September 29   8 am

   Here are some first photos of our walk in Kumai yesterday.  We’ll probably wait until after Ramadan ends to take our trip to the Orang Utan Conservation Area.  Apparently September 30th and October 1st are days of celebration that no one wants to miss.  We took the dinghy to shore, ate a huge lunch of rice and fried everything else.  One thing was a vegetable fritter and some tempeh and something that looked like a fried clam minus the stomach, just the long neck.  Could have been who knows what really; intestines of some kind.  The women working in the restaurant didn’t speak English.  But I did eat enough fried food to last me a good long while, or until we go there again. 

    There are about 10 other Sail Indonesia boats here.  Last night we had visitors from Single Malt.  They had already done the Orang Utan trip and raved so we are really looking forward to it.


  Tiny, but you get the idea.  Our side of the river is tree lined and undeveloped.  The water is brown and pretty dirty.  We are being very conservative with our water because we can’t make water from the dirty river water as we can from the ocean water.  If we run out we’ll have to buy some.  We do have lots of bottled water, but that won’t work for dishes, showers, toilets, or laundry.  We’ve never had to worry about water before.  At marinas you get marina water and at the boat yard we filled up from the hose and not river water.  But we will be here at least a week, not counting our time off to see the Orang Utan.  We filled the tanks coming to Kumai and they hold 250 gallons of water.


  I read about birds’ nest soup in Agnes Keith’s books about Borneo.  Natives would climb very high cave walls to collect the nests the swifts had built. Swifts apparently have some special liquid they use to make the nests and that’s what makes it a delicacy.   Someone in Kumai had the idea to build these huge buildings that mimic caves and thousands of swifts nest there.  There are five or six of these buildings that I saw along the waterfront.  The locals don’t like them because of the noise, bird droppings and fear of bird flu.  But China pays big bucks for the nests.  It’s too bad that the building have to be located where they are.  We had several swifts visit our boat yesterday morning.  My guess is that they feed in the forest across the river and then fly back to nest in the buildings.  Some of the buildings have facades that resemble homes rather than industrial buildings.  But the noise of the roosting birds could be annoying if the street noise ever stopped.  It’s hard to see, but there are openings on the sides of the buildings, like you see in birdhouses.  The birds come and go through the holes.  It would be interesting to see the insides.


  Something you won’t see at home; a motorcycle laden with pineapple.


  Street scene along the public market area.  I bought mango, cabbage, tomato, and cucumber. You can see one of the many mosques along the waterfront.


Half the women wear traditional garb. 


  We saw several women with white paste on their faces.  I guess it’s connected to Ramadan, but I’m not sure.  Maybe I’ll ask if I find someone who speaks English well enough.  My few words of Indonesian are just so limited.


  Boat visitors.  They came by to see the boat and Randal invited them aboard.  We gave them some of the school notebooks we had bought to give to the kids, some fancy pencils I had bought, a jump rope Randal had bought for kids bandannas for all.  After a nice visit of Mountain Dew, little cakes, and lots of photos they continued home.  As I saw them off, the dad offered me a coconut.  Maybe we’ll take it on our Orang Utan trip and let the cook use it for a meal.  Hopefully his wife won’t kill him for coming home without the coconut she had sent him off to get.

Bicycle Tour of Rural Bali

While walking along the beach at Gili Air back at the Mataram anchorage we had met a couple traveling around Indonesia. They had been to Ubud and had done an Eco Cycling Tour. Randal added it to our list of things to do in Ubud.

From the leaflet about Eco Tour……..

“Experience the magic and feel the spirit of rural Bali on our famous Eco-Educational cycling tour (suitable for all ages.) We’ll pick you up at your hotel and drive you up to Penelokan (Kintamani) where we’ll breakfast overlooking the active volcano, Mount Batur and its crater lake.”

“ After breakfast we’re off on our mountain bikes through the heartland of Bali, traveling downhill on secret back roads and minor village roads (with no traffic) experiencing untouristed, typical Balinese daily life and enjoying the beautiful Balinese countryside to Ubud.”

The tour was a full day. We were picked up at 7:45 and go back to Ubud about 4:30. First stop was a photo op of a terraced rice field. They are so unique with lovely color patterns.


Next stop, breakfast overlooking the spectacular Mount Batur. clip_image004

Randal and I had eaten a wonderful 7 am breakfast of fresh fruit and banana pancakes at our hotel. So, though I wasn’t really hungry, I did manage to eat one of the restaurant’s banana pancakes and a chocolate pancake just to be on the safe side. Lunch wouldn’t be till after 2 and our bike riding.

Still driving in the van, we stopped to visit a small plantation where we tasted coffee and tea and learned about local fruits, spices and how the first stage of the special expensive Balinese coffee is passage through the intestinal system of a civet cat!

clip_image006 No one opted for the Luwak special coffee. I tried everything else and they were all good; the coco being very chocolaty.

Then finally to the bicycles. I am always a bit apprehensive of any bike other than my own. These bikes had plain flat pedals with no toe clips. The brake system was a bit unusual and we rode on the left side where Balinese drive. Right turns were the trickiest since you turned right but had to end up on the left side of the road. It was all a gentle downhill ride. They did provide bike helmets and rain gear if needed.

