Monday, May 31, 2010

surround sound building

There is a din of planing, sawing and drilling in the camp. Gerry is building two new bedroom bungalows for his sons and regular blow-ins from the Broulee area; Kel is moving up in the world to a simple double storied house, next to his current bedsit bungalow.  All the more room to entice a lady friend.  We have workmen renovating the storeroom into a studio/guestroom.  They have built tin shutters that fold up to create a verandah, or lock down for security in the wet season, and two narrow "Bali doors" between the studio and shower courtyard.   I have whitewashed the furniture and are waiting for my handy husband to build a shelving unit.  He seems to be caught up making us some money at the desk, or pulling into barrels in his other office.

Mid-thirties in the shade and he is sporting a beanie. They have a warped idea that it keeps them cool.  I don't think their ancestors were running around in woolen hats.

The up side of the noise and dust creating by these projects, is the power to the fridge during the day.  The joy of ice.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

site visit

Tom has taken on his most challenging building site to date.  A craggy ancient reef, with six meter drop offs, deep fissures and dubious overhangs.  The rocks are a tangle with wild figs and scrub, and are as sharp as razors.   It affords a 180 degree view of the coconut groves and coastline; just the ticket for uninterrupted sunset views from the infinity edge plunge pool.

My beautiful wife has asked for a guest appearance from me to comment on this, but she’s practically already said it all.  It’s certainly a fantastic site, filled with challenges and opportunities.  Early days at the moment, but the owners are switched on, giving me free range to blend creativity with practicality.  Stay tuned for the results. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scrabble war

Two years ago, Tom’s sister visited and brought “Super Scrabble”.   The board is twice the size of a regular game, with twice as many letters and the option of a quadruple word score.  It was game on.  For five months we had chain Scrabble games and developed quite an addiction that took up many hours.  Let it be known that I was the undisputed champion of the season.

Last year, Tom was working on a number of design projects.  He found that he had to strain the same part of his brain as when creating words from a jumble, so we only managed a handful of games over seven months.  As Scrabble was invented by an architect, he may have a point.

We have dusted off the letters for our first game, and my ego wishes to tell you that I WON.  Next time I hope to whip out the word caziques, for a record 392 points.  Mattel have announced that the new edition to be released in July will allow the use of proper nouns.  We will not be implementing this change -  no way; that will let every Tom, Dick and Harry in with a chance.

Monday, May 17, 2010

power to the people

The expats of Aussie Parade have a new 7Kva generator to power up our lives during the day.  The genny lives in a shed behind Gerry’s place, and Tom and I are connected via a series of extension cords 500 metres long.  There are a few building projects underway in the Parade, so when the planers and drills are cranked up, we get temporary power to run the fridge and blender.  It is not, under any circumstances, for charging valuable computer or audio equipment. 

The first day we connected our extension cord into the system, Gerry ensured me they had the governor set to regulate the output at a steady 240 volts.  Sweet.  I hesitated for a moment when plugging in my computer, having previously blown up the ipod dock and my mobile phone charger on our little generator.  Less than 15 minutes later, one of the workmen friggs with the switch and ups the voltage to 300 volts – frying the computer charger and both Gerry’s and Kel’s fuse boxes. 

It cost $70 for a new charger in Bali, and we are now owed a fruiting coconut tree from the offending workman as reimbursement.  I won't be counting my coconuts too soon on that one.

nature's indicators

The dragonflies arrived two weeks ago on the trade winds, a sign that the dry season is imminent. Then the patterns shifted, bringing sultry and sticky conditions.  Today is the third day of unseasonal northerly winds in the morning, then still, heavy humidity all afternoon.    Listen to the dragonflies and bring on the long dry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

not for mopping

Tried these beauties on.  Not practical for wonky feet with orthotics, not good in the sand, and definitely not suitable for mopping.  Back on the shelf they go.

Friday, May 14, 2010

plait your hair?

