Anniversary or Celebration

Over the years that we have spent in Bali, a number of our guests have celebrated important and fun occasions with us.

This was the 10th wedding anniversary of a couple who live in Japan and they also enjoyed a bottle of “bubbly” whilst sitting in and around the pool.

On other occasions, we took Terry to Slippery Stone, Greek Restaurant in Batu Bolong in Seminyak and as you can see from this photo, he got quite a surprise from one of their drag queens. A fantastic night was had by all.

We celebrated Sharyn’s birthday in 2021 by staying at the amazing Belmond Puri Jimbaran Resort on the sand at Jimbaran Beach. This is an Orient Express Hotel and is indeed 5 stars.

Private pool villa with every imaginable facility and incomparable service.

We enjoyed the 8 course degustation menu next door at the famous Cuca Restaurant and we look forward to many other amazing meals at this incredible restaurant.

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur is a large temple complex about 20 kilometers outside Yogyakarta.

It’s the largest Buddhist Temple complex in the world.

It’s in great shape, not like Angkor Wat but it has been restored and has a very similar story of discovery as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame is the man responsible for it’s discovery and future restoration.

After our eventful car journey to get here we stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the Temple complex.

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The entry

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Lots of stairs and very hot

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The stone is so dark that it absorbs the heat and radiates it out. It was probably 5 degrees hotter here than in the gardens

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The beautiful Stupas on the circular paths of the temple. The paths are all stacked like a big cake

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Great view down the valley and landscape on a grand scale

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Tradition says that you should reach over and touch the Buddha

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This gives you an idea of the scale of the place

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A couple of hot tourists

We had a pleasant day wandering around the town and decided to head to the nearest 5 star luxury resort for dinner and a beer, that Terry desperately needed.

The Plataran is truly a beautiful resort, set in gorgeous and extensive gardens and this amazing restaurant with great food.

Terry said the beer was wonderful and the steaks were perfect.

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The glorious restaurant and we sat on the patio and enjoyed our meal during a lovely gentle rain

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This cute little guy was sitting in the window shutter behind our dining table. Probably waiting for bugs to come past

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Inside this lovely building

A couple of days later we headed off to Solo to meet up with our friend and car collector extraordinaire Teguh Widodo.

We had lunch with him in Solo and went to his fantastic car building place called ProRock Engineering.

We then headed off back to Malang and 2 days later were back in Bali.

Incredibly relieved to be out of the horrendous traffic and heavy rain.

Going to Java

In October, 2017 Terry and I and the 35 year old Toyota Land Cruiser (TLC) headed off to Java at the invitation of a group of 4 wheel drive enthusiasts in Malang.

Car all packed with, of course, the coffee machine, fridge, ipads, chargers and lots of spare parts for the car AND surprise, I actually fitted some clothes in as well. Dogs happily in the kennels and the house closed to guests, we headed off at 7 am in the morning to drive from Sanur to Gili Manuk.

This is the departure port to catch the car ferry to Banyuwangi in Java.

Gili Manuk is less than 100 kilometres from Sanur but the roads are so bad and the truck and bus traffic so bad that it takes 3-4 hours to get there.

We’ve driven this road many times before and it is single lane  all the way and clogged with traffic as it’s the only road to bring goods from Java to Bali.

As you arrive at Gili Manuk you enter the busy port , produce our Identity Papers and buy a ticket for 2 people and a truck — RP 165,000 (AUD $16.50). There was no waiting and we immediately load onto the car/truck ferry.

We think it’s very odd that you need I.D. papers to go from Island state to Island state within the same country. We had to get letters from our immigration agent to advise on our trip as officialdom in Indonesia is a law unto itself. As we know from our trip to West Papua where immigration held Terry captive for a whole day until we paid a huge US  $ bribe to them. They could of had him but there were other people relying on us.

 

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Driving onto the Ferry

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Still at the departure wharf

 

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About to leave Bali for Java

 

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Inside the Ferry

The Ferry trip actually only takes 20 minutes but ends up being an hour because all the ferries wait off shore for a debarking spot.

We easily departed the dock and headed off to Malang.

Atlas du Monde

 

Malang is actually only about 200 kilometres from the coast at Banyuwangi but to drive there we needed to go around some very large and active volcanoes. Mt Merapi, Mt Ijen and Mt Ruang then as you get closer to Malang, Mt Gambir and Mt Bromo.