We stopped to visit a local family compound, where they made bamboo matting for floors and ceilings; clip_image008

The man is working on the cut bamboo beginning the process that will end with the woven bamboo mats standing at the top right hand corner of the photo.

clip_image010 Women creating the thin strips of bamboo for weaving.

The whole family worked on the bamboo products. BBC Dharma said. Bamboo, banana and coconut tree products were the product used for production and for daily life. Dharma said that many people never travel further than Ubud in their lives! Electricity and television have come after Kennedy was president! It is also a structured life with a more moderate form of caste system. Most people in Bali are Hindu while the rest of Indonesia is Muslim.

clip_image012 Dharma holding a banana leaf. Banana leaves were used as plates, spoons, bowls, everything. And when no longer needed, they could be thrown on a heap to return to the earth. When plastic arrived in these rural areas it was treated like the banana leaves. Caused lots of problems. People had to be educated as to what plastic was and that it wasn’t disposable like the banana leaves. We should have stuck to banana leaves.

The family also raised pink Balinese pigs and black Australian pigs. The original plot of family land was divided among the sons. The youngest son was expected to stay forever and care for the parents and their land was therefore left to him. Dharma was the youngest son in his family. His story was a bit like Rusli’s, our guide in Tana Toraja. Both men are about 40. Their family was very poor so they gone to work away from home as children; had managed to get an education and learn English so they could work with the English speaking tourists. When he was 14 Dharma went off with a family from Java only to find himself the household drudge working before sun up till late at night. He was determined to go to school and did along with all of his household tasks. . He managed to learn English well enough so finally left the family to work in a hotel where his brother was already working. He worked as a cleaner too shy to use his English. Encouraged by his brother, Dharma eventually learned most hotel jobs and worked while putting himself through university to graduate with a degree in English. He returned to Ubud and became a teacher. Soon after that he became a tour guide for the Australian Eco Tour Company. By telling us his story, he was telling us the story of many of his generation. Culture dictated that as the youngest he must return to his family home to live with and care for his parents. Understandably, his wife and mother took several years to work out their relationship. He has 2 sons, but won’t expect the youngest one to take care of him. He will expect both of them to work together. Children are the Balinese Social Security System. If you read eat pray love, you will learn a good bit about the culture. I was familiar with much of what Dharma told us from reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. (However, Lori who moved to Ubud 17 years ago from one of those out west rugged U.S. states, and helped found the local library, said she had a different view of Balinese society but allowed that Elizabeth Gilbert had different experiences so probably valid opinions.)

Woodcarvers; clip_image014

a rice field to watch the workers process the harvested rice;


a huge banyan tree with dreadlock vines hundreds of years old upstaged by a ragtag band of kids and their simple musical instruments and lots of beautiful countryside.

clip_image018 clip_image020

Dharma called it the “rasta” tree because of its long dreadlocks. We had snacks of water, bananas and crackers. Some for the local kids too. They played their musical instruments drowning out Dharma. The boy with the drum has a cracker in his mouth, not an harmonica.

At one point the downhill ended and short, steep uphills began. We were offered the chance to get off the bike and ride in the van. One couple, probably the youngest there, got off the bikes. After some steep uphill when everyone tried to figure out their shifting systems, more people took the van. One woman, having fallen off her bike for the second time, also stopped riding. Finally it was one man from Iceland, Randal, two guides, and me. I had left my pack in the van with my Gatorade so the heat and the hills were getting to me. The secondary guide, Randal and the Iceland man went on ahead and Dharma, our primary guide rode with me. At the very last part when we hit the main road, I stopped. I knew I could make it eventually, but everyone would have been long done with lunch by then. I didn’t want to hold up the works so Dharma called a van to come get us. It really wasn’t so far to the restaurant, but I wan bonked and that was that. Food was great. It was a buffet, but I didn’t overeat because I was still to hot to be hungry. Back in the van we headed back to Ubud and our last stop. The Monkey Forest from which Monkey Forest Road gets its name. What a hoot. Hundreds of monkeys behaving like monkeys. I bought $.50 worth of bananas for 2,000 rp (about $2.30) but one of the biking couples took half for 1,000 rp. It is hard to hold lots of bananas and try to feed individual monkeys. They know you have more. I took way too many pictures but it was so entertaining. Monkeys are silly until you look them in the eye and then you are amazed. Mom monkeys with babies were most fascinating to me. Some of the babies were just so tiny!


After about an hour Randal and I left the forest and walked back to Ubud center. It had been a great day and we had both enjoyed getting on bikes again.

I have so many more photos of each stop we made. Wish I could send them all.

Pondok Pekak Library & Learning Center Ubud

In eat pray love , Elizabeth Gilbert had written about the Ubud “public” library, so I kept an eye out for it. Since it’s in the center of town, has a huge sign and was not far from our hotel, we found it easily. Randal and I were there each day to check email, browse the “for sale” books; and I took a Balinese traditional painting class. It was great; the best library I have found on our travels so far. Though only 2 rooms, one small and one tiny, it was quite similar to my own library at home except in Bali one removes one’s shoes before entering. (At least I did the last time I was there and thought to notice everyone had left shoes outside. Tourists are allowed shoes, but locals remove their sandals before entering the very clean tiled establishments. With sneakers it’s a pain with the laces and all.) Here is the description from the library’s small brochure.

