Returning to our relaxation destination – Bali!

At the end of June, about 10 days before my father was due to return to the US, we flew back to Bali for a vacation.  We stayed in the exact same villa we had stayed in years earlier (Balicosy in Legian); not just the same property where there are several villas, but literally the exact same villa.  The owner remembered us and she was just as sweet and accommodating as she had been years earlier, making special provisions for our children (toys, etc).

Like I mentioned in a previous post, the events detailed in these “catch-up” blog postings happened a considerable time ago (nearly 6 moths!), so I do not remember all the details.  What I do remember is the following:

(1) We spent lots of time in the pool.  I LOVE swimming around with my kiddos!  Mostly it was me, Zoe, Logan and Papaw, but Sebastian has the same insatiable desire to stay in the pool swimming and hopping into it from the edge that his sisters have, and he cried whenever he was taken out.  Zoe has gotten to be a good little swimmer and doesn’t need any floaties, while Logan has gained a lot of confidence and will jump in from the edge without you being right there to catch her.  We swam in the morning, we swam in the hot afternoons and we swam under the moon with the colorful pool lights on.  People nearby the property flew kites almost constantly, so we watched those while swimming, and we even saw someone buzzing around a drone over the property one afternoon.

(2) We returned to the Bali Bird Park, and this time Zoe was more courageous than ever, wanting exotic birds both big and small to perch on her arms and shoulders.  Sebastian wasn’t quite as impressed as his big sister by the birds, only briefly reaching out to pet a wreathed hornbill that was hanging out on the top of his stroller.  Logan was not as brave with the birds as she has become with swimming – she didn’t want any birds on her, but she loved looking at them from a couple of meters and pointed them out to all of us.

(3) We had some great meals, including some pizza/calzones from a place we had when staying in Legian previously, some excellent Mexican, and even some babi guling!

(4) The girls all went for an afternoon at a local salon where Logan and Zoe had their hair braided while Carol got a mani-pedi that included some bunga rayas (hibiscus flowers).

(5) It was really relaxing for me, and exactly what I needed from a vacation.  I spent the majority of the trip either in the pool or sleeping and it was perfect!

Here are the photos from our June 2017 trip to Bali:

Sad to see it end

Back on Sunday, September 4th, we packed up everything and got a taxi to the Bali airport, checked into our flight and flew back to Singapore.  We did have another nice breakfast in our villa before we left, and after a week of searching for Gatorade we finally found it (at the airport!).

This trip to Bali was fantastic and probably the best vacation I’ve had since living in Malaysia for the past 4 years, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve had several amazing trips over the past several years.  It was just so relaxing after such a stressful period and I felt great the entire time after having been sick and coughing non-stop for like 5-6 weeks.  On top of being relaxing without any schedule and feeling great physically, I was able to spend time swimming with my kids every single day.  The cherry on top was being able to share all this with Carolyn and my dad!!

While we were in Bali Sebastian celebrated his first birthday and really started walking, Zoe had a blast swimming the entire time and my little princess Loggie was so brave and went swimming with only arm floats each day.  Carolyn enjoyed doing a little shopping and was so sweet to take the girls to several different performances, and my dad joined us in the pool on every single occasion.

Here are a couple shots of our return back home:

Birds & Bikinis

On Saturday, September 3rd, we spent our final full day in Bali by doing a day long outing.  We woke up early, had breakfast in the villa, then went to the front lobby to wait for our driver to arrive.  I had booked a driver I found online the night before and after he was 10 minutes late I called him and he had no idea what I was talking about.  I read back to him the last email he’d sent to me about 12 hours earlier and asked if he was indeed “Wayan” and he apologized and changed his story and said he forgot and that he was at an Uncle’s funeral.  It sounded like I woke him up…

We waited for about 40 more minutes and an alternate driver finally showed up and off we went.  Our first stop was the Bali Bird Park.  We’ve been to several bird parks in Southeast Asia and they all have pros and cons, but I think the one in Bali is maybe my favorite.  It has lots of exotic hornbills like the KL Bird Park and Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, and you can hold exotic birds for free while posing for photos.  The grounds are lush and were kept immaculately clean.  I can’t speak about the shows because we didn’t catch one, but they have several going on throughout the day.

