Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May - Day 7 and 8 in Bali

Today we are leaving Ubud. We have had a great stay here and really enjoyed ourselves. At 7am our driver is coming to pick us up and take us to Tulamben which is on the east coast.

We are staying at the "Wreck Divers Resort" which is across the road from the main diving spot in the area. It is just a short 300m stroll to the entry point for the shore dives.

As part of our accommodation package we are getting 4 resort dives each, which basically means we have a dive instructor each.

We arrived in Tulamben after about 2.5 hours of fantastic driving! I'm sure Made our driver drove F1 in a previous life. He caned the absolute crap out of his manual Toyota 4x4 the entire trip.

On arrival at the resort we are greeted by Suka our dive instructor. He showed us to our room (which was very nice, clean and spacious) and we arranged to have breakfast first then take our first intro dive.

For our intro dive we had some class time learning about all the equipment and how it functioned and then different things we should expect and how to address them correctly like ear pain or fogged up goggles.

We also covered all the hand signs that are required underwater.Being a typical Aussie Rachael struggled at first because the sign for wanting to go up or surface is thumbs up which to her means good and good or okay is thumb and pointer together with other fingers up. She eventually got the hang of it and we did warn the instructor before we went diving. Once this was done we started off in the swimming pool for about 25 minutes practicing with our instructors (we had one each) all the stuff we had learned in class.

We were both a little more confident now. We went on our first shore dive which we basically went up and round the shipwreck which is not very deep. We went to about 10 metres on this dive.

After this we went back to lunch and arranged for a second dive. This time we went to the Coral Garden which is the underwater aeroplane shape in our pictures. The guides had suggested this area as I had mentioned I would like to see a shark and we did. We were swimming along and suddenly one of the instructors was putting his hand on his head like a fin to indicate shark and pointing. He started swimming after the shark trying to get a good photo of it!

That evening we dined at a small warang across the road. The diving really took it out of us so we retired for an early night.

The next morning we wanted to get the dives out of the way nice and early as we have a long trip to Kuta later that day plus the instructors had told us that earlier is better as it gets quite crowded as the tour buses arrive.

Our guides also wanted to get away as they had to get home to their families (or cock fighting) and prepare for the festival that started the next day - Galungan. The festival is a Hindu tradition and is important to them like Christmas is to us. About 75% of Balinese are Hindu and the rest are Muslim or other.

We did the first dive for the day at the shipwreck and it wasn't a great dive because I had a lot of trouble with water getting into my goggles and Rachael felt nauseous as she had not eaten yet.

At breakfast we met a great guy from Perth who was traveling alone. His name was Shane and he was very easy to talk to. He gave us same great tips for shopping in Kuta and how to deal with the hawkers. Rachael sat out the second dive and I went back to the ship wreck with Shane and our dive instructors. We didnt have a camera this time which was a shame. My instructor took a banana down with him and we fed that to some of the bigger fish which caused quite a frenzy around us. The fish loved it!

Onto Kuta and we had the same driver as yesterday. We left at about 11:00am for our 3 hour drive (2.5 hours with Made driving). On arrival at Febri's Hotel we were 30 minutes short of check in time so we sat in the lounge and took a skype with the boys and had a Bintang and a cocktail while we waited.

The hotel was a lot bigger and nicer than we had expected. The main pool is big and deep and has elephants spouting water and a fountain in the middle and well as a shallow baby part. There is a second smaller pool near our room that also has a baby section. The kids club aslo looks really good. The room is spacious and comfortable and the aircon is cold. The bathroom is even bigger than ours at home! This is a really great resort for the money!

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Sunday 9 May - Day 6 in Bali

Today is our last day in Ubud!

On our scooter and off to Juice Ja Cafe to breakfast. We had a little trouble finding it so we stopped by the Circle K for directions and to stock up on sun cream. With directions in hand we had no trouble finding it and in we went. Steve ordered a Cafe Latte for 13 000 and a Chicken and Avocado Sandwich for 27 000. I was excited when I found out they had soy milk and I ordered an Iced Coffee and a Passionfruit/Chocolate Crepe for 22 000. Steve's order was very nice but mine was not so great. The coffee was very watery and the passionfruit filling in the crepe was very sweet and there was lots of it.

We went back to the Circle K where Steve had been speaking with the locals the previous day and asked Gede (who rents out the scooters) if it was possible to get a scooter tour. In the end Gede rented us another scooter for 50 000 and his friend Wayan agreed to be our guide for 250 000. We asked Wayan just to take us around the quieter roads in the surrounding villages. First he took us to some rice fields where we took some photos. The view was beautiful but unfortunately we were hassled by a man, a young girl and a women to buy some stuff. It was pretty full on and quite overwhelming. Next he took us to a large building where people were carving wood sculptures. A man explained to us the different types of wood and how it is done and then walked us through the shop. We felt obliged to buy something but quickly changed our minds when we saw that a small elephant cost 250 000 and it was a set price. We tipped the shop assistant and left as quickly as possible. We told Wayan that it was not quite what we had in mind and he took us to a local wood carving village where we bought a small wooden box for 20 000 and large orangutan for about 110 000.

We rode back into Ubud - I was hitting about 40kph by now and I thought I was flying!

Steve typing - We went back to the Circle K and dropped off one of the bikes as the path to the restaurant we were going to lunch at was through the rice fields and very very narrow. Rachael jumped on the back with wayan and i rode mine.

