Monday, 26 November 2007

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

..It is an actual book title, I loved it, the title that is. If ever a title has ever prompted me to read a book this one has. I think I will have to buy a copy!

Whew, it's late November already! Can you believe it. Seems only a couple of months ago that we came to Bali, and now our first year is coming to an end. There is nothing like that first year somewhere, I remember my first year in Sydney that was eye opening, then there was my first summer in Greece, and I did my first ski season in Lech, they were the ones that were special for the simple reason that they were so new. The newness of it all. This can't be felt again, we will become more and more comfortable here until familiarity takes over. Good and bad me thinks. I like the exotic, precisely because it is. We will begin to plumb the depths of the culture though and that will take us to different heights. Deep for a Monday morning. Must be the caffeine.

Well the big news this weekend would have to be that it definitely was Kevin 07. Kevin Rudd the Labor leader will be the new Prime Minister of Australia.

I designed several sets for the Labor party over the last couple of months, here is Kevin at one of my lecterns/sets, though you can not see much of that. Though we spent literally hours positioning those little New Leadership. stickers so they would appear exactly as you see it here. The things one does eh?

The other huge piece of news that has crossed our shores that I need to share with you is that Jacqui Gower is now 40. I know, I know, you should never mention a ladies age but she came up here with long time partner (Ain't that the truth) Simon Watts as well as Sydney friends Merrilee Pearce and her partner Grant Markert, taking residence in an exclusive villa in the quiet fishing village of Seseh. The trip wasn't without any hitches. Simon found out very last minute that he had less than 6 months to go on his passport and that the Indonesians were not happy about such things. That was a Saturday. He made time stand still extricating a new one out of the English consulate on the Monday and joined us here on the Tuesday afternoon heading directly from the airport to Jac's party. I thought it might be nice to meet him so together with their villa driver I went to the airport. He made customs very quickly and after the normal greetings I handed him an ice cold Bintang. Bali style and welcomed him to Bali. The villa was a good 50 minute drive at 4pm in the afternoon so we sat in the back of the car, supped our beers and caught up.

The night was amazing, it started off down on the beach watching the sunset from in between fishing boats on the sand. There was a very special bottle of champagne to be drunk, though the time and temperature weren't quite right. Back in the villa and after immersion in ice the time was right and we had a bottle of 1990 Bolly. Mango Daqueries followed and the Binnies were always within arms reach. We had our own private Gamelan playing beside the pool who were joined soon after by ladies from the local village who were our private dancers. Kitted our in full traditional garb. Even some of the local kids came in to watch and through some gentle coaxing by us had a dance. I think we all got up at one stage or another and waddled around, some more. Actually we all had a dance.

We ate like kings at this feast of seafood, curries, sates and even a roast duck. To say it was bliss would be an understatement. The night seemed to stand still from then on. Later the men adjourned to the beach to let off fireworks while the ladies lounged around the ample soft furniture of the villa. Gabi and I had to drive home at 11ish which was a small mission just there. Though we made it, obviously!

Merrilee and Grant left the following day, though we had time for one more sunset at Kudeta. This photo was slightly contentious. Grant was busily snapping away and Merrilee wasn't having a bar of it. I commented that it would be a great shot. And low and behold, it is. Well done that man, isn't that a great shot? Speaking of which, all the Bali images in todays post are from Grants personal website, I thank him for letting me use them to add some colour to these otherwise drab pages. It is so much easier for me to link than upload my own. Blogger has a bad tendency to 'timeout' when i try to upload images. Sometimes I can spend literally hours trying to get them from my desktop to your screen. I am trying to upload a photo of Rudd, see above, as I type this. I am on my 5th try. Really I have enough to do and don't need the frustration of... oops that one timed out as well. Lets have another go!

ED. I got to eight trys and got it up there! Yippee!!!!!!

Oh here is one more shot i wanted to nab. A great one with me and the two boys snapped at, would you believe it, a Moroccan restaurant up on Jalan Kunti in Oberoi. We have everything here don't we?

Take care.


Monday, 12 November 2007

Just playing catchup...

Well it has been a couple of weeks since I wrote so here are some words to bring you all up to speed.

Firstly, it is with great sadness to tell you all that this morning I snapped my McTavish Liberator To make matters worst. It was for a second time. It all happened when I was out in the water there in front of Kudeta. It was getting on, the tide was getting pretty high so I caught what I thought to be my last wave. Whizzing along on this hump of a thing. Made fat by the high tide, I thought what the hell I will ride it to the shore and tucked in for the cover-up as it shore dumped. Well It came out in two! Duh! What a stupid thing to do! Rule one: Do not ride 9'1" surfboards in shore dumps, they snap! Argh!

Lombok was, in a word, amazing. We flew there last Thursday afternoon, collecting the kids from school on the way. A combined birthday and getaway. We stayed in the south. A place called Kuta at the Novotel which was more than comfortable and our friends, Lorraine and her daughter Ally even managed to have a chocolate cake presented in the arvo on Friday with tunes sung by the staff. T'was a Touching moment!I was kind of distracted the entire time thinking about how good a place it would be to invest. The time is ripe for it. They are building an international airport there and when that is complete in 2010 (I would think more like 2014!!) it will become the new 2 week haven. Though it lacks a lot of Bali's 'mystical' charm it does more than make up for it in great surf spots, fantastic dive places and breath taking scenery. We shall see.

Speaking of moments here are an assortment of photos for your viewing pleasure.

The cake of course. Chock full of chocolate on Chocolate. The cake kept our kids company and fed for two days more. They would snack on it. The brown smears across the white bed sheets led me to believe they were also sleeping with it.
With icing that was about 1cm thick pure chocolate it was no wonder really! Oscar finished off the last bit on Sunday mid morning before we left the hotel. The cake that kept on keeping on!!

Here is the team that brought it to us, Lorraine and her daughter Ally. Ally is at AIS but in the high school. Her mum runs a wedding planners business up here. They have been to Lombok only about 30 odd times. Lorraine has actually brought a block in Kuta township.

Here is a bad montage of this beautiful bay that L&A took us to. They told us of days when they had come here to be the first people to put footprints in the sand. The day we were there it was a veritable highway of people coming and going. Someone is building a restaurant out there so in the words of a great sage... "There goes the neighbourhood!" But I have to add, what a picturesque place though!

After the beach we went to this restaurant on the side of the hill overlooking Kuta. The place is run by an Australian couple who have been there a long time, by the looks of the place. Great food but most of all, this amazing view of the bays heading east.

At the bay Maxi went body surfing with Lau. They paddled right out the back. Good work boys!! Here is a photo of the two of them the following day out at Grupuk. Maxi, Ally, Lau, Joko (He was our driver, see his photo below), and I went there early on Sunday morning. I rented a longboard, as did Ally. We all piled into one of these Indo outriggers and set out across the bay to one of the 5 breaks here. We surfed for the next two hours in small but great fun waves. Sue to my foot I hadn't been able to get it wet prior. As it was I had it bound.

Oscar found some kids to fly around with at the bay. There was about 4 of them that played soccer with the beach ball for about an hour. Oscar did terrorise the others a bit. Little bugger!

Here is that photo of Joko. If you are ever after a driver in Lombok. Give me a shout and I will give you his details. Great guy and a great price. He has an APV which got the 8 of us around very comfortably.

These two signs are one after another along the road from the Novotel into Kuta. I love them the way they are but the first one looks like 'full' might have been 'fuel' for a while which would have been even funnier!