Settled in to hotel...Simple pleasures...Cultural experience...

Lovely couple, our hosts and property owners, Francoise and Egon from Holland who spend almost half the year in their homes in Bali.  Thank you Francoise and Egon for an 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'd select the fish we wanted from this cooler.  Pioni and I selected boiled crab.  Tom and Egon chose the chicken fried rice and Francoise chose a grilled fish.  More photos will follow 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 in 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 entrance of the hotel, security opened massive metal gates and inspected our vehicle with a mirror scan of the underside of the vehicle.
The small crabs were weighed.
After that inspection, our bags along with us, went through a security check comparable as to those 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 meat.  The flesh is soft and mushy while I prefer the hard 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 more upcoming cruises sailing out of Sydney for which this hotel would be ideal for overnight stays 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've seldom seen him so tired as he was last night.  We both knew we'd need to stay awake at least until 10 pm to avoid too early of a morning awakening. 

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 been awakening around this time.  Most nights I can read for awhile and fall 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.  Its 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 up 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, its 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.  Its 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 appears to be suitable locations close to each of the two vacation 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 arrival in the US where health clubs are readily available.  From there, we're be 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 bring you everything you need or want!

Photo from one year ago today, October 25, 2015:
Handmade raft for fishing which Rasnesh 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.

Final post from Sumbersari with Bali expenses...Soon, we'll be on our way on the four or five hour harrowing drive...

We attended the buffalo races.
"Sightings on the Beach in Bali"

Balinese people certainly take advantage of using their heads to carry heavy or cumbersome loads.
After nearly four months of living in Sumbersari, Bali today, we've uploaded our final post for this location and also for "Sightings on the Beach."  Perhaps down the road in future posts we'll be able to have a similar feature depicting special scenes we embrace each and every day.

With an exciting future ahead of us, we certainly have no doubt there will be many of those types of scenes.  We look forward to seeking them out to share with our readers each day.  On the upcoming 33 night cruise embarking a week from today, we're discussing possible feature photos we'll include comparable to "Sightings on the Beach in Bali," of course, related to the cruise experience.

Workers in the rice fields.
I know, you may be thinking..."How in the world will they possibly hold our interest while they're living on a ship for 33 days and nights?  Won't it be more and more of the "same old, same old?"

This presents a unique challenge to us, one we'll adopt with the utmost of enthusiasm to ensure you'll be intrigued to see what we've discovered each day.  As we meet other passengers, we'll ask for their assistance as well in spotting particularly interesting photo ops.

Nature at its finest on the edge of the infinity pool.  We spent hours watching this praying mantis.
Today, as we're uploading this final post for the villa in Sumbersari including the final expenses, we're excited to continue to share the last of the favorite photos during this extended period on the west end of this island.  

It was highly unusual for us to return to Bali after a two month hiatus for the Mekong River cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, a one week stay in Singapore and six weeks in Phuket, Thailand.  in the future, we only have one country planned for a return visit in 16 months, South Africa as we mentioned in this earlier post.

A working well at a neighboring home.
Unfortunately, from June 1st on, I was suffering with the spinal injury resulting in a considerable portion of this period spent distracted with the discomfort and an amount of concern that it might never heal. 

Alas, here we are almost five months later and once again, I'm my "old" self, pain free and again delighted for the many plans on the horizon as well as reveling in the joys of the moment, reminded to always "Love the One You're With!"

As you read this post, we'll already be on the four or five hour harrowing drive from the villa to Denpasar to the hotel we've book through the week, departing at 10 pm on Saturday night for the red eye flight to Sydney. 

"Rustic" residence on the beach.
It will be a relatively easy few days as we lounge by the pool, walk the neighborhood and if we feel like it, grab a taxi to check out the area.  But, Tom's aversion to traffic may prevent us from venturing out when the Kuta area is so congested it takes 30 minutes to get to the airport that's only a kilometer from the hotel.

Kuta is not necessarily known as an area suitable for sightseeing of any major consequence. In a way, we don't mind laying low in air conditioned comfort for a few days after six months of scorching heat and humidty, day after day.  The only time we've been cool has been at night when we finally headed to bed to turn on the AC.  It may prove to be a welcomed relief.