A Bit About Pondok Pekak

(Pondok Pekak = Grandfather’s little resting house in the rice fields)

Pondok Pekak Library and Learning Center was founded in 1995 by a woman who loves to read and believes that every town should have a library. With the support of her husband and his family, the library was built as an addition to his family compound. The idea was inspired by the family grandfather, Pekak Mangku, whose passion for reading, learning and helping others established his reputation as a respected priest, healer and advisor until the day he died in 2001. Built in the 1970’s on the very spot in the rice fields where his own ‘pondok’ once stood, this home has always been referred to by family and community as ‘The Pondok’. In honor of this tradition and this man, the library was named ‘Pondok Pekak’.

Since 1995 the library has grown rapidly, primarily servicing travelers and expatriates who already have a love and desire for books. The goal, however, is to introduce “library and reading culture’ to local children who have not had the access to books many foreigners take for granted. As a result, and with help of many friends, Pondok Pekak in now able to provide these children with a library of their own, full of colorful and interesting children’s books.

As a privately funded organization, survival is a constant, creative challenge. We strive for self-sufficiency by offering a selection of services, all of which help toward supporting this project. We encourage you to help us along by using these services – joining the library, study language or an art form; enjoy a meal; refill your water bottle. Donations of funds, books, time and materials are also appreciated.

clip_image002 clip_image004

The sign was on the street on the far side of the soccer field that was located in the center of town. You walked past the sign down a short alley housing a restaurant and turned left. I believe that the family compound was to the left of the wall. At the end of the short alley you turn right and there you are. Sings all along the way pointed to the library.


They were open 9 to 9 every single day! This young woman worked every day except Sunday. She was pleasant, helpful and professional. In this photo she is signing me up for my Balinese traditional painting class. It was 3 hours and cost 200,000rp, about $23. There were 4 internet terminals, 2,000 rp 25 cents for 10 minutes. That was cheaper and better than the internet café near our hotel. In their “for sale” books, I found a very used copy of West With the Night by Beryl Markham. It is Randal’s favorite book of the moment but he had given his last copy to Tony Parkinson back in Romblon. This copy had been given to Penny in August 1987 for her birthday by Misha, Knengi and Kadiato? ( a photo of a happy group is taped above the words, but it is too faded to really see.) In August 2007, Tim gave the book to Patricia to inspire her writing. I gave it to Randal September 2008, just because he likes the book. It cost me 40,000 rp. About $4.25. It cost $12.50 in 1983 when this edition was published. The original copyright is 1942.

clip_image008 In the building is a small room with the adult books and internet, the place to fill water bottles and the for sale books. Just outside the library room is a bathroom, stage area, work tables for classes, and a small kitchen where they made the wonderful smelling snacks you could buy. Also some artwork was displayed. I had my class at the table on the left. You can see my black backpack.

Upstairs was a tiny children’s library.

clip_image010 I had my sneakers on so didn’t go in. From what I could see, most titles were in English.

I really, REALLY liked the little library and hope that where ever we end up when our cruising days are over we live somewhere with a library like that.

clip_image012 Some examples of Balinese traditional painting and woodcarving. Amazingly I bought a cat like the tall one with white ears while in Kota Kinabalu. Much of what we saw being made in the small shops is actually exported so that’s why you can buy things like the cat with the striped tail in the US.


My teacher, Pak Sulendra, did most of what you see. We did the woman first and then the flowers. I say we because I actually did help. He drew a picture of the woman on one sheet of paper and I drew on this one, and then he fixed what I drew. Then he taught me how to go over the pencil with an drawing pen….very slowly! Then we started to put down the color. It is acrylic mixed with water. He would show me and then I would finish. Before we painted the woman’s hair you could see the pen lines and I am sorry they all were painted over. Up close you can see them and it gives the hair detail. The scarf still has visible ink lines. The lines on her face and the bit of white in her hair represent age, But with no saggy chin so I’m not sure that I see an older woman. Maybe Balinese women don’t get saggy chins. I also had trouble with the hibiscus because I didn’t know what they looked like in real life. My teacher obviously does. We drew then inked then put down a red wash leaving some white. Then we added yellow, then more red, then the green. I loved watching it develop layer after layer of color. By the end of the three hours I was quite tired. But I learned patience and how to use the acrylic paint that Dorothy Nagle gave me back in Subic. I hadn’t mixed in enough water. He mixed in lots of water for the initial washes.

That afternoon I followed the map Pak Sulendra had drawn for me to the local art supply store. I bought the same drawing pens and 2 brushes like he had. One can only hope (and practice!)