We had lunch at Sari Organic which is a restaurant surrounded by rice fields, the only way there is a small path through the fields, everything in the restaurant is grown locally and prepared in their kitchen. I had the "Chicken Mushroom" with steamed vegetables and rice, Rachael had "Chicken Fried Rice" and Wayan had "Balinese Nasi Campur" (Mixed grill). We all enjoyed our meals the food was pretty good. It was great to sit with Wayan and chat with him, his english is pretty good. He explained that slowly the traditional Balinese family is changing. The younger people don't want to work and many move away from home now to work.

After lunch Wayan took us back to our hotel and dropped us off, I grabbed his card and will email him in the future.

Rachael typing - We went back into town to drop the scooter off and the old guy who we rented it from was a little painful. First he tried to tell us that we were half a day late to drop it off and wanted to charge us for it but Steve was very clear with him that that was not the case and he gave up pretty quickly. He then asked us if we needed a taxi service somewhere and when we told him no he started sulking and saying we had promised him a job when we had hired the scooter from his nephew. Again, Steve told him this was not the case and when that did not work Steve apologised that he had misunderstood what we were saying. That worked and we left as quickly as possible! I think it is important to mention that this guy was Javanese and not Balinese...

We walked up the road towards Bali Healing - we had received a brochure from them a couple of days again and their packages sounded very good. On the way we stopped in at a Internet cafe and had a good chat with the kids.

Bali Healing was only a few doors up from the internet cafe and we went in and asked for the Ultimate Indulgence Package. It was 350 000 each and included a foot bath, a 4 hand massage (2 therapists), a body scrub, a facial and a foot massage for 2 1/2 hours! I loved it but my experience was very different to Steve's even though we were in the same room! For me the massage was perfect...the therapists worked perfectly together. They were in sync and both used the same amount of pressure - Steve's therapists were each using a different amount of pressure. I thought the green tea body scrub was great! The scrub was quite rough which I liked and was great for my skin leaving it really smooth but Steve had a lot of trouble with his hair! As they rubbed the scrub over his arms and legs it ripped on his hair (which I find quite amusing!). We then took a shower...I went first and felt very refreshed.Steve got in the shower, lathered himself up with soap and then the water stopped! The power had gone out and the water could not flow. They were very apologetic and got him a bowl of warm water and a face cloth to wash himself down. By now I was already having a facial and a foot massage which went for extra long due to the bathroom hiccup and then they put cold cucumber on my face and left me to rest. I don't think I have ever felt so relaxed! For me it was absolutely amazing and I am so glad we did it but I don't think Steve shares my sentiments!

We went back to the hotel and had a quick shower and changed into some fresh clothes then we went to dinner at Cinta Bar and Grill (Cinta means Love in balinese). We were told that cinta is the word for love. It was a very nice restaurant and the staff were extremely friendly. For starters we ordered Grilled Garlic Sourdough with Gorgonzola Cream for 55 000. It was delicious and we knew that we had picked a great restaurant for our last meal in Ubud! For mains we ordered Baby Back Pork Ribs with Rice for 92 000 and Bali Grilled Chicken with Garlic Turmeric Paste, Basil Mashed Potato and Grilled Vegetables for 57 000. Both mains were fantastic! The ribs were so tender they could be eaten with a knife and fork and the chicken breast was very moist and juicy - it was cooked perfectly! The basil mash was also very good and Steve is trying to work out how it was made so we can make it at home. We shared a dessert of Gelato for 24 000 and it was also very good - nicer than the gelato from Gelato Secrets. For drinks we had a large Bintang for 36 000 and a Cinta Mocha cooler for 75 000. This was by far the most expensive restaurant we had been to yet but we both agreed that it was worth it and it still only come to about $55aud all up.

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Saturday 8 May - Day 5 in Bali

We skipped breakfast and headed back into town on our new red scooter to Ubud Market Place. Between 4am and about 10am the Ubud Market Place is a full of stalls selling fresh and cooked foods for the locals and then from 10am or so the stalls change over and sell clothing and trinkets to the tourists. We were after cooking utensils and was told that the earlier market is the place to get them from. We didn't find much however we did buy two mortar and pestles (one smaller one and one larger one like we had used in our cooking class) for 100 000 (about $12.50AUD). I was extremely impressed with this buy and can't believe how cheap it was...I almost didn't even bother bargaining with her when she told us 150 000 for the larger one but Steve did a great job and we ended up getting the two of them.

We then headed over to Warung Enak for breakfast. Their menu looked so good we decided to order straight from the regular menu. We stared with drinks and had an Ice Coffee with Honey and Hazelnut for 32 000, a Banana Coffee Smoothie for 32 000 and a Mixed Juice for 16 500. The coffees were delicious...especially the Ice Coffee with Honey and Hazelnut. Then we ordered 2 serves of Lumpia Samarang (Spring Rolls) for 28 000 each and an 8 piece Sate Campur (campur means mixed) for 60 000. This is another resaurant we are adding to our favourites list!

We headed to the Ubud Information desk where we were to meet the shuttle bus that would take us to Bali Safari and Marine Park. The shuttle was going to pick us up at 11am and we were a little early so we walked up the road a little to the Circle K store and got some drinks and some spare batteries. Outside Steve struck up a conversation with the locals who had some scooters for hire and I had a look in a couple of the nearby shops and bought a little activity book that teaches English for children.

