Going up in the world

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This will be my “prison” for the next few weeks in September. Nice view, huh? It’s 400m elevation, the owner says. Nice and cool compared to the coast.

Today we drove up to the villa (shown above) where the owner needs a cat-sitter for a few weeks. I’ve realised that this is the place where my friend sent me a web advertisement a couple of months ago. It’s been sold but the new owner won’t be arriving for another few weeks, so the present owner wants to go back to Qld in the meantime. Hence his need for a villa and cat sitter.

It’s a bit isolated but there’s a car in the garage and I can have a driver on call. Should be OK. As long as the cat-nappers don’t try to steal the cat again.

(Damn, I’d written a big par about this, but my PC just flashed and hiccupped and it’s gone. Grrrr.)

So it’s back to Sanur for a few days from tomorrow, back to Perth on Thursday, a weekend to check that things are OK at home, doctor on Monday, pick up new med supplies, then back here the next Tuesday.

This has been a complete surprise change of plans, but it’s the spice of life, ain’t it?

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This was taken at the nudist resort last week. I was wearing a gate. No, I’m not gay, wash your mouth out! This was the gate to the beach. No nudity allowed beyond that point.

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I picked this up off the road today. It’s the fruit and nut of a cashew tree. I’ve never seen this before, although I’ve read about it. The soft fruit is edible and smells beautiful. It’s very juicy but a bit fibrous. You can eat it, but it would be better just juiced.

The nut, however, is in that hard shell and the kernel has to be extracted, then roasted to get rid of its poisonous oils. I was told that opening the shell needs to be done with care because the oils irritate the skin.

We sucked the fruit dry today but I’ve got the nut with me. I’d like to take it home for curiosity value, but I think Customs might have something to say about that.

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I’ve been working hard today, writing an essay on bullying for the daughter of a friend. This daughter has just started first year uni in Singaraja and they set a punishing work pace. Lectures start at 6am and Brenda is working until late at night on assignments, then has to leave home at 5am to be at the uni.

She’s been set two essays due in on Monday – both to be written in English, both of about four legal sized (8.5″ x 14″) pages. One is on bullying, and the other is to be entitled “Your Life”. Because she’s snowed under, she’s asked me to write them.

Ouch. I’ve done the bullying one, by a lot of copying and pasting from Doctor Internet, changing as much text as I can to avoid plagiarism charges.

But it’s now 10.30pm and we’re leaving here tomorrow. I doubt I’ll be able to do the Life one. I think I might have to just list some headings in a framework for her to fill in. Besides, it’s very hard for me to write about her future life!  If I knew that …

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This is where I am now. Taken this morning, in the misty coolness. Nice, huh?

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Heading out for some fishing at 8am.

New plan?

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Seen one sunset, ya  seen ’em all, ay? (C) PJ Croft 2016

It was a sad goodbye to our resort stay today, and back to the grindstone of the luxury villa at Pemaron. It’s a tough life.

As I said, it was a nudist resort and we enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately all the other guests left on the day before we did, so it was a bit quiet at the end.

I had another massage this morning and the guy was brutal! The power in his thumbs and fingers! I was yelling and groaning and putting my hand up to ask him to stop quite a few times, but he kept on applying the pressure. He says I have a problem in my left leg and right shoulder. Yeah, I know that. This is the guy who can climb a coconut palm just using hands and feet. Tough as nails.

Despite the pain, it was good, especially when it stopped. A 1 hour massage cost Rp150,000++ or ~A$17.50. OK value.

We were sorry to leave today. It was so peaceful. Recommended. Just leave your clothes at the gate, but you can leave your hat on. 🙂

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Pemaron west 26 Aug 2016  (C) PJ Croft 2016

There might be a change of plans coming up. I’m due to go back home next Thursday 1 September, back to the cold and winds.

But an Aussie couple are needing someone to house-sit their villa and cat up in the mountains near here for a few weeks and I might be the one. It’ll mean going back to Perth next Thursday because the ticket is non-refundable and I need to get new supplies of my medications anyway.

