Next stop…Gili Trawangan

All good things must come to an end…..well, kind of.   While Lauri, Charley, and Bruce headed back to Bend, the remaining five of us extended our stay and went to Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T.)  Gili T is about an hour boat ride from Jemuluk Bay in Amed. While the price of our boat tickets included transportation from Villa Paradiso to the bay, we didn’t envision it would be in the back of a truck. I sat in the front with the driver, everyone else and our luggage were piled in the back. We even stopped to pick up another passenger who threw her bag in the back and climbed in. It’s unexpected things like this that add to my love of international travel.

Our ride to catch the fast boat to Gili T.
Our transportation to Jemeluk Bay.

On our way to Jemeluk Bay I shot some video. Click on the link below to see what the majority of the roads we traveled were like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6QuAS1Mp7U

Boarding the boat in Amed.
Boarding the boat in Amed.

Rochelle and I got a seat inside the boat.

Cramped seating inside the fast boat.
Cramped seating inside the fast boat.

All seats were well equipped with water and plenty of barf bags!

Complimentary water and barf bags.
Complimentary water and barf bags.

Erich, Mary, and Kirk sat in the back of the boat where they proceeded to get wet from water spraying over the side.

Erich, Mary, and Kirk sitting in the back of the boat.
Erich, Mary, and Kirk sitting in the back of the boat.

After arriving on Gili T, we got our luggage and went in search of transportation to our hotel.

Kirk retrieving our luggage.
Kirk retrieving our luggage.

Gili T, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, are very small islands located northwest of Lombok. There’s no motorized transportation allowed on the Gilis. Cidomos (horse carts) operate as taxis and because our hotel was on the other side of the Gili T boat harbor, Erich, Rochelle, and I squeezed into a cidomo with all our luggage for the 15 minute ride to our hotel. Kirk and Mary opted to walk rather than hire another cidomo.

Gili T cidomo (horse cart).
Gili T cidomo (horse cart).

Click the link below for video of our ride to the hotel:

http://youtu.be/GMzlCFT2ygI

Our rooms weren’t fancy…..

Aston Sunset Beach Resort.
Aston Sunset Beach Resort room.
Aston Sunset Beach Resort.
Aston Sunset Beach Resort.

But, we did get rooms with private pools which was very convenient and well worth the extra cost. No walking in the humid heat to use the main hotel pool. Just step outside our room and jump in.

Private pool.
Private pool.

Private pool.

We got settled into our rooms and relaxed a bit then went to dinner. Gili T is known for its’ bar and party scene. The east side of the island is more developed than the west so we opted to stay on the west side away from the loud late night party scene (I guess that means we’re old!) Upon returning from dinner Mary had a little surprise on her doorstep………

Passed out guy by Mary's room.
Passed out guy by Mary’s room.

We thought we were on the mellow side of the island and some drunk guy passed out near Mary’s door.

Goodnight Mary.
Goodnight Mary.

Mary did call security to have them check on this guy in case he was suffering from a medical problem. They laughed and assured her he was just drunk. They also got  him up and told him to go to his own room. I’m not sure how that turned out.

A week in Amed.

After spending a week at Villa Paradiso, here are some observations of Bali in comparison to our travels in Thailand and Vietnam as noted by Erich:image

Temples- in every village, there is one temple for each of the three major gods. And often times there are temples for the lesser gods. Most residences have a temple as well. So Bali has temples everywhere. But, they are pretty pedestrian compared to those in Thailand and those that still remain in Vietnam. Balinese temples seem to be more use oriented (practical?) and less ornamental.

Celebrations- the Balinese (and perhaps all Hindu people) have many, many of these. It seems like there is no invitation. The whole village just shows up.

People- they were all very warm and kind. Good senses of humor. But, the caste system that exists is a drag. It is hard to get too close to them as a result.