We went back to the information desk and our shuttle soon came. It took about 40 minutes to get to the Safari and Marine Park from Ubud. We looked around at the fish first and took note that the phirana feeding was at 3:30pm then we went and had our photo taken with a tiger cub and a young orangutan - she was so cute! By the time we had a good look around and gone on the sarari shuttle it was coming up to 3:30 so we headed back to the aquarium for the Phirana feeding. Apart from the rude, pushy Europeans it was pretty didn't take them long to get through half a raw chicken.

Back in Ubud we decided to go to Black Beach Italian Restaurant for dinner. We found it without too much trouble and walked up the stairs to the bar on the first level. Inside the whole floor is covered in a deep layer of black sand! We sat at the bar and ordered a large Bintang for 36 000, a Black Beach Cocktail for 42 000 and a Pizza Bianca for 15 000. Again, the girls behind the bar were checking out my husband and one at a time the ladies came out of the kitchen to "use the toilet". I can't take him anywere! After our drinks and entree were finished we headed up to the second floor eating area. The view was great and there was a nice was very relaxing. We ordered a main and a dessert to share - Spaghetti Carbonara ffor 49 000 and Pannacotta with Chocolate for 42 000. The flavour of the Carbonara was nice but we were dissapointed that it was made with packet pasta rather then fresh and the Pannacotta was nice but the chocolate was more like Cottees Chocolate Topping.

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Friday 7 May - Day 4 in Bali

We made a late start today. We slept in and then took our time to shower and go down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Before we even had a chance to sit down two ladies who were sitting at a table eating had jumped up and were squealing and giggling...there was a large male monkey sitting on the roof next to them. On the other side of the restaurant another smaller monkey had jumped up onto a table and was eating the leftovers from a table that had not yet been cleaned up.

We ordered an omlette and a banana pancake for breakfast. The omlette was not so great but the pancake was very good. We looked at our photos, updated our blog and chatted with Lau.

We walked into town through the Monkey Forrest at about 11am. When we go into the main street we stopped a small shop where a lady was selling clothing. She had some shorts that Steve liked and some nice dresses so we asked her if we could try them on. We could see that she did not have a fitting room so when she said yes we started stripping off right then and there...Steve already had the shorts on by the time we realised that she had a curtain that she was going to pull across for privacy. She was quite amused and was having a good chuckle! Anyway, the shorts were no good but we did by a dress for about 110 000.

We continued up the hill on our way to Ubud Market which is right at the top of the very long street. It was very hot and we had a long way to go so we took a taxi to the top. We had a great look around the market and bought a few things...a bowl, some sarongs, a few Bintang singlets, a t shirt and a couple of fans. By this stage our backpack was full and could not hold anything else so we decided that was enough shopping for one day.

We were walking back down the hill in the direction of our hotel looking for somewhere to eat lunch. We checked out a couple of places but nothing really took our fancy until we came across Ibu Rai which had been recommended to us by a staff member of the hotel.

For starters we had Calamari Fritty for 28 000 and Vietnamese Rolls for 24 000. The calamari was so tender and among the best calamari we have ever had and the rice paper rolls were also very good but not quite as good as the ones from Nomad.

We then ordered Ayam Rica Rica for 57 000 and Nasi Goreng for 38 000 and for drinks we had a Storm Pale Ale 23 000, a large Bintang for 25 000, a Pina Colada for 47 000 and a Banana Raja for 47 000. We both really enjoyed our meals and drinks and decided this restaurant is up the top of our list of favourites.

Steve typing:

About half way through lunch Rachael jumped a little and started saying swear words... no one in the restaurant even battered an eye lid as none of them had heard these words before... after a moment I realised that she had a gecko running up her leg. We scared that off and had a great lunch.

After lunch we went back to the markets and had a bit more of a look around before walking towards home. Along the way we bought a present for the boys.

A short distance past this we came across a scooter rental guy. As I had been very intereseted in the scooter pricing I asked and was amazed that for $5 AUD per day we could hire a realitivly new scootr which could save us a fortune in cabs and also be a lot of fun.

We decided that we would give it a go and hired one scooter.... Rachael was very scared ... lol... she is such a chicken.. I'm an excellent scooter captian.

Our first scooter didn't even make it out of the parking lot as it had a flat tyre so they got us a newer (better) one and the best thing about this one was it is red so you know what that means! Now that I had my new wheels we did a few tough laps of the Ubud circut as any Aussie would, then braved the single lane track back through the Monkey Forest to our hotel.

As we were a little early we deciideed to have a dip in the pool, the temp of the water is around 27c so it is beautiful when its over 30+

After a dip and a cold beer lazing by th pool i suggested we get a massage as we still had some time to kill before the show started that evening. Well therre only one large area on my body that didnt get a rub dowwn.. it was exccellent.

Rachael typing:

After our massage we had a quick shower and freshened up for dinner. The hotel was hosting dinner and a show for $25US. Dinner was a 4 course set menu of traditional Balinese food and the show was traditional Balinese dances preformed by a group of six 8 to 10 year old girls.

And that is the end of day 4...

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Thursday 6 May - Day 3 in Bali and our 10 year wedding anniversary!

Today we were up early for our day trip with Banyan Tree Bicycle Tours.