So off we went along roads even worse than Bali and with much more traffic. We were completely overwhelmed by the number of people everywhere. All of the towns are really great big cities with at least 1 million population in each. No quiet little country towns like we see in Australia.

 

Seven hours later we eventually reached Malang in East Java.

This is a huge city and has at least 4 huge Universities, good shopping and wide city roads which are completely clogged, like everywhere else.

It’s cheaper than Bali and the accommodation was first class with security carparking.

The next day we were met by Terry’s new friend Nganan, in his Suzuki 4 wheel drive and we followed him to the fabled Mt Bromo. His car out performed ours at all levels.

Mt Bromo is a sight to behold. It is quite an active volcano and is often erupting so much that the volcanic sand and nearby forests are closed to tourists.

It just so happens that Nganan’s day job is –Park Ranger in the Forest. So he knows everyone and everything and all the off-road places.

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Mt Bromo in small eruption faze

 

 

The lava sand and ash was incredibly fine and got into every nook and cranny. It was also very cold.

On the way back we had overheating problems on the truck and Nganan took us to more helpful mechanics and 4 wheel drive enthusiasts. These people were amazing . They sent us back to our hotel and they worked all night on the truck and replaced the radiator cooling fan with a larger one and then delivered the truck back to us for our next day of driving.

Nganan took us to Mt Batu and Batu City. This is a satellite city of Malang and sits on top of Mt Batu. There is a  huge parkland area here and people come to climb and hike and eat and drink ( but no alcohol)

We had a great lunch with the 4 wheel drive people and their families and the guys climbed all over the truck and played with the timing and carburetor.

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The fantastic view from Mt Batu

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No Safety net here or OH & S . just get on the bike and ride along the steel wire

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Just looking down

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This swing goes out over the cliff side

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Doesn’t feel very safe to me

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Clever idea for a photo

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Lots of hills here but also lovely gardens

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Waiting to go hang gliding

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I’m not doing this!!!

Then there was the Amazing, Incredible best Museum we’ve ever been in.

All through Indonesia’s history people have imported big American or Russian cars here and a lot of them have ended up here.

All of these vehicles work and are roadworthy. The staff encourage you to sit on them, open the bonnets and also get in the cars.

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Terry relaxing in the “car” furniture

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This is a pre-World War II Russian truck called GAZ PICKUP

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Here’s a new sales job for Terry

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Can you imagine Terry cooking you Sate over the hot coals

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This is more likely to be where he belongs

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And these are his associates. The guy in the yellow shirt is our friend Nganan

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Is he participating or stopping it

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This a bamboo covered VW

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More car furniture

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The Chopper from hell

We had intended to spend 2 days in Malang but there was so much to do and see that we stayed 5 days.

It was a lovely clean city and the people were so welcoming and happy and polite.

GOING TO BOROBUDUR

We next headed off to Yogyakarta and Borobudur–the largest Buddhist Temple in the world.

With the help of Mrs Google we set out on our 596 kilometre journey, which she said would take 14 hours and 24 minutes.  REALLY???

Yep it took longer.

The traffic was terrible and we should have realised that something was amiss when we immediately set out and Mrs Google took us back over the top Mt Batu to exit Malang. Terry had programmed for shortest journey. BUT shortest journey was over the top of the mountains and not around them. We told our Indonesian friends where we had driven and they are still laughing.

We ended up over the top of Mt Merbabu climbing up to 3,260 metres at 2 am in the morning on an unmarked road undergoing unsign posted roadworks.

We were actually above the clouds and frightened out of our wits and no way to turn around. It’s the highest I’ve even been without being in a plane.

On this whole journey we broke down several times and people were amazing and extra-ordinary. They got out of bed to help us, they made us food, they cared for us like a loved member of the family. We owe them a great debt.

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Overheated in the cloud forest with Nganan

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Broken down in a very remote area

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So remote, I thought I was going to have to sleep in the car. But all solved by these wonderful people

We finally got to Borobudur 24 hours later and were very tired and would have liked a drink BUT NO ALCOHOL in Java.

 

 

 

Christmas Party 2017

Villa Costa Plenty just hosted the Bali International Women’s Association Christmas Party with 100 guests , 16 choir and about 20 bar, wait and kitchen staff.

what a great night. Wouldn’t have been so much fun without our fabulous DJ and The BIWA DIVAS DANCE GROUP doing their version of “YMCA”.