But I might be coming back to look after that villa the week after that, maybe the 5th or 6th. Just for a few weeks, but no rent or hotel costs, of course. It’s tentative at the moment, but could be done. It’ll be a bit isolated, but I should be able to get a driver for the car at the villa and get out and about.

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Pemaron looking west, 26.8.16  (C) PJ Croft 2016

Meanwhile, I’ve got another task – write two essays in English for the daughter of a friend of V’s. She’s just started uni in Singaraja and is snowed under with assignments. These two essays need to be written in English. One is about bullying, and the other about “Your Life”, meaning about the student’s aspirations for her life. Deadline, Sunday afternoon late. Length – four A4 pages each.

Bloody hell! This is a big ask. I have to go and visit this potential villa-sit tomorrow (Saturday) and that’ll take a while. I also have a batik shirt fitting at 9am tomorrow.

There might have to be a bit of copying and pasting, I think, from Dr Wikipedia and other sources. A bit of plagiarism. Uh oh.

Life for uni freshers here seems to be brutal. The amount of work they have to produce in a short time frame, and classes start at 6am. I suspect it’s to weed out the strong from the weak. Yowch.

This ain’t bad!

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Our verandah and semi private pool. It’s cool and deep and long.

Sitting at the breakfast table in the open air restaurant with the sound of the surf coming over the wall to my left. I’m stark bollocks, and the gentle sea breeze reaches all of me. It’s beautiful.

We like this place so much that we extended our three day stay to five days, and it will be hard to leave tomorrow, back to the textile world of prohibitions and conformity. As my friend says, it’s so peaceful here, away from the stresses and traffic.

We’re very happy with this restaurant. The food is very good, if a bit expensive for Bali. Most dishes are $7 to $12. That’s pretty good, I suppose. But we’re pleasantly surprised by the food each night. Lucky, because we can’t go anywhere else. The wine is a sore point – A$37 for a locally blended bottle of chardonnay made from SA Barossa grapes. Although simple, it’s very nice.

I’m booked for a massage at 11am. Unfortunately it’s by a guy. I regret there are no women on the staff.

Midday: Phwoooaaar, that was good! The guy was cruel but I got to almost enjoy the pain after a while. He started out with mild pressure but seemed to be saying “Easy no good – hard is good.” Yeah, I think he’s right, but I was groaning and yelling at him to stop sometimes.

So now I’m sitting, totally nude, having Italian espresso coffee in the open air dining area, covered in oil, feeling great. I don’t wanna wear clothes again, thanks. V is out snorkelling about 200m offshore. I’m certain she’s enjoying it. That makes two of us.

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Another pretty sleepless night. I dropped off almost instantly but awoke at about 2am and that was the end of sleep last night. Luckily I don’t have to go to work. Lucky also because I don’t have any clothes. 🙂

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One more week, then back to winter. I leave here next Thursday. We’re going to Kuta or Legian for four days first. I have medical appointments in September before I can consider coming back. This is my fourth visit this year and there’ll definitely be another as I have a ticket back from DPS to PER on 11 January. I’ll be here over Xmas in other words.

New ditty

There was a young man from Perth
Naked at time of his birth
Determined to see
The same new ditty
In the time he has left on this Earth

Ha ha ha, I’m laughing out of sheer pleasure. We’re in a location where wearing a watch is being over-dressed. Get the picture? Unfortunately I can’t take too many pictures, but I’m not carrying a camera anyway. That would cover too much and I don’t have a pocket. 😉

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From  the breakfast table.  The ocean is just to the left, behind a low wall.  Aaaah.

V wanted a fresh coconut, so the Balinese staffer actually did the climb up the trunk just using his feet and hands. I’ve seen pictures of it, but now I’ve seen it live.

In fact he didn’t get a coconut, just hacked off some low fronds, but he’ll get one later. V has a locally made hand hole driller for coconuts. It’s stainless steel, has a T-handle and a tapered, very sharp, round, pointed blade. Just push it in and rotate. Works a treat – $13.50 for one.