Gede and Nyoman arrived at 7:15am to pick us up from our hotel and then we went and picked up another couple from Germany (I could not understand the man's name but his wife's name was Christiana) and a solo female traveller (Vanessa) from Australia. After talking for a little while we found out that while Vanessa now lives in Darwin she grew up in Nambour and her parents are living in Palmwoods.

We drove for about an hour before coming to our first stop - Labhagga Restaurant. After a light breakfast we continued on driving for about another 20 minutes before reaching our starting point where we each got a bike and helmet. We were about to face a 26km ride back to Ubud where we would have lunch at the home of the owner of Banyan Tree Cycling Tours. His name is Bagi.

We rode for about 5 minutes before stopping to visit a traditional Balinese home. Gede told us about the purpose of each hut and took us through the garden explaining how each plant is used and showing us the animals that are bred for food and income.

The next stop was the rice fields where women where harvesting the rice. We each took our turn to whack the wooden board to release the rice. It was explained to us how the cycle works with a new crop being planted every 3 months. As we were leaving the ladies were talking and laughing with Gede. Steve asked what they were saying and Gede's response was "I not tell you...embarrass you". After being assured by Steve that it was okay he said that the ladies were saying that he was handsome and they liked his fair skin. They were joking around and saying that Gede could leave Steve with them and take the rest of us...well at least I think they were joking! Gede went on to tell Steve that if he stayed in Bali he would have lots of women!!!

After prying my husband away from the rice fields with an extremely inflated head we continued on down the road to a local temple. Each village has a temple and Gede talked to us about Hindu beliefs.

Next we came to a dam. We crossed the dam and pushed our bikes up through some lush green rice fields. The view was amazing! By now we were exhausted - it was extremely hot (about 36c in the sun) and my butt was hurting so badly! We kept going through the rice fields, passing about 5 women who were bathing naked in the water along side the path and yelling at us. I have no idea what they were saying but it did not appear to be hostile. On the other side of the path were two women resting in the fields - they were pointing at Steve and watching him as we rode along the track. I am going to have to keep a close eye on my husband now and maybe even be nice to him. He appears to be attracting a lot of attention!

After we left the rice fields the roads started to get busier and we were coming into the more built up area. As we rode past houses young children who were playing in groups would yell out "hello". Sometimes when we yelled hello back they would giggle.

After a while and a few big hills Steve and I decided to pack it in and take the easy way out - in the soft leather seat and air conditioned mini bus with Nyoman. Nyoman drove us to Bagi's house where Bagi was waiting with cold face clothes to freshen ourselves up. As we were still waiting for the rest of the group to arrive we took a short stroll down the drive way and spoke with the children who were there. The language barrier made it a little difficult but they knew a small amount of English and they were extremely adorable!

We sat down in an outdoor eating area with Bagi and Gede. Lunch was cooked by Bagi's wife and served by Gede's wife and was absolutely beautiful. It was one of the best meals we have had here so far. Gede explained to us that everyone (men and women) can cook in Bali because there is little fast food or convenience foods and the men cook for ceremonies while the women make the offerings.

It was interesting talking with Bagi. He is a very intelligent man and his knowledge of the world and politics was amazing.

We were dropped back at our hotel at about 3pm and we headed straight for the pool! We had a quick swim and relaxed for a while before deciding to get a massage.

We each had a 1 hour massage and they massaged everywhere. There were only two places they didn't massage on me and you can imagine where they are! They massaged our knee caps, our eye brows, our noses and even our ears! We were out by the pool and this was my first massage ever so I was a little surprised when she asked me to roll over onto my back and pulled my 1 piece down to my waist. I am not big on showing my bits to the world but there I was laying by a public pool with almost nothing on! I decided to go with it because I am never going to see these people again and the hotel was very quite at the time...I couldn't see anything because my eyes were covered but I could not hear anyone in the surrounding area. Steve tells me however that photos were being taken by mobile phones and passed around to mates....maybe there will be a big controversy over that soon.

We headed into town for dinner at around 6:30pm. We went to a restaurant called Nomad.

For starters we ordered Rice Paper Rolls for 35 000 and Japanese Gyozas for 33 000. Both were extremely good and I knew this was going to be a good dinner!

We decided to share a main of 9 Tapas for 69 000...again it was really good...

We also decided to share dessert and chose Banana Cream Caramel with Chocolate Ice Cream for 25 000. The dessert was different to what we had expected but was nice. It appeared to be a small banana cake that had been soaked in caramel sauce.

Steve had a few small Bali Hai's for 17 000 each and I had a Sweet Dream for 37 000 and a Cosmic Colada for 48 000. I didn't really like the Sweet Dream. It was very strong and was made with Arak which is a potent local "wine". I imagine it is highly flammable!

We had hoped to see some shops but by the time we finished dinner they were all closed so we headed back to the hotel.

Later in the night when we were both asleep there was a knock at the door. It was Lau (not sure on the spelling). We had told the hotel driver on the way to the restaurant that it was our wedding anniversary and Lau was delivering a small chocolate cake to our room for us to share as a celebration of our anniversary. The next day he apologised for waking us and I told him that it was okay as it was a very nice cake to wake up to!

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Wednesday 5 May - Day 2 in Bali

Today we slept in a bit later than we have so far which was nice. The room comes with breakfast so we went down to the hotel restaurant and both had french toast, the french toast here is a little sweeter that we make it. A little later we saw monkeys in the restaurant where everyone was having breakfast. The waiter had a slingshot that he was scaring them away with.

