Hiking in the Cinque Terre

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I stayed in a nice bungalow in Ubud.  Puji Bungalows

Tutmak cafe straight ahead.  I ate delicious Indonesian dishes there, and had a number of iced coffees.  To the right is a shop where I bought two paintings.

nice art gallery and friendly young ladies.  I bought one painting from them.

On Putu's motorcycle.  Her sister is second from right.

Putu (left) with her sister (right), and a cousin

The Balinese have near-perfect teeth. I found the ladies to be quite gorgeous.  But the perception among expat men is that Balinese women who move to Western cultures don't adjust well.  Here's a TV feature about Balinese beauty secrets.


entrance to the bungalow where I stayed (second bungalow)

the bungalow

the daughter of the owners of the bungalow.  I would come back from a day on the town and she'd sometimes be sitting at tables drawing and coloring.

with bride

lots of food, but too spicy

on the way to a temple

carrying offerings

at temple near home of Indonesian president

Mount Batur & Lake Batur.  Over to the right are hot springs for tourists.

village next to Mt Batur

This lady sold me that painting.  Her husband was the artist. I got a fabulous deal! They simply took it out of its frame and rolled it and packaged it. It was then put in a small crate with some other goodies and eventually made it to my mom's house on Solomon Road in Headland, Alabama (USA).

I knew very little about Indonesia and, in particular, about the island Bali, which is the crown jewel of travel destinations in Indonesia. I found a $8 a night bungalow in the middle of rice paddies. My next door neighbor was a guy from the state of Georgia who had spent weeks traveling around India, and was seeking solace in the quietness of Ubud, the cultural center of the island. Bali captivated me the way it does many people. I intended to stay only two weeks, but stayed a month. It was inexpensive. The food was excellent. I would wake up in the morning after nine hours of the best sleep and the manager of the bungalow would bring out pancakes with slices of banana and papaya. I’d also get a coffee. The Balinese ladies I saw were very beautiful and exotic. It was hard for a young man like me not to see this! I traveled around the island by motorbike and by small taxi trucks and vans. I saw some Hindu temples and some spectacular volcanoes and lakes. Bali simply has some of the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. The people are friendly. The Americans I met there were from big cities and small Southern hamlets back home. One lady that had been there for years –living and working – was a redhead from Virginia with the thickest Southern accent. We struck up a friendship immediately. What also made Bali unique was the music and cultural entertainment that seems to give a strong spiritual vibe to the place. It seemed to me that the worries of the world just disappeared while I was there.

After Indonesia, I reversed my tracks, heading back up the Malaysian/Thai peninsula. I flew to Singapore and then took the 'jungle railway' to Malaysia and some Southern Thai Isles. Then, I took a train back to Bangkok, and checked into the Atlanta Hotel.  On this return visit to Bangkok I reconnected with Kade. I had first met her almost three months earlier when I had visited the Jim Thompson House Museum, where she worked. Undoubtedly, once I saw her again, I was under her spell.  It was then that concluded that I would try living and working in Bangkok. First, though, was one more trip. Vietnam or bust!

the two silk prints on the right

Have four doll puppets like these.

Click here for a trip Kade and I made to Bali together, just two years later.

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