 I may not be falling asleep half way through my bottle of Bintang, but I am certainly ready to leave the strange world of Legian and return to fresh air, peace and my husband.   We have been staying at the Jayakarta; a hotel favourite with Australian package tourists and holidaying Javanese Muslims.  This makes for interesting and disturbing people watching at breakfast.   Each morning when I do my laps in the pool, the hijab clad women are ready with their cameras to capture the risqué excitement of a bikini.  The disheveled Aussie’s appear for their fry-ups and bad coffee, sporting the unofficial unisex uniform of boardies and a Bintang singlet, or the strapless elastic rouged dress and braided hair.  Oh my god, I may not be uber chic, but please…don’t get me started. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cafe Bali revisited

No trip to Bali is complete without at least one quiet moment in Cafe Bali.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the rock bar

Chic, exclusive and glam.  We are not in Kansas anymore.  The Rock Bar  at the Ayana Resort is the location for sunset drinks on the Bukit.  Fourteen meters above the ocean and cut into the cliff side, the bar hovers over the water and provides uninterrupted views of the sunset as you swill your expensive tipple.  The marketing blurb promises you couldn't get any closer to the sunset without setting sail.  

Sasha, Hildi and I dipping our toes in the luxe life.

Monday, May 10, 2010

long distance food run

Some people go around the corner to Woolies or the local gourmet store; Hildi and I come to Bali. Someone's got to do it.  

Food and hardware shopping take up the first two day's agenda.  We hire a Suzuki Sierra, and with my brazen confidence behind the wheel, we take lists in hand and take to the road.  I have a wholesale account with a food company that supplies imported foods to the catering industry.  Trading as the "Tom and Sally Cafe" I pick up our order of bulk nuts, seeds, dried fruit, pulses & olives for the next two months.  Added to the food items are door handles, hinges, stainless steel wire, screws, books and cartons of soy milk.  With the main load shipped off on air cargo, our time is free to indulge in the finer points of coffee, massage and window shopping.

Grocer and Grind in Seminyak offer this delightful eye candy.  Not available in our local market.  Just looking madam.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

shadows grow longer

I love dawn and dusk.  The long shadows; the dancing colours; the subtle blue time after sunset.  Days here fall into the rhythm of the sun and phases of the moon.  Woken early by the first birds and roosters, I can tell what time it is by the fall of light on the coconuts.  If the tank stand is sunlit, I've managed to sleep in.  

Our house faces west, overlooking the ocean and the setting sun. Being West Australian's we are lucky to be born into a life of sunsets over the sea. so I don't photograph them often - unlike our east coast cousins - yet I am always moved by the heartbeat of nature as it faultlessly drops behind the horizon to brighten someone's day on the other side.  

 Being close to the equator, day length does not vary significantly throughout the year, however we can watch the sun move north toward the winter equinox, then south again to the solstice. We see the moon rise and set; watch its transition through the phases, and how it relates to the tides.  Spring, neap, incoming, outgoing, waxing, waning.  Sleeping.

Darwin lives on

Last year a skinny and timid dog started sniffing around the houses of Aussie Parade.  Dogs have a difficult life in Indonesia and this little fella was a poor specimen.  We gave him scraps and he kept coming back, so we adopted him into our community and named him "Darwin" in honor of Charles and his 200th birthday.  Darwin wasn't fussed about our vegan offerings, preferring the chicken bones, pork fat and boiled goat from our neighbors - and I thought he was starving. 

By October, Darwin's coat was shining and he was bounding about the compound.  Still very shy, but full of zest.  This had us worried for his welfare in the off-season, when he could be a plump offering on the Christmas table.  Dog is a delicacy, and there is an annual dog party to chow down on man's best friend.  We once witnessed a family eating their "pet" after it was run over earlier that morning!

To my delight, Darwin was waiting to welcome us home this year, albeit a little thinner.  Long live Darwin.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the great mopathon


One of the drawbacks to living on the beach in an open house is the daily dose of dust.  When the tradewinds blow (every day between April and October), little bits of the grass roof fall like grey snow over every surface.  The glossy floorboards are beautiful when clean, but show up every footprint, grain of sand and speck of dust, especially in the golden raked light of the afternoon sun.  Now, I am not trying not to be anal here - this is a surf shack - but as a floor sitter, the dirt tends to disturb me.  Which leads to the great mop ritual.  Every bloody day.  

Did I mention dust?

Seen here with the mop are my new Dorothy shoes.  My mother and the podiatrist have been hounding me to wear shoes and orthotics to support my wonky foundations.  I could count the number of times I have worn shoes in the past 12 months on one hand.  Thongs and bare feet are de rigeur for our lifestyle.  Then I saw these little red beauties and my heart was won over.  Perfect for mopping.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

they call me the count

It is Indonesian census day.  Hendrick has the job of visiting every house in our locale and branding it with a sticker.  Our house counts, but as we are foreign imports, we don't. The official status is "empty house."  I feel so insignificant.  
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