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November 26th 2009
Published: December 9th 2009
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Lake BaturLake BaturLake Batur

There are two volcanic cones on the left.
Howdy! Long time no blog. This a big catcher upper post with oodles of pictures. Fair warning to my many friends with A.D.D., you might want to digest this in bits or just hit delete and save yourself the hassle entirely. ;-)

First, if you haven’t heard, we have decided to stay in Bali until June 2010. A friend and partner in public accounting started off her email back in September with, “There’s absolutely no reason for you to come back now.” She had ten resumes on her desk, all quality CFOs looking for work, and many are turning to consulting firms until the job market picks up. I doubt that Toby’s job search would fare much better as few people are likely to splash out cash to remodel or build new custom houses while the economy is swirling near the bottom of the commode.

Bali’s a pretty nice place to weather an economic crisis. We don't have to hear the 24/7 news reports of doom and gloom. Here we read a few articles on the net and get the gist without the incessant nail biting over whether things are truly getting better or if the other shoe’s about
Besakih mother templeBesakih mother templeBesakih mother temple

The largest temple in Bali.
to drop like a bomb out of the Enola Gay.

Toby has become best buddies with the older dogs at the dog shelter. Kintamani, a black and white dog with deer like abilities jumps over the walls of the kennel she’s in to be with Toby wherever he is. Toby’s got a whole Grizzly Adams thing going on where he can make nervous or aggressive dogs trust and love him. When the vets need to give such dogs a shot or administer other medical procedures they enlist Toby’s help to catch and hold them because nobody else can get near. Toby worries that the dogs will see this as a betrayal of their trust in him but they forgive and forget pretty quickly. Of course the puppies are all adorable and I want to bring the whole furry, floppy eared heap of them home with me.

I joined Toby at the dog shelter to help out with a specific accounting issue that has, as usual, mushroomed into a dozen additional projects. NERD ALERT: Being back in the biz, I realize that I truly enjoy accounting when all the politics and 12 hour days are stripped away. And I adore the new accountant that they hired: hard working, whip smart, well experienced, sweet as a Georgia peach and cute as Hello Kitty. Hopefully she’ll stay and be happy though the puppies are conspiring against it. They consistently pee and poop next to her desk as if there’s an olfactory sign flashing “PuPpY LaTrInE.” I guess we know how THEY feel about the accounting department… must be in sales. ;-) Bunch of whiny prima donnas who think their $hit don't stink. ;-) ;-)

My mom came for a two week vacation in early September when the weather was balmy during the day and cool enough for long pants and sleeves in the evening. Thankfully she didn’t come two months later when my brother and his wife did. It’s become drippingly hot and muggy, cooling a little in the evenings but not quite enough. Trousers are left to mold in the wardrobe. We had a great time anyway, traveling about on wind refreshing motor bikes, exploring new restaurants and lounging in beach side eateries with ocean breezes. We were at one of these when we witnessed a dramatic event out on the water. A mysterious dark gray sea creature at
Elephant hand shakeElephant hand shakeElephant hand shake

There's an elephant park here that rescues elephants from Sumatra.
least three feet long came bounding out of the water and frantically beat across the surface of the ocean on the tip of its tail for a good 30 feet or more. It was clearly not a dolphin happily diving in and out of the water in smooth gray arcs but something large and driven by intense fear. The restaurant’s owner explained that it was a barracuda. Judging from its gravity defying attempt to escape from its water borne home, a shark must have been chomping at its heels. It was thrilling to see. Well for us, probably not for the poor barracuda.

What else is new? Oh, I’m a vegetarian now. My hunting/fishing father would be turning over in his grave right now if not for the fact that he was cremated. I took a meditation class and we were told to go veggie and eliminate alcohol for maximum benefit. I managed tea totaling for three whole weeks but eventually caved after suffering a two hour headache. Toby was pouring a tantalizingly cold and frothy mug of beer - nature’s cure all - and my good intentions drowned in the bottom of the glass along with my headache.
Bali bird parkBali bird parkBali bird park

Lorikeets and other tropical birds. I bet this guy's wife hates washing his clothes.
Conversely, going veggie has been pretty easy as I never ate that much meat anyway.

