Sunday, 29 January 2012


Yep, we're back and I'm ready to give away my children again...

After a relatively smooth overnight flight back home, we were picked up at the airport and then had a lovely lunch with friends from church.

It didn't take long for my to do list to resume its out of control nature. We managed to get a quick nap, unpack, wash, get some piano practice in (the children I should specify..) and then...horror! We found nits in the children's hair. What a great welcome home present.

We visited Malcolm's mother who was delighted to be able to see the children. She has unfortunately not improved and remains in hospital. It was nice to be able to show her some of the things that we bought. We stocked up our fridge, had some dinner and then deloused the children in preparation for school tomorrow.

Hello life! At least I don't have to go to work tomorrow!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Goodbye To Bali

I am writing this as we ready ourselves to leave our beloved villa. The past 2 days unfortunately, have been rather unremarkable, with most of our time consumed by purchasing more items for our home. We got some petrified wood, rattan rugs, a custom made stainless steel sign (for Malcolm's man cave) and lots more. We  did have a wonderful evening last night at the funky W Hotel. The entrance to the place could have easily accommodated a small Balinese village! We had dinner at the restaurant overlooking the beach. The restaurant served Japanese food with Indonesian influences. I apologise for the poor photos, we know how poor my low light photography is...

Today we managed to squeeze in a few movies at our villa, had a swim and a massage in an attempt to enjoy our last few hours of freedom. We have had fun in Bali. There were moments when it didn't feel quite right to be here, with unwell relatives and our children being looked after by a multitude of people. In light of this, we did our best to make sure that our time here counted for something, that we made full use of the opportunity that we've been given.

So tune in for the next post from Sydney!

The stunning W Hotel

The amazing poolside area

Dinner venue

Interesting eating booths

The view of the sunset from our table

The blue light which was to be our only source of light for the rest of the evening...

Crackers and salsa to start with
Mocha frappe

Much anticipiated salmon sashimi

Coral fish

Lobster chawan mushi

Crispy duck confit with green papaya salad

Mirin pork belly with congee

Tempura squid with kaffir lime and chilli aioli

A reading light for the menu...and when the light goes off, the waiters know you're ready to order. Ingenious!

Pineapple sorbet

Utilising room service for lunch on our last day at the villa

Friday, 27 January 2012

Nusa Dua and Surrounds

I am exhausted. So it will be a quick post today.

We headed for Tanjung Benoa-Nusa Dua to try some water sports. After much discussion, Malcolm and I agreed upon the "donut", some snorkling and heading out to Turtle Island on a glass bottomed boat. Overall, we had fun, but our experiences today sure made us appreciate various things more and reminded us not to take things for granted. I am talking about respected and well run zoos specifically here. Turtle Island was a little but distressing. The various animals just were not kept in good conditions and were being mobbed by all the tourists. I am not a huge animal activist, but we chose to leave immediately. This is something that I would definitely not recommend to anyone. The snorkling was fun, but the reef was in quite poor condition as well.
Tanjung Benoa-Nusa Dua

The Beach. Glad I left my camera in the car...saw someone fall into the water from the boat with their Nikon attached to a n expensive lens...
Soto ayam

My mocktail for the day


After a quick lunch stop, we headed for Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, where they have begun construction of what will be the world's biggest statue (If they build it in time!), The heat finally got to us and Ipung drove us to the nearby Karma Kandara, a beautiful resort built into the cliff side with the most stunning view of the Ocean. We somehow managed to wander around with no staff noticing us and made our way down an elevator of sorts to the beach. We had accidentally discovered the Nammos Beach Club. We also discovered that there was a 150,000 Rupiah entrance fee! The staff kindly waived this for us due our ignorance and we sat down for our cocktails. In a moment of stupidity, I ordered an actual cocktail rather than a mocktail. And we all know what happens when I consumes alcohol...

GWK cultural centre

The head of the Garuda is done

The smouldering Wisnu

Wisnu's head and chest is for the rest of the garuda and wisnu!

The unassuming entrance to the Karma Kandara

A deserted lounge

Yep...I'll have one of these pools thanks Malcolm!

Beautiful cliffside gardens and walkways

We managed to get onto this contraption

down to a private beach club

The frozen cocktail that did me in for the day

We had to abandon ship and head back to our villa. And so endeth our day of relaxation. Tomorrow its back to the grind, to fill up the nooks and cranny of our container with soft furnishings.

Selamat Malam and Happy Australia Day to those who celebrate!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

To Buy Or Not To Buy

The mission for today was to fill a whole container load with "stuff". On hand to help us, was Nancy, someone from a logistics company. Her role was to take us to the shops which stock or can provide what we want, bargain on our behalf, and then look after pick up, packing, fumigation, and shipping.

We had so much fun fossicking through warehouses full of furniture, stoneware, homewares and much much more. There were many unusual items, and most were very well priced. We wanted to find timber feature pieces to soften the white walls and polished concrete floor in our new home. One of our favourite finds was a HUGE recycled teak table that was over 100 years old. The other highlight was finding a place that could custom make and carve a recycled teak front door for us for under $500. Watching the wood carver at work filled us with awe. They worked with a very rough stencil and just hacked away to produce beautiful designs. 