Transportation- a big bummer. I don’t feel like we saw a lot of Bali and I wouldn’t want to try. The roads are too narrow, windy, steep, etc. And the traffic, roughly 2/3s scooters and 1/3 cars, is too congested. Even a short excursion can take 30-45 minutes. A 30 mile trip, at least where we were, took 90 -120 minutes. So, being stationed in one great place, which we were, is critical to a relaxing vacation on Bali.

 

 

Special dinner and Balinese dance at Villa Paradiso.

The last night at Villa Paradiso we ate a special meal prepared by the staff and then watched some local kids perform traditional Balinese dances.

The centerpiece and all the hanging decorations were hand made by the staff.

Dining table decorations.
Dining area and table decorations.

Dining table decorations.

handmade decorations
Handmade decorations.

We took a lot of time to admire the decorations and food in spite of Kirk’s encouragement for us to “dig in.”imagePresentation is everything……..or so they say. None of us had ever seen a whole chicken presented with a flower in its’ mouth, or with its’ head still attached for that matter.

Chicken with a flower in its’ mouth.
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Curry dish, chicken and fish satay with two dipping sauces.
Komang serving Lauri.
Komang serving Lauri.
Komang serving Rochelle
Komang serving Rochelle
young girl performing a traditional Balinese dance.
Young girl performing a traditional Balinese dance.
Two brother (age 6 and 14) performing a traditional Balinese dance
Two brothers (ages 6 and 14) performing a traditional Balinese dance.
Group shot of the kids that danced for us.
Group shot of the dancers.

 

 

Pura Lempuyang Luhur video

As mentioned in the last post, Erich, Charley, Kirk, Mary, and Bruce hiked to the Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple. My travel book states that reaching the temple involves a two hour climb up 1700 stone steps. Below are links to video shot by Erich with our GoPro (now referred to as our “finger cam”).

Video 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9kWVGwhwMw

Video 2  http://youtu.be/zGFYxeykTkw

Video 3   http://youtu.be/QpZuG15NPUo

Video 4  https://youtu.be/0JgG9bBChsk

Video 5  https://youtu.be/xfLsxNgkB8E

Video 6  https://youtu.be/0id1HZzfWSQ

Video 7  https://youtu.be/i43SEOaXL8I

Video 8  https://youtu.be/413Vp1IKY8g

Video 9  https://youtu.be/C3vrV5501H8

Video 10  https://youtu.be/TZtVmG-8Cr4

Video 11 https://youtu.be/t-YkwcmyM2U

Video 12  https://youtu.be/8i5vHL5ODOg

Video 13  https://youtu.be/4zs8eMSePIw

Video 14  https://youtu.be/lBYKB8mynWE

Video 15  https://youtu.be/4_GhbyM6Dq0

Video 16 https://youtu.be/yqUoEt6ix8M

 

 

 

Bringing home the bacon.

On the day Erich, Bruce, Mary, Charley, and Kirk went to climb the 1700 steps to visit the Pura Lempuyang Luhur temple, Rochelle left at 5:00 am to get in another day of fishing.

This is Charley’s photo taken from the top of the temple.

View from the top of Pura Lempuyang Luhur.
View from the top of Pura Lempuyang Luhur.

Rochelle’s photo below is proof of another successful day catching Mahi Mahi. She brought 5 fish back to the house and gave the rest to her boat captain.

Ro's haul of Mahi Mahi.
Ro’s haul of Mahi Mahi.
The provider.
The provider.

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Mahi Mahi dinner. Thanks Ro!
Mahi Mahi dinner prepared by the house staff.

Lauri and I had more serious business to take care of.

Skip-Bo match.
Skip-Bo match.

Karangasem-Bugbug, Virgin Beach

Our group arrived successfully at the beach where we ate lunch and went swimming.image

Rice, chicken, veggie lunch.
Rice, chicken, veggie lunch.

Bintang is the local Balinese beer which is not bad but certainly not good compared to the local beers we get in Bend. Yes, we know we’re beer snobs. During lunch Bruce ordered a Bali Cider which was pretty good. I never saw it offered anywhere else. It was a nice change from Bintang.