We then went back to our room to get ready to go into town. today we have a better plan with our money and are much more organised. We went to reception to organise the shuttle bus to take us to ubud, I also asked for a map so we had some idea where we were. On the map we could see how close the hotel is to ubud. The lady suggested we walk along the scooter path through the side of the monkey forest.

Along the path to the monkey forest we came to a dead end where there was a wood carver working away, he ushered us into his workshop. the carvings were amazing, after quite some time looking around we decided to get the three monkey statue as it was a bit different to what we had seen before and it reminds Rachael of Kaleb, Blake and Zane.

We walked for about 500m through the monkey forest looking at the monkeys. The centre of Ubud is like a big circular 1 way street, it is probably 6 kms all the way around at a guess. We talked for a bit looking for a good spot for a drink with WIFI internet so we could upload our pictures as the internet at the hotel wasn't working very well. We went into The Warung which is the restaurant for the Ubud Inn and sat down. We ordered a small Bintang for 20 000 and a mixed juice also for 20 000. While enjoying our drinks a man came out from the Ubud Inn with a very large bat hanging from his arm! He was swinging the bat back and forth a little as he walked up to a tree and hung it from a branch. I am assuming the bat is a pet as the man seemed to know exactly what he was doing and they bat just stayed there. It nibbled from the branch for a moment and then just hung around like it had nowhere else to be.

We continued up the was a bit past 11am by now. We were heading for Ibu Oka Babi Guling - the famous suckling pig in Ubud. We decided to catch a taxi because we were still a fair way off the restaurant and we didn't want to be too late because we have heard that they can sell out quickly. When we got there they were packed out! We made our way in and sat on the floor at a low table. We ordered 2 x Nasi and Babi Guling Specials for 25 000 each, a Babi Soup for 5 000, a bag of the yummmiest freshest Prawn Crackers ever for 7 000 and a small bir (beer) for 20 000. The order came quickly and Rachael was in heaven. The crackling was different to what we are used was crispy but more moist and not as hard. It also came with a small piece of sausage that was made from the liver and other inside bits and some small crispy pieces of the intestine or something like that. Steve was way to wussy to eat either of these bits!

After lunch we went walking up the street with no idea where we were going but in search of a Commonwealth Bank which we were told was down that way somewhere. We stopped by a Circle K (mini supermarket) and bought a razor, some cheese pringles, dettol soap, tissues (can you believe I didn't pack tissues?!) a chocolate bar, a coke and a gatorade. All up it cost 100 000. Drinks are really cheap here - the coke was about 90cents aud and the gatorade was about 65cents aud!

Along the way we felt everything getting a little less touristy, as there were less and less boutique shops. Rachael noticed a small shop selling sarongs and she had no trouble finding on she liked for a good price. We kept walking until we found the Commonwealth Bank and withdrew some money. The banks here have very tight security...they have at least two men in security uniforms. They open the door for you when you arrive and again when you leave and are quite pleasant and friendly.

We decided to walk back towards the Monkey Forest and our hotel. We quickly noticed we were in a local area as there were no tourist shops just locals and noone was asking us if we needed a taxi.

We spotted a clothes shop which was full of locals shopping so we decided to go and take a look. I asked the staff where the shirts where that would fit me. He laughed a bit and showed me a tiny section of shirts. We also found a couple of shirts for the boys.

We continued walking towards the Monkey Forest hoping there would be a taxi soon as we had not been asked for about 1km and we needed to ensure we got back to the hotel on time.

We stopped and spoke to a couple of young local guys who were working building a new shop and asked where we could get a taxi and they quickly asked where we were going and would motorbike be ok.

Rachael was a little apprehensive but really enjoyed the trip in the end as they took us though all the backstreets too small for cars. It cost us $1.75 AUD each.

Back at the hotel now we quickly grabbed a Bintang and mixed juice and had a refreshing dip in the pool.

At 4pm we had a shower and headed next door to the Laka Leke restaurant for a cooking class.

Laka Leke restaurant is a large restaurant that has open air huts spread around rice fields and beautiful gardens where they grow fresh ingredients to use in their restaurant. In the middle at the centre there is a large area where traditional performances and dancing occur a few nights a week.

We started our class with a tour of the gardens and were shown all of the ingredients we would be using and how they are picked.

After this we were introduced to the lady who was teaching us who was the first born daughter of the owners of the restaurant. Order of birth here is very important and determines which first name you have. So for first born there are 3 choices of name, for the second born there are 2 choices, for the third born there are 3 choices and for the 4th born there is only 1 choice. After that it starts back at 1 again so the 5th born has the same name as the first.

The cooking class was fantastic. We did a lot of chopping (the teacher always saying "Now you Chop" or "Chop Chop" with a giggle. We prepared each of the 5 dishes together so we all got to be involved in each process which was fantastic.

We made a chicken salad, chicken curry, Balinese style prawns, black rice pudding and nasi goreng (fried rice).

We did the class with another couple from Melbourne so there were only 4 in the group which was great.

At the end we enjoyed the fruits of our labour by eating it all up. It was very very nice. Rachael and I especially liked the fried rice, chicken salad and curry.

Time for bed....

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Tuesday 4 May - Day 1 in Bali

Tuesday 4 May - Day 1 in Bali
 We did not sleep well on Monday night in anticipation of Tuesdays flight to Bali.  Our flight was leaving at 9:25am and we had booked a shuttle for 7am to transfer us to the airport.  The problem was our room did not have an alarm clock!  We requested a wakeup call but they act so casual when we talk to them we were worried that they wouldn’t wake us up and barely slept.  In the end we needn’t have worried because the wakeup call came through twice!