The only con I noticed was that some of the displays had poor lighting and almost too much vegetation.  I’m sure that’s best for the birds, but if you pay $130 for your family to go to a bird park you damn sure want to see the birds.  The price was high, especially since they charged children admission starting at 2 years old, but it was worth the cost but would have been better if all the birds were able to be seen, particularly the different types of Birds of Paradise.

After the Bali Bird Park we took an hour or so drive down to Kuta and Carol, Sebastian, Zoe, Logan and my dad went shopping at the main Surfer Girl shop for almost an hour and a half while I stayed with our driver in the van and talked to him about all sorts of things.  Once the shopping ended we headed back to Ubud.  We had our driver stop so we could pickup a late lunch / early dinner from Taco Casa on the drive through Ubud when he was taking us back to drop us off at our villa.

After we ate everyone got into their swimsuits and into the pool.  We had been gone for about 9 hours total and the pool’s cold water felt spectacular.  I found a pretty neat tree frog hanging out in the bushes beside our pool and managed to get a few photos of him before he took off.

Here are the photos from our final full day in Bali:

Bintang burn

By Friday, September 2nd, I was in full on vacation mode.  Amed had been relaxing, the athlete’s foot I’ve had for months from my work boots was gone, I wasn’t coughing at all anymore and basically I was getting great sleep and feeling wonderful for the first time in maybe 6 months.

We had another good breakfast in our villa – eggs, bagon, sausages, pancakes, croissants, fresh squeezed OJ, and so on.  We finished breakfast right around 9:45am and we were all in the pool by 10am.  By 10:10am I had a large Bintang in my hand.

I was in the pool and drinking Bintangs from 10:10am until just after 2pm.  In those 4 hours the girls swam for the first 2 and then got out and both fell sound asleep, Sebbie was in and out of the pool several times and loved hopping around on the pool’s step with his float around him, my dad was in the pool for about 2 hours and then joined me again for the last hour, and Carol even had a couple of Bintangs with me.

By 2pm I’d had enough Bintangs and hadn’t paid attention the sun, which was directly over the deep end where I was swimming and sipping my beer.  I ended up getting sunburnt on my shoulders pretty good and I’m peeling today (September 13th).

At 2pm I finally got out of the pool and got in bed and took a nap with the kids while my dad went to his room and took a nap and Carol caught a taxi downtown and walked around shopping in central Ubud for several hours.

When Carolyn got back I ended up staying put at the villa with Sebastian and my dad while she took the girls to a Kecak Fire Dance.  She got there about 30mins early and said they got great seats, and they all loved it.  Logan was a little afraid of the fire and even had a nearby person shush her because she kept telling Carol how scared she was of the fire.

Besides the burnt shoulders it was a fantastic day!  Carol even managed to pickup some aloe vera lotion for me when she was shopping, so the burn wasn’t even too bad.

Here are the photos from September 2nd in Ubud:

Rabbit dance tutorial

On September 1st we woke up and had a nice breakfast in our villa.  As soon as breakfast was over the girls were ready to get into the pool.  This pool was much larger than the pool in our Amed villa, and the water temperature was equally as different.  The small pool in Amed was in the sun all day long while the pool in Ubud was mostly underneath lush tropical vegetation, but even that couldn’t explain the difference of the temperature completely because the water in Amed was perfect – maybe even a little warm, but the water in Ubud was absolutely freezing.  It felt great if you would get back from being out somewhere doing something and you were all sweaty from the ridiculous heat and humidity, but at 9am it was frigid.

The girls weren’t fazed by the cold water in the least, even though they were trembling they insisted on staying in the pool for like an hour and a half.  Luckily once you were in there for about 10 minutes you would adjust and it wasn’t bad.

After a while swimming we relaxed in the villa until Carol, Zoe and my dad went into town to do some shopping.  I stayed in the villa with Logan and Sebastian.  It was great to be able to spend so much time with my kids during the vacation to Bali because in a normal work week I hardly see them since I leave as they’re waking up and more often than not they’re already asleep when I return home at night, especially Sebastian.  I’ve gone more than 7 days straight without even seeing Sebastian just in the past month because he would be asleep during the few hours I’d be at home to sleep and shower before returning to work.

When Carol, Zoe and my dad returned to the villa they weren’t there for long before heading off to a dinner show to see some Balinese dancers.  They took Logan with them this time and I opted to stay at the villa with Sebastian.