Ubud might just be my favorite stop so far, maybe for the wrong reason! The wrong reason is that it felt just like home. Why is that the wrong reason? We’re traveling to see the world away from home and experience new ways, not be at home away from home. Wonderfully, there was a great little library with library users just like I would see at home. (More about that another email) There was a pretty good book store and most small shops sold used books along with whatever was their main product for sale. There was a good art supply shop. Most people spoke English so communication was easy. Actually, the only people who didn’t speak English were most of the other tourists we saw. So though some things looked foreign, and the culture of the Balinese is far different than ours, the feel of Ubud center was to me like Roanoke’s market area, or the area of Salem around Roanoke College, or Provincetown, MA or Sate Fee, NM or any small art focused area that attracts artists, tourists, New Age types or people looking for a less hurried lifestyle where there is lots to see and do in a beautiful setting. People from other parts of the world come to Ubud for the same reasons they go to Provincetown, though lots cheaper and warmer! At least that’s the way I felt. Randal thinks I’m totally wrong! And we were only there a short time. But I felt totally comfortable on my own the day Randal and I did different things. No other place have I felt so comfortable so fast. Maybe I’m more used to it; but I think it was mostly Ubud that made me feel that way.

Every morning lots of shuttle vans leave our anchorage at Lovina for other destinations. Tuesday afternoon we bought our tickets for a Wednesday 9 am shuttle to the mountain town of Ubud. Our van was filled with 8 of us, backpack luggage, and a driver who smoked, talked on the phone and at the end tried to make Randal and me pay more money. There was a Brit, a French couple, 2 young American women each traveling alone, and a slightly older woman origin unknown. We all chatted; conversation and interesting scenery making the 2 ½ hour trip go fast. The French couple recommended a small hotel, Sania’s House, near the Public Market and the center of town. They said it was 200,000 rp per night, (about $ 22) lovely and clean and showed me on a map. I noticed it listed on the Ibud pages I had copied from our Southeast Asia tour guide with a glowing review. The journey’s only sour note; most people are dropped at hotels that perhaps give a “fee” to the shuttle driver. We had no hotel so our driver got no extra fee. So he told us we had to pay more for going just into Ubud where he didn’t normally go. Huh?!!! All we knew when we bought the ticked was that it took you to Ubud, no destination named. We refused to pay the “fee” and told him he was acting badly. Randal had a card from the company owning the shuttle car and called them to complain. We were told by other travelers on our return trip that our driver had been wrong and we should not pay more. But that was the only sour note of a really wonderful time. Not knowing exactly Sania’s House was, and being hungry, we picked a restaurant on Monkey Forest Road and had a wonderful lunch for not very much money. Monkey Forest Road really does have a monkey forest and we did visit it. Very fun! At our restaurant we picked up a free Ubud community booklet with a map, saw that Sania’s House was just down the street and around a corner; so off we went. During lunch I had called ahead to see if there was a room. “One left, 300,000 rp.” I said we would come see; and that we had been told they were 200,000rp. Everything here is a process of bargain and negotiation. Randal does well, I always overpay. When we got there, they showed us the room. Top level, very lovely with a balcony on all sides, table and chairs on the balcony, huge windows, and beautiful gardens to look at….. But they did have another room, ground floor, not so lovely, 200,000. We took the one upstairs for 270,000 rp (about $31.) The room itself was very spare with huge windows that opened out onto all of the balconies. There was one small table, a wardrobe, 2 large blue and green striped bath towels, no soap or shampoo. But spacious and the balcony, flowers, banana crepes and huge bowl of fruit for breakfast, thermos of hot tea at 5:30 am…made up for anything the room itself lacked. And actually all that was needed was another bedside table and a towel rack in the bathroom, and perfecto! In Ubud, the small hotels are called home stays because the entire family lives there too. (A family can be lots of small related families together in one compound all working and living together.)

clip_image002 You can see our room was on the second floor.

clip_image004 It was a four poster bed. We left all of the windows opened at night!

Though the days were warm, I actually had to ask for a blanket after being chilly the first night. All the walls but one had those huge windows and there was balcony outside. They even gave each room a big drying rack for your small hand laundry and to hang out your towels that were not replaced. Good idea. Our second night the 2 men in the room just below had a dinner party on their patio and that was a bit noisy. But they were speaking German so you weren’t kept awake listening. It was just background noise. If you wanted, the hotel would prepare a dinner if you asked in advance. Next visit that would be nice. The French couple also had a dinner party one night, but they were quieter and not downstairs from us. I did try to listen in when people were speaking French since I had it so many years ago in school. But my vocabulary is just too limited.

clip_image006 Randal reading on the balcony.

