Back to Bali – and more friends and festivities …

We fly back to Bali from Singapore because we loved it so much a month ago and decided it was worth looping back for Christmas and New Year and seeing more of the friends we enjoyed our time with on the last trip! We have a relaxed 3 weeks in the most glorious villa we’ve rented near Ubud. 

The beautiful villa and beautiful Balinese friends - Angel explains to Erika the offerings shes going to place  around our home, Lara helps Kadek clean the pond and Kadek helps Ben figure out how to design and build a kite:)

The beautiful villa and beautiful Balinese friends who look after it, and us.  Here is Angel explaining to Erika the offerings she’s placing around our home, Lara helps Kadek clean the pond with Angel’s little boy and Kadek helps Ben figure out how to design and build a kite:)

Tucked away down a small ‘gang’ or alley in the midst of rice paddies, in the village of Penestanan, with three wonderful staff looking after us – Angel, our housekeeper, Kadek our gardener and Wayan our security guy who is around the premises all night every night.

There seems to be a local problem with petty theft, which is hard to believe when it feels so calm and safe but luckily this creates quite a lot of employment in security guard jobs!

We enjoy more activities in and around Ubud taking dance, woodcarving and fruit carving classes (as well as borrowing a lot of books!) through the wonderful local library, and we see lots of our friends and make some new ones too. We visit an orphanage in the south of Bali, the kids take stationery supplies to give, carefully chosen at our local supermarket and we take some of the kids out on a shopping expedition to the local wholesale supermarket. It’s so much fun and the children we meet are so lovely. It’s a humbling experience to have a glimpse of their lives and a tiny chance to see another side to Bali and give a tiny bit back in a country that has given so much of itself to us. The Jodie O Shea orphanage, established in memory of an Australian girl who died from burns suffered in the 2002 Bali bombings, is a wonderful happy home and we wish we had the time to come back and volunteer for longer. I definitely recommend it to consider by anyone looking for a short or longer term volunteer opportunity.

Learning wood and fruit carving, dancing and studying.

Learning wood and fruit carving, dancing and studying.

Christmas is different but wonderful! We have a wonderful evening decorating gingerbread houses with our friends the Pearces, getting us right in the spirit!. The kids make snow from soap bubbles and make it snow from the upstairs balcony! On Christmas morning, the sky is blue and Santa has managed to find the little stockings, carrot, cookie and milk left, although not without a lot of messages left to challenge poor Santa to prove himself, left by Ben! It’s a miracle Santa remembered to fill the stockings after that!

We’re a bit sorry not to find a ‘traditional’ Christmas lunch somewhere but we still have a great lunch at another firm favourite of ours The Bridge and we spend Boxing Day chilling in the pool of the small hotel near our villa! New Year’s eve is fantastic, spent with our friends the Pearces at Rouge then watching endless fireworks lighting up the paddies across the horizon from our villa balcony. One New Years Day, while most of the family catch up on sleep, Erika and I wander the lanes of Penestanan and see the busy New Year activities on the streets and doorsteps – special offerings and incense burning everywhere, a special garland for Ganesha and other significant gods!

Enjoying Christmas and New Year.

Enjoying Christmas and New Year.

We have a fun, shared 6th birthday party for Lara and Merle, we attend a spectacular up-market local wedding, invited by Angel, we learn more about Bali Hindu (Ben says he’s decided if he were to follow a religion this is the one he’d choose,) we enjoy fabulous food – ranging from the amazing raw organic salads at Alchemy, to the amazing Kue chocolate cafe nearby, to our favourite Rouge sushi bar – think Bali meets Hollywood meets Japan, to our favourite to a fab 7 course tasting menu outing sans-kids (Oma babysitting, took the four kids to Taco Casa, another fave) at Mozaic with our new buddy who’s also a travelling Mum and our kids’ new English teacher!

Fun with friends...

Lots and lots of fun with friends… birthday cakes from wonderful Kue!

The wedding.

The wedding.

