Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eating Sand, feeding Elephants-- you know the norm

I want to make sure and get a post up about the awesome visit from Kerstin before we head to Auturo and have Sam's mega huge pirate party because her visit was killer and needs its own post! Abby and I flew into Bali in the afternoon and immediately went to the Baskin Robbins right outside the luggage pick up (there are NO ice cream shops in Timor, what is up with THAT?). Then we hailed a cab because the hotel did NOT pick us up like they were supposed to, just the start of lameness for that hotel. We grabbed something to eat, I chose satey ayam while Abby went with a local special- Sand
Poor Kerstin flew in at Midnight, went through customs and caught a cab, so the next day we took it easy and just hung out on the beach. Abby liked her cabana
The water wasn't as clear as it is in Timor but it was in a nice protected lagoon so there were no waves just calm warm water. Our hotel had Kayaks you could use and cool little huts to hang out in but we didn't even bother dragging ourselves away from the pool and lounge chairs until we were ready to wander the shops and pig out on yummy Indonesian food-- okay so I mainly pigged out Kerstin was probably in awe of how much food I packed away but it is SOOOO good and so cheap! The next afternoon we headed to one of my favorite places in the world- Ubud. It is in the mountains of Bali and whenever I go there I think "why did I even waste time at the beach", which is saying something coming from an ardent beach girl. It is just seeped in Balinese culture and is so serene and breath taking. We checked in and I casually mentioned that we wanted to take a cooking class while here this time. Before we had made it to our AWESOME two story suite they had set up reservations for us at the Boom Boom cooking school of Ubud for the next night. Now THAT is service. We dropped our stuff and headed out to see the Monkey forest. It is this cool area that is bursting with shops and restaurants and then at the end of the street is a temple that is now home to hundreds of monkeys. You can go in and if you are brave enough feed them and let them jump on you. There were signs warning you about carrying water bottles and having sunglasses jewelry etc because they have been known to even take earrings out of your ears! We made sure everything was safety tucked away including Abby's snack, a yummy banana. I didn't even think to mention it to Kerstin until AFTER the monkey jumped on the back pack trying to get to it haaa! Whoops. We ate lunch at this amazing restaurant called 3 monkeys. I had a cucumber, watercress and cheese panini that I will be dreaming about until I can go back and eat it again! We headed back to the hotel relaxed a little and then it was off to the temple to see a dance presentation. I had attended one with Meredith and warned Kerstin that after 15 minutes I would probably be ready to go. Well, we went to a different show which was four times the cost and I was ready to go in five minutes haaaa! This time the music was not the beautiful balinese kind with delicate female dancers but over 100 men in sarongs chanting the same thing over and over. AGHHHHH. Finally when um ABBY, couldn't take it anymore I headed out to see if our driver was back. I thought I saw him and called Kerstin out. Unfortunately it was not him so we just stood there and then heard a roar of applause, apparently a guy had just walked across a huge thing of burning coals in a trance and I totally made us miss it-- I am LAME. But in my own defense I had lasted 45 minutes and Chris can attest to the fact that one of my most disliked things in the world is repetition of sound. Oh it kills me. Thankfully Kerstin is THE most laid back person to travel with and she forgave me. The next morning we headed on a drive through the rice paddies up to the Elephant Sanctuary. Originally I had zero intention of riding the elephant because I had Abby. But it looked soooo cool and the guide said they walk extremely slow and are very gentle. I was suckered in. She was in the front pack so she was nice and strapped in. While waiting for our elephant (Dena) we saw one of the workers bathing one of the elephants as it swam around
That is some balance! We excitedly got on and headed into the jungle at the rip snorting pace of what had to be .5 a mile an hour. We got to see magical things like an elephant playing a harmonica, squirting water and of course the delightful "potty break" of the elephant in front of us -YUK!
(this is just a picture of the elephant in front of us NOT the potty break)
It is a 45 minute ride and Abby started loosing it towards the end so I can now say I have nursed while riding an Elephant- something I never ever ever even crossed my mind. After our ride they provided us with bamboo to feed the elephants
and boy were they hungry
Abby ended up enjoying some of the bamboo herself (totally sanitary I am sure uhhhhhhh)
Kerstin and I both were laughing so hard because it was awesome but at the same time so terrifying!
There were several little tiny baby elephants that were sooooo cute! They offer kids rides that are on them and very short, that is totally what we will be doing when we bring the boys.
As if they weren't cute enough right before we finished they threw a wreath on one of the elephants haa!
I mean who doesn't love to accessorize? Then we got to see the elephants perform, painting,
balacing, doing math (which kerstin was so excited for *nerd alert* haaa!) and playing basketball.
Our driver then took us to have lunch at this amazing restaurant perched right on a mountain that looked across at a live volcano. He told us if we wanted we could get up at 2 am and he would take us on a hike up it so we could see the sunrise and eat breakfast up there. Totally tempting if I didn't have Abby. We settled for just looking at it while we downed lunch. Then on to the cooking class. This was HILARIOUS. We thought it looked promising when we had recipe books and aprons laid out for us. Turns out we just sat and watched the restaurants chef make several different Indonesian dish's. He also wasn't the best of all teachers. For example when talking about increasing the ingredients to mach serving sizes he would say "for one person I would do one table spoon, for two people two tablespoon" and he went all the way to 8!!! He did this several times. Flash back to early discussion of my dislike of repetition and well once again Abby and I headed out for a little stroll mid way through. He would also hold up the most random ingredients and make us guess until we guessed what it was. Luckily there was one other lady in the class who totally reminded me of a grown up Hermione Grainger and she would almost fall out of her chair to answer questions. We got to eat everything that was made though so we left super stuffed with cool aprons and a cook book I will probably never crack open... well maybe if I feel extra adventurous and find some great galingal (thats for you kerstin!)
We had THE world craziest driver take us home and tell us his entire life story, parents divorcing grandmas crying etc. We zonked after trying to order chocolate cake from a local bakery to be delivered to our room-- how awesome would that have been! The next day was a relaxing one getting ready to head back to Dili. I was so excited to see the boys and they were so excited to empty Kerstin's suitcase of all the amazing goodies she brought them! We took her to Caz Bar for pancakes and some early morning beach time. Lemers was cracking us UP that morning. First he woke up with some sweet bedhead;
Then at the beach he matter of factly grabbed his goggles, walked down to the 3 inch deep shore and face planted it into the water. We were dying laughing. I have NO idea what was going through this crazy guys mindlemersgoggles1proof
Whats so funny?
We had to take Kerstin to see the Christ Statue and Sam hiked all the way up AND down by himself! Liam on the other hand was carried by yours truly all the way up and down. Unfortunately Sammy in his exhaustion left his favorite Rocket at the top of the statue... So if anyone in DC is heading to the air and space museum there is a little boy in Indonesia who would love you to pieces if you pick one of the cheap plastic shuttles up for him :) We also headed out to Dollar Beach which was gorgeous as ever!
We had such an amazing time with Kerstin. When I told Sam that she was leaving he said "but she can live here with us!" I replied that she had to get back to work, to which he offered the solution "she can just work at the 'emmassy' with Dad!" So there you go Kerstin, quit your job and come live with us!! I am now trying to keep myself super busy and not think about that fact that most likely the only visit we will be receiving for two years is over. It sure was great while it lasted!


http://abebedorespgondufo.blogs.sapo.pt/ said...

Very Good.

Kerstin said...

OMG! I laughed so hard reading this post...good times. I had already forgotten some of the awesome things we did. Thanks again for an awesome trip!! I miss you guys and wish I was still there!