Fun, Fun,Fun. The pictures tell it all.

Ethiopian New Year In Bali

Our good friend, Haimi Wolfe invited us to her house, near us in Sanur, to help celebrate Ethiopian New Year in September, 2017.

This was great fun and Haimi, had everyone dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothes and she set up a coffee roasting fire in her living room.

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Haimi roasting coffee beans on an open fire in her living room

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Terry getting instruction from a 3 year old on how to grind the beans

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Terry really getting into the swing of it as Haimi plays very loud Ethiopian drums and ululates

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Sharyn and Haimi. We’ve been good friends for a while and it’s a pleasure to learn about her country and customs and spend time with her

Terry’s 4 Wheel Drive Expeditions

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The Toyota Land Cruiser with the rooftop tent ready for the night.

Terry and a number of 4 wheel drive enthusiasts and extreme cars (made of plumbing pipes I think) headed off to West Bali for off-road competition.

As it was overnight, Terry headed off alone.

But was joined by around 100 more vehicles. Terry is the only foreigner and the Indonesians are so welcoming and helpful to him all the time and as a complete novice he needs it.

Sharyn stayed home in her lovely comfortable, air conditioned house.with the dogs and some lovely guests.

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The obstacle course and track

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Some of the “extreme cars”. The top of the range in these sells for US$ 250,000 and has a 12 month waiting time to be built and they are exported all over the world

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Wetting down the track to make some “lovely” sticky mud

Bali Festival of Light 2017

What fun this was.

We arrived at 5pm so that we could get a good lay of the land before sunset and the sky put on a beautiful show for us.

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One of the nicest sunsets we have seen here in Bali

The Festival of Light runs for a month in Bali and begins at the end of August as Ramadan ends.

It is held on the lovely little peninsular island at Nusa Dua and is a wonderful spectacle for young and old.

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You have to have a dragon or two

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Flowers and horses as well

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I do miss these guys from Australia

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The old Chinese welcome gates as well

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Always innovative. This small children’s train was actually a camouflaged motor bike. Fun to watch

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The sign writing says “Your House”. We had really good burgers here for dinner.

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Then we walked around the back of what we thought was a Volkswagon Combi Food Van only to find that it was powered by a motorbike. Such a laugh!!

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AND for the kids that could reach the foot controls, these were “Pedal Power” cars. The teenagers were lining up for a go

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So, then we went and had coffee and here is my cappuccino. Seemed a shame to drink it. It was a very good coffee

 

12th Annual Sanur Village Festival

The Sanur Village Festival usually runs for 5 days and nights and has really wonderful food stalls, where all the local and upmarket restaurants come along and offer a few of their special meals and drinks. It’s a great way to try their food as well as have a free night of great entertainment.

They even have a winery and a pub set up and it’s a great spot for people watching or catching up with friends.

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Centre Stage Sanur Festival. Traditional instruments updated with amplifiers and wired for amazing sound

Professional and amateur musicians, dance groups and local schools all participate and the fashions shows featuring the beautiful Balinese men and women in high fashion traditional dress should not be missed.

The festival takes place around early August every year and is a 5 minute walk from our house. Worth planning your holiday around it and eating here most nights.

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These beautiful and lovely women are the last 3 years’ winners of the Sanur Village Festival. They are beautifully dressed and made up in the traditional style. No wonder the Balinese are considered some of the most beautiful in the world

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These young men are the last 3 years’ representatives of the Balinese men at the Sanur Village Festival

Catching up with Ros

Coming back to Sydney gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up with good friends, Bob & Gwen Ivey, their son Ben and his new wife Thei.

As usual their hospitality was wonderful and deeply appreciated.

I also got to spend a couple of days with my wonderful friend Ros O’Loghlen and she took me up to The Cottage Point Inn at Broken Bay for not only a 5 star meal but an Australia Bush Lunch.

The food was wonderful and eagerly accompanied by Wedge tail Eagles overhead and Sea Eagles and a very tame Kookaburra, who was eating out of the hand of wait staff. Then as deserts arrived, so too did a large Goanna, who sauntered along the boardwalk as if he was enjoying his afternoon stroll.