At the airport we bought a universal travel adaptor which works in most countries for 88 RM.  The box says it is the Swiss Army Knife of travel adaptors!

After a quick 2 ½ hour flight we landed in Denpasar. Visa on Arrival was quick, immigration took forever and customs was easy because we didn’t have anything to  declare. It took about 1 hour to get out of the airport where Nyoman and his son who is training to be a driver were waiting to take us to Saren Indah Hotel in Ubud.  They were both lovely and while their English was not great they still tried to answer all Steve’s questions that were asked with a great deal of Aussie slang.  The only concern was that as the conversation got more in depth Nyoman’s driving got worse!  He told us that he was a wood carver but had gone bankrupt about a year or so ago along with a lot of the other local wood carvers from Ubud.  His driving was a bit hit and miss, he did a lot of driving in the middle of both lanes which attracted road rage and a lot of beeping from other drivers.
Along the road to the hotel we were both amazed at difference between here and home, nearly all the way from the airport to Ubud the road was lined with small shops/stalls and people were everywhere. The streets are narrow and there is not a lot of room like back home.
We arrived at the hotel and Nyoman explained he lived only a few hundred minutes down the road if we needed a driver. On arrival at the Saren Indah hotel we were greeted with welcome cooled towels and drinks to refresh ourselves. Just after we had arrived it started to pour down rain which I believe is typical in the afternoon/night in the rainy season which Nyoman had told us is hanging around for a bit longer this year.
Our room was beautiful, in an amazing surrounding of gardens and rice patties. The room was spotless clean and very very nice. At 4pm we left to go adventure around Ubud and go out for dinner. The hotel shuttle dropped us off in town and we had a walk through some small markets looking at sarongs and that sort of thing. Then down the road and noticed the “Gelato Secrets” stand which we couldn’t go past. We got a 2 scoop cup for 22000RP ($3aud) .. it was delicious.
As we were eating our gelato it started pouring again so we walked around for a bit looking for a shop that sells umbrellas, we found one and she loved us... this was our first purchase in the country and we had no idea how much an umbrella would cost. Well we started and ended at 80 000RP, Rachael though the lady said 8000 which is about 1 AUD...but she had said 80 000 which is actually 10 aud and it was a pretty crappy umbrella,  this highlighted to us that we need more shopping practice.
We left the umbrella shop feeling a little foolish but possibly a little wiser... only time will tell. As it was still pouring down we decided to goto “Tropical” which was a bar and restaurant that we had noticed was packed out.
They offered us a face towel to dry ourselves and sat us on the floor at a low table.  I immediately grabbed my first Bintang (Beeer 27 000RP) (large bottle not small of course) and Rachael grabbed a Cosmic Colada (33 000RP) these were great and we sat down and reflected on our excellent bartering skills and came up with a more organised plan for next time.
Once our drinks were over we asked our lovely waitress if we could walk to Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck Diner) restaurant or would it be best to cab it and how much should be expect to pay... she was helpful and we had no trouble getting a cab for close to what she suggested was a good price.  Paying for the cab was a whole other thing.  We only had larger notes on us and the driver didn’t have enough change.  Steve ran into the restaurant and had a note changed down but it was still too large for the driver.  The driver (Wayan) was very nice and suggested he run down to the local store and buy something so we could get some change.  He came back quickly with a drink and our change. We paid our fare and reimbursed him for his drink and all was good again.
On arrival at the restaurant we realised they were under massive renovation. We decided to go anyhow as we had read so many amazing reviews. As you can see from our photos there were still heaps of areas not being renovated and the place was very busy. The atmosphere was fantastic, the furniture was beautiful and the view of the rice fields from the back of the open air restaurant were amazing. 
 We started with appetisers: Snail Stuffed Mushrooms for 45 000rp and Aunt Mitzi’s Chicken Soup for 36 000rp.  Rachael loved the Snail Stuffed Mushrooms – the snails didn’t really have any taste but the mushrooms were beautiful and the sweet chilli type sauce was excellent.  The Chicken Soup was also beautiful. 
For mains we ordered Chicken Sate for 49 000rp and the restaurants signature dish Bebek Bengil which is crispy skin duck for 68 000rp.  Steve loved the Sate.  It wasn’t as spicy as the one from Malaysia but it did have a spicy sauce on the side so he could spice it up to his satisfaction.  The crispy duck was a little dry but very nice.  The dipping sauce on the side was very, very hot so we passed on that.
Unfortunately, after appetisers and mains there was no room left for dessert.  Rachael was a little disappointed by this because she was eyeing off the Coconut Cream Pie on the menu.  All up including 1 tallie and 1 stubbie plus the 15% service charge our dinner cost 316 500rp.
We then went back to the hotel and had another tallie and a juice from the hotel restaurant then it was bedtime...we were exhausted.

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The Weather is as hot as the food :)

Well we left for Malaysia yesterday morning at 8:40am from the Gold Coast airport and are now in Malaysia at the Concorde Inn which is close to the KLIA airport and not far from the LCCT airport which we flew into.

The flight was 8 hours and seemed to take forever, we were lucky enough to get on of the recenly refurbished planes so everything was sparkling new.

