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.

Traveling and working out…not always possible…Fitness stats…Tonight’s dinner date…

Wherever we may travel water views always present a photo op.

It’s not always possible to find a fitness center nearby our vacation rental. Many remote areas we visit don’t have fitness centers at all when many of the locals don’t have cars and walk up and down steep hills all day and tackle varying degrees of backbreaking work in their jobs and day to day lives. They certainly don’t need to workout nor can they afford the cost.

I often wonder what fitness-minded ex-pats and foreigner temporary residents do for fitness, although many may scuba dive and partake in a variety of activities that may suffice during short visits.

A bridge across the pond.

Here are stats from the US from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition:

  • Only one in three children are physically active every day.
  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
  • Only 35 – 44% of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34% of adults ages 65-74 are physically active.
  • More than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.

Based on the above stats, many travelers and ex-pats may not be as interested in fitness as I am or as I may assume, making the availability of fitness centers less important in many resort areas.

Some resorts and hotels have workout facilities which would most likely be adequate for my needs with many “all-inclusive” resorts, unwelcoming to “outsiders,” even for a fee.

A walkway to another area of the Arts Village.  We toured every nook and cranny.

The more outsider-welcoming resorts and hotels with workout facilities in more remote locations require a taxi fare making working out not as feasible when added to the cost of the temporary membership. In Kauai, we had a rental car and could easily drive to the golf course we joined for the pool and fitness center. 

The cost for that fitness membership was USD $225, FJD $533 a month. If we’d had to add taxi fare, the total cost would be impractical for our budget. As a result, we decide on a case by case basis.

The last location where I had access to a fitness center was Trinity Beach, Australia, our stay ending in early September. Once we arrived in Savusavu with no fitness centers in the area and at only the all-inclusive resorts, options were non-existent. Living at the top of the steep mountainous road made walking in the neighborhood literally impossible.

Walkways are often uneven with potential tripping hazards, particularly for seniors.

Although seemingly less significant, I didn’t clean or do laundry with the included daily household help and spent considerable hours each day relatively inactive. This didn’t serve me well. I’m feeling out of shape, more so than I have since the onset of our travels.

Now that we’re living on flat ground walking is definitely on the agenda, daily if possible, weather permitting. In the mornings and at dusk the mozzies are in full force. After completing the day’s post a walk is definitely in order. 

Walking on rock covered roads is not necessarily a strenuous exercise while attempting to avoid falling or turning an ankle. Tom, having walked on rough terrain most of his life, is certainly more surefooted than I am.  In our travels, we’ve certainly done our fair share of walking on rough terrain and have been fortunate to avoid any major injuries. 

A hostel for backpackers or budget-minded travelers.

However, we never take for granted that we’re not exempt from tripping or falling while walking. The more fit we are, the less likelihood of a fall. A bad injury from a fall could put a fast end to our travels. How many seniors do we all know who’s been injured falling ending up in rehab centers and becoming immobile for the remainder of their lives?

In a little over three weeks, we’ll be on the ship where an ideal fitness center will get me back on track on my high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I can hardly wait for that reason along with all the other benefits of cruising we both so well enjoy.

Unique colorful lily pad flowers.

By the time we get off the ship, I’ll be on my way to restoring my former level of fitness, stability, and strength.  In most cases, I’ve found that I can recover a good degree of fitness in three weeks of HIIT training.

Luckily, the area we’ll be living in New Zealand and the fact that we’ll have a rental car will enable me to join a not-to-far-away fitness center. In researching online, we’ve found several fitness centers within a 25-minute drive of the farm.

The next big working out challenge will be in Bali where we’ll have a household staff of four including a cook.  Luckily, with the huge infinity pool, I’ll be able to swim and exercise in the pool. The pool at this house isn’t quite long enough for fitness based swimming although, pool exercises are easily accomplished.

Shops in Pacific Harbour at Arts Village.

Along with the many other challenges of changing our environment every few months, finding a fitness plan that works while on the move is crucial. I doubt I will ever allow myself to become as unfit as in Savusavu. 

Although, I easily maintain my weight through my way of eating, working out has had nothing to do with weight control. Working out for a least an hour a day for most of my adult life never contributed to any weight controlling benefits. It has always been the “hand to mouth” aspect of life that determined my weight. 

Tom on the walkway.

In the future, as we book more new locations, we need to do more research on the availability of walking in the neighborhood and fitness centers. I’m not unlike most of the rest of us…it’s hard to stay motivated to workout at home without the regime dictated by paying for and driving to a fitness center.

Today, I’m excited for tonight’s dinner date with my hubby which we haven’t done since October 31st, on our travel anniversary. We’ve chosen a popular local beachside restaurant planning to arrive before dark to ensure we’re able to get good photos to share here tomorrow. We’ll also take photos of our food and the menu.

Back at you soon. Have a great weekend wherever you may be and keep moving!

Photo from one year ago today, December 12, 2014:

With cooler temperatures on this side of Big Island, there weren’t a huge number of bathers in the tide pool at Ahalanui Park but our brave family members tackled the cool water. For more details, please click here.