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Our group swimming.
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Erich body surfing on the left. He loves it and will body surf any chance he gets.

We noticed this SoCal lookin’ guy sitting on the beach and of course I had to take his picture. What the hell was he doing here on this fairly remote beach in Bali? His photographer friend told me he’s a champion skimboarder.SoCal lookin' dude sitting on the beach.Turns out his name is Austin Keen and he’s the skimboard world champion. He is from SoCal and was in Bali to do a photo shoot. I was skeptical so I googled “skimboard champion dreadlocks” and yep it’s true.World champion skim boarder Austin Skeen.One of the photographers brought ashore a young dead dolphin floating nearby. imageimageLooky loos checking out the dead Dolphin…..ok, I was a looky loo too.
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Click on the links below to see video I took with my phone. All blog photos are from my iPhone as well.

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IMG_1107

If you’re into surfing or skimboarding, YouTube has a video of this guy.

Bike ride to the beach.

Ro hooked us up with a mountain bike ride tour that was mostly downhill and ended at a really pretty white sand beach.

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Rice field photo op.
Rice field photo op.
Lauri.
Lauri.
More rice fields. .
More rice fields.
Roadside store where we tried some snakeskin fruit.
Roadside store where we tried some snakeskin fruit and checked out some other food.
Snakeskin fruit
Snakeskin fruit.

There were a few parts of the ride that were uphill so the sag wagon picked me up and dropped me off at the next downhill section where I’d join the rest of the group. Brilliant plan!

Paige catching an ride.
Paige got a photo of Kirk and Mary before getting back on her bike.
Charley, Bruce , and Lauri.
Charley, Bruce , and Lauri.
Rochelle and Kirk.
Rochelle and Kirk.
Rice fields everywhere!
Rice fields everywhere!
We saw these cows just before we got to the beach.
We saw these cows just before we got to the beach.

yoga

6 am yoga at our house. Thanks for organizing Lauri.

Group yoga.
Group yoga.
Erich and Mary
Erich and Mary.
Miller tandem headstand.
Miller tandem headstand.

I didn’t have the leg strength to hang with the rest of the group so this  guy (Rooster) took me aside and we had an excellent hour of yoga matched to my ability. This photo makes me smile every time I see it. He was such a kind, peaceful, and happy man.

Paige and her private instructor.
Paige and Rooster.
Lauri and their group instructor.
Lauri and their group instructor.

NAMASTE!

Bali Asli – cooking class

BALI ASLI overlooks rice fields and has an incredible view of Mount Agung.

View of Mount Agung from BALI ASLI.
View of Mount Agung from BALI ASLI.

After our walk through the village, we returned to BALI ASLI for our cooking lesson. Chef Dewa showed us typical ingredients used in Balinese cooking and then showed us how to prepare chicken satay, peanut sauce for satay, spiced fish fillet in a banana leaf parcel, fern tip with grated coconut and red bean salad, spiced tofu in a banana leaf parcel, and Indonesian fried rice.

Chef Dewa starting class
Chef Dewa starting class

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Charley and Lauri
Charley and Lauri looking way too serious.
Kirk and Ro.
Chicken satay demo
Chicken satay demo
Mary watching the salad demo.
Mary watching the salad demo.
Watching our chicken satay get grilled.
Watching our chicken satay get grilled.
Grilling chicken satay
Grilling chicken satay
Fish in a banana leaf parcel ingredients.
Ingredients for the Fish in a banana leaf parcel before mixing.

We worked in pairs and the ingredients for each dish were brought to us pre measured and empty containers were cleared by staff members right away. Stress free cooking…….I’d like to convince Erich to do this at home.

Ingredients for the fried rice.
Ingredients for the fried rice.
Kirk and Erich working on the fried rice.
Kirk and Erich working on the fried rice.
We each plated our own rice. It's all about presentation...right?
We each plated our own rice. It’s all about presentation…right?
Time to sit down and eat what we made.
Time to sit down and eat what we made.