Pineapple juice today

Time to go Asian for breakfast. Nasi goreng

Teak framed mirror...$35!

Hand carved door. We can get a teak door custom made for under $500

Kitchen stools made from old traditional boats

Seat for our entry

In 6.5 hours, we managed to buy enough to fill one container. With our mission accomplished, it was time to fill the stomach. We worked through the recommendations made by my cousin which have been great so far. It appeared that he had a leaning towards high end dining...We went to kudeta, a beach side restaurant and drinks lounge. It really was a funky place with amazing views and decor. The food was good. The service as with all our other experiences, was superb. They were efficient, professional whilst maintaining a very friendly and relaxed demeanour. There no airs or graces and everyone was welcomed including children! I thought this was fantastic.

Grateful that the restaurant was very close to our villa, we rolled into bed exhausted. Tomorrow is a day of rest at the beach of Nusa Dua. Stay tuned

Dinner venue

View upon entry

The drink lounges by the beach front

Deciding on what to eat

Kites flying at the beach

Papaya based mocktail

Soft shelled crab salad with pork belly

Macadamia praline tart with yoghurt sorbet

Tuesday, 24 January 2012



We had to do some urgent banking today and ironically it was easier to find a Commonwealth Bank here in Bali than at Sydney Airport where they obviously have done a deal with ANZ. Unfortunately the monetary matters took a little longer than we wanted it to, and our trip to Ubud was delayed by a good hour and a half. Our first stop was at a silversmith, where there was an amazing display of jewelry as well as workshop where you can watch the silversmiths at work. One does not go into a jewelry store without expecting a girl to make some purchase. So with Malcolm's wallet a little lighter, we headed for our lunch destination Bebek Bengil. Set with a view of the rice paddys, we devoured our lunch tasty lunch with gusto. Previously agreed upon attempts to moderate our intake were thrown out the window. Surely it must be a crime to waste crispy deep fried duck and seafood hot plate! It still amazes me at how all the variations of sauce based on chilli could all taste so good!

This is purely for those who are interested in my daily meals...mixed juice for breakfast today

Swiss muesli

And just for a change...eggs Florentine. I think I'll be going back to the Benedict next time

Lunch venue

The creature that the restaurtant was named after

Rice fields that the restaurant overlooks

The restaurant is made up of several pavillions, some have only 1 table on it, and others more like a traditional restaurant

Thirsty Duck

Fried squid balinese style

Almost forgot to take a photo...

Seafood hot plate

Chilli...oh glorious chilli!

Next up on the agenda is to tick off something on Malcolm's bucket try Luwak coffee. We guided through by a very friendly and informative staff member who took us through the whole process of how the coffee was made. The theory is that the Luwak, a mongoose like animal, picks the best coffee beans to eat, thus is used as a quality control measure...The beans go through their stomach and then gets pooped out the other end. They poop about 25 beans per day. We were expecting to pay astronomical our surprise the coffee only set us back 50,000 rupiahs each (about $5). The verdict...although there was an obvious difference between Luwak coffee and the normal Balinese style coffee (the Luwak is much nicer), I think we still prefer our Italian style coffee. After deliberating about whether or not to buy some to bring home, we decided not chance Australian customs.

In we go!
The animal that eats the coffee beans, ferments it in its stomach then poops it out

The English name

The afore mentioned creature

The coffee plant

Coffee beans prepared on a tray ready to be given to the Luwak

Coffee bean poop ready to be collected

Beans are then washed and dried in the sun

Next step...roasting

Then...pounding it to a ground

The end result...ready to be boiled Balinese style

Getting a seat ready to taste test the final product

Free fried sweet potato as an accompaniment. Much nicer than peanuts!

The much anticipated cup of coffee

The other variety of tea and coffee that we got to taste test. Ginger, lemon, vanilla, chocolate, ginseng...

Seat with a great view

The view...wonderful way to enjoy our cups of caffeine

On the way home, Ipung took us to a batik factory. We bought a beautiful hand drawn silk batik, which we plan to hang up in the new home. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay long as we had to hurry back to our villa for our 2 hour spa session.

The spa session, to put it mildly, was interesting. We found out that through purchasing our "package" via the internet, the spa session was provided by the travel agent who put the deal up and not the villa themselves. We were picked up and to our horror the car turned into the most narrow driveway which was dark and went on for at least 500m. It stopped at a hut. This was not what I expected! There was mild panic as thoughts of kidnap went through my head. I was consoled by the fact the receptionist at the villa knew the travel agent and were aware of where we were going. I was also relieved that Malcolm and I were in the same room together. We got shuffled into a room which was fairly basic. We started off with a flower foot bath and massage, followed by an hour long massage. This was followed by a rather strange body rub which was frankly uncomfortable as whatever it was that they put on us was cold! They then expected us to have a bath in a tub that could barely fit Malcolm! We hurriedly got dressed and returned to the villa. They turned out to be friendly and honest with their only crime being not a "high end" place. My brain probably went into full paranoia mode but as an experience, it was still a little freaky! Did I enjoy the massage, yes. Would I do it again? NO!!!!

We returned to the safety of the villa and bought ourselves a very late dinner at the restaurant. Time to rest for another big day tomorrow.