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We like it here so much that although we’re only booked until tomorrow, we’ve decided to stay another couple of nights. BIG room, and BIG pool with very cool water and a very deep end just outside our door. Nudity is compulsory around the pool. Suits me! Unfortunately there are very few guests at the moment, just us, another couple and a single guy.

I was here for a few days in January 2011 and the development since then is remarkable. Many more rooms and of a higher standard. Excellent, recommended.

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The other couple are good value. From NZ, one of them is a PhD in law from Cambridge and a Wagner fan. They’re heading to Melbourne after here to see his fifth performance of the Ring. That’s dedication. He hasn’t seen it in Bayreuth, but that’s a pleasure still on his bucket list. They’ve been coming here to this resort since 2009.

The PhD guy is long retired, used to lecture in law in Auckland, and still works from home using the internet. Very interesting to talk to.

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I’m using a Samsung Tab Pro S laptop/tablet PC these days, and ever since a big Samsung software update last Saturday morning, including a BIOS update, it doesn’t work properly any more. The power button used to put it to sleep, but now it will only shut down and power off. That means a restart every time. Grrrr. I hope they fix this soon.

Now for a swim. Phwoooaaar, the water is cold. It gets cool here at night, no aircon needed and even the fan at lowest speed was too much. The pool is shaded most of the day so stays cold. It’s good. I did 10 laps of a 20m pool, 20 x 20 = 400m, non-stop. Slowly, but I was puffing. I sure wish I had a pool at home, for exercise.

Beautiful Bali

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The villa at Pemaron, looking west on a very clear morning this morning. (C) PJ Croft 2016 Taken with my Samsung tablet PC camera.

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Pemaron view, sunset.  (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Seen one sunset, ya seen ’em all, eh?    (C) PJ Croft 2016

It was a glorious full moon last night, very bright, almost enough to get moonburn in the clear, cool night. We swam late and I never thought I’d be cold in Bali, but I was shivering in the cool air when I got out.

This morning the air was still very clear as shown in the top photo. V pointed out that you can actually see the volcanic mountains of Java to the west. The big one is Gunung Merapi. Even from here, about 90km away, it looks huge.

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The white spot to the left (west) of Kalipuro is Gunung Merapi.

The closer mountains, just across the very wide bay, are 30km away. What a view to wake up to each morning. The weather is beautiful, cool in the morning, warming up to about 30C in the middle of the day, but there’s often a cool breeze from the east and it’s quite low humidity. This is the dry season. It’s rained a few times, but not much. I miss the thunder and lightning of the wet season, though.

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We made the short drive to Singaraja yesterday and I took the opportunity to look in a rather scungy computer shop while V was off doing something. What did I find but a card reader that was clearly labelled SD High Speed UHS-II.

This is what I’ve been lacking in order to read the files off the card from the Panasonic FZ1000 camera. I had a good Sandisk one, costing about $36 I think, but it failed mechanically (i.e. the card just falls out, the contacts have lost their grip). I tried to buy a replacement just before this trip, but the price in a Perth shop was $89.95! I recoiled and said I wasn’t going to pay that.

When I got home, I webbed and found it, the same device, for $36.60, the price I paid a bit more than a year ago. I emailed the shop and queried their price. They brought it down to $59.95. Gee, thanks, but no thanks.

So yesterday I wasn’t sure whether this odd brand card reader would be suitable and asked the price. Rp65,000. That’s A$6.50! Kerrrumbs, even if it didn’t work, it wasn’t a big risk. So I bought it and bingo! It works great. Finally I can get all my images and video off the camera. Those sunset ones are some of them.

Indonesia’s a funny place for prices. Some things are amazingly cheap, such as the above, but other things, such as muesli at $7.50 for a 500g bag are very expensive. A loaf of sliced brown bread was $1 yesterday. It’s nice bread, but it tastes so sweet. They add sugar to everything.