Out and about…Always discover something new and interesting…Joined Coast Fitness…

This pretty restaurant, L’únigo (misspelled in TripAdvisor as L’Unico) is rated #3 of 16 restaurants in Trinity Beach. We’ll try this one also. The sun peeked out for a few hours yesterday!

With dense fog and pouring rain impeding the view of the ocean and the horizon, we’ve decided not to go on the road trip along the ocean that we’d tentatively planned for today. 

With the intent of taking photos of the scenery along the coastline to share here, we’ve decided to wait until the next sunny weekday. We prefer not to travel on busy weekends fighting traffic and crowds when we can just as easily travel on weekdays.

I stepped out of the car to take this shot. Tom reminded me that passengers on the ship had told him that the ocean is murky at most beaches in Australia, as opposed to the clear crisp blue waters of Hawaii and other islands. Here’s an article about the murky waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef.

However, yesterday when we took off for me to join a fitness center, we took a drive and stumbled upon a fabulous area with photo ops we look forward to sharing here over the next few days. With wifi limitations and the overall poor signal, we can’t post as many photos as we had in some past locations when we had free unlimited wifi.

Coast Fitness is the closest health club and although modest, it certainly will do the trick. I’ve always found that a health club must be conveniently located in one’s place of residence. It’s hard enough to make oneself workout on a regular basis, let alone having a long distance to drive. 

View of the mountains from Trinity Beach.

Working out, although obviously beneficial, requires a degree of self-discipline that I’ve always found to be challenging. Once I’m there and warmed up, it’s all good. 

Unfortunately, Tom has to drive me wherever I’d like to go. The car rental required an extra USD $23.22, AUD $30 per day to add me to the agreement. It just wasn’t worth spending an extra USD $2066.58, AUD $2670.36 for me to drive myself to the grocery store and fitness center during the 89 days. 

There are warning signs along all the beaches in this area in regard to stingers and crocodiles. We’ve seldom seen anyone in the water or lounging on the beach.

It’s not like Tom has a lot to do to prevent him from having time to drive me around. He brings his phone loaded with books he’s reading staying entertained while he waits. Also, driving a stick shift left-handed and on the opposite side of the road wouldn’t have been ideal for me. In essence, I’m happy I wasn’t included in the agreement.  It would not have been pretty.

As we exited the car at Vasay Esplanade, we were excited to see restaurants along the street. Trinity Beach Beachfront Bar and Grill which we particularly liked for their menu is rated #4 of 16 in TripAdvisor. We’ll try this one soon.

It took no more than 10 minutes to pay the required US $177, AUD $230, for the next two months and get my membership card. Not wanting to pay for the third month, my membership will end two weeks before we leave Trinity Beach on September 8th. During that final two weeks, I’ll do the workout at home.

This morning’s view at 10 am.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a facility on the tiny island we’ll be living on in Fiji after we leave here. I’ve already begun searching, contacting various resorts for possibilities, hoping to hear back before too long.

We can’t see beyond the yard.

I hadn’t realized that I’d feel so out of shape when I started yesterday’s routine. I can only attribute it to the fact that I was sick during the final month in Kauai, never working out, and then did a less than stellar attempt on the ship when we were busy socializing each day. 

Now I’m totally committed to go to the fitness center frequently and give it everything I have. It’s amazing how energized and strong I’ll feel after a few weeks. 

The modest entrance to Coast Fitness.  Although unassuming, it has excellent equipment, everything I can possibly use.

As we left the fitness center, Tom, with his keen sense of direction, decided to take us on another drive toward the ocean. Little did we know we’d stumble upon a quaint oceanfront area of Trinity Beach we hadn’t yet discovered. I practically squealed with delight as we parked the car.

The pool at Coast Fitness wasn’t particularly appealing. With the pool here at the house which we’ve yet to use with the mostly cloudy weather these past few weeks, we won’t be using this pool.

Even Tom, who doesn’t get quite as excited as I do, couldn’t get out of the car quick enough so we could wander along the ocean boulevard, Vasay Esplanade, checking out the scenery and the various restaurants and their menus. We found enough restaurants in that one location to satisfy us for weeks to come.

The equipment is up-to-date and adequate.

However, we’ve yet to dine out since we arrived. What can I say? We’ve so enjoyed making our meals and, with Tom losing weight like crazy, it’s pointless to dine out and spoil the momentum. Perhaps soon, we’ll visit one of these appealing options.

We’re content, feeling settled in, enjoying the area. We’ve begun looking ahead to the future when we still have holes in our itinerary that we need to fill. We’ve waited long enough and currently are considering several options. Once, we’ve booked the next round, we’ll certainly be sharing the news here.

Have a warm and wonderful day filled with sunshine in your life, if not in the skies.

                                              Photo from one year ago today, June  24, 2014:

This was the first time we’d seen these Angel’s Trumpet flowers as we drove in the mountains of Madeira. Later, I saw these in Kauai when I toured the Princeville Botanical Gardens to discover that these flowers are used as a hallucinogenic by certain cultures. For more details, please click here.