Each morning about 5am they would take away your old tea thermos and bring you a new one with clean cups. It would stay hot all day. The second big blue Chinese thermos was just hot water that Randal requested for the coffee packets he carries in his pack. Most days he just had the cup of coffee they brought with breakfast. The huge thermos stayed really hot all day and I mixed its water in with my tea during the late afternoon to stretch the tea and make it hotter. The tea, breakfast coffee, huge bowls of fresh pineapple, banana, and papaya and choice of eggs or crepes was included with the room. The banana crepes were wonderful and made to order when you requested it. It was like having servants, but they didn’t act subservient. They just wanted to make your stay comfortable. In some ways it was like being a guest in a home, sort of like a B & B atmosphere more than hotel.

clip_image008 Behind the shrubbery on the top left of the photo is the small pool.

clip_image010 There was a small pool that lots of other guests used. We hadn’t thought to bring suits. It was more a stand around in pool than a swim laps pool. But a lovely setting. The pool and some greenery were in the center of the small complex and the building with rooms around the perimeter. The buildings made a J with the pool at the bottom curve and buildings along the line and top. We were at the top of the J. Below the J was the family area and the entrance way.

clip_image012 There were maybe five buildings of 3 or 4 levels that had 1 or 2 rooms all with porches or balconies. This building was the next one over from ours and lovely to watch as the sun rose. I also would watch one of the family tend to all of the plants each morning. The couple in the middle level was French and the woman in the one below, here for 45 days of vacation, was from Quebec. There were lots of Germans, some Asians but no other Americans. All different ages too, one couple with a tiny baby.

Just inside the gate to Sania’s House were where the family pets lived and stayed; a very quiet snobby Doberman, some fish in a tank, and a funny large black bird with some yellow on its head. He made noises like a cat and also like one of those whistles that you pulled a string and it made a crazy whistle in three stages. You could hear it all day. Very funny. No photo because the bars to the cage were too thick.

We spent our first afternoon walking around Ubud center; to the library, to the big funky public market; just soaking it all in. We went back to our balcony for a late afternoon beer for Randal and freshly squeezed papaya juice for me and a nice quiet nap. About 6 pm we walked the row of nearby restaurants stopping for dinner. One maybe shouldn’t order pizza outside Italy and New York City, but we did. Topping of tomato and cheese wasn’t bad, but the crust was like a cardboard cookie. Oh well. It really was the only food that wasn’t great while we were there. Ubud does salads really well and you get a healthy glob of it with pretty much anything you order. We did have a bottle of their local Balinese white one night. Not too too bad with food. But any wine that can’t be cellared, can’t be so great. This wine had in big letters, DO NOT CELLAR. Or it should have had; actually the letters were there, just small. It was ok with the sautéed veggies and rice I had. Can’t remember what Randal ate, some noodle dish. We had eaten a huge, late lunch that day as part of our Eco and Educational Cycling Tour. We should have had skipped dinner, funky wine, and especially the huge brownie and ice cream dessert we split. Didn’t need that at all. Or we should have only eaten that. The brownie was fudgy and vanilla ice cream tasted real. Well they do grow vanilla in Indonesia, and cinnamon and ginger and lots of other spices.

We spent Thursday doing the bicycle tour (more about that in another email,) and Friday each doing our own thing. I spent Friday morning taking a traditional Balinese painting lesson for 3 hours and Randal wandered Ubud. (More about the class in an email I’ll write about the library.) We met for lunch, a really good one! Then Randal went back to the room and his deep involvement with the book Krakatoa by Simon Winchester that he had bought the night before in one of the Ubud bookstore near our hotel. I went off on my search for the local art shop to buy a brush like my teacher had used in hopes it would work for me like it did for him. And some drawing pens. It was about a 30 minute walk to get there. I passed a telkomsel shop and stopped in to ask about our terrible service but the one staff person didn’t speak English….. I passed a fishing gear shop and made a note to stop on my return to see if they had a gaft. My art teacher, I was the only student that morning, had drawn me a map to the art supply shop and it was exactly correct so I found it. The women working there were very helpful. Two brushes, some white watercolor paint and some white acrylic paint, and 2 drawing pens later I left and returned to the fishing gear shop. The woman behind the counter was very helpful but didn’t know what a gaft was. I drew a picture and she thought I wanted some fishing hooks. A gaft for those who don’t know is a big handle with a huge hook on the end that you grab the fish with to haul it onto the boat. Randal had lost the hook part of his when he caught his first fish. Somehow the metal hook part had been unlocked from the handle. Anyway, luckily there was a customer who knew what I wanted; and the shop had one for 95,000 rupiah (about $10.) I had just enough money left to buy it. Had I known I had that much money with me I would have bought more art stuff! But we needed the gaft so I’m glad it worked out that way. I walked the 30 minutes back to our hotel and rewarded myself with some still hot tea and a ginger cookie on our balcony. Later that evening, Randal and I went off for a light dinner of wonderful made from scratch spring rolls we shared and vegetable soup for me and tomato soup for him. Then we stopped at a convenience store and bought about 20 DVDs, cheap. We don’t ask……( We watched the Bob Dylan I’m Not There last night on the boat. Very odd.)

Saturday morning it was time to leave. We needed to get back to the boat to recharge the batteries powering the frig and freezer, and to rejoin the Sail Indonesia activities. I hated to leave Ubud. There was still so much to see, and life at the beautiful hotel was so comfortable and relaxing.

clip_image013 The entrance to Sania’s House. In the book eat pray love by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I’m really glad I read as an intro to Ubud) she says that Balinese women are either getting ready for, participating in, or cleaning up from some type of religious ceremony. That seemed true. Each morning there are thousands of tiny flower offerings to the ancestors that must take hours to make and then replace the next day. You always saw the Sania’s House women doing something, making these ancestor gifts or cooking the meals or doing something. It seemed the men waited on the guests and cleaned the rooms.

clip_image015 Sania’s House granny

clip_image017 Sania’s House member

Ubud, Bali

Hi Everyone,

  Just quick.  Bali is everything you think it should be and Ubud half feels like home.  We arrived mid-day Wednesday and will leave Saturday morning.  Too soon.  But there are events back in Lovina Cove for Sail Indonesia or we would stay longer, or forever.  That seems to be what happens here.  I took a painting class at the library this morning.  We get up each morning and tea is waiting on our private balcony.  I needed a blanket because I was too cool the first night.  We did a bicycle tour all day yesterday ending with a great Indonesian feast.  Made 10 new friends.  Lots of art, a fun public market with lots of carved wood, flowing long skirts and filmy tops.  Just looking, just looking.  There was a really good art store so I bought a brush like my Balinese teacher had and hope it works like his did during class!

  Took a zillion photos at Monkey Park… fed bananas to the monkeys and their tiny tiny babies. 

  Now off to dinner.

Julia, you were definitely right about how great Bali is!


bali email number 1

Randal is hosing down our saltwater soaked carpet. For the too manyith time we have cruised with the port holes open and gotten spray into the boat. But I absolutely refuse to let it happen again! The problem is that closing the portholes makes the boat stuffy when you arrive at the end of your passage. The other problem is that it always seems so calm when we start out that we decide to just leave the portholes and hatches open. This last passage hopefully has finally shown us that a flat ocean at the anchorage you’re departing won’t predict the waves or swells you’ll encounter on the passage. The sound of crashing stuff down below is the reminder. Actually we do pack away most stuff really well. My art supplies have been displaced by stockpiles of beer and water. It would be really great to be able to totally empty the boat of everything and start over. First off I’d leave our heavy blankets and winter clothes at home. Although it can be cool enough for a light sweater at times, the heavy wool monsters we have stuffed in the spaces under the bed won’t be needed till we hit the Mediterranean in maybe 2010.

It used to be so easy to write up these emails home. First off, as quirky as it was, the Subic wifi worked most of the time. Now we are seeing just how super that quirky service was. We have suffered with the funky time cards in Puerto Galera. We added wifi antennae and that helped some times in Puerto Princessa and then in Kota Kinabalu. You would lose connection occasionally, but it was possible to use. With our cell phone connection you get connected occasionally. Our service now gives us 24 hours to use in 7 days. We still have over 16 hours left because we can’t stay connected long enough to actually do anything with it. The other choice was the pay as you go service. It went way too fast charging by bandwidth as well as time. It cost about $11 for about 4 hours. I followed a Sox game one morning and it might have cost as much as going to Fenway Park! So we changed to this 24 hour/7 day service which hardly works at all. I’m voting for the more expensive one that actually works. Hopefully there is a telkomsel office here in Bali.

The point of the wifi issue is that it gets hard to send email on a timely basis. And now we seem to be moving from place to place so often that it’s hard to take it all in and remember whom we met where and did what with! We joined up with Sail Indonesia in Labuanbajo though we arrived on the last day of the official visit. Most boats were gone, but we did meet one couple and their 2 and 7 month old son Jack. Jack talks up a storm and is adorable. When we moved on to Rinca, Canadian Greg from Cherokee dinghyed over to our boat asking if we felt he was anchoring too close to us. We said he was fine and he stayed to chat. From that we joined him and 2 other boats of folks who had linked up previously and all did the tour of Rinca Island, Happy Hour, a passage to North Komodo, Happy Hour. You get the picture. I might be a good enough sailor for this group, but I’m not sure I’m a good enough partier. We moved on from North Komodo to Teluk Bantatu. There was one sailboat and one tiny house on the island. The sailboat, Lavina is owned by Peter and Ula from Sweden. They came to visit and told us no one lived in the cute little house on the island. We had an impromptu Happy Hour. We moved on the next morning for Mataram. There we met Kai and Maryanne from Nabob. They are from Sweden also. We spent most of our time at Mataram with them, one day joining with 16 others for a day at Gili Air an island resort area. Then next day we hired a car and the 4 of us went to Mataram city to provision. Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming. When we arrived in Mataram Randal got on the VHF radio and addressed all of the boats at anchor telling them who we are and that we hoped to start meeting them. We were immediately invited to join with the group going for the day to Gili Air so we did. It is a beautiful little island with beautiful clean perfect beaches and you can walk around the whole thing in less than 2 hours. Unless you stop along the way at a bar or two or three. And the small used book shop and the house on the island where the woman lives who cuts hair. So it took us many hours to walk around the island. There were pony carts if you needed. No cars because no roads! Just a dirt path that circles the island. The one feature of our anchorage that is most memorable is the calling to prayer several times each night and early each morning, including the 3 am call. I’m not sure if all of the public prayer over the loud, LOUD speakers was related to Ramadan. I do know that custom has people rising at 3 am to eat and pray before sunrise and the start of the day’s fast until sunset. The loudspeaker prayer did wake me, but it wasn’t so hard to fall asleep to as the karaoke in the Philippines every night.