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Pretty funny certificates we all received after we ate.

Bali Asli certificate of training.
Bali Asli certificate of training.

 

Bali Asli – walk through the village

Rochelle arranged a half day group trip to BALI ASLI which is a restaurant that also offers cooking classes and local tours. It is located near the town of Amlapura, in north east Bali. Our tour included a walk to the village of Pangi where we visited with a local family, observed some daily village activities, then returned to BALI ASLI for a cooking lesson.

Asli is the Balinese term used for something that is created in the traditional way, with the ingredients that were originally used to create it. Using the word Bali as a prefix to Asli means to create something authentically Balinese.

The first stop on our walk was to watch this 77 year old man high up in a palm tree collecting sap for palm wine. Typically the sap is collected from the cut flower of the palm tree. A container is fastened to the flower stump to collect the sap. The white liquid that initially collects tends to be very sweet and non-alcoholic before it is fermented. Palm wine may be distilled to create a stronger drink, which goes by different names depending on the region.

Old man tapping a Palm tree.
Old man tapping a Palm tree.

Next stop a traditional Balinese home.

Balinese family.
Balinese family.

Notice the TV antenna attached to the roof.

Family home.
Family home.
TV area.
TV area.
Bruce and Charley.
Bruce and Charley.
Kitchen
Kitchen
Beehive on the side of the house.
Beehive on the side of the house.

In Bali, babies do not touch the ground until they are three months old. Balinese baby’s are always held in someone’s arms, Mother, Father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors.

Mother and baby.
Mother holding her baby girl.

Here’s a little Balinese placenta info for you…. After the baby is born (obviously) the placenta is placed in a coconut with flowers and money, wrapped in a white cloth, and buried outside the family home. Girl placentas are buried on the right side of the house, while boy placentas are buried on the left. This practice is thought by some to attract helpful spiritual guides to the child. The burial site will be covered with a black stone, and a prickly bush will be planted on top to protect it. This family did just that and here’s their plant with a raised box to place offerings.

Sorry Kendall and Grant but I’m sure your placentas went straight into the dumpster at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. And I’m sure we put you on the ground with Roxy within your first week of life. Is there anything more important than bonding with the family dog? I think not!

Plant
Placenta plant.

More photos from our walk-

I had no idea bananas grew with that hanging down business going on…..I know, middle school humor, but you’re thinking the same thing.

Bananas
Bananas

A little hard to see, the spider in the center of the web was the size of my hand with the longest legs I’d ever seen on a spider. I was not willing to get closer for a better shot 😁

Gnarly spider.
Gnarly spider.
Pineapple
Pineapple
Ro, Mary, and Erich.
Ro, Mary, and Kirk.
Walking back to Bali Asli.
Walking back to Bali Asli.
Mary and Ro in front of large bamboo.
Mary and Ro in front of large bamboo.

Next post….cooking class.

Click here for info about the Bali Asli restaurant and cooking school: Bali Asli

Let’s eat that fish!

Our boat captains were brothers and their families were on shore when we returned in the afternoon. We gave them about 2/3 of our catch and took the rest back to our house. We wanted enough fish to feed us and the Villa Paradiso staff. They grilled the Mahi Mahi and cooked the Amberjack and Rainbowfish in banana leaves. Dinner included mixed veggies, white rice, and two types of sauce. One mild, the other kick ass hot. Best fish meal yet!

Grilled Mahi Mahi
Grilled Mahi Mahi
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Grilled Mahi Mahi with Amberjack and Rainbowfish cooked in banana leaves.

Mahi-Mahi dinner

Fishing from Amed 1/2

Charley, Erich, Kirk, Rochelle, and Paige went on a half day Mahi Mahi fishing trip about an hour boat ride off the coast of Amed. Departure was just before sunrise with guys in one boat, Paige and Ro in the other. Both boats fished in the same general area but weren’t close enough to see each other. Here’s documentation of the more prolific boat of the two. Not that anyone is bragging 😉

Going fishing at sunrise
Going fishing at sunrise
Captain Wayan and Ro.