This is the plane we went on as it arrived at Gold Coast airport.

About 3 hours into flight realised we could hire a little media player for 30 Ringits (about $10 Austrlian). It was excellent we watched Couples Retreat and also Pearl Harbour.

When we landed in Malaysia we went through customs and immigration very quickly. We basically walked straight through customs and just stopped at immigration for a moment to get our passports stamped.

It was about 34 degrees when we landed which was a little bit of a shock as we walked off the pane. once laneded we stopped in to an Asian fast food restuarant called "Marry Browns" for a quick snack.

In our planning we decided to catch a bus from the LCCT airport to the KLIA airport (about 20 mins) and then get a cab from there to our hotel which was quiet close to KLIA. we found the first bus pretty easily and it cost us 5RM (about $1.75 AU) for the both of us. Once at the KLIA the fun begins.. man that place is huge. took us a while to find the cabs and then once we did the cabbie couldnt take us saying we needed to get a coupon. We had some help finding the coupon counter only to be told by the lady that served us we needed to get a shuttle bus not a cab as it's free. We found the bus stop after a while and asking a few different people.

The hotel is very nice and the room is clean and tidy, with much swearing and trip to reception we got the wifi working in our room. We went down and had a drink at the bar (Rachael likes the Pina Colada's here) and over to the restaurant for a meal. The food was beautiful the satay was great and the other black pepper beef with clear soup and sticky rice was also great. I realise now when the menu says pepper they mean chilli. I eventually worked out that the black things in with the beef were actually dried whole chillies... no wonder it was blowing my head off. Our waiter bought us complimentary tomato soup and some small heated rolls to snack on while we waited for our mains. so the two mains and a few beers ended out costing us 67RM ($22 aud) which i thought was very cheap for the service and quality of food we got.

One thing I'm noticing is that everyone is so eager to help you out and so far we have not been hassled by anyone so we are really looking forward to our 3 days in Malaysia at the end of this trip.

We are flying out to Bali today at 9:25am (11:25am au time) and arrive in Bali at 12:30 (2:30pm). In Denpasar we will have a driver waiting to take us up to Ubud for our first 9 nights.

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3 Weeks and 5 Days

Well we are rapidly approaching our departure date and it seems we still have a myriad of small things to get organised.

We altered our original itinerary a little and have added a 2 day scuba diving package in between our ubud and kuta stay. I'm really looking forward to the diving and hope it goes as well as the reviews we have read about the resort.

I was also pleased to read that AirAsia have very recently upgraded/refurbished their planes that fly between AU and KL so that should make for a slightly more pleasant flight. I had a friend describe the old seating as like sitting on dental floss so hopefully they lashed out and widened the seats a little.

I've spent a bit of time working out what we are going to do with our money and how we are going to manage it while over there. We are going to use our commonwealth bank cash card, it seems it's going to be the easiest and the commbank have ATM machines at various locations around the island.

It seems we don't actually need any immunisations to travel into either country so we have decided to brave it and go without.

The kids have been doing test/practice trips away to nanny's place to get them used to us not being around. We have a small Sony laptop organised to take with us that has a web cam so we can make video calls to the kids where possible, and also so we can update this blog for them so they can see what we have been up to each day or two where possible.

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The Indonesian Language

Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesia is united more than anything else, by its common language. The millions of people who live on the nations many thousands of islands, each with its own local language or dialect are able to communicate effectively using their national Bahasa. As a traveller, being able to speak a few words of Indonesian will assist you in your endevours to get around, and will certainly endear you to the local people you meet.

Greetings and civilities

* Good morning - Selamat Pagi
* Good afternoon - Selamat Siang.
* Good evening - Selamat Sore.
* Good night - Selamat Malam.
* Goodbye - Selamat Tinggal.
* How are you? - Apa Kabar?
* I am fine - Kabar Baik.
* What is your name? - Siapa nama anda?
* My name is... - Nama saya...
* Nice to meet you - Senang berkenalan dengan anda.
* See you later - Sampai jumpa lagi.
* Goodbye (said to people leaving) - Selamat jalan.
* Goodbye (said to people staying) - Selamat tinggal.
* I do not understand - Saya tidak mengerti.
* I do not speak Indonesian - Saya tidak mengerti bahasa.


* Yes - Ya / Tentu.
* O.K. - Beres.
* No / not - Tidak / bukan.
* Thank you - Terima kasih.
* No thank you - Tidak, terima kasih.
* You're welcome - Kembali.
* Please - Tolong / Silakan.
* Please help me - Tolonglah saya.
* Excuse me - Permisi.
* Sorry - Ma'af.
* What time is it? - Jam berapa?
* This - Ini.
* That - Itu.
* Dari mana? - Where have you just come from?
* Tuan asal dari mana? - What country are you from?.
* Mau ke mana? - Where are you going?
* Be careful / attention - Hati Hati


* Only looking - Lihat saja.
* I want to buy this - Saya mau beli.
* How much? - Berapa?
* How much is it? - Berapa Harganya?
* Expensive - Mahal.
* It's too expensive - Harganya terlalu mahal.
* Can you make it cheaper? - Boleh kurang harganya?
* What is your fixed price? - Harga pas berapa?
* Will you please leave me alone? - Sudikah anda membiarkan saya sendiri?