Frangipani flowers blooming in the yard, aka Plumeria in Hawaii.
As for the expenses for Bali, we've decided to keep these last two months from September 2, 2016 to October 24, 2016 separate from the first two months we spent in Bali from April 30, 2016 to June 28, 2016.  

We've made the calculations based the 59 night stay although we're leaving a few days earlier since we'd already paid for 59 nights in full.  (We're not receiving any compensation for leaving earlier nor do we expect it.  It was entirely our decision).

We considered each of the two stays in Bali as individual stays when the expenses varied for the time we spent at the resort in Lovina.  If you'd like to review our expenses from the earlier stay, please click here.

This appropriately muddy pig posed for our photo. 
Expenses for 59 nights:  US Dollar to IDR Indonesian Rupiah
Vacation Rent:   US $ 4,648.03  IDR   62,330,082.30
Transportation:  US       759.13  IDR    9,909,557.43
Visa Extension:  US         54.63  IDR       713,130.98
Tips/Laundry:    US       389.00  IDR     5,077,941.65
Clothing & Misc. US     1,144.88 IDR    14,945,074.12*

Groceries:         US       947.00  IDR    12,361,981.33
Hotel & Meals:   US       739.49  IDR      9,653,180.12**

Total:                              US $ 8,409.16   IDR 109,771,783.48
Average Monthly Cost:  US $  4,335.23   IDR   56,587,713.48 

Average Daily Cost:       US $    142.53    IDR     1,860,442.65

*The above total includes the pants we purchased in Lovina when long pants were required at the immigration office.
**The above total includes the entire bill for hotel ad meals for four nights in Lovina during the visa extensions process.

Recent photo repeated, nonetheless a favorite with Tom dressed in traditional Balinese/Hindu attire.
Although our previous stay in Bali was less costly, the addition of the shipment we received with many supplies including Tom's new phone, iced tea, clothing and shoes and, the hotel in Lovina, the average daily/monthly costs increased exponentially.  Another traveler may spend comparable amounts shopping while on such an extended trip.

We'll post the upcoming hotel stay expenses when that period ends as well.  With the low cost for the hotel room, the included breakfast, with dinner as the only add-on, most likely the total will be reasonable.

Tomorrow, we'll be back as usual with more photos and updates.  Thanks to all of our loyal readers for hanging in there with us during this relatively quiet time spent in Bali.  We appreciate each and every one of YOU.

Be well!
Photo from one year ago today, October 24, 2015:
It was a cultural day in Fiji one year ago when we visited this modest village.  This structure is used for ceremonial rites and kava drinking.  For more details and photos, please click here.

Busy day...Tomorrow, we're on the road...An unexpected last minute social event...

A beautiful scene at a roadside rest area about halfway through the four or five hour harrowing drive.  Hopefully, tomorrow we'll stop there once again. 
"Sightings in the Beach in Bali"

A colorful sunset photo taken while under the cabana.
After considerable packing experience, we won't become flustered or concerned about getting out the door on time tomorrow at 9 am, fully packed and ready to go.  Five days later we'll be doing the same after the necessity of wearing some of the clothing in our suitcases while staying at the hotel in Kuta.

Vegetables on display for a cooking class at Puri Bagus Lovina where we spent four nights during the five day visa extension process.
At the villa we've only worn swimsuits all day and into the evening and have had very little laundry while here.  We each alternated between two swimsuits, one always drying while the other was being worn. 

With a self service laundry at the hotel, we'll be able to wash what we've worn to repack clean clothing for the 33 night cruise.  Then, on the cruise, with our limited supply of clothing, we'll be using a portion of our "cabin credit" of US $700, IDR 9,137,093, for the ship's pricey laundry service.

Exquisite hand painted fishing boats at the pier in Negara.
While cruising its possible to change clothing four times a day depending on the events we're planning to attend.  From workout clothes in the morning, to swimsuits and cover ups, to shorts and tees for afternoon activities, to casual/ dressy attire for dinner. 