Erika, Lara and I especially enjoy some beautiful walks through paddies and villages and of course (massage addicts Martin Erika and Zoe mainly) enjoy a lot of massage treatments. Last time here I saw an incredible cranio-sacral therapist who did amazing miracles with my sore back. I’d like a top up but find out he’s booked up with training – doh! Ubud has endless alternative therapy specialists available – it’s yet another draw!

Everything in and around Ubud is intoxicating!

Everything in and around Ubud is intoxicating!

Then we take a great road trip around the east and the north of Bali, staying at the beach in Amed and Lovina, visiting some amazing temples and drinking in stunning views.

Zoe and I go diving, this time on a wreck, Martin and I attend the fabulous Bali Asli cooking school and the kids have a blast at Bali Treetops ropes course!

Early morning views from Amed across to Mt Agung and Batur, on the way to our dive trip.

Early morning views from Amed across to Mt Agung and Batur, on the way to our dive trip.

Highlights of diving at Amed on our Bali roadtrip.

Highlights of diving at Amed on our Bali road trip.

Brilliant 'day in the life of a Balinese Lady' at Bali Asli cooking school and restaurant.

Brilliant ‘day in the life of a Balinese lady’ at Bali Asli cooking school and restaurant. Martin’s Christmas pressie.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed for our 6am start to see the lovely dolphins at Lovina but hate the way the boats chase them with their noisy engines roaring - in the high season it must be unbearable for dolphins and visitors alike :(

Bright eyed and bushy tailed for our 6am start to see the lovely dolphins at Lovina but we hate the way the boats chase them with their noisy engines roaring – in the high season it must be unbearable for dolphins and visitors alike 😦 Wish we’d boycotted it!

Bali roadtrip volcano and rice paddy views.

Bali road trip volcano and rice paddy views.

Kids spend a couple of hours at Bali treetops, our last day on the road and our last day in Bali, heading back to Ubud.

Kids spend a fun afternoon at Bali Treetops, our last day on the road and our last day in Bali, heading back to Ubud.

Ulun Danu Water Temple at Bedugal.

Ulun Danu Water Temple at Bedugal.

Our last night we’re back in Ubud, sharing a final lovely evening with friends and meeting still more folks. There are a lot of travelling nomadic families who make it here and then decide to settle semi permanently and create a base from which to explore Asia. One family we meet are renting the same villa we stayed in, longer term. We were lucky to find it for three of the weeks they were away for Christmas in Australia.  What a small world. They spot the house on my fb update and get in touch asking us to say hi to Angel!
And all too soon, we are saying goodbye AGAIN and our lovely driver, another Kadek, is whisking us away to Denpasar airport, for our flight to Borneo. We are all officially in love with Bali and will certainly be back here again some time, if not on this journey!
Last night in Bali at Ala's Green Guest House, amidst the paddies, Oma gathers the bags on the porch and Lara chats with Kadek who's been driving us around Bali for 2 months and has become a good friend.

Last night in Bali at Ala’s Green Guest House, amidst the paddies, Oma gathers the bags on the porch and Lara chats with Kadek who’s been driving us around Bali for 2 months and has become a good friend.

The upset of saying goodbye is softened a little because we have discovered that by complete chance, we’re booked to fly to Sri Lanka from Kuala Lumpur on the same flight as the Pearces in a week or so! So nicer to say ‘See you in KL next week!!’

gingerbread making and other bali favourites!

gingerbread making and other Bali favourites!

Bringing back the shopping with the kids at Jodie O'Shea orphanage

Bringing back the shopping with the kids at Jodie O’Shea orphanage

 

 

Another tranquil view of ducks and paddies!

Another tranquil view of ducks and paddies!

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris Lambah
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 00:25:26

    What’s all this about Christmas? Is this an old post or us the broadband that slow out there:-)

    Reply

    • Mo
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 01:45:54

      Yes yes! Months behind:) still trying to catch up…
      Oh wait, I like your line of thought there Chris … I meant, yes, I posted it months ago, can’t believe the broadband’s let me down again!!!

      Reply

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