The Walking (slightly) Wounded. May/June 2017


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My back continues to be messed up from a weird twist/climb into the boat after snorkeling. Happily walking around is fine, but sitting in many chairs is bad. So I’ve booked a massage for this afternoon. *fingers crossed* And Jessica is really not feeling well today. We ended up asking for her breakfast to be wrapped up “to go,” and she’s napping in the hotel room. Thinking the dreaded ‘Bali Belly’ may have struck. But I know she and i did a travel clinic visit before we left, so she’s got some antibiotics she can take. Hopefully they’ll help her out.


But before all this, we had two great days. (well, I guess my back was messed up during those days but she wasn’t sick yet). Our friend Gusti took us on a most excellent day tour after we landed from Nusa Lembongan. He’s a wonderful driver and has such love and pride for Bali. Excellent teller of stories. Humble and quick to laugh. Speaker of many languages (one has to be, to have worked as a guide for 20 yr here. Not only Balinese, Indonesian, and English, but also some Chinese and German. Lots of French tourists as well. And Korean tour groups, too). And very patient in teaching me a few more Indonesian words, too.

Went through Celuk, a town famous for its gold and silver jewelry. Very intricate work. And Gusti pointed out that the homes in this town were all much larger and fancier than in many other areas of Bali. While many Balinese want jobs with the government or in tourism, in Celuk he says it’s basically 100% jewelry work. As we had eaten breakfast at 7am (it was now noon) & lunch was three tour stops away, Jessica made use of one of the jewelry shops snack bars to get us some road trip snacks. They seemed so perplexed. I don’t think anyone has purchased snacks from them before, even though they had a fancy counter with some chairs. We got to try “grilled beef” flavor Lay’s. Quite tasty. The banana Pocky wasn’t my favorite. Still, with some munchies, we both felt better.

Visited a traditional style Balinese home. Not built as an attraction, rather a 200 yr old home, where the folks open it to the public for a small donation. We learned a lot. Gusti is a great teacher. He tried to apologize for his lack of extensive details, but it was great. Gave of lots of small insights and concrete details, explaining the purpose of each structure in the family temple, important directional placement of each building, etc. And told with such genuine care. (the family had two porcupines in a cage. Their habitat has basically been destroyed by palm oil plantations. But still, Gusti would shake his head, teary eyed, explaining this was not good karma, and these creatures don’t want to be in captivity in a small cage).


It was just lovely, as our friend was showing us the sights all day and giving us information (our previous day tour had basically just included a driver, who would drop us off at a location and wait with the car. So while we saw the royal family’s water garden, we had no context for anything).

We then went to Pura Puseh di Desa Batuan, a particularly attractive temple. Gusti started to explain we had to wear sarongs inside and was about to go rent us some when he saw we’d both pulled sarongs out of our bags and were trying them around our waist. He seemed pleasantly surprised. We do our research and want to be respectful. *smile* It was a stunning space, so many carvings and statues and then some amazing gold work on the ceilings, too.

We also got to shake our heads together and tut over the selfie culture of many of the visitors, standing in long lines to do mini fashion shoots in front of each structure. Which was fine, even if we thought it was silly. But to the men and women who removed their sarongs to pose for their photos, that is just plain disrespectful. Can you imagine tourists removing their coverings inside the Vatican to get a photo in their “cuter” outfit? Shame.

Now it was lunch time, and we got to try the famous crispy duck. Very tasty. Came with a variety of hot sauces to try, too.


Then off to explore the famous Tanah Lot temple area. Gorgeous grounds along the ocean, really striking temples. Famous for its sunsets. And so full of tourists you wouldn’t believe it.

The space is huge and there are easily 100 plus store fronts and souvenir shops between the parking lot and the temples. Still, it made for a lovely place to wander, waiting for sunset. And we got in some shopping. The sellers were less aggressive than in Ubud Market, which was nice, too.


It’d been a bit cloudy off and on, so ability to see the sunset into the ocean was up in the air. We managed to see some really gorgeous orange sun rays reflected across the waves. And then the last bit to the Horizon was all clouds. Which was fine. Meant we could head back to the parking lot earlier and beat the crowds. Gusti was thrilled we came back early, as he said it’s sometimes an hour just getting out of their post sunset. Yikes!!!

Then back to Sanur, where our room was ready for us at the Fairmont. It is sooooo swanky!! I could definitely get used to this. I mean, it’s pretty removed/isolated from real life, but it’s going to be a great way to relax and recharge for our last few nights before the epicly long plane rides back to the real world. The room is gorgeous. The bathroom is gorgeous. The grounds are amazing. Infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Just, wow.

The next night, Jessica asks, “is your back still hurting?” Me, yep. Her solution? Buy some beers at the market and have a hotel room dance party. Not sure if it helped, but it was definitely a fun distraction and a great way to close out the evening.

Sanur is definitely not my favorite type of place. It’s a bigger tourist centric beach town, so not really interacting with local Balinese except as tourist service employees. There’s a great 4km beach walk and it’s lovely and there are lots of good food options, but not the place to try real local stuff as much. Still, I had an excellent BBQ ribs meal and Jessica’s beef puff pastry thing was fab. And after 10 days of mainly Indonesian food (tasty, no doubt), it was kind of nice to have something different.


The Fairmont has this ridiculous security guard station before you enter the property. Always staffed with two guards, they inspect incoming vehicles (even with that mirror on a stick that looks for bombs under cars). Seems so over the top and unnecessary. But I guess it’s providing good jobs. One of the security guards is super hunky, too. And he had a conversation with me, initiated because he wanted to know how long I’d been in Indonesia to learn the language. I confessed I only knew a little bit and I’d learned on line. But we chatted for awhile. Happily his English was great, because I ran out of Indonesian after 3 minutes. Ha.


**update** The massage seemed to really help. Back is still not 100%, but I am no longer dreading having to stand up each time. And I’ve booked another in 2 days, so hopefully we can get this up to 70% of normal before my flight. *fingers crossed* Jessica is feeling better, but still not great. At that stage where she’s bored lying around, but gets nausea if she walks around more than 5 minutes. She’s hopeful she’ll feel better this afternoon because she really really wants to go to the TCEC turtle conservation place (as we didn’t see any turtles when we went snorkeling).

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