Each fishing boat has a unique design commensurate with the ethnicity of its owners.
With my clothing suitcase completely packed and only the third bag of supplies awaiting the final toiletries and miscellaneous items, we'll have no problem getting out the door on time.  Tom need only about 10 minutes to complete his packing.

Rambut Siwi Hindu Temple (Pura Rambut Siwi) in Negara.
Two days ago the property owners, Egon and his lovely wife Francoise, stopped by to say hello.  After a lengthy interesting conversation among the four of us, we'd hugged upon departing with a plan to say goodbye in person before we leave.

Last night, we heard a knock at the door.  It was after dark and quite surprising.  During the day we leave all the doors wide open (no screens), only locking them at night.  An evening visitor was quite unlikely.

We were honored to meet Gede's parent at their home in Lovina during our first visit to Bali.
Egon had stopped by to invite us to join them for lunch today at a tiny fish restaurant further down on the beach.  We'd known about this restaurant and had walked down the beach awhile ago but found no one in attendance and no posted menu. 

With the fabulous meals the cooks have prepared, we had little interest in investigating it further.  Also, eating only one meal a day, the idea of walking back on the beach at night in the dark wasn't appealing. 

The skill required to create this work of art is typical among Balinese people.
But today, the enjoyment of the companionship will supersede any dietary or dining concerns and we're off to lunch with Egon and Francoise at 12:30 pm.  The next door neighbor, Peony, is joining us as additional guest at the party and to translate when none of us speak Balinese or Indonesian.  It should be fun.

The patience of the buffaloes being "dressed" for the races surprised us as we gingerly walked by.
Today, we'll be dining twice with scrumptious leftovers awaiting us for the evening meal. I guess we'd better get used to dining twice in a day when we'll be doing so at the hotel over these next several days (complimentary full breakfast included) and then on the cruise, where we usually dine for breakfast and dinner.

Wearing sarongs at the Monkey Temple which are required attire to enter any Hindu temple.
We'll be back tomorrow with our post for the final expenses for the villa and the remainder of our favorite Sumbersari photos.  Please check back as we wind down the remaining hours in this exceptional property.

Here's the link to this wonderful holiday/vacation villa.  We're sure Egon and Francoise would love to see YOU here.

Photo from one year ago today, October 23, 2015:
In order to visit the Vuodomo Waterfalls, its expected that visitors bring the chief, (the owner of the land where the waterfall is located), a bag of kava, an intoxicating local drink made from kava leaves.  Here's the Fish Shop where we purchased the kava before we headed to the falls. For more details, please click here.

Winding down...Two days and counting...Favorite photos begin today!

This local woman we encountered on our walks spent her days making small offering baskets from these leaves.  Note the basket in her hands.  She always said hello as we walked by.
"Sightings on the Beach in Bali"

Watching the buffaloes walk along the beach never stopped giving us a thrill.  Where do you see such a thing? 
Its hard for us to believe we’re leaving the villa in less than 48 hours.  These past four months (with a two month gap in between where we visited Southeast Asia) have been an extraordinary experience leaving memories we’ll always carry with us.  Prior to our first of two visits to Bali beginning on April 30th we’d heard passengers mention they didn’t care for Bali. 

Now, after these many months, we understand their hesitancy if they’d only visited the traffic congested Denpasar.  Having spent this extended period far from the crowds, traffic, crime and commotion we have an entirely different perspective.

On both occasions of our arrival at the villa the staff presented us with chilled washcloths and sweet tea.  Tom drank both glasses.
As we finalize the collection all of our belongings scattered around the house, its evident how settled we’ve become during these past months. Its been easy to meld into this peaceful and relaxing environment.

As always, we’re using any remaining groceries we’ve accumulated including the last of the mince (ground beef) we’d purchased in Denpasar upon our arrival.  Last night, the two Ketuts made one of our favorite grain, sugar and starch free, low carb recipes, Mushroom Burger Scramble, which we found years ago at this favorite site.  Thanks, Linda!

Mom and baby on the side of the road.
The leftover meat made enough for three nights which we’ll have again tonight and tomorrow evenings, our last meals at the villa.  The amazing two cooks have added considerable pleasure to this experience in many ways as well as their careful preparation of meals suitable for my way of eating.

Gede and the two Ketuts have asked when we’ll return.  As we often say, “We have lots of world left to see.” Its unlikely we’ll return to this location, although the 33 night upcoming cruise will dock for a day in Benoa, Bali, on November 11th, an area we’ve yet to see. Most likely, we’ll take the tender (small boat) to shore to check it out.

Evening view of the gorgeous cabana.  We spent many days under this cabana watching for sightings on the beach.
This upcoming cruise returns to several ports of call we’ve already visited.  We’ll decide later as to which we’ll see again, perhaps some of those in the larger cities we’d previously visited in Australia and New Zealand. 

I suppose after awhile there will be less and less ports of call throughout the world we haven’t visited at least once but now, we’re a long way away from that eventuality, even after 14 cruises.

The beautifully hand painted fishing boats in the harbor in Negara.
This upcoming back-to-back cruise counts as two booked cruises.  On November 16th we’ll arrive in Perth/Fremantle where we’ll meet up with friends Michelle and Carlo for the day. 

At that point many of the 2500 passengers will disembark entirely, while new passengers come aboard.  Many of the booked passengers we’ve encountered at the Cruise Critic message boards have booked the two cruises combined, as a back-to-back cruise, like us.  What a fabulous opportunity to make more new friends!

The two Ketuts and Ribut were proud of the big tuna the girls had found at the early morning market.  It was delicious!
At this point, we’re not concerned about our luggage weight and airline fees.  Once we arrive and settle at the hotel in Kuta we’ll review the contents of our luggage, weighing them on the travel scale and pay the appropriate baggage fees online.  For now, we’re just packing neatly.

Mine is more stuffed than usual with the recent purchases of a number of Balinese items.  I’ve decided to wait to determine which old items need to be tossed once we’re in air con at the hotel.  Right now its so hot and humid, I have little motivation to tackle that task.

A Blue Kingfisher atop a palm tree on the villa's grounds.
Today, we’re beginning to post our “favorite photos” which we'll continue through Monday, the day we'll post the final expenses for this second round in Bali.  We’ll provide the link to the expenses for the first two months in Bali if you’d like to make the expense comparison. 

So far, as I prepare these numbers for both the final post in two days and to update our expense spreadsheet, it appears the totals will be similar, except for the recent four night stay in Lovina at the Puri Bagus resort and the recent clothing purchases both online and locally.

The worried look on his face made us laugh.
Heavy rain clouds are rolling in as we speak.  Yesterday, we missed pool time when it rained all afternoon.  Hopefully, today and tomorrow, we’ll be able to enjoy a little more time in the glorious infinity pool before we must be on our way.

Have a glorious day of your own!

Photo from one year ago today, October 22, 2015:
The entrance to the hospital in Savusavu, Fiji.  Medical care is free to both citizens of Fiji and visitors.  See here for more details.


We made the right decision…Documents to handle…Difficult to send on slow Wi-Fi…Three days and counting…

This pretty barnacle covered coconut washed ashore.
"Sightings on the Beach in Bali"

We found this pretty shell on the beach.
We have no doubt that we’ve made the right decision in leaving the villa on Monday.  With Tom’s driver’s license renewal application and our absentee ballots, we hadn't be able to process any sized attachment to be sent via email.  However, as I continued working on this post, finally we were able to get online long enough to send the email and attachments.
Tom’s license renewal is due to arrive no more than 60 days prior to the expiration date according to Nevada’s laws for those out of the state when the renewal is due. Tom’s birthday is December 23rd.

This out of state renewal is only allowed every other time one must renew.  Next time we’ll have to appear in person.  I’ll go through this same process in two months when mine renews on my birthday, February 20, 2017. 

The view changes dramatically as the tide rolls in.
We’d be in one awful predicament if for any reason the renewal didn’t go through.  We’d be unable to rent cars and be subject to returning to Nevada in person sooner than planned in order to be able to do so. 