I don’t know all the details about the dinner show except that they had dinner near a stage where dancers performed, including several little girls who did a rabbit dance that Zoe and Logan enjoyed.  The biggest part of the night was when they selected a few people from the audience to participate and they brought Zoe up on stage!  Logan refused but Zoe went up there and practiced some dance moves with one of the dancers.

Here are the photos from our first full day in Ubud, September 1st:

HSBC tries their level best to destroy our vacation

Wednesday, August 31st, was the day we left Amed to head south to Ubud, where we planned to stay for the next four nights.

We started out the same way we started the previous two mornings – woke up at our two bedroom villa at Amed’s Griya Villas and Spa, then had a large breakfast spread delivered to our dining room and followed that with a couple of hours in the pool before getting packed up and ready to leave.

While Jean was getting us all set to checkout of our villa we could hear cheers and clapping coming from Papaw’s room.  We went over there and found Sebastian walking back and forth from one side of the room to the other – like 20 feet.  Papaw, Zoe and Logan were all cheering and clapping for Sebbie and he was smiling like he’d just won the lottery.  Whenever he sets out on a long distance walk he lifts both hands above his head and moves his arms around as he ambles forward, using them to balance himself.  Sebbie has been walking 3-6 feet regularly for about 2 months now, from couch to couch or from one end of his playpen to the other, but this was really walking – 20 feet without falling or holding on to anything along the way.

We eventually gathered our things and said goodbye to what I consider the most peaceful villa we’ve ever stayed at in Bali, and we headed down the hill and loaded into the van after checking out.  As we left Amed to drive to our next villa in Ubud, which was supposedly 2.5 hours away, we stopped at the only ATM in town before getting out into the really rural areas.  Like so many times in the past few years our bank screwed us again…  HSBC decided that my numerous pleas to allow me to access my money with my debit card when traveling weren’t good enough and they blocked the withdrawal and the machine ate the card.  Just like in Luang Prabang, Laos and Taman Molek, Malaysia earlier this year.

To make a long story short, the ATM company was excellent.  They sent three guys out (it took them about 40 minutes to get there) and they opened the machine and returned my card.  During that 40 minutes I called my bank and they gave me the same old song and dance about how it’s for my protection and I once again explained that they’re my bank and should allow me access to my funds instead of screwing me and stranding me without access when I’m abroad and that I’ve signed numerous forms (hard copies, online and told them over the phone) authorizing use overseas but that they still manage to screw me every single time.  I absolutely hate HSBC!!  If opening a new bank account in Malaysia wasn’t such a pain, requiring company letters and all sorts of nonsense, I’d leave them immediately.  I cannot wait to be done with them once we leave Malaysia at the end of 2017.

The drive to Ubud took a lot longer than the expected 2.5 hours — more like 4 hours.  The countryside was beautiful though, and there weren’t a lack of things to see.  We saw a volcano that had erupted last in the late 1960’s, we saw lots of rice terraces, several small villages, just about every driving implement you can imagine and all sorts of other spectacles.

We eventually made it to our new villa in Ubud and checked in.  We all went swimming in our villa’s pool.  The landscaping is amazing in Bali and this place had fantastic landscaping.  It’s even better than the swankiest neighborhoods in South Florida, and they set the bar pretty high!

Check out the photos from August 31st as we left Amed and headed to Ubud.  The only bad parts of our whole trip happened this day: (1) something bit Zoe on the forehead and above one of her eyes (we think maybe an ant or spider because it was much bigger than a mosquito bite) and (2) our debit card was eaten by an ATM machine in the middle of nowhere because HSBC is pathetic.

Same Same in Amed

On Tuesday, August 30th, we did basically the exact same thing we’d done the day before.  We all had breakfast together in our villa and then we all swam for several hours in our pool, followed by naps and playing on the internet, then a late lunch and more swimming.

The only differences were that (1) we got going a little earlier – breakfast started by 7:30am, (2) Carolyn didn’t join us in the pool but instead took photos of everyone else who was swimming, (3) while Papaw and I were on our laptops Zoe and Sebastian napped and Carolyn took Logan for a long walk down to the beach and (4) no rum and cokes late at night.

