I'm a long way from where I was yesterday.
My head spins when I realize that I have been in four places in the last week.... Brisbane and Cairns in Australia, then Singapore, and now in beautiful Bali. What was I thinking?!!!
I flew from Brisbane to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef. I would show you some pictures, but my camera died on me and my iPad has decided not to accept photographs from my cell phone. The experience in Cairns wasn't quite what I expected, but mostly because I made some bad choices. The Reef cruise I chose required swimming quite a distance from the shore to go snorkeling on the reef. Since I'm not a strong swimmer, I opted not to try this and went instead on the semi – submarine boat to view the reef coral and all the colorful fish. Instead of seeing the dozens of colorful fish I expected to see, there were only seven or eight varieties that appeared. That was a real disappointment, considering what it cost me to fly to Cairns. Oh well, I can say I was there.
The building above is the Marina Bay Towers in Singapore. It was very hot in Singapore, and I spent a lot of time wandering inside air-conditioned shopping malls. So, I don't have many pictures from there either. Singapore is a very modern and clean city, and there are lots of laws to keep it that way. For example, it is against the law to fail to flush a public toilet after its use, and you can be fined $1000 for littering. You can chew gum in Singapore, but you won't find any for sale there. And, of course, be sure to throw it in a trash bin to avoid the $1000 littering fine.
I was in Singapore for only two days. I had my morning coffee at a Starbucks nearby, and I was very surprised by how huge the large coffee was. I think it was about 5 cups worth.
Several friends said that I must go to Long's Bar at the Raffles Hotel to have a Singapore Sling. This is where the drink originated. So I did. The tab was a stunning $32 SG, about $25 USD. What I liked most about this place were the rattan fans that lined the ceiling beams and waved back and forth in unison.
This old colonial hotel was also stunning and a refreshing change from the sleek modern buildings that dominate Singapore's skyline. But the price tag is for the rich and famous.
Travel weary, I have come to rest in this peaceful house in Bali, about 3 kilometers from Ubud, the town made famous by Eat, Pray, Love. The house where Julia Roberts lived in the movie is only 10 minutes from here.
I sit in a comfortable chair on the porch and watch and listen to the sounds and movements of nature--roosters crowing (from morning until night), birds chirping, chickens scratching for food, neighborhood dogs barking, a coconut crashing to the ground, butterflies flitting from flower to flower. It's very tranquil here, but if I want to sleep past dawn, I'll need earplugs. There are several fruit trees in my yard--mangosteen, durian, salak, rambutan, and coconut. I haven't yet tasted salak or rambutan, but have had the others in Thailand.
The owner of this house is an American who is also traveling. He's lived here for 6 years and owns several shops in Ubud. There is a Balinese woman who comes by every day to clean and help me arrange for anything I might need. Kadek is a very sweet woman and also very talkative. I understand about half of what she says.
Tonight, we will be cooking some Balinese dishes together and I will meet the rest of her family. I expect to learn much about the culture of Bali from this very kind woman.
I will stay in Bali for a month to rest and relax and just BE.