 

We were surprised how well the decorations held up after it had rained.

If we had a rental car for the five days, we could drive back and forth to the immigration office from the hotel as required on Monday (drop off documents), Wednesday (photos and fingerprints) and Friday (pick up visa extensions).

Doing so could make the dreaded experience a fun adventure even though we’d have to spend a total of three to five hours at the Immigration office. Finding a rental car and hotel proved to be a tricky proposition when the weak WiFi signal easily inhibits online searching. 

We knew we needed Gede’s assistance in finding both a rental car and a hotel with his vast knowledge of the area. We hoped to find a hotel close to the immigration office, but with “maps” not working well, finding a good location nearby was cumbersome and time consuming.

Driving in Lovina is not unlike driving in Denpasar, a usual 10 minute trip could take an hour or more. A hotel with a close proximity to the immigration office was a must.

Statue shop on the highway from Denpasar.

Gede easily solved both concerns. First, he explained we could rent Egon’s van that sits in our garage unused most of the time for US $15.17, IDR 200,000 a day for a total of US $75.86, IDR 1,000,000 plus fuel, certainly no more costly than having a driver take us back and forth.

Secondly, Gede suggested some hotels within five minutes of the immigration office.  We opened the link on our site for Hotels.com enabling us to review the details of his suggestions and to search for prices and availability. The hotels he suggested didn’t appear to have availability. Leave it to Gede to figure out a solution.

He called the top rated, closest hotel and speaking in either Indonesian or Balinese, he was able to get us a booking, we’d never have been able to get on our own.  Plus, he negotiated a rate savings of US $50, IDR 691,125 per night for a total savings of US $200, IDR 2,636,500. The nightly rate he’d arranged is US $130, IDR 1,713,725.

On occasion, we’ve noticed vacant land for sale.

With four nights in the hotel, we’ll spend US $520, IDR 6,854,900, plus the rental vehicle and fuel at around US $100, IDR 1,318,250 plus meals estimated at US $50, IDR 691,125 for four nights at US $200, IDR 2,636,500. Breakfast and free WiFi are included in the hotel’s rate.

For the grand total (minus the cost of the visa extensions), our four night mini holiday will cost an extra (over and above what we would have paid for transportation) an approximate US $720, IDR 9,491,400. 

Is it worth the extra expense to reduce angst?  Absolutely! Besides Tom will be more at ease doing the driving himself. I get this. Also, it becomes a part of our time in Bali, we’re anticipating with enthusiasm instead of dread.

Balinese design on business.

First thing in the morning, two weeks from tomorrow, we’ll be on our way.While there, we’ll take and share photos of our accommodations, dining, the beautiful beaches in Lovina and sightseeing between trips to the immigration office.

Thanks, Gede. No words can express how much we appreciate your help in booking the five star hotel in Lovina at such an affordable price and spending time helping us figure this out!

Have a fabulous day filled with sunshine.

Photo from one year ago today, September 11, 2015:

These are the sizes of the aubergine we purchased at a farmers market in Savusavu, Fiji on the day of our arrival. We had a big hiccup that night which may be read 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 a 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.”  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 back seat, 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 incubated here. Often, dogs, other predators, and humans dig up the eggs on the beaches for food. This is a good alternative for the turtle’s 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, it’s 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 bad 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, five-day process. 

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

No doubt, it’s 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 they 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 other. 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 the 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!

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 1:00 pm hoping to have a short wait. 

Alas, “island time” prevails as the various officers mulled around behind the service desk until they close to 1:30 pm, although the posted sign clearly stated they’d be open for business at 1:00 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 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 photos 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 nonfluoride 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 to 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 Ketuts 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 a “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 5:00 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 6:00 pm but we’ve chosen to dine at 5:00 pm to allow them to be done with the cooking and cleanup and out the door by 6:00.

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 rollout 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. 

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. It’s 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 9:00 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 the conclusion 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, it’s simple. We prefer a road trip that doesn’t require us to turn around and return to our original destination. We like new scenery. 

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

The entrance gate to Gede’s family home 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 water 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 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 1:00 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.  n Bali, the locals tend to live together in clusters of individual homes. 

I took these 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 from 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” (the 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.

On the narrow road, we walked to Gede’s family home in Lovina.

As it neared 1:00 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, kind, 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, strenuous day.

Tomorrow morning, again leaving at 9:00 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 days. Back to you soon.

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 9:00 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 centered 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 brings you humor in recalling your past experiences.

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.