The photos below show what we did all day, which was basically playing in the pool with the kids.  The sand on the beach is black because there’s a nearby volcano that exploded last in 1963 and created volcanic rock everywhere from the lava flow.  We saw the volcano on our final day as we left Amed, but the peak was obscured by clouds that hung just around the cone most of the time.  By the way, most buildings in Bali are built using bricks and stones made from this volcanic rock, and Indonesia itself makes up part of the “Ring of Fire” due to all the volcanoes throughout the archipelago.

Definition of relaxation

On our first full day in Bali, Monday (August 29), we woke up around 7:30am and ordered breakfast to be brought to our villa.  Without 45 minutes the staff delivered a huge spread to our dining room table.  Eggs Benedict, a waffle with strawberries, a cheese omelette, a bagel ham and cheese sandwich, pancakes with syrup and vanilla sauce, and so on.  We also had fresh squeezed juices – orange, papaya, pineapple and watermelon.

After breakfast the staff came and cleaned up our villa.  They sent like 5 or 6 people to do the inside areas simultaneously (my dad’s room, our master bedroom and the dining room/kitchen) and there were two guys working outside to clean the pool and sweep up and water all the plants.  We all got into our swimsuits while they cleaned up, and after only 15-20 minutes everyone was gone, the villa was spotless and we all hopped into the pool.

We spent the majority of the morning in the pool.  The weather was perfect – blue skies with lots of sun, and the building that housed the living room and dining room blocked about a third of the pool from the sun so that none of us got completely burnt to a crisp by the intense equatorial sun.  Sebastian loved it!  He no longer tries to lean over and drink the water.  Now he splashes around and loves being pulled from one end of the pool to the other.  Logan is able to swim around by herself with floaties on, but she prefers for me to pull her back to the stairs or the edge so she can jump in over and over like Zobug.

It was great to be able to spend several hours playing with the kids in the pool!

After our fingers and toes had all pruned up we finally got out.  The two little ones took a nap while everyone else played on the internet.  After a couple of hours my dad, Carol and Zoe went down to the lobby and tried to order lunch.  Two motorcycles showed up to transport them to a nearby restaurant, but Carol wisely balked since Zoe was with them and there weren’t any helmets.  Instead of going to the restaurant to pickup the meal, Carol ordered delivery and we had crispy duck, nasi goreng and curry ayam delivered.  It was fair — not good and not bad.

After our late lunch we all went swimming again for a few hours.  It is really the perfect way to relax.  Swimming with your family in an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, bookended by delivered meals and naps.  It was therapeutic!

Once it was dark I watched The Good Dinosaur with Zoe, Logan and my dad while Carol and Sebbie hung out together.  Eventually everyone went to sleep except for Carolyn and I, and I was occupied with rum and cokes while she played on the internet.

It was the perfect way to start our week in Bali.

Here are photos from that second day in Amed:

Sebastian celebrates with a swim

On Sunday morning (August 28) we woke up at 4:30am and started getting ready for our trip to Bali.  Our ride arrived in front of the house at 6am and we loaded up.  We left the house at 6:11am and amazingly had absolutely no traffic at Woodlands.  We were through Singapore immigration by 6:38am!  That may be a record for us… We were at Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 by 7:25am and there wasn’t anyone in line to check-in for our flight, so we zipped through that and made our way through immigration and to our gate by 7:45am.  They didn’t open our gate until 9:05am, so we sat around for a while.  At 9:05am we went through security at our gate, then we started boarding at 9:35am before taking off on-time at 10:05am.

The flight only took two and a half hours, which went by quickly.  Most of the seats around us were empty, so there was quite a bit of space.

Since our last visit to Bali there has been a change for the better with regards to visas for Americans.  Previously you had to pay like $35 (in US Dollars) upon arrival for a Visa On Arrival.  We had a big problem with this once before when we arrived in Indonesia (Lombok) with only Malaysian Ringgit.  This time around the rules have changed because Indonesia wants to stimulate tourism by interesting more travelers to visit, so for several countries (20+) they’ve entirely eliminated the fees for visas on arrival — US passport holders are part of the group that benefit from this.  When we got off the plane in Bali we went straight to the immigration lines instead of stopping by the Visa On Arrival kiosks.  Woohoo!  Faster processing and saving money!