Now we’re in Bali and Randal is preparing the fish he caught on our way to Mataram. Big fish. He lost his gaff getting the fish into the boat. Not because the fish was so big, but the gaff hadn’t been secured to its handle so off it went. But we have the fish. Maybe a mackerel. I do have a photo to prove this entire tale, big fish and gaff handle side by side on the deck.

My computer had a few bad days and wouldn’t come alive at all. But taking out the battery, unplugging the computer and giving it a day’s rest seems to have brought it back to life. Since my photos are all there, it would have been sad otherwise. I will send off more photos to Audrey to load on the website. It works better than trying to include so many in the email.

Audrey had worked really hard putting together our web site. Being unable to contact me easily made it a more complicated process. Luckily she is very patient and dedicated and my sister stepped in with “critiques” so things got done. Darlene Smithwick at the Roanoke County Public Library has been maintaining it these many years and Randal and I thank her enormously. But we decided it was time for a permanent place for our stuff so we have a site of our own now. www.mydoramac.com is the address if you don’t already know. When she finally gets the coordinates from us they will create the mapping section of the site. ANY DELAYS OR IMPERFECTIONS WITH THE SITE MUST BE BLAMED ON THE AUTHOR.!!!!!! NOT ON THE WEBMASTER. It’s true. Audrey has been heroic working to get the site up even with an extended stay in the US to help her mom. Audrey and Bob are our friends from Subic Bay. One of the things their company does is build and maintains web pages. Lucky us!!! And this way we can’t ever lose them!

I know I’m rambling, but the specifics are a bit murky after so much time. I will try to write again each day even if it’s a bit before I can send anything. At least it won’t seem like such a huge undertaking to catch up.

Both Randal and I enjoyed Makassar; but not the getting from the water taxi to the pier. Hopefully this photo is clear enough for you to see what I mea. There is a tiny man in white shirt on the pier so you can see how far down it is into the boats.

This is the pier in Makassar. The roof covering of the water taxi was almost as high as the pier. There was no ladder. Getting up was difficult, down dreadful and dreaded Randal literally had to haul me up. Getting down I had to just step into space half way down to the boat and hope someone caught me before I stepped off the boat into the water. I almost landed in the water one night. It was very low tide so the boat was further away than usual. I had put one foot onto something and the other foot had nowhere to go but down which was way too far to reach anything. I finally landed one foot on the boat with enough momentum to send me past the other edge of the bow. Luckily Randal had grabbed my arm to balance me or off I would have gone. One time we boarded from the shore and that was just as bad stepping on a bent piece of metal pipe with one foot and leaping from that onto the boat. Miss and you are in deep muck! But that was the only thing we didn’t like about Makassar. Everything else made us wish we could stay longer. I’m sending Audrey all of the photos so you can see them on the website. It will be a bit since I have to burn the cd and mail it. But eventually it will be there. Interesting, but not so different or scenic as Tana Toraja.

From Makassar we went to Labuanbajo bringing Petra and Janez with us. You have met them in an email. Labuanbajo was a bit like Puerta Galera without all the expats. But it was pretty and the people friendly.

Randal had secured our dinghy to the pier in Labuanbajo and was climbing out. Sometimes there are water taxi and sometimes you take your own dinghy. After the very difficult water taxi access in Makassar, this parking area was great. No one bothers the dinghy. I think that is mostly the case, everywhere anyway, but being part of Sail Indonesia probably is added security since everyone knows that’s why the “western” boats and dinghies are there.

Three examples of the roof decorations to keep away the evil spirits. We were first introduced to these on our tour of Tana Toraja but it must be common throughout Indonesia.

After Labuanbajo we went to Rinca Island.

The welcoming committee. You aren’t allowed to feed the monkeys so they don’t get dependent on handouts or become aggressive and grabby. Their eyes tell you how closely related we are to them making it hard not to take them seriously.

These guys on the other hand….. You took them seriously for a whole different reason. This guy was probably longer than me nose to tail. Probably outweighed me too. If you get bitten and it’s left untreated the bacteria can kill you. We saw the remains of a water buffalo. I like the monkeys better.

More in next email when I can

quick hi

Its 1 45 pm pm the 10th.  We are on the first day of a 2 day passage to Mataram.  Saw Komodo Dragons on Rinca Island.  Hope some day to do photos.  Have met a several really nice Sail Indonesia folks.  It will be fun meeting lots more.

  Till I can send a real email.


Moving on

We’re off Sept 7th in the morning to Rinca and Komodo Islands to see the Komodo Dragons and other wildlife.  Not sure if we’ll have cell phone internet.  here at Labuanbajo it’s often iffy

Our route for the next 2 weeks.  We are ultimately heading for Bali to be there by the 15th

Labuanbajo 8ʼ31 .05 S 119ʼ 51.93 E to Rinca 8ʼ 38.77 S 119ʼ 42.93 E

Rinca to T. Naru 8ʼ20.50 S 119ʼ00.70 E

T. Naru to Matabam 8ʼ20.83 S 116ʼ06 38 E

Matabam to T. Saneh 8ʼ04. 14 S 115ʼ12 43 E

T. Saneh to Bali (Lovina) 8ʼ09.28 S 115ʼ01.10 E

Hey Bruce,

Go Pats!!  Hope the rope necklace charm works

Petra and Janez

Hi Everyone,

  Writing from Labuanbajo where we will meet up with Sail Indonesia on the 6th.  I still owe you the remaining photos from Nur’s house but our cell phone connection won’t send photos well.  I hope this goes to you so you can meet Petra and Janez. 

