From Bali...
A woman giving her offering.
December 24, 2007

Ahhh…to have a wonderful tropical sunny holiday season in Bali.

Or so we thought.

If only it wasn’t the rainy season out here – as we found out upon arriving.

Oops. I guess I was too swept up in the idea of ‘Bali over the holidays’ that I never really thought of checking the weather
conditions at this time. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter at all. But it is pretty funny that everybody (myself included) thought
that Christmas in Bali meant a sunshine-filled Christmas.

On our way to our resort, we drove through the town of Ubud. Not only is it a fun word to say, it is also an adorable town with
loads of silver shops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants and small hotels.

As our driver – the oh-so-adorable Putu – continued to drive another 20 minutes to where we were staying, Christine and I
looked at each other and agreed that we would only stay two nights up here as opposed to the originally-planned four nights.
The other two nights we would be staying in Ubud. Don’t get me wrong – the surroundings are absolutely beautiful with
endless rice paddies that are filled with water. But we definitely had a hunch that we would run out of things to do up here.

The grounds of our 10-room resort are beautiful – though the pool is kind of a tease with the weather the way it is. And I guess
that could be said about our veranda as well. And the 3-hour leisurely walks down to Ubud. Oh well – just got to roll with the
weather gods.

We had the shuttle take us to Ubud. We forgot that the two of us are essentially the blind leading the blind. We didn’t realize
we were supposed to turn at a certain place…and we ended up walking about three kilometers out of the way. I had a big
hunch we weren’t going in the right direction (where were the boutiques and cafes?) but we kept thinking we were going to
eventually come upon them. We didn’t. We had to do a 180 and continue walking. In the rain. Until a wonderful minibus driver
spared us from our misery and drove us the rest of the way. ‘Hungry Jen’ was about to come out so this was extremely good

After lunch we found a place to stay in town. This was also the place where I would fall smack on my ass. But even Christine
agreed that this wasn’t my fault. Before looking at the room, I took my shoes off. Then when we got back outside the
combination of my bare feet and the wet marbly ground led to my feet coming right up from underneath me while I was
walking down a step. My butt went smack into the edge of the stair. I had to channel every pain receptor in my body to not
send signals to my tear ducts – I was
that close to crying. But my strength came through and no tears were shed. But that was
a close call!

Since it would be too much of a long drive back into town, Christine and I decided to pick up some wine and cheese from a store
and bring it back to our room. Nothing say Christmas Eve better than that combination along with my Christmas playlist on
my itunes.

We have set out the Tim Tams for Santa tonight. I hope he likes them.

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to us!

It started at breakfast listening to Balinese versions of Christmas songs. I think that’s as ‘Christmasy’ as it got. Oh – Christine
and I also had a gift exchange. I received things from Japan and Thailand. She got stuff from Laos, Vietnam and Bali. Pretty
fun stuff.

We saw a girl here during breakfast who was eating by herself. She was clearly here on her own. Christine and I both know
how that is. I said that we should say something to her. But we didn’t know where she was from and didn’t know how to find a
way just to go up to her table and start saying something.

But when it came time to waiting for a shuttle to go into town, I noticed Christine talking to someone. She was talking to the girl
– who is Mary Beth – and it turns out she is from Vermont but is working as a speech and language pathologist in Jakarta. We
all spent more time talking in the car down to Ubud and agreed that it would be nice to spend Christmas dinner together.

Christine and I originally had plans to do a nice dinner in Ubud – but with the beyond-massive downpours, we decided our
resort’s restaurant was going to be the most ideal option. The three of us had a great time and it seems like I just might have a
new friend to stay with when I arrive in Jakarta.

Before calling it a night, Christine and I decided to watch ‘The Holiday’ on her computer. She loves the movie while I had never
seen it. I loved it! And what a great one to watch on Christmas night. Now my Christmas 2007 experience is complete.

Oh. I forgot to mention the big purple bruise I have on my butt because of my fall. And of course every time I shift in a seat or
in my bed I am reminded of it. I am also reminded of what a klutzy idiot I am.

December 26, 2007

I woke up early this morning feeling ill. I don’t know why. I felt a bit under-the-weather last night (that’s why I had only water
and no wine at dinner) but I just kept telling myself I was fine. But then I felt nauseated around 7am but could do nothing
more than dry heave over a toilet. But around 9am when I woke up for real I felt much better. With the exception of realizing
that I might just be coming down with a small case of ‘Bali Belly’.

Before heading into Ubud, we took advantage of the free village tour of Keliki provided by our hotel. It was a really nice way to
spend a couple hours and learn some things about the Balinese people and their way of thinking. It is truly beautiful. It was
also interesting to learn that even though the majority of Balinese are Hindu, it’s a different type of Hindu than the Indians
practice. It is almost all spiritual versus religious.

Now we are in Ubud. It is great to be smack in the middle of things now. I have already eyed several things that I plan on
buying before leaving. And I also just signed up to do a Balinese cooking class tomorrow – I figure this will save me money as I
won’t be able to shop from the hours of 9am to 2pm. Smart thinking on my part, huh?

Bali Belly is still taking a bit of a toll on me. I had to risk getting run over by a car so that I could cross the street to get to the
bathroom of a restaurant. But I think it’s slowly starting to get better. I’m just laughing thinking about my friend Lea’s mom
saying that it’s a good thing and that it’s cleansing the system.
Back to Indonesia.
A monkey smiling for me at the Monkey Forest.
Ketut - Our cooking class instructor.