When we cleared through immigration we picked up our luggage and headed into the arrivals hall where we were met by our driver, Gusti.  The villa where we’re staying had sent me an email a couple of weeks earlier warning me about a scam where drivers will make fake signs for other properties and pretend to be your driver, then take you somewhere else, and they said I needed to ask the driver for our “password”, which was set to be “816′ in this instance.  When I asked Gusti he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about, so I asked him to call our villa.  He called and the girl working the front desk had no idea either, so they said they’d ask management and call him back.  Gusti handed me his mobile phone and told me to answer when they called back and then took off for the parking lot so he could pickup the van and bring it up to where we were waiting with our luggage. The villa did call while Gusti was gone and they did in fact give the password and confirm that Gusti was indeed our correct driver.  It was pretty funny to think that they specifically sent an email asking me to verify the driver but neither the driver nor the villa staff had any idea about a password.

Gusti was super friendly, like basically all the Balinese people we’ve ever met.  He stopped by an ATM and local market where Carolyn went shopping for about an hour and picked up snacks and drinks.  The ride from the airport in Denpasar up to our villa in Amed, on the northeastern coast of Bali, took around three and a half hours.  The driving was insane, weaving in and out of all sorts of obstacles – dogs, bicycles, motorbikes, huge trucks, children, old ladies with massive baskets of chopped weeds on their heads and so on.  It felt great to be back in Bali!  I was super excited to get to our villa; Carolyn and the kids all slept and my dad watched nervously as Gusti weaved around every obstacle with amazing fluidity.

We finally arrived and checked into the villa, which is a two bedroom place with a private infinity pool that looks out over the mountains and coast.  Our villa (#7) was quite a ways up a hill, so we loaded on to a golf cart and were taken there.  On our way up the hill we passed by a lady bringing a birthday cake to our villa for Sebastian’s first birthday celebration!  I had mentioned that we were arriving on Seb’s first birthday to the villa staff in an email a few weeks earlier when asking about transport from the airport to the villa, and they told me they were going to decorate the villa and provide a free birthday cake for us to celebrate with.  It was way beyond what we expected and certainly exceptionally kind.  The cake was great!  It had a little elephant standing next to a “1”, and after dinner Sebastian smashed quite a bit of cake into his face.

It didn’t take long for us to get sorted out and get into swimsuits so we could all going swimming in our pool.  We spent probably 2 hours playing around in the pool before dinner and cake.  While we sang “Happy Birthday” to Seb he cracked a huge smile and danced back and forth in his high chair.  After dinner Carol took Zoe down to the villa’s main restaurant to watch some Balinese dancers.  Sebastian was completed wiped out after traveling from Malaysia to Singapore to Denpasar and then all the way up to the north coast of Bali to Amed.

Here are the photos from our trip to Bali and Sebastian celebrating his first birthday!

Made it to Amed

We’re at our villa in Amed, on the Indonesian island of Bali.  This is our second night here, and we have 1 more night to go before moving on to our second villa further south.  Amed is on the northeastern coast of Bali, which is an area we had not previously visited.

I’ll post an entry with more details and photos soon, but here’s a short video showing our arrival and what we did this morning after breakfast:

Late night swim and then back to Malaysia

On Tuesday, December 9th, we relaxed around the villa.  Carol did go out shopping for quite a while, but the majority of my day was spent in the pool with the girls.  On Wednesday, our final day in Bali, we did more of the same — swimming and relaxing.  Carolyn and I both regretted that we didn’t extend our stay through Saturday and return to Malaysia on Sunday because it was such a relaxing and fun time but too short.

On Wednesday night my dad and Zobug went for a final late night swim and I played around with my camera and tried to take some night shots; you can see in those photos below that I have lots to learn and I need a tripod!

Carol and my dad did go out to grab some take away at a local place that was recommended, Made’s Warung.  Of course they took their sweet time to relax at the restaurant and have some mojitos…  The food was good though.  Balinese food ain’t bad at all; we actually like it much better than Malaysian food, although I do like lontong and Carolyn loves roti canai.  Balinese grub is light years better than “Singaporean” food, which I think is really just that nasty cold chicken rice and this messy dish they call chili crab.  Singapore obviously has lots of excellent options, but those are all foreign imports and not Singaporean food.

