Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bali--Timeless but Changed

Technology everywhere!
Ubud temple and palace
The best way to see how a child has grown, a uncle has aged, or a place has changed, is to be away for awhile.  And so it was with our six-year absence from Bali. More motorcycles, cars, development, restaurants, guest houses, Chinese tourists, traffic, and overall prosperity.  Also since then, pervasive cell phone use by just about everyone and WIFI everywhere.

That said, Bali, with its beauty, temples, and spirituality are timeless.  There is something magical about waking up in this place and walking into town to take it all in.  The people are unbelievably friendly.  Fragrant smells, beautiful flowers, sounds of birds and insects, and art are everywhere.  It's hot and muggy, and we don't want it to end.

Our neighborhood--Shanti walking in alley to our home

After nearly 36 hours of travel, we made it, and it was worth it.  Having both Shanti and Skyler here for a few days makes it even more special.  We haven't been together since this time last year on our Vietnam bicycle trip.

View from our living room
Entry way to our compound

Yummy breakfast at a street stall

Our 1st dinner together in almost a year

Balinese graffiti

Getting ready for the big Gulangan Festival in 2 weeks

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bali, Here We Come!

We've often been asked, "If you could return to one place you have traveled before, what would it be?"  Without an instant of hesitation we reply in unison, "Bali!"  So in just five more days, we’ll be out of this cold, grey, and rain.  We’ll be in Bali, Indonesia for a month, our third visit since 1979.  
Orchid House

We've rented a two-bedroom home in the mountain artist community of Ubud for a ridiculously low price, cheaper than a Motel 6 in the States.  Daughters Shanti and Skyler are going to join us for the first 10 days, then we’ll be on our own.  We have connected with some Rotarians there and hope to visit Rotary projects my club and others in Oregon and Washington have sponsored.

Our compound in the  Penestanan section of Ubud
Meanwhile, we've been brushing up on our rusty Malaysian/Indonesian language skills from our Peace Corps days in 1978-80 and our 2008 Rotary visit, and they're coming back nicely.

Drift Creek Falls 
It seems like I just returned from my bike trip last week.  My mind is often there on some deserted Utah road or sipping a beer with fellow riders.  I miss them so much, and the trip gets better with the passage of time.  I also miss the shape I was in and the ability to eat anything and everything I wanted with impunity.

Wine Country--Domain Drouhin
However being back in Oregon with Kathy and our routine has also been good.  I got some great bike rides in, including two on my “new” bike--the actual bike I used on the Zion-Bryce trip. What a joy, and the Willamette Valley is a beautiful part of the world in which to ride.

Metolius River with Airstreamers
We managed three more camping trips, some hikes, outings to wineries, and a mountain bike ride.   Kathy had two five-day trips to Burbank for her national  board duties for the Assistance League.

Canyon Meadows 7 Three Finger Jack
Two interesting glitches--we had our first blowout on our trailer on a trip to the coast.  This made for a total of 8 flat tires this year--one for each vehicle, three on my big bike trip, and one on each of our other bikes.

On our way to an Airstream rally (where we had to be evacuated because of high winds blowing down trees in the campground), a service station attendant filled our diesel VW Touareg with gasoline.  We unknowingly drove it another 60 miles, and we are lucky to be alive and glad to have insurance to cover the $9,400 bill.
Evacuated Airstreams, one VW with gasoline
Fall colors from one of our decks

As fall colors fade and the cold fog settles in, we’ve enjoyed the season for concerts, opera, fundraisers, and getting together with friends.
At Die Fledermaus, Portland Opera
One of Ron's famous cooking messes

Going to the gym; 6:12 AM, 22 degrees, 4 layers
Now, it's time to avoid all the insane holiday hype, the dreary weather, and get tropical!