* I want the menu please - Saya mau daftar makanan minta.
* Tuan mau minum apa? - What would you like to drink?
* I would like to drink water / beer - Mau minum air / bir.
* Drinking water - Air minum.
* (Hot) Tea / coffee - Teh (panas) / kopi.
* Without sugar / milk - Tanpa gula / susu.
* With a little sugar / milk - Sedikit gula / susu.
* Tuan mau makan apa? - What would you like to eat?
* I would like to eat (spicy) chicken fried rice / spring rolls - Mau makan (pedas) nasi goreng ayam / lumpia.
* I would like to eat banana pancakes please - Mau makan kue dadar minta.
* How do you say it in English? - Apa bahasa Inggrisnya (pointing to strange item on menu)?
* I want the bill (check), thank you - Saya mau rekening, terima kasih.
* The bill (check) please - Tolong bonnya.


Simple accommodations in Bali are advertised as losmen, penginapan and wisma. Accommodations advertised as resorts and hotels are typically very similar to what would be expected in western countries. A new option for accommodation is villa's, which are becoming more common - and popular.

* The best hotel - Hotel paling baik.
* The cheapest hotel - Hotel paling murah.
* Mid-priced - Tidak mahal, tidak murah.
* Clean - Bersih.
* Are there rooms available? - Ada Kamar?
* Do you have a room? - Masih ada kamar kosong disini?
* Do you have any air-conditioned rooms? - Ada kamar dengan AC?
* A.C. - Air-conditioned
* Do you have fan-cooled rooms? - Ada kamar dengan kipas?
* Kipas - fan.
* What is the cost of the room? - Berapa ongkos kamar?
* What is the cost of this room? - Berapa harga untuk kamar ini?
* Two people - Dua orang.
* Including meals? - Termasuk makanan?
* Is there a toilet, bathroom? - Ada WC, tempat mandi?
* Bedsheet - Sprei
* Blanket - Selimut
* Towel - Handuk
* Soap - Sabun
* Can you wash clothes? - Bisa cuci pakaian?


* Where is the bus station? - Stasiun bis dimana?
* When is there a bus to...? - Kapan ada bis ke...?
* What time does it leave? - Berangkat jam berapa?
* How many hours to...? - Beraoa jam sampai...?
* Where is the airport? - Bandara dimana?
* What is the cost of a ticket to...? - Karcis ke...berapa?
* Can I have two tickets? - Saya minta dua karcis?


* Where is the toilet? - Dimana kamar kecil?
* Where is the beach? - Dimana pantai?
* Where is there a hotel? - Mana ada hotel?
* Where is there a restaurant? - Mana ada rumah makan?
* Where is the path to the waterfall? - Dimana jalan ke air terjun?
* Where is...? - Dimana...?
* How far is it? - Berapa jauh dari sini?
* Dekat - Near
* Jauh - Far
* What is the name of this street? - Apa nama jalan ini?
* Utara - North
* Selatan - South
* Timur - East
* Barat - West
* Kanan - Right
* Kiri - Left

Days of the week

* Sunday - Minggu
* Monday - Senin
* Tuesday - Selasa
* Wednesday - Rabu
* Thursday - Kamis
* Friday - Jum'at
* Saturday - Sabtu

Time of day

* Morning - Pagi
* Noon - Siang
* Evening / Night - Malam
* Yesterday - Kemarin
* Today - Hari ini
* Tomorrow - Besok
* Day after tomorrow - Lusa


* Day - Hari
* Week - Minggu
* Month - Bulan
* Year - Tahun

Months of the year

* January - Januari
* February - Februari
* March - Maret
* April - April
* May - Mei
* June - Juni
* July - Juli
* August - Agustus
* September - September
* October - Oktober
* November - November
* December - Desember


The alpahabet of Bahasa Indonesia is the same as English, but the pronunciation of most letters is usually different, as is the emphasis, which usually places stress on the second-last syllable.

Use the alphabet below as a guide to pronunciation...

A (ah)
B (bay)
C (ch)
D (day)
E (eh)
F (ef)
G (gay)
H (hah)
I (ee)
J (jay)
K (kah)
L (ell)
M (em)
N (en)
O (oh)
P (pay)
Q (key)
R (air-r)
S (ess)
T (tay)
U (oo)
V (vay)
W (way)
X (ex)
Y (yay)
Z (zet)


Numbers are not difficult to understand - the counting system is the same as in English, and the numbers are written using the same Arabic numerals. Numbers are of course encountered frequently, such as when dealing with money.

It is important to be able to count to ten. From there, the suffixes; "belas" (teens), "puluh" (tens), "ratus" (hundreds), "ribu" (thousands) and "juta" (millions) may be added to formulate larger numbers.

0 Nol
1 Satu
2 Dua
3 Tiga
4 Empat
5 Lima
6 Enam
7 Tujuh
8 Delapan
9 Sembilan
10 Sepulah
11 Sebalas
12 Dua belas
13 Tiga belas
14 Empat belas
15 Lima belas
16 Enam belas
17 Tujuh belas
18 Delapan belas
19 Sembilan belas
20 Dua puluh
25 Dua puluh lima
30 Tiga puluh
40 Empat puluh
50 Lima puluh
60 Enam puluh
70 Tujuh puluh
80 Delapan puluh
90 Sembilan puluh
100 Seratus
200 Dua ratus
500 Lima ratus
1000 Seribu
10000 Sepuluh ribu
1000000 Sejuta

Source: Bali - The Online Travel Guide by Wayne Reid

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