They had a sugar free wholemeal loaf but it was frozen whole. You’d have to defrost it to slice it, and it was $3.50. I went for the $1 loaf.

Hardy’s also has a big gourmet food shelf with all you need for canapes and cocktails. Beer is very cheap, but foreign and Australian wines, eg at an average of $40 a bottle for Rosemount that I’d pay no more than $15 for at home, no thanks.

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Then we drove to Lovina and had a look at the beach and jetty. There are two yachts moored offshore, a single master about 15m long and a two master about 30m long. A guy told us that they’ve effectively been abandoned. The single mast is old and decrepit, and the engine has failed in the big one. Apparently the owner has left it there for more than a year. I offered $5 but the guy wanted to haggle  🙂

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We had drinks and dinner in a beach bar, and with a beautiful sunset, it was fabulous. But the strong breeze died almost as soon as the sun went down. It was very noticeable. Then the band started playing and although it was great music, it made conversation almost impossible. Combined with the constant noise from motorbikes, we had to finish up and leave.

Birthday day

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Canal Rocks, WA  (C) Veronika 2016

It’s Veronika’s birthday today. I won’t be so bold as to divulge the number, but it’s a comfortable age. Happy birthday, my dear.

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Another sparkling day in paradise. It rained a fair bit yesterday, both early and later in the evening. Let’s hope it holds off tonight. We don’t want the LED candles to go out.

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Breakthrough. There’s a pet monkey named Charlie in a cage here, and we don’t like to see him cooped up. I try to amuse him and this morning he reached out and touched my fingers briefly through the bars. First time. He’s slowly developing trust in me.

We’d like to let him out, but there’s a young dog here which attacks him.

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Hooray. My 250GB portable HDD that was making the clicking noises came good long enough for me to copy all the material off yesterday, so that’s a relief. It’s only material copied from my home PC, so if I’d lost the drive, I still had the files, but at home, not here.

 

Phew!

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Off Cape Leeuwin, April 2016  (C) Veronika

Phew, only five days in Bali and I feel as if I’ve entered a different world. It’s nothing major, just learning to do things as a couple and finding a few pebbles in my shoe, so to speak. It’s very good, and I wouldn’t go back to my old solitary ways, but it’s a learning curve at this late stage of my life. We’re both strong willed people and a bit set in our ways and we have to learn to compromise and meet in the middle, if possible. I admit I dig my heels in at a couple of things, for good reasons, I feel. It’s a matter of saying so without giving offence. It’s all new territory to me, I admit.

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Now I’m back on the north coast and trying to help my partner make preparations for her big party on Saturday. She wants a bang up show and I worry that she’s taking too much on, so all I can do is be here and try to help, or stay out of the way as much as I can.

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The weather is beautiful. Not hot, about 28C I’d guess, and the humidity is low. Clothes dry easily. It’s quite cool in the mornings, and in a late night swim about 10pm last night, I had to get out after only about 15 minutes, I was so cold. Aaaaah.

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Sanur beach Sunday 7 August. Those black things are kites. This is ISO3200!  (C) PJ Croft 2016

It’s the Bali Kite Festival and we hit the beach on Sunday to see what was on offer. We were a bit late in the day and the kite colours were not too visible, but we saw what looked like monsters from outer space above us. We hope to buy a kite up here and fly our own.

I have video of this, but it takes so long to convert and upload! It’s hardly worth it.

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I see the predictable foul-ups occurred on census night. I wasn’t in the country so I guess I don’t exist. I have no idea what was in the census, but I wish I’d been there as I quite like filling out these surveys, aka talking about myself. 🙂

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We drove from Sanur to Pemaron (near Lovina) up over the mountains. This is quite a drive, especially the last section, a direct route down, rather than using the main road. Phew, some of the hairpin bends are scary, only one car wide. But it was a good ride.

I was especially impressed by the ride of the vehicle, a Toyota Avanza. With nice leather seats, the ride felt supple and comfortable, not harsh, just about right. Impressed.