Randal and I made the best spur of the moment decision while in Tana Toraja.  During our stop where the women were playing the music with the long poles calling people to the coming funeral celebration, we met Petra and Janez.  While I was off with Rusli taking photos, Randal was watching the drum women.  Petra, also watching the women, started to chat.  Janez joined them and they were all still talking when Rusli and I returned.  I was introduced and thought them a very sweet, happy couple. They were from Slovenia and reminded us of a cruising Slovenian friend, Tasha, whom we had met at the boat yard in China.  Randal gave them one of our cards and we said good-bye.  While we walked to the car, Randal told me that Petra and Janez were hoping to get to the island off Labuanbajo.  We both thought the same thing, why not ask them to come with us if they would like.  Randal returned to them, offered and they said they would like to if everyone’s plans fit; they didn’t want to hold us up.  They had some more things to see and then a 10 hour bus trip.  They are 26 and incredibly adventuresome and live on a shoe string budget.  Well, it worked out and they arrived in Makassar early Sunday evening.  They had given us their passport numbers over the phone the day before so we could officially add them to our crew list.  You have to do that when you cruise so countries know who is entering and leaving.  There are lots of reasons.  Countries want to know who is coming and when they leave.  They charge fees to come so they know how much to collect.  It gives the crew some added safety if something happens to the boat, there would be a list of crew (passengers.)  By 11 pm we had all the paperwork done and the fuel loaded thanks to the help from our friends Arifuddin Hamid who did about everything we needed and Sempo who ran the water taxi service.  About  7:30 am Monday morning we pulled up anchor.  We’d had two boat glitches that Captain Randal could fix, and the Sox score was bad, but nothing to stop us so off we went.  It was a rolly bumpy slow long day.  But we made it to anchor before dark.  The next 2 days and night were not smooth either.  There was little boat traffic to worry about so both Janez and Petra took 3 hour night watches with Randal sleeping close by if needed.  Randal and I took the first and last watch and that made it so much nicer than each of us doing 2 watches.  Petra and Janez cooked, washed dishes, played the guitar and sang and slept where there was space.  Compared to the dark spider filled caves they’d had to sleep in during a trek or the knee deep mud or leeches on their hikes in India, anywhere on our boat was comfort.  They had met at university in Slovenia, both studying geography and focusing on ecology.  For now their passion is travel and they have been doing it for many months including several in India doing volunteer work and meditation.  They are so enthused and open minded and care about the world.  They, of course, are vegans so we all ate very well.  Lots of cabbage salads and beans and a great eggplant potato vegetable stew Petra made.  We also ate tempeh pan-fried with garlic.  I made bread and we all ate veggies, fruit and healthy! 

  We arrived in Labuanbajo about 3:30 pm on Wednesday and they were packed and leaving by about 4pm.  I quickly grabbed my camera realizing I’d taken few photos of them.  So here they are, Petra and Janez.



This is how they traveled, with packs for camping, sleeping bags for sleeping.  I asked what kind of shoes they wore through the knee deep mud.  Sneakers Petra said.  Petra said she just laughed at how absurd it was but Janez was too mad since they had been given such bad directions that they had hiked miles through horrible mud all the wrong way. Luckily they had come upon a native hut, were allowed to stay there and then were taken by boat across the lake where they needed to be.  Very trusting people, they were always treated with kindness. 

clip_image005  Petra with her purple tie dye shawl sitting on the flybridge.  She had such beautiful, expressive eyes. 


  Randal is just washing down the back of the boat washing off pounds of salt!  I bet there are too pounds of salt. It’s amazing and slick to grip too.  Not good for stainless steel or anything on the boat.

  Here is a quick painting I did of Labuanbajo.

clip_image002  We are here to meet Sail Indonesia (they have a web site)  Most boats joined in Darwin, Australia.  Some are here already, but most will arrive September 6th.  Hard to type September it has been August for so long!  There are lots of small islands with low hills surrounding the anchorage.  Not far from us in the island famous for the Komdo Dragon lizards and we mean to see them.  As you can tell from my painting, lots of sail boats here.  We may be the only “stink pot” in the group.  A curiosity item.  We had one visitor early this morning wanting to see the “Diesel Duck” he had read about. 

  So just this quick bit for now. 

GO SOX!!!!!!


ps  biak meaning good is pronounce bike.  I can remember that.  Most words I stumble over and can’t make the correct sounds.  Petra tried to teach me something and I just couldn’t roll the R around long enough to get it to sound right.  I will try to include the pronunciations if I know how.  Thanks Lois for the suggestion.  Terima kasih (Thank You)  Drema ka’see is how I pronounce it.I could remember it because I worked with a woman named Drema at the library.  It took tricks like that for me to remember things.