On Thursday, December 11th, we checked out and flew back to Singapore and then got a ride back to JB.

I’m posting this blog several weeks after returning to Malaysia, on December 30th, and I just wanted to note that an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore apparently crashed a couple of days ago and 162 people lost their lives.  We are really sad and hate that this tragedy happened and affected the lives of so many people, including those family and friends who lost loved ones.  We have enjoyed flying AirAsia many times and our recent route from Bali to Singapore was almost identical to the path from Surabaya to Singapore, so it really hit home that it could happen to us and we’re thankful to be here and have just celebrated Christmas as a family.

Here are some more photos from our trip to Bali, including some from my dad’s camera that include a shot of Zoe in the Singapore airport on our way to Bali, a few on our outing day to Tanah Lot and Ubud, and then some of the girls at our villa, plus the night shots I took of the final swim:

Tanah Lot followed by fly larvae in Ubud

On Sunday night we contacted a driver we found on the internet, Wayan Lia, and asked him to pick us up on Monday morning at 9am.  We told him what we would like to see and he said we could get to all of it, and it would cost IDR 600,000 (about $60) for the day, and that included the car rental, all the gas, him as the driver, and all parking fees.

Wayan was at our villa just before 9am on Monday and we loaded in and headed off to Tanah Lot.  Tanah Lot is a temple on an island just off the coast of Bali that’s a famous spot for people to go and watch sunsets.  We didn’t want to mess with the huge crowds that supposedly swamp the place at sunset so we decided the first stop in the morning would be better.

Wayan dropped us off and we made our way down a street lined on either side with vendors selling trinkets, cheap tourist t-shirts and snacks.  We eventually made it down to the cliffs overlooking Tanah Lot.  We walked around the outer edge and took photos.  It was high tide so you couldn’t make your way out to Tanah Lot for a blessing from the holy men that stay there, but several visitors were walking as far out on the slippery rocks as possible towards it.

We stopped at a little viewing spot and took photos, including a couple of Flat Stanley, whom dad forgot at home but luckily I grabbed him on the way out the door.  A little further down the path was a guy with a huge yellow and white snake that Zoe was impressed with.  The crowd increased significantly in the 30 minutes we spent there.  It’s a beautiful site, but after a few photos you’ve seen what it has to offer.

We headed back to Wayan’s van.  It was extremely hot so Carol bought some drinks and my dad purchased one of those Vietnamese conical rice-picker hats to keep his head from getting burnt.

Next we drove for a little over an hour to Ubud where we went directly to Bridges for lunch.  Traffic in Ubud was a little heavy and Wayan pointed out a huge ornamental burial display that was for someone in the royal family.

We had a great lunch at Bridges when we visited Ubud the first time, but this time it was horrible.  Without going into all the details I’ll say that within a 30 minute span Zoe spilled her Shirley Temple all over the place, Carolyn found a maggot in her gnocchi, Zoe nearly pulled Logan and her heavy wooden high chair over onto the ground and the meal still cost $75!  I ordered the same gnocchi as Carol so once she found the maggot I lost my appetite too.  The funny thing was that once we pointed it out to the staff they apologized several times and asked what else she wanted, then the waiter returned and sounded so relieved to tell us “don’t worry, it is not a caterpillar, it’s a baby fly”.  Lovely, not a caterpillar – only a maggot.  They didn’t charge us for either of the gnocchi plates, and they claimed that it was due to excessive flies in the spinach because of all the heavy rains.  Ahh, don’t you wash the vegetables before you throw them onto the plate??!

After the Bridges experience we have Wayan drive over near the Monkey Forest and we dropped off Carol and Zoe so they could go shopping.  Ubud has amazing stores for shopping; I would even enjoy shopping in Ubud and I absolutely hate shopping.  My dad and I had Wayan take us over to a “museum” called the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA).  It wasn’t a very impressive museum because there weren’t that many pieces of art, but what they did have was colorful and we enjoyed it.  Logan was with us, but she was wiped out and she slept the whole time.  While ARMA wasn’t much of a museum it did have beautiful grounds with lots of water fountains, flowers, mossy covered statues and it was just really peaceful.  We were the only people in the entire place except for 2 members of the staff that we passed by.

We took photos and walked around for about 45 minutes, then we headed back to Wayan’s van and went to picked Carol and Zoe.  It was hot as hell, but we enjoyed the scenery.

