Part 2...Balinese food prep and arrangement...Expenses for four night resort stay...

Bruschetta was served at our table each evening.  Tom ate my portion as he often does when such items are served.
This morning, after we finished our final included breakfast we walked up the steep stone steps to the lobby to checkout and pay the balance allowing us to quickly be on our way by 1:45, hoping to be early in the queue at the immigration office.

This mixed seafood dish was my favorite over the four dinners.
The fees for the two visa extensions were IDR $710,000, US $54.63, which we paid on Wednesday's visit.  Our hotel bill at Puri Bagus Lovina , in its entirety, including the room rate, two pairs of pants, one shirt and bottle of custom made Balinese body oil came to a grand total of IDR $10,313,030, US $793.49. 

Avocado and feta salad.
We were pleasantly surprised with the total and couldn't have found a more enjoyable and affordable alternative to driving back and forth to Lovina three times in five days for the required process. 

Although this doesn't appear to be sweet and sour pork, it was indeed.  Tom said it was delicious ordering it two consecutive nights.  Note what's  beneath the green cone in the next photo.
When we return to the villa we'll pay for the rental fee for the van which will be IDR $200,000, US $15.39, per day for five days totaling IDR $1,000,000, US $76.94, plus fuel at IDR $200,000, US $15.39, bringing our grand total for the entire experience to IDR $12,223,300, US $940.47.

The server removed the green cone to display the rice beneath.
It was a lot easier than flying out of the country as some tourists may choose to do in order to get a new visa stamp allowing an additional 30 day stay, depending on one's passport of origin. 

I ordered these roasted vegetable skewers along with the yellow fin tuna salad shown above and in the next photo below.
We've had an exceptional experience at Puri Bagus Lovina  with all the thoughtful attention we received from the management staff in appreciation for our four days of stories highlighting their exquisite property.  We couldn't be more appreciative for the many ways they reached out to us.

This rare tuna salad I ordered was exceptional.
Today, we're posting photos of the delicious and beautifully presented meals during the four night stay.  Not only was the food in the superb category but the gracious service and attention to detail further exemplified the objectives of this Balinese resort abundant in charm, ambiance and service. 

Western style omelet bar where made to order omelets are prepared to perfection.
Not a single meal disappointed us.  Flavorful, fresh and well seasoned platters were placed in front of us, course after course, never faltering in perfect timing and graciousness.  Beverages were served exactly as we prefer with lots of ice (an American thing) and in big frosty glasses. 

Tom and I both ordered the surf and turf platter.  He gave me his prawns, squid and veggies while I passed him my fries, flatbread and onion rings, requested on a separate plate.  The steak was a tenderloin, cooked to perfection and the most tender we'd had in a long while.

Management had encouraged us to notify them of any less than ideal food or service.  Long ago we accepted the realities of "island time" as we had no need or desire to mention that which is merely cultural in rush, easy does it. 

There are several fixed price three course options on the varied menu.  We were allowed to mix and match items we preferred.  Tom ordered this salad, unbeknownst to me, with the intent of giving me all the prawns.  What a guy!  He's always thinking of me.
Many tourists fail to accept such cultural differences when coming from a hustle and bustle lifestyle in their home country.  They want something and they want it now.  This is not to imply service was slow at Puri Bagus Resort & Spa.  It wasn't.  It was gracious and done in a manner that never made us or the attentive staff feel rushed or stressed.

Tom's said his French onion soup was divine.  He hadn't had this soup in quite some time.
The Hindu culture centers around a gentle, low key sense of peace and well being.  Puri Bagus Resort & Spa definitely exemplified this culture with ease and seamlessness in not only its good service but also in its traditional focus on nature, cleanliness incorporating the Hindu and the Balinese ways of life.

Last night I ordered this platter of three types of fish including John Dory, halibut and snapper with a few prawns and grilled squid rings.  Fabulous!
We've packed our belongings and will be ready to head out the door in time to make the 2 pm appointment at the immigration office.  Shortly, thereafter, we'll change into our shorts for the long two hour harrowing return drive to the villa.  Its ironic the roads are so crazy when the people of Bali are so calm and peaceful.  There again, its purely a cultural thing.

Tom's Western style dinner last night; steak, onion rings and twice baked potato.  Again, he passed me his veggies.
We've yet to share many other photos we've taken over these past days which, as we continue with our stories in Sumbersari, Bali, we'll incorporate into future posts. 

Tom's dessert...crème brule, a round profiterole cookie with a white frosting base and bits of fresh fruit.  He enjoyed every morsel.

Stay tuned, folks.  We'll be back tomorrow with lots more photos and new "Sightings on the Beach in Bali."

A special thanks to all of our loyal readers for traveling with us wherever we may go!  We always feel your presence at our side.  Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2015:
Savusavu, on the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji is a busy little village.  We loved going to town to shop at several locations for our week's groceries.  Many locals and some tourists take buses to other parts of the island.  Our driver Rasnesh, took care of all of our transportation needs.  For more details, please click here.

Part 1...Balinese food prep and arrangement...Romantic Dinner on the cabana under the stars...

During daylight hours we stopped to see the two cabanas where the "Romantic Dinners" would transpire.  Many more decorations were yet to come as shown in today's photos below.
During our first meal of the four night stay in Puri Bagus Lovina in Lovina, Bali, we felt confident the chef had easily determined how my meals should be prepared to maintain the integrity of my restrictive way of eating.

The elimination of all sugars, starches, grains, potatoes, rice and starchy vegetables from my menu choices is not an easy feat when many Balinese dishes includes some, if not all, of these items.

Although the sun had disappeared behind the clouds, we reveled in the beauty of the evening's scene.
When the first dinner was presented to me I felt confident we were in luck.  The effort the chef executed over these past several days has been evidenced in each meal's diligent and thoughtful preparation.  

I never had to remove any items from my plates of delicious food.  Although Balinese meals may havinclude rutabagas, 33 grams carbs per cup; turnips, 8 grams carbs per cup; and/or parsnips at 24 grams carbs per cup, none of these were in my meals.  These types of vegetables have insulin spiking carbs comparable to a potato at 37 grams carb per one cup serving.

Before dark, the cabanas were adorned with flowers and candles for the after dark event.
Generally small amounts of starch and sugar don't have an immediate negative effects as would gluten touching other foods, unless a person has a allergy to specific items in these categories.  But, the chef at Puri Bagus Lovina was extra careful.

Sitting on the cabana mat while dining may not have been ideal for some.  But, it certainly looked appealing.
The previous night I was concerned about some delicious chunks of what appeared to be butternut squash which contains 16 grams carbs per cup.  I took a bite, realizing it was carrot, which I can eat, and immediately felt as if I'd taken a bite of a delicious dessert with the exquisite seasonings and preparation. 

Traditional Hindu decoration were used in creating the ambiance.
In most cases
 in fine dining, once a chef is aware of my restrictions they make every effort to accommodate.  But, that rarely is the case in a casual restaurant/bar by the beach.  As a result, we've never tried any other restaurants while in Lovina.  In Sumbersari, there are only a few tiny on-the-beach type dining establishments at which we'd never considering partaking.

The flowers are easily picked from trees on the property.
In any case, we've had some of the best food we've had in our travels here in Bali both by the fabulous meals made by the two Ketuts at our villa, two hours down the road and at Puri Bagus Resort & Spa in Lovina.

Carefully crafted fringe adds a final touch.
Not only has the food been delicious, but the presentation has been comparable to that which one would find in the most upscale dining establishments throughout the world.

The first course, a soup.
Last night was special when we had the opportunity to take photos of the meals served for the special menu option of a "Romantic Dinner" served under one of the oceanfront cabanas, exquisitely decorated with flowers and candles, presented course after course, while the romantic couple dines in luxury.

Surely, we'd have opted for such a special evening for ourselves but many of the food items didn't fit into my diet and there was no way we'd expect the chef to modify each plate, bowl and platter of food to be befitting for my diet. 

Second course, crab and vegetable bruschetta.
Instead, Gede, the kindly resort general manager, arranged with the kitchen staff to ensure we'd be able to take photos of the extraordinary plates as they passed by us at our dining table on their way to the two sets of guests dining under two separate cabanas.

A starter, scallops with rice and (under the leafy cone).
Aptly named a "food voyeur," a title Tom bestowed upon me long ago, I was totally enthralled with the smells and visuals as I took photos in the dark dining area as the foods were carried out by the enthusiastic servers, smiling all the while over the excitement of the photo taking and their part in the beautiful service.

Soon, our own platters of carefully crafted and displayed foods arrived while we found ourselves once again, pleased with our choices and the abilities of the chefs in this establishment of making each meal special in both design and taste.

The main entrée, one of these giant platters per person, included fresh seafood, a variety of meats and various vegetable and fruit dishes.
Earlier in the day and then again in the evening, we took photos of the decorations used to create the ambiance of the "Romantic Dinner" under each of the cabanas as shown in our photos.

The cost for the meal for two is a surprisingly reasonable IDR $1,350,000, US $104.33 (plus a 21% service fee for tax and gratuity) which includes a bottle of wine.  The average cost for our meals and drinks combined including the 21%service fee hasn't exceeded IDR $776,400, US $60, each evening.  Breakfasts have been included in the room rate.

The servers were obviously proud of their unique presentation.
Tomorrow, we'll return with our final food and scenery photos of the lovely Puri Bagus Lovina and the total expenses for our four night, five day stay at this special property.

These servers squealed with delight when we shot this photo.
As for the immigration office visits so far...we've completed Monday's and Wednesday's requirements and tomorrow, Friday at 2 pm (the resort is providing us with a late checkout), we'll return for the third and final visit to collect our passports and visa extensions and then to begin the harrowing two hour drive back to our villa. 

The dessert plate served to each party in the Romantic Dinner setting.
We're both thrilled to have chosen this means of conducting this otherwise cumbersome process over the required five day period.  We've had a fabulous experience but we're hardly disappointed to return to our breathtaking villa and attentive staff. 

In no time at all, we'll be back outdoors situated on the chaise lounges overlooking the infinity pool and the sea under the shade of an umbrella and enjoying our last full day in this paradise at Puri Bagus Lovina.

Have a beautiful day filled with wonders!

Photos from one year ago today, September 29, 2015:
In Fiji one year ago, Badal, our neighbor Sewak's dog, visited us almost every evening at dinner time.  We always made him a plate of food, whatever we happen to be having.  Badal especially enjoyed chicken night.   For more details, please click here.

Busy day at Puri Bagus Lovina Resort & Spa...What a glorious location!

We lounged in this (one of many) cabana overlooking the sea at Puri Bagus Lovina, iced tea in hand, with books to read on our phones.  Rather relaxing.
With an appointment to meet with a resort manager at 11 am yesterday morning, I worked on the post while we watched the US presidential debate which was on TV here in Bali starting at 9 am.  We were a little surprised it was broadcast here but with tremendous interest in US politics from many we've met, I suppose it was to be expected.

The luxurious oceanview suits include two separate bedroom wings, a center dining area and a private pool.
To maintain our stance of not discussing politics on our site, we will only state that we watched it and then went about our day.  I had an appointment scheduled for a tour of the Puri Bagus Lovina with Ayu, a manager and to discuss some of the features of this upscale serene property where many travelers come to unwind from the stresses of life in their home countries.

The bedroom in the suite is almost identical (although slightly larger) to our ocean view villa except we don't have two bedrooms, an outdoor dining room, a private pool and the larger baths with added soaking tub and bidet.
As it turned out, I had an opportunity to speak with three managers as they gathered around our table in the bar sharing various points of interest in their respective departments and the resort. 

Inside the private pool area in the two bedroom suites are several chaise lounges and space for entertaining.
Gede, the general manager; Ketut, the restaurant manager; and Ayu were enthusiastic in visiting with me, knowing how appreciative we are to learn their story and details of the property. They were curious as to our perceptions of their country and our experiences to date, all of which I enthusiastically shared.

Walking through the thoughtfully designed gardens Gede pointed out many mediation and relaxation areas, all designed with the gentle  and healing Hindu philosophies in mind.
Built by the environmentally conscientious owner 17 years ago, the facility offers clean, attractive and comfortable rooms, many with ocean views such as ours and others with garden views with easy access to the beach.

The  Jaya Spa consists of several structures such as shown here each well appointed with its particular spa offerings in mind.
The pool is enchanting not only in appearance but in its pristine filtered water system using the finest local spring water as opposed to the less-safe-to-drink local water supply, which we discovered in speaking with Ketut. 

Yesterday afternoon, we had the blissful experience of swimming in the cool, partially shady pool built into a natural rock and vegetation formation overlooking the sea.

The grounds surrounding the various Jaya Spa structures are equally peaceful and serene.
(I should mention here, as we discussed during our first two month visit to Bali, there are only a few first names given to Balinese babies at birth.  Thus, this explains the similarities in names of many people we've met.  Please see below:

"The first born is Wayan, and if there is a fifth child, he/she is often called Wayan Balik (or Wayan "again").Balinese children/people are given other names, including a new "name" after death. Generally, everyone uses birth order names to refer to each other, and to call each other constantly throughout the day. "Given" names may be chosen due, for example, to the influence of popular culture or politics. Like some other Indonesian cultures, Balinese do not use family names.
  • First born names : Wayan, Putu, Gede, Ni Luh(female only). Wayan is Balinese originally meant Wayah or oldest.
  • Second born names : Made, Kadek, Nengah, Made/Nengah means madya or middle. Kadek means little brother/sister
  • Third born names : Nyoman, Komang
  • Fourth born names : Ketut)"
Each guest is provided a unique experience suited to their particular needs.
After spending considerable time in the bar with Gede, the general manger, he took me on our tour to see the luxurious suites and the full service spa offering a myriad of relaxing and beneficial services.

What fascinated me the most during the almost two hour conversation and tour was the dedication of the owner and the full staff to maintaining an environmentally friendly resort with an atmosphere based on the gentle, soothing and spiritual persona in Hindu beliefs. 

The salon for hair, nails and pedicures was equally inviting.
Whether it's an early morning yoga session in the exquisite yoga building as shown below, to lounging on one of the many comfortably padded cabanas scattered throughout the resort facing the blue sea, to a healing treatment in the spa, this peaceful resort caters to those seeking the utmost in service, ambiance, privacy and amenities.

Over the next few days we'll continue presenting more photos of our blissful experience at Puri Bagus Lovina while we make our way through the five days of requirements at the immigration office. 

The building where yoga classes are conducted.
Busy preparing the posts, taking photos, dining at both breakfast and dinner, spending time at the pool and walking through the exquisite grounds has made our days and evening satisfying and complete. 

Add the delight of participating in many engaging conversations with staff, we've had a superb experience thus far and expect it will continue over our remaining two days until we return to the villa.

Tomorrow, we'll begin to share the diverse, delicious and creative food choices at Puri Bagus Lovina and an exciting special event occurring tonight.  Please check back!

Be well.  Be peaceful.

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2015:

These baby goats in Fiji were less than a week old.  Note the bit of greenery in the mouth on the one of the left.  For more details, please click here.


We made it to Lovina...Two hour harrowing drive...Dangerous experience...

Last evenings view from the beach at Puri Bagus at sunset.
When we loaded the van with our bags and began heading down the road we noticed the fuel gauge registered at empty.  Finding petrol stations is not that easy in the remote area of Bali.  As it turned out, we had to drive past our exit for Lovina to the village of Gilimanuk to find a place to purchase fuel.

Crossing over a river.
It would have been a huge inconvenience to run out of gas.  Thanks to "safari luck" we made it on fumes long after the warning light lit up.  Turning around, within 15 minutes we were back on the correct road toward our destination.

Pretty ocean view along the highway.
For some ridiculous reason I expected the two hour drive to be less stressful with Tom driving than the drive from Denpasar to the villa with a driver, the four hour harrowing drive.  I was kidding myself.

Ocean view on the drive to Lovina.
At the end of May, we made the same trip when we first had to travel to Lovina to get our first visa extension.  Now, we're here once again for our second and final visa extension requiring three separate trips to the immigration office on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday of any given week in order to complete the cumbersome application process.

Tom is an excellent driver.  I've said this many times in the past.  But, even the best driver has no control over the action of other crazy and reckless drivers.  No less than on four occasions, we had "close calls" when motorbikes, trucks and cars were passing with little regard for other vehicles on the narrow two lane road.

Indoor seating area in the villa.
Finally, with a sigh of relief we entered the outskirts of the heavily trafficked town of Lovina with masses of fast moving vehicles comparable to that in wild-ride Denpasar.  It took another 35 minutes to reach our destination, the immigration office.

The queen sized bed was comfortable for a good night's sleep.
With documents in hand, we picked a number from the automated machine.  It was 11:20 am.  At noon each day, the office closes for lunch reopening at 1:30 pm.  If we didn't get called in time, we'd have to leave and return later.

In no time at all we were called to the counter to begin the process.  The kindly English speaking officer handed us applications to be completed and reminded us we'd have to wear long pants when we returned later in the day.

Tom showered in our outdoor shower.  I opted for the indoor shower.
Oh, good grief!  We forgot about wearing long pants to government offices in Indonesian as a requirement.  Neither of us had brought along a single pair of long pants.  When we were packing Tom suggested we bring our Africa insect repellent long pants knowing we'd be dining outdoors and I dismissed the idea.  Had I agreed we wouldn't have had to figure this out.

There are many shady spots for guest's use offering protection from the hot sun.
Neither of us remembered from our multiple trips in May that long pants were required.  A lot has transpired in these past four months that could easily have contributed to this fact slipping our minds. In our usual way, we don't do any blaming, instead spending our time considering our options.

As we walked toward the beach.
Since we had to return later with the completed application, we had a little time to find a place to purchase pants.  First, we decided to find our hotel, Puri Bagus, located within a kilometer of the immigration office, where we'd complete the application, make a few more required copies and see if they had a gift shop selling clothing.

The veranda view.
Once again, we were in luck when I remembered that Gede told us to look for a very bumpy road, two left turns from the immigration office.  The tiny one lane road leading to the hotel was unmarked with no signs indicating the hotel nearby.  Luckily, we quickly found the bumpy road making our way to the end to the exquisite Puri Bagus. We were shocked we found the correct road.

Grounds near our villa.  The Hindu/Balinese influence is always present creating inviting surroundings.
The Puri Bagus Lovina, is gorgeous, more than we expected.  The service is impeccable, the ambiance over-the-top.  In no time at all, we were in our private thatched roof villa and at works on the forms.  Once completed, we quickly headed to the hotel's gift shop hoping again, luck might be on our side.

Table and chairs on our private veranda.
Alas, no more than minutes after we entered the small shop we were in the try-on rooms hoping that we'd find long pants to get us through the three upcoming trips to the immigration.  The women's pants were awful, definitely not anything I'd ever wear again with the length too short and the legs way too wide. 

The ocean view from our private villa's veranda.
Finally, we both found with the exact same pair of men's pant, a beige linen, mine sized at an XS and Tom's, a large.  I'd never worn men's pant before but these with a drawstring fit, although still a little short for me. 

The enticing grounds are neatly trimmed and maintained.
Tom's fit him well for now anyway, not necessarily at the end of the upcoming 33 night cruise after eating all that food.  The cost of the two pairs of pants and a top I purchased, we spent a total of IDR $839,000, US $64.39.  We didn't complain.  We avoided the necessity of heading further into the town with much worse traffic to go shopping which neither of us enjoys anyway.

These cabanas are available for any guest's use.
By 1:30 pm, we were back at the immigration office wearing the long pants much to the pleasure of the immigration officer who joked and laughed with us.  By 2:30 pm, we were out the door anxious to get out of the warm clothing on a very hot day and relax a bit at our hotel before heading to the bar and dinner in the evening.

The sandy beach at the resort.
By 6 pm, we were taking sunset and other photos throughout the resort feeling refreshed, rested and excited not to have to return to immigration until Wednesday at 9 am for round two of three. 

View toward the pool from the pathway along the beach.
After a few drinks in the oceanfront bar and later a fabulous gourmet meal in the resort's main dining room while entertained by soothing local music, we were able to unwind and revel in the luxurious surroundings.  Soon, we'll share photos of our beautifully presented meals in this fine establishment.

Foot bridge we walked over on our way to the bar.
Today, I'm meeting the Puri Bagus Lovina manager for a comprehensive tour with many more photos and stories to share while Tom stays behind for some research we're conducting, easier here with a better Wi-Fi connection than in Sumbersari.  We'll be back with much more each day as we continue our stay in Lovina.

Have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago, September 27, 2015:
This duck's unusual crown caught our attention one year ago.  He seemed proud of his facial characteristics.  For more photos, please click here.