Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bali - Day 5

The next day Latanya and I woke to a beautiful morning. We had breakfast on the veranda again. How pleasant. We took a dip in the pool. Jess and Fran were now at our hotel and Fran jumped in with us. It was so refreshing just what we needed to start the day off right. Instead of a lazy beach day we decided to head back to the Ubud area and check out the town itself. We split a cab to Ubud with Jess and Fran. They were packing up and leaving Sanur to stay in Ubud. They had a place set up in the center of the town for a few days.

Ubud was by far Latanya's favorite place, it is one of those places that books will never do it justice. You need to live, breath, absorb the culture, nature, and inspiration of the city. Ubud is surrounded by scenic rice fields(terraces), organic Bali spirit, small villages, art and craft communities, ancient temples, palaces, rivers, and cheap accommodation. When we arrived the town was bustling with backpackers tourists and locals. There were several stores selling you name it. Plenty of places had souvenirs. There were also plenty of art, furniture, flowers, yoga studios, organic soaps, and clothes shops. Jess and Fran headed to there place and we strolled around on our own. We checked out the local market filled with lots of vendors. It was a great walk peaking in the different shops.

Latanya wanted to stop by Wayan's shop from Eat Pray Love which happened to be four blocks from where we were dropped off. We walked four blocks away from the main strip down an alley and walked passed Wayan's shop. It was unnoticeable, the shop was covered with plants and a sign that says Traditional Balinese Medicine and restaurant (there are one of these shops on every corner). Latanya didn't want to go inside and after hearing the bad reviews from TripAdvisor she settled for a picture.

It began to pour, the rain momentarily halted our sightseeing. We headed to a local bar, Buddy's Belly, to cool off and wait out the rain with a fabulous Indonesian micro brewed beer, called Storm. The rain stopped and we went by the monkey forest. Which is completely filled to the brim of monkeys. Knowing Latanya as I do I knew we were not going to even think about going in. The outside was good enough. We saw lots of monkeys, who were friendly and cute at a far. The name really does describe exactly what it is, a monkey forest. We moved on from the forest to check out some beautiful rice terraces. Because the sun was beginning to set and the light reflected off the terraces so elegantly. Stunning views for sure. After our nice day in Ubud we took a taxi back to our hotel to plan the next day. Tomorrow we wanted to take full day trip across the island. We called up Geday to drive. We had to get up really early the next day because we wanted to the sunrise at the Batur Volcano, and I mean early.

Bali - Day 4

We walk up from such a wonderful sleep. We sat outside our room in the courtyard and had some breakfast provided by the hotel. It was simple and delicious. After our cup of coffee our driver came and picked us up for our day trip. Our driver's name was Geday. That may not be spelled right but it was pronounced like the Australian G'Day mate. Geday was very kind as well as informative. Latanya told him that we wanted to meet Ketut. He was not familiar with the name but said we could ask around when we got near. Ketut lived near the town of Ubud and it was only about 30 minute drive away. As we made our way north we noticed that we would never be able to drive here. Not only do they drive on the wrong side of the road (left) but the roads can get really narrow. Before we arrived to Ketut's house we stopped by a textile weaving factory. We were able to see the process and of course the final garments. The skill of weaving is impressive. Though the materials were beautiful it was an obvious tourist trap and we moved on.

After asking a couple of people we found Ketut's house and headed inside. We were unannounced and hoped we would be able to see him. There was another woman talking to Ketut so we waited patiently until they finished. Latanya was a little nervous at this point. They finished and he called us over. He was so happy to meet us. He was so friendly and you could just tell that he has good spirit. We sat down and he immediately began giving Latanya a reading. He said she was so beautiful and would be very successful. Other highlights of his reading was that Latanya would be very happy, she is creative and that her and I are a great match. We were able just to chat with him for awhile. It was a really nice talk. We made sure to get a picture with and Latanya had him sign her book. Latanya sure had a great time and was so happy to be able to get a reading from him. It made her trip that much better. Geday proved extremely helpful as he was by our side during our visit and help translate when needed.

Next we headed to Tirta Empul. Tirta Empul is a temple northwest of the town of Ubud. Because Bali has volcanoes it also has hot springs. This temple had some hot springs and in Balinese fashion the hot springs were used as bathing pools. They created tunnels of stone that would spill the warm water out into a pool. The Balinese are then able to bath under the water spilling out. They were absolutely beautiful. We were able to walk around the grounds and really enjoy the surrounding area. The temple is wedged in a gorge surrounded in so much greenery. It was a beautiful day trip that gave us another perspective of the Balinese culture. After we walked around for awhile we headed back to Geday and headed back to Sanur.
When we got back we met up with Jess and Fran and had a lovely dinner thanks to Jess' sighting of the steak special sign. The next day was going to be a lazy beach day.....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Allan McCaffrey (Pa)

He always told me he enjoyed my story writing, but I never understood why. It's his stories I will forever miss. I will always remember hearing Oh Danny Boy whenever I walked in the room and saw him. His poise as a man was characteristic of a style that is not seen in this world too much anymore. His spoken word was calming and thoughtful. His love for family and friends was true and honest. Love and miss you Pa.

Danny Boy