After picking up the girls we rode for about 1.5-2 hours back to our villa.  We had originally planned to continue on further south to watch the sunset at another famous oceanside temple, but we’d had a long day, Zoe had a blister on her foot that was hurting and we were ready to go swimming.  After getting to our villa we all went swimming for a couple of hours and then had dinner.  Carol picked up some Italian food, including a prawn pizza for my dad that had a gigantic prawn laying right in the middle – he enjoyed it…

Here are the photos:

Some needed relaxation

All day Saturday and Sunday were spent in our villa’s pool, except for the few trips Carolyn and my dad made out into Legian, Kuta and Seminyak to pickup food or to go shopping.  We had some pretty good meals and Carolyn spent about 4 hours with my dad walking around the shops in Seminyak while I stayed at home with the girls.  It was very relaxing and restful.

I did end up getting a little sun burnt, but nothing too bad.  Zoe absolutely loves to swim but she spent most of her pool time squirting anything and everything with the squirt guns Carol picked up in JB before we left.  Zoe would squirt me and yell something like “take that you evil beast!” and when I’d squirt her right back she’d say something like “no, daddy, don’t shoot me – we’re on the same team”.  I’d apologize and then she’d come right back and squirt me in the face again and yell “off my ship you dirty pirate!”.  She called her Papaw an “old cod fish” and then sprayed him, but when he sprayed her she screamed that he was “too powerful” and she asked Carolyn and I to spray him for her.  She’s a nut…

Logan likes to splash the water directly in front of her, but once the water covers her face she acts surprised.  She also likes to chase down the beach balls that are floating in the water.  As a side note, Logan had 4 top teeth break through her top gums within the past couple of days.

Here are the photos from Saturday and Sunday (December 6th and 7th):

Back to Bali

Last Friday (Dec 5) we began our week vacation to Bali.  We packed up and in the morning we got a ride from our home in JB to Changi airport in Singapore.

Changi had some Christmas exhibits that Zobug enjoyed, and we had breakfast there before hopping on a 2 hour flight south to Bali.

We were picked up at the airport by someone with a sign that had my name on it, and we were dropped off at the villa that would be our home for the next 6 nights.  Our villa is pretty nice – two bedrooms, each with a private ensuite bath, separated by a closed in living room and kitchen.  Most villas in Bali have an open living space, but we booked a villa with the closed in living space since Logie is all over the place and we didn’t want her to end up in the pool.

The lady that owns the place, Alex, stopped by and spent about an hour going over everything.  She was beyond friendly…  Alex was about the most friendly host we’ve ever had.  Not only did they have a crib already in one of the bedrooms for Logie, but they had baby towels, a high chair at the kitchen counter and a huge plastic bin full of toys.  Zoe and Logie immediately started pulling all the toys out.

Once we got settled in Carolyn and my dad caught a cab to a nearby grocery store, Carrefour, to pickup some basics.  About 2 hours later they were back with apple juice, Bintangs, some snacks and sodas.  After that Carol took another taxi to a local Italian joint, Marzano’s, and picked up some pizzas for dinner.

We had a nice dinner and eventually hit the sack.  The next morning we woke up late, around 8am, and Carol took off in search of some babi guling while the rest of us put on our swimsuits and hopped into the pool.  Maybe an hour and a half later Carolyn returned with some babi guling from two different shops.  It was excellent!

Here are the photos of our trip over and our first morning in Bali:

With my minnows

My favorite part of each trip we’ve made to Indonesia has been the time spent with my girls in the pool.  Zoe loves swimming, and while Logan wasn’t sure what to think about it when we went to Bali earlier this year, she loved swimming in Lombok.

We were in Lombok two weeks ago for only 2 days, and I was in the pool with Zoe for probably 4 hours each day.  Logan swam with us twice, but she only does about an hour each time before she decides that she’d rather drink the pool water than splash around.  Zoe just wants to swim back and forth from side to side of the pool, forever.  Our fingers and toes pruned up and whenever I’d suggest that we should get out she would beg to swim a little longer.

Zoe LOVES swimming!  We need to get her some lessons soon.

Here are some photos of us swimming in Lombok – it was a wonderful way to spend time with my girls during a short break from our routine: