collection of rants, ramblings, the weird and the wonderful...

Staying at the new Annexe wing of the historical Eastern & Oriental Hotel.  Lovely place so far and we are getting ready for breakfast before heading out to walk around in the old town of Georgetown.

Staying at the new Annexe wing of the historical Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Lovely place so far and we are getting ready for breakfast before heading out to walk around in the old town of Georgetown.

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Flying out later for a vacation… we’re heading to the E&O Hotel in Penang, Malaysia!

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GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a game and what a series!!!!

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LET”S GO HAWKS!!!!!!  Game 7 live on ASN.  Such a rare treat in Guangzhou!!

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Bali Day 4 - Since we had a bit of time left, Nyoman asked us if we want to trek down to Tanah Lot to take a look.  We were like, “Sure!”.  Tanah Lot is one of the most famous temples in Bali and probably one of the most visited.  It is located next to the ocean in a beautiful setting.  I’m being redundant, but just about everything that we’ve seen is on a beautiful setting, lol.  Tanah Lot area is composed of several temples, but the most famous one is Tanah Lot itself which is on a little rock island that’s accessible via land bridge during low tide.  Since you cannot enter the temple, we feel the best view is from a bit of distance so you can get a full profile view.

Oh, anyone recognize the last picture?  It’s the bridge made famous by Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love.  This is where she fell off her bike.  Lol.

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Bali Day 4 - Next on the agenda is the famous Tabanan rice terraces located at Jatiluwih.  This is the largest rice terraces in Bali and to us, this is the true beauty of Bali.  Amazingly large rice terraces owned by many locals (each plot indicated by a small hut).  Timing couldn’t be more perfect for us as the rice terraces are close to the height of full growth (about 1 month away from harvest) and the colors and magnitude was just amazing.  Nyoman led us on a  small walk down a path and we picked/ate guava fruits and even tried some really spicy chili peppers along the way!

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Bali Day 4 - Extremely full day.  Nyoman picked us up at 8 AM and off we went on some silver shopping first.  He took us to Yan Yan, famous silver/gold jewelry maker outside of Ubud and we bought ourselves some high quality silver stuff.  We negotiated as much as we could and got 35% off.  Next, we went to the Taman Ayun Mangwi Temple. This is the family temple of the Royal King of Mangwi, and is surrounded by moats and has lovely gardens.  After that, we went to highlight of the tour which is the Pura Ulun Danu Temple.  This temple sits on a spectacular location on Lake Bratan, and is on the Indonesian 50.000 Rupiah note.  The temple itself is small and you cannot access it, but the setting is very pretty.

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Bali Day 3 - The last stop is once again special…. Nyoman mentioned that he will take us to a traditional Balinese village and he brings us to his village!  What a nice surprise!  He welcomed us into his family compound where imagine this large housing compound with various structures and its own temple and 28 of his extended family all live there.  He explained to us how family life and worship is central to a Balinese family.  He gave us tea and snacks and introduced us to his mother, relatives, and his children.  He then gave us a tour of his compound which consists of just about all kinds of farm animals and lots of trees/plant life.  Just a fantastic experience and really kind of him to share his own family life with tourists.  This is where we really see the kindness of the Balinese.

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Bali Day 3 - After Gunung Kawi, we went up the mountain to get a view of Mt. Kintamani and the largest lake in Bali.  All the lakes in Bali are situated on former craters and so are high altitude lakes.  Really stunning.  We had lunch at a little restaurant with the view of Kintamani and each had a grilled fish with rice after recommendation from Nyoman.  So simple, but tasty. 

After lunch, we went to see the Holy Water Temple, or Pura Tirtha Empul.  This is a temple where a natural spring pools up from the  ground and then feeds these outdoor baths where one can bath under each spout dedicated to various things such as love, wealth, academics, and priesthood.  As Nyoman explained the significance of each spout, we noticed some tourists bathing under the priesthood spouts and he joked that they probably don’t realize what they are bathing under!!!  On the way back, we also visited a rice field, which he says is just a precursor to what we will see the following day.  The last stop will be a Balinese village.

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Bali Day 3 - One of the oldest and probably most important temples that we visited is Gunung Kawi temple.  This temple is located in the Tampaksiring region and dates to about the 11th century.  The complex is dedicated to King Anak Wungsu and his family.  Just beautiful and amazing as all the reliefs/dwellings are carved into the mountainside.  You can really feel how old and special this place is as you strolled around the grounds.  Really takes you back in time.

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Bali Day 3 - This day was our first tour date.  I booked two back to back day tours with Bali Traditional Tours due to their high tripadvisor ratings.  It’s run by two cousins and we had Nyoman on both days.  Let me just say that he is one of the friendliest and easy going person we have ever met and he took us on a fun, fantastic, historical journey across the two days.  Highly recommended! So, we started the day going to a local primary school.  What a unique experience and I’m not sure I any other tour guide would offer this.  It’s not a gimmick or cheesy.   Nyoman describes it as a way for local children to interact with tourists from other countries and also to practice their English.  We met with school officials and teachers and then walked in to meet the 5th grade class.  The children were adorable and super shy at first.  Nyoman talked to them and explained where we were from.  He ask them questions and they would respond in unison in English.  So cute!  We ask to take a picture with the class and the students were so happy!

We headed to a local market where he showed us how the locals would shop for their everyday food/necessities.  Once again, the stall owners were so nice and offered stuff for us to try with no pressure of buying anything.

We also went to coffee plantation where we got to try the famous Luwak Coffee which is the most expensive coffee in the world.  They are basically coffee beans pooped out by the Civet cat after ingesting them.  We tried a cup of this and I have to say…. it was delicious.  We bought a small bag (all we can afford!!!) along with a large bag of regular Balinese coffee.  Next couple of posts will be about the temples we visited…

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more breakfast choices at the Samaya… yummmmmmmm.  so good!

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Bali Day 2 - After the macaques, we walked up Monkey Forest Road and shopped a bit.  There are tons of restaurants and shops selling all kinds of local and non local crafts/products.  After a few hours, we stopped at “Three Monkeys” (to keep up with the Monkey theme) for a pre-dinner drink.  Alcohol generally (especially wine) is very expensive in Bali due to the high liquor taxes.  We decided to try a local winery called Hatten Wine and had a bottle of rose.  Tasted like a rose from France so all good!  Not bad for about $25 a bottle.  After polishing off that bottle, we headed to Melting Wok Warung, which is one of the best restaurants in Ubud.  It’s not fancy or expensive at all and it’s run by a French ex-pat who is super nice and spends the whole night talking to everyone.  The place was packed and good thing we had a reservation.  I would call the food a nice mix of Asian influences, skewing towards Indonesian.  Very fresh and tasty!  Loved the raw baby sprouts and crunchy veggies that they sprinkle on top of just about every dish.

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Bali Day 2 - After a nice breakfast, we headed out to the Monkey Forest Temple in Ubud town.  If you are afraid of aggressive monkeys or animals in general… do not go to this temple.  Mrs. rhhog did very well but vowed to not go to another Monkey Temple (there are 3 famous ones in Bali).  The temple is exactly as it seems…. tons of monkeys.  It’s quite old and also quite beautiful.  I loved the statues and the giant giant tree by the river.  Really stunning.  Yes, the monkeys climb on people and try to snatch purses and bags from people to find food, but you can scare most of them off pretty easily…   well, most of them.  :)

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