This would be quite a predicament when we’re renting a car in Tasmania in December and then again when we return to the US in May for over two months.  One can only apply to the state in which they’re a resident, as we are for Nevada.

After we finally got online we emailed the completed documents to son Richard in Nevada who will in turn snail mail them to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Hopefully, in doing so within 60 days, we’ll receive the license on time.

This cute little dog is always with the buffaloes when they're walked along the shore to the river.
Another requirement of the Nevada DMV is that they will not snail mail the actual license to an address in Nevada since we’re stating we can’t come to their office in person right now.

Thus, we’re having it mailed to daughter Tammy in Minnesota who will then mail it to our mailing service in NV, who in turn will overnight express mail it to us in Tasmania. Once again, its the nature of our lives that makes processing required documents cumbersome. 

We’re unable to avoid asking our kids for help from time to time.  They’re usually not tasks that require more than a fax, a copy or placing an item into an envelope and mailing it.  We certainly appreciate the assistance.  How else would we do these things?  We wonder how other long term travelers or expats handle such tasks.  Any comments would be welcome.

Another interesting crab pattern in the sand.  How artistic!
Tonight, we'll complete our absentee ballots and have that task out of the way as well.  Recently, we used the villa’s old printer to print a few copies of my food list for the upcoming cruise (in 10 days!).  The ink is running out and copies aren’t as clear as we’d prefer but for now it will have to do.

We could wait the 10 days until we board the ship or even print them at the hotel in three or four days.  However, our nature and intent is to have everything done upfront in plenty of time to avoid thinking about it more than necessary. By the time we arrive in the hotel in Kuta on Monday, we’ll have nothing specific to process.

As we’ve indicated as our slogan, “Wafting Through Our Worldwide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity” we make every effort to keep our lives as uncomplicated as possible; no drama, low stress and no surprises we could have avoided had we been more diligent. 

The government in Bali stocks this contraption with fish to provide sources of income for the locals.
This isn’t always an easy task and at times, avoiding stress requires spending more money such as in our leaving the villa five days earlier, losing the rent we paid for the remaining days.  Had the cost for the hotel been higher than it was, we may have decided otherwise. 

Also, recently booking the hotel in Lovina for the visa extensions was another example of reducing stress again costing additional unplanned expenses.  We often stay in hotels for one night (or more, if necessary) to reduce the exhaustion and stress between long and uncomfortable flights and, to avoid missing a cruise departure when a flight may be delayed for one reason or another.

These types of decisions are usually factored into the budget when we establish new line items in the Excel spreadsheet for estimated expenses for a new location.   As for the unexpected items as indicated above, we always maintain a "miscellaneous" category which covers most unanticipated expenses.  Without doing so, we could end up with many surprises at the end of our stay.

These young boys arrived by motorbike to play with their boat in the river.  It always surprises us how 7 and 8 year olds drive motorbikes and hang out alone at the beach, often for hours at a time.
There’s no doubt that avoiding stress is costly but in doing so we’re more able to maintain our sense of control over those situations we can control as opposed to those beyond our control such as cancelled flights, delays, unexpected layovers, etc. 

Isn’t it ironic that most of our potentially stressful inducing events revolve around flights?  If it were possible and if we could afford it, we’d cruise from location to location when generally the only major potentially stressful events include embarkation and debarkation, each of which may require hours of waiting. 

The boy's boat brought them hours of entertainment.
After 14 cruises and traveling to 54 countries we’ve become experienced enough to avoid being stressed when having to wait in long queues for cruises and the often lengthy waiting periods at airports for customs and immigration processes.

Today, slightly cooler and less humid (less flies too), we’ll continue to enjoy every last minute at the villa, write the online reviews for the villa (depending on the signal) as we continue to revel in the loving and kind people surrounding us, along with the exquisite scenery.

May your day find you appreciating loving and kind people surrounding you.

Photo from one year ago today, October 21, 2016:
View of the coral reef in Fiji.  For more photos, please click here.