Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Time flies at paradise central

So today is week three. I only feel like I have just set foot here. Not in a hurry to leave, I don't think any of us are.

Was working a lot these past weeks. So much work to get through and only this one set of hands to do it. Seem to be making progress. Damien arrives on Friday and while here will be putting in a couple of weeks work.

Off to Singapore tomorrow for a couple of days. Have to get out before my visa runs out. So got meetings at Techmex, got to get a printer from Simlim and some Nutrigrain for the boys as it's nearly A$10 a box up here. That and Weetbix. The local cereal seems to all be totally sugared or chocked out.

Had a great couple of nights with Warren & his son Luke. They are friends of Tim Colemans who he got to courier in some Aeroguard for us. They came round Sat arvo and 10 minutes later Luke is in the pool. They came over with another couple, Tania & Michael who they met at their hotel. They also had boys, 3 of them under 5, who they had left with the kids club. We had a coffee and water then wandered down to the local Circle K and got some long necks. We chatted til 5 and then they went to collect their kids. Later on, about 7 we all went to KuDeTa for sunset cocktails. There was 6 boys and 5 adults. The idea was to go to Gado Gado for dinner but somehow Trattoria and their pizzas seemed more appropriate.

Gabi and our boys went to their hotel most of yesterday which was great as it gave me the whole day to knock over work. We again met to watch the sunset, this time at Echo beach. Drank beers and ate seafood. Tania, Michael and their 3 left from their straight to the airport.

Warren and Luke left this afternoon, will still be in the air I would think.

This afternoon Maxi and I went to Tugu for a surf and got out just before the sun disappeared. I took this photo from the beach side car park. Just Maxi ,me, a guy spinning fairy floss and another guy selling sweet rolls. Oh and about 20 villages flying around.

They seem to like coming down to watch the sunsets, and why wouldn't you. Sydney siders don't get to see this very often and in Perth you get a little to use to it.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Week three and the kids go to school

We are settling in and the kids are off to school. If Oscar had his way he would have started two weeks ago. Here is a photo in there Batik (sic) shirts and green trousers. Maxi doesn't have any trousers yet, they are coming.

As is the German tradition, Oscar received a cone of sweets on his first day in the big school. He is liking having deep pockets in his shorts too!

Oscar has two lovely ladies looking after him, Tamara is Australian but is either half Indonesia or half Malay, I will have to ask. Then there is Miss Agung, she is 100% Balinese. The kindergarten is called Prep, but functions as the first year of school much as it does in Sydney where they call it Kindergarten. He has about 15 other kids in there with him. He tells me he hasn't made any 'solid' relationships and one kid wouldn't sit with him today when they ate lunches. On the whole he is enjoying it and he will find his place in the coming weeks I am sure.

Maxi has a mixed grade 5-6 class of about the same number. He's in grade 5. The origins of the kids is a veritable smorgasbord. There is a Polish kid, a Russian, South African, Malaysian, Singaporean, American and a couple of token Aussies. Well it is the Australian International School. His teacher is a bloke called Mr Dean, no not Mr Bean. Jeez! He seems a lot of fun and is very enthusiastic about the kids, their outcomes and making the whole proces enjoyable. Where was this bloke when I went to school? He's also the basketball coach, to which Max has signed up. It is THE sport up here. I think soccer is in there as well, but this is where it is at.

Before you ask, No he hasn't cut his hair off! Maxi has taken to wearing a pony tail, something he never did in Oz. Must be the heat. Humidity is very high and if there is no breeze then you just sweat! It's a good look. Much tidier this way

Maxi and I went to the beach this afternoon. He had done all of his homework and I was able to shove off what I was doing as I have to have it done by Monday, it is only Thursday for Pete's sake! We both had a ball. He was on the inside section with about 6 local kids that were surfing some boards that had seen much better days. But these kids threw them around. These guys will be world champs if they get the chance.

When we were leaving at sunset they came up and asked if we had any wax. I gave them the block I have in the car and they devoured it like ants, actually Maxi & I had to get in there and help as they really had no idea on how to wax a board. We drank a fruit smoothie each and watched the sun setting behind the waves before bundling into the car for the drive home. This is the bit that cements the idea of being here. What a fantastic way to spend the arvo. All good!