Ro had a fish on before Paige even got her line in the water.

Fish on.
Fish on.
Ro's Mahi Mahi
Ro’s first Mahi Mahi
The girl's haul.
The girl’s haul.

Total count: 10 Mahi Mahi, 2 Amberjack, and 2 Rainbowfish.

Paige & Ro with Amberjack, Mahi-Mahi, and Rainbowfish.
Paige & Ro with Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and Rainbowfish.
Great day of fishing!
Great day of fishing!

Post of the guys day up next……

Dinner at Apakabar

Apakabar is a 5 minute walk from our house and is under the same ownership as Villa Paradiso. This was our first meal away from the house.

Ro & Kirk on our way to Apakabar.
Ro & Kirk on our way to Apakabar.

The restaurant is on the beach with a nice view.

L to R: Mary, Bruce, Lauri, Charley, Kirk, Rochelle, Paige, Erich
L to R: Mary, Bruce, Lauri, Charley, Kirk, Rochelle, Paige, Erich
Kirk, Charley, Mary, Erich
Kirk, Charley, Mary, Erich
Bruce, Lauri, Ro
Bruce, Lauri, Ro

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On the way back to the house a “homemade ice cream” sign lured us into a little restaurant. The ice cream was excellent and Charley won the game of 31 so we left him with the bill.

Ice cream and 31.
Ice cream and 31.

Snorkeling & Salt Production

First, here are a few photos of the outside of our house which is a block from the beach.

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On to snorkeling. While the rest of our group took a day trip to Ubud, Erich and I went snorkeling and visited a local salt production site. We snorkeled in Jemluluk Bay which is a few minutes from our house. The roads in Amed are very narrow and windy so other than walking to nearby restaurants or the local beach, we pile into a van or cars and catch rides. However, Charley has been crazy enough to go for a run before the sun comes up!

Jemluluk Bay
Jemluluk Bay
Lunch after snorkeling.
Lunch after snorkeling.

The water was a very comfortable temperature and it was such a short swim to the coral we could have stayed out for a lot longer than we did. I’m hoping to post some GoPro video Erich shot.

On our way home we stopped at a salt production site.image

As soon as we got out of the car kids ran across the street to sell us little bags of salt and other trinkets. They had handwritten notes that said education is not free in Bali and our purchase of their items would help pay for their education.

Eric and our driver Raggae at the sat production site.
Erich, our driver Raggae, and local kids at the sat production site.
Ocean water and sand bin.
Salt water and sand bin.
Salt drying in the sun.
Salt drying in the sun.

Villa Paradiso

We’re staying at a house in Amed which is on the eastern coast of Bali. Erich and I hosted a table at the 2014 Tuxes & Tails Humane Society fundraiser where our table as a group won the bid on this amazing house. Thanks for raising your paddle Mary! So here we are 15 months later in Indonesia.

The house has 4 master suites, a pool, and jacuzzi. There is a very small hotel connected to the property that has 5 cottages, another pool, a small restaurant, a full staff, and a massage room. So basically this place does not suck.

 

Thirty three hours to Bali.

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Oh the joy of hoarding frequent flyer miles. Flying business class and being able to get horizontal on a 15 hour flight makes all the difference in the world. So our travel time was mostly eating, reading, sleeping, playing cards then repeat on the next flight.

Playing Skip-Bo at LAX
Playing Skip-Bo at LAX

Our first mystery meal ingredients of the trip. This is a bowl of veggie udon noodles from the Hong Kong airport.

Udon noodles
Udon noodles

Erich’s descriptions of the veggies were:part of a tire.

Part of a tire
Part of a tire

And: part of a building that fell off in an accident.

Part of a building
Part of a building

The soup was tasty in spite of Erich’s unappetizing descriptions and I still don’t know what these 2 veggies are.

We arrived at our house in Amed after dark tonight so the next post should include info & photos of our digs for the next week.

 

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