Adventures living as expats.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bali trip top 10

Jeff and I were so lucky to get to spend 9 days in Bali and what an amazing trip it was. We spent 3 nights on a small island called Nusa Lembongan, then went to Ubud for 4 nights, and finished the trip with 2 nights in the surf town Uluwatu. Bali is less than a 2 hour flight from Jakarta, but what a contrast! Although we loved every minute of the trip we opted to do a top 10 countdown of our favorite parts. So here goes...

10. Traditional Balinese dance performance in Ubud: Each dance tells a story and luckily they gave us a cheat sheet. The costumes were so beautiful.

9. Surfing at Padang Padang beach with coconuts on the beach to rehydrate. My surfing involved mostly falling over and leisurely paddling, but Jeff caught some good waves. Here's a view from above the surf spot the next morning.

8. Tie: between 90 minute yoga class at The Yoga Shack and 80 minute Balinese massages for $11 each.

7. Besakih Temple: The largest temple complex in Bali.

6. Sunset and drinks at El Kabron: this restaurant sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We were lucky to score a great seat on one of the couches.

5. Motor biking around the rice fields. My job was reminding Jeff to stay on the left side.

4. Snorkeling on Nusa Lembongan. It was hard to believe how colorful the fish and coral were. We could have filmed a Planet Earth episode!

3. Balinese cooking class. We made balinese sauce, chicken sate, fish wrapped in banana leaf, yellow rice, urab (veggies w/spicy sauce and coconut), and coconut pancakes. The food was so tasty and I can't wait to try the recipes at home!

2. Strolling throug the rice fields and dinner at Sari Organic. The walk to the restaurant was so beautiful that we had to repeat it the next night. These must be the world's luckiest chickens.

1. Getting to know some great new friends. Frankly we've been missing our standing Friday night dinner/drinks outings. It was so nice to connect with such a fun crowd.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Visit to Bogor

We needed a break from the city last weekend so we headed to Bogor on Saturday morning. Our first stop was the Botanical Garden which turned out to be awesome. It was so nice to walk around outside and get some fresh air. In Jakarta the sidewalks are not that great and the pollution makes it hard to walk around. Often times you have to dodge motorcycles that drive anywhere and everywhere.
Huge roots!

Largest type of bamboo

That night we tried another Gerobek with sate ayam and an Indonesian food restaurant with mie ayam (chicken with noodles).

Sunday morning we went to the Taman Safari. It's was a mix between the zoo and Disneyland. It was a little cheesy but so fun seeing all the animals up close - elephants, rhinos, monkeys, orangoutang, alligators, hippos, leopards, tigers, lions, bears, zebra, camel, giraffe, mountain goats, wildebeest, deer, capybara (giant hamster), and ostrich. I really wish my niece Morgan could have been there! She would have loved it. Luckily we were told to bring some carrots and bananas since most of the animals were waiting for handouts.

Here's the picasa link to all the pics: Bogor Trip


The zebras were such beggars!


Ramadan started a little over 2 weeks ago. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight hours. I've been taking some workout classes and even the teachers are fasting during the day, and they're still working harder than I am. I can't imagine not being able to chug water during the class.

Our driver, Karyadi, said that during Ramadan he wakes up at 3 AM for early prayers and a meal before the sun comes up. During the day Gerobeks (food carts) are pretty much closed and restaurants are very quiet. Come 6 PM the entire country breaks their fast and it seems that all chaos breaks loose. Traffic gets crazy as people pull over on the side to grab food or rush to get home. Huge lines form at Gerobeks and restaurants get packed. Jeff and I went to see first hand last week at a "gerobek pod" close to Jeff's work.

Front of the Gerobeks
Seating area in the back
Padang food
More Padang
Sate ayam (chicken skewer), our favorite!
Jeff likes the donuts
Alcohol is also banned in restaurants during Ramadan, although this rule is easily avoided if the restaurant pays for "protection". I ordered some wine the first week and the waiter explained they couldn't serve it in a wine glass. At first I was panicked thinking he meant they weren't serving wine at all, but luckily it came in a coffee mug a few minutes later. Whewww!