On the drive home Max said it was the best surf he had ever had. I think the local kids had pushed him a bit, which is never a bad thing. I saw him get a couple of waves and he is getting better. Mix that with the fact that I think he just liked having other kids in the surf with him and you have a winning combination.

It is late so I will sign off.

More later.


Saturday, 20 January 2007

Pinch me. The reality sets in.

So we are at day 13 of 365 and it is still hard to believe that we are living here. We have however started to develop a routine, well at least I have.

Wake around 6.30-6.45 head to the small room for some meditation before grabbing a board from the shed and driving the 10km's or so to the beach. Usually against the morning traffic. Bikes head in, buzzing me like a locust plague as I head out. Many are trying to overtake and I drive with one hand on the horn giving the overachievers a blast to send them back in the ranks and to make way for the tank.

This morning the surf was funny. You would sit out there on a completely flat ocean and then every 10 minutes two or three sets of 4 footers would role through. It was decidedly crowded out there as well, perhaps being a Saturday.

We would all paddle for what we could get and then the wait would begin again. But it's not boring, moreover it's a little like a coffee shop where there is several conversations going on. Each time you paddle out you sort of join another. I tell you it must be one of the friendliest breaks in the world.

Got a couple of nice rides and then it's time to get out. Up to the warung where I park and I order a Mixed juice while I go round back and shower under their water tower. I come through, get changed and put my board in it's bag. My juice comes about then and I drink it. The first sustenance of the day, yummy! I don't linger, I down it and start the drive home.

The traffic has petered off and I cruise home. I get there and everyone is up and Komang and Made have arrived and are into it. I greet everyone and head to the kitchen firing up the espresso machine and making a Soya latte.

Coffee in hand I head down to the guest house which is also my office. Hit the go button on the front of the box and bask in the radiation as the computer does it's morning exercises.

Once on I am off and that is where I spend the day.

The morning is definitely the high point. The bit right up to sitting in front of the computer. Work is the same where ever you park your but. Mind you I do have a great view of a nice garden though. Beats Marrickville, sorry guys!

Lunch is something Komang whips up. A gado gado, Nasi Goreng, Omelettes, so far it's all been good. Then again back to the coal mine for more of the same. About 6 I knock off, around the time the boys are getting out of the pool, herded by Gabi as they would never leave on their own accord. Jack lives here and I drown him with some Diet Coke and a couple of blocks from the arctic.

Nights are easy, we might watch a movie on my laptop, we do not have a TV, play scrabble or the boys might go online and play some games on a laptop.

Speaking of which I might mossy up to the main house now. Also mix it up and have a beer tonight, Gabi brought me down a JD earlier. Nothing left except for a ring of water on the timber top of my work surface but I feel like a cleansing ale, even if it is Bintang!

The image is of a red dragonfly I shot on a leaf at the back of the front pond today. I was testing the new lens. Pretty happy with it, colours are ok and for a handheld shot it is pretty crisp.


Monday, 15 January 2007

Sunday drive

Yesterday I drove to the beach like I do early every morning, except I cant today but you will understand more about that in a minute, the surf wasn’t looking that good so I decided not to go out but instead drove home stopping at Café Mocca on the way and getting some croissants, a bit of a treat, something from our life in Sydney that no one had had in a while. Went down a treat, as I knew it would. Then some Balinese friends dropped over. Her name is Dewi and her husband is Endi. They had their two boys, 4.5 & 1.8 with them. I met her online, no it isn’t like that, when I was looking to book some places for our anniversary last May. Even though Gabi was in Germany at the time with the kids, she left them with the Oma and flew to Bali and met me for a week. Dewi booked our places arranged transport and we chatted online. Then each time we come up we get her to organise some other things, she is good like that. So when Gabi came in Nov last she left a big bag with her. They dropped it off and brought the whole family for cake and drinks.

After that we went for a drive to Sanur, there was a house sale on but by the time we got there everything was sold, can you believe it? I think we needed to be there at 8am. We drove down to Sanur beach and had a look, very beautiful we will definitely be going back there one weekend. From there drove into town, right through the centre, being a Sunday drive and all, then came home got our swimming togs, well I got mine Maxi can’t swim for a week as he fell in the pond which is at the back of the house and subsequently got a really bad ear infection and the doctor said not water for a week, bugger eh? So I grabbed mine and my board, a long board as our freight arrived on Friday, another story just there. And we headed out to Echo Beach, yes just like the song, and it is. So we had some late lunch at the Beach House there and then about 4 I paddled out into this lumpy surf with these wickedly pitching lefts coming through. Only problem was the moving peek I soon found out. There were two guys in the water so it was definitely not crowded. The first wave I took I was deep inside managed to get my nose around and shoot across the face but was smacked by the wall as it collapsed in a heap, I was thrown, board and I akimbo and banger my bicep on the edge of the board, the rail it is called. I think I have a really deep bruise from that. Sore as hell.

Then I was a little more reserved and I stated to enjoy myself. Over the next hour I got about 6 waves and they were all good. I was having fun.
Then paddling out from this great wave, what made it even better was Maxi and Oscar sitting up on the break water watching me waving as they saw their dad out there, so anyway I am paddling out and the other two surfers are further out than me but I am gaining when all of a sudden the wave of the day comes through. Face about 2.5m high and it is sucking the water from the reef on which I am paddling. I could tell that I was going to be about 5 metres in front of where it broke and when it did it would be a washing machine. Best place for me was well under it, so I jumped off and swam for the bottom. I felt it go over, I felt my legrope strain then ‘twang’ my legrope went slack. Shit!

I thought I had broken my board. I surfaced and my board was no where to be seen, cursing again I struck off for the shore some 100 metres away through more breaking waves and the two other surfers. As I swam in I could see the boys and some other people looking down at the base of the breakwater where I knew my board to be, more swearing as it was being bashed on the rocks. Then one Balinese guy scrambles down the breakwater and comes back with my board, I could see as I swam that it was still in one piece. I swam in and found it with the boys but with dings, gouges and scratches all over it. I have circled the big ones and in obne phot you can see where the plastic of the legrope 'sheared' off at the connecter right behind the swivel. Bugger!!

The guy was Agung and I brought him a beer. We chatted a while and about then the Beach House (as it is called) started to really fill up with expats all coming down for Sunday arvo seafood BBQ. Maxi met another kid called, wait for it... Maxi and they played together. Oscar tagged along, they all had a ball. Playing with little rock crabs and looking at what the fishermen were catching and the great thing is, that they can do it all under your watchful eye while you sit back, relax and have a beer, coffee or as one table were doing it, Martinis at sunset. Respect!

We will definately be going back there for the Sunday arvo BBQ again.


Thursday, 11 January 2007

Day three: Got the car and the bike.

A morning filled with filling out paperwork for the Immigration, something we need to do as we have to have Gabi on KITAS (Indonesian residency) to allow our kids to go to the school, and then an afternoon hiring a ten year old Kagang. at first they brought around a car that had tires like racing slicks. Viva la Tokyo Drift!

Whats worst me headset is dead and I can't use Skype. Do you think I could buy a new USB headset anywhere without someone trying to charge me an arm and a leg?

The ability to be able to do things really quickly and efficiently, because you know where to go an you know the langugae are being replaced by the foreignness of Bali.

They aren't in a hurry and they do not always speak English, a bad habit us English speakers get into.

But it hasn't replaced any of the euphoria we are all, as a family and individually, are feeling, rather it is heightening the experience.

You have to think. And I mean really think. For every action there is a reaction someone very wise once wrote. I am feeling it and while frustration is the first emotion to rise I am also having to rely on my family and wits more. It's good.

Boys only spent about 3 hours in the pool today.

Komang (I got the right spelling now, made a delicious Chicken curry which even the kids liked. Another good thing will be watching their pallet develop.

It is late (10pm) and the others are in bed. The night is quiet, the drone from the neighbours aircon is a pain as is the "doof, doof, doof" from the disco up the block. You can hear the surf rolling onto the beach up the road but you can not hear a car or motorbike.

More again later.


Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Better than a punch in the face... Only just!

...well Maxi and I went for our first surf today. Just down the road, sorry Jalan, where the Sofitel is we went out into the slops. Max took his NSP which is about 5'6". I took my short board as well. All the long boards are part of a freight consignment that we have coming in on Friday.

Been a while since I rode anything but a 9' + and here I was on a 6'4" Fish. Very different let me tell you.

However, had a ball. It was 3-4' slops and the fish was a nice fast manoeuvrable board. I had a great time.

We both did. I saw Max getting out, he was further down the beach, just then a set came through, I took the first wave, a right, dropped down dug in at the bottom and headed back on up, snap! Off the lip and down into a cutback, back around and they one quick up the face before the whole lot came down with me in the white water, perfect wave to finish the session on.

But enough about me.

Wandering up onto the shore I could see Maxi approaching. I then figured out he was crying. I ran to him. While wrapping his leg rope around his board a wave had come in and given his board a shove which must have flicked around and given him a smack on the right cheek. Split the skin and bruised the whole socket.

Nasty little sucker! The eye, not Maxi. Should be an interesting black eye though. This photo was taken after bathing, oh of course then Kumang had made us some Nasi Goreng for lunch which we sat down to eat, delicious (She made so much I am having it again tonight for dinner, yum!) then I got around to taking the photo.

If he can just keep that shiner until the 22nd Jan when he starts school he could get some instant cred.

We also met an English bloke in the surf called Nick. Lives in the Gang behind us somewhere. Seems a friendly sort. I am sure we will see more of him.

Anyway, I have work to do. It isn't all just holidays here. More from us later


Monday, 8 January 2007

..So this is it! Day One! Bali

The eagles have landed!. I sit here in a bath of my own perspiration. It's 7pm Monday the 8th Jan and we are finally on Bali. Wow!

Still can not really believe that we are actually here.

Maxi & Oscar have spent the day in the pool. They are besotted. They are also having the time of their lives.

The one thing we thought we would have issues with, having people around all the time, isn't an issue at all.

We have two staff here, Kermung and Made. (Hope I spelt their names right.)

Kerming (she) looks after the house and Made (he) the Gardens.

She made us this wonderful omlette for lunch and he played with the kids, cut a bit of lawn and prooned the odd shrub. They are fantastic and I think that we will have no problems in that department. The boys love them. They both thought Maxi was a girl, we told them it is a common occurance. What with all the hair and all.

Took a while to get all my computers set up and then even longer to get the internet sorted. Some techies arrived and after 15 minutes we had the router all sorted and things were whistling along.

Tonight we are off to Trattoria for dinner. Gabi & I know it from past visits. Great Italian place down the street.

Oh before I forget. Maxi and I went out and hired the obligatory motorbike. Just for a week while I sort out a car and motorbike deal from one of the local transport people. The boys were blown away that dad knew how to ride a bike. I took them both, at different times, for a spin. I got some brownie points there!

A nice feature of our bike is that it has a side board rack. Very cool, very Bali! So in the interim I can ride the 800m to the beach with a couple of boards and we can go for a surf.

Anyway, time to go out into the night.

We are in heaven.


Thursday, 4 January 2007

Click, clack and we are just about Packed!

Whew! Nearly there and still 3 sleeps. As you can see from this trite morsel I haven't boxed up the computers yet.

Actually I am render a job and thought I would show you my new 70-300mm lens in comparison to the....
18-70mm that came with the camera. Both shots are from the same spot both at full zoom. Cool eh?

Will now be able to get some surfing shots from shore. As you can see of the ones of me that Gabi took (below) I had to crop them and in doing so they became quite pixelated. The best thing about this lens was the price, $150 only! It's plastic and you can feel it, lack of weight etc etc. But I can take it to the beach and I am not going to get overly worried by splashes etc.

But back to the move. Gabi has stripped all our posesions and they have gone into one of 3 piles. First pile is the stuff that is being shipped. Or should I say has been shipped. We sent off 117 kilos yesterday. The next is the stuff that stays, the bulk of it. We are loading up the garage with everything we are not leaveing in the flat. As it's a friend that's renting all the main furniture stays but all our nick nacks are going. Gosh we have some crap!

And third is our baggage allowance, we each get 30kg plus cabin, say another 12, when you factor in computers, cameras etc. So that is a total of 168kg.

It is hard to distill ones life into a quarter of a ton. And it's not just me but Gabi & the boys as well so really we all have less. Much less.

I think one should do it every couple of years. I noticed Whitney Houston doing it today. She selling off all her old frocks to pay the storage company for all the stuff they have been storing for her.

Anyway, I am drifting so will post this and get back to work.