Adventures living as expats.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sanur, Bali 2013

Our final stop on the Bali tour was Sanur Beach, close to the tourist hotspot Denpasar.   We did a lot of beach exploring, coconut drinking, pool reading, and spa'ing.  Dalena managed to fit in a full day of treatments - manicure, pedicure, cream bath, and reflexology (foot massage) all for under $30.  Jeff and I settled for the best reflexology we've ever had for only $4 and of course more ribs.
Sanur Beach
Really cool fishing boat along the beach
The Gagatkos are always very mature and refined
These beautiful sacrifices can be found all over Bali.  After stepping on a few, we learned to watch our feet.
Can't go wrong with coconuts on the beach.
Our two days in Sanur flew by and we weren't ready to leave.  Luckily its a short flight away so we're hoping we'll have an excuse to return some day.

Amed, Bali 2013

After 3 days in the bustling city of Ubud, we headed to the quiet shores of Amed.  We found the change of pace we were hoping for and completely relaxed while taking in the beautiful sights.  Amed is known for fantastic snorkeling, one of our favorite vacation activities.  On our first day we took a boat trip to Coral Garden and Japanese Shipwreck, and they both lived up to their reputation.  This was Dalena's first time snorkeling, and she didn't let a case of seasickness stop her.  She quickly loved watching the underwater life and was a pro by the end the trip.
Double thumbs up!
So many little fish
Hard to tell, but this guy was really big
The venomous lionfish
Cuttlefish - the chameleon of the sea.  When we first saw him he tried to look like a piece of coral with thorns.  Then as he swam around he turned yellow, brown, gold, and red to blend in.  One of our favorites!
We managed to wake up one morning to see the beautiful sunrise over the ocean.  So worth it!

Amed is also famous for making gourmet sea salt.  We toured the "factory" and of course had to buy a few souvenirs.  
These ladies make me look 7 feet tall!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ubud, Bali with the Fam

Ubud is the art and culture center of Bali and is surrounded by picturesque rice paddy views from all directions.   Jeff and I have done a good amount of traveling this past year and this is the first city we've gone back to, we just love the city.  An added bonus this year was our new found love for pork which the Balinese do really, really well.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that in 8 days in Bali we had the famous babi guling (suckling pig) twice and pork ribs at least 5 times along with bacon every morning for breakfast.  We got into the mindset that we can't often get good pork in Jakarta and went "all out" for the entire vacation.  

Since we missed it last year, we all had to go see the Kecak dance which involves chanting, dancing, arm throwing, and fire.  Mom said it as the coolest thing she'd ever seen!
A little blurry, but still shows the awesome costumes.
This finale was a man dressed in a horse costume, kicking and dancing over hot coals.
Our second visit to Ibu Oka's Warung, the best suckling pig in Bali according to our taxi driver
We took a bike trip through villages and rice paddies, luckily all down hill :-)
These women showed us how to harvest rice.  It looks like one of the hardest jobs around.
Walking through the rice paddies just outside of Ubud
Our favorite dinner was at Sari Organic with a fantastic view of the sunset over the rice paddies
Planting rice during the cooler dusk hour

Jakarta with Dalena

The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind between saying goodbye (for now) to some of our closest friends here in Jakarta,  joining a crossfit gym, welcoming the Voorhees clan, hosting a duel going away party for Brendan and Les, a last minute trip to Singapore, finalizing details of our upcoming Australia trip, and of course prepping for Dalena's visit to Indonesia.  Once Dalena arrived we had a limited amount of Jakarta time before we all met up in Bali which is perfect considering the few tourist attractions in the Big Durian.  We made the most of our days in Jakarta and made sure to give her a taste (and smell) of the city.

Pasar Mayestik
The look from Mom (an 11 year vegetarian) says it all
Not sure what you make with a cow foot, but apparently there's demand 
Istiqlal - The largest mosque in SE Asia, built to commemorate Indonesian independence.

Our guide said that almost 200,000 people come to the mosque on Idul Fitri.
The lines in the tiles help people line up for prayer.  
Monas National Monument 
Jakarta Cathedral
Mom rounded out her Jakarta visit with batik and ikat fabric shopping, reflexology, shopping for durian flavored dodol (sweet coconut candy), an adventurous walk on the "sidewalks", and ride in a bajaj.