You’re probably thinking, “Why in the world would you want to limit yourself like that?” No, I haven’t shaved my head and joined some Eastern cult where I get my yayas from banging a drum and pestering people at the airport for donations. Meditation, however, has brought me an amazing awareness of my thoughts and actions. Realizing that it’s our expectations that set us up for disappointment and that getting angry only harms myself has allowed me to let go of all the past “unfair” stuff that I fumed over for ages. And the little every day things like another motor bike cutting us off isn't worth getting upset over. I’ve stuck with the vegetarian thing not because of the meditation course but because, for me (NOT preaching here, only explaining!), it feels good for the following reasons: 1) Veggie production consumes a fraction of the resources of meat production, 2) It’s healthier, 3) Nobody has to die so I can eat, 4) It’s cheaper. Don’t worry, Toby has maintained his meat eating sensibilities. And I promise not to make my pinko-liberal-tree-hugger food choice
Houston, ready for take offHouston, ready for take offHouston, ready for take off

They had a great carnivorous raptor show.
an inconvenience for anyone.

My book has been left to languish, still in the middle of chapter three. Once I get the accounting stuff at BAWA squared away I’ll get back to it. Someday I’ll git ‘er done. The rainy season should arrive any time and cloister me into it.

In our rather glorious amount of spare time we go on Hash House Harrier runs two or three days a week. If you haven’t heard of HHH, it a running and drinking club - sounds like a really bad idea on paper, doesn’t it? A designated Hare spends the day setting a short and a long course through the middle of rice fields, along stone irrigation waterways, past waterfalls and local bathing spots, through villages and across rivers (wading required.) The Hare drops bits of shredded paper for the runners (or in our case, walkers) to follow and sometimes they do really mean things like have you go the wrong way until you find an X on the ground revealing that they sent you down the wrong trail. Or they chalk a circle on the ground which means that the real path could be in one of many directions. Several people split up and go 100 meters down different paths until someone finds shredded paper and hollers, “Paper!” Often we get a tip off from the local villagers. After watching enough crazy hashers go one way and then the other they recognize the purpose of our madness and silently point us in the correct direction. Kids line up to watch us go by like a sweaty New Year’s Day parade. They yell “Hello!” to each and every one of us over and over like it's a mantra, "Hel-lo-Hel-lo-Hel-lo-Hel-lo-Hel-lo." Old ladies smile toothless grins as we walk through their rice paddies or the middle of their yard. We’re a novelty, entertainment for people without TVs. When we get back to the parking lot after a 1 to 2 hour walk there are kegs of beer, water and sodas waiting for us to slake our thirst. Unfortunately, all of the calories we just burned are quickly replaced by beer calories. Oh well, the burning and earning are both fun.

Wednesday nights an American/Thai expat couple hosts a BSMN, big screen movie night. Everyone brings a dish and we knosh on the pot luck until the movie starts at 7. They’re mostly older movies and foreign flicks but we can’t complain - it’s free with interesting food and people. Fridays are quiz nights. That’s all of our excitement in a typical week unless friends or family comes in from out of town. Hope to see you here some day.


Additional photos below
Photos: 36, Displayed: 28


Toby & skinksToby & skinks
Toby & skinks

Skink's have a head and a tail that look almost the same. I'll leave the joke up to you. ;-)
Del's houseDel's house
Del's house

This bungalow is just down the hill from us in the same family compound. We stayed there about 3 weeks after our fridge went on the fritz. Lovely place!
View from Del's houseView from Del's house
View from Del's house

Del is a guy from Washington state who stays here 5 months of every year. He designed and built this house. He loves mission style furniture and architecture. :)

Unwanted guestUnwanted guest
Unwanted guest

Not something you want to see on the wall above your bed.
Another unwanted guestAnother unwanted guest
Another unwanted guest

Not something you want to find when reaching for a book. It's a centipede that can give you a really nasty bite.
Lisa & BobbiLisa & Bobbi
Lisa & Bobbi

Our neighbor's dog. He's sweet but full of ticks.
rice paddies & distant volcanoesrice paddies & distant volcanoes
rice paddies & distant volcanoes

This view is from just up our street a little ways. These volcanoes are usually covered in clouds but on a clear day they are breathtaking.
Bali style Christmas treeBali style Christmas tree
Bali style Christmas tree

Every 6 months they have a festival where each family or business constructs one of these poles and puts it in front of their house. Everyone makes theirs a bit different. This one was particularly colorful.
Statue having a really bad dayStatue having a really bad day
Statue having a really bad day

Being attacked by monkeys (i.e. butt pickers) for eternity would kinda suck. That's our neighbor Del at the bottom.
Electric clamElectric clam
Electric clam

You can see the blue-white shot of electricity running through the middle.

9th December 2009

Cool digs
Hi Toby and Lisa Great to see that you are enjoying Bali I love reading your blogs! Billy and I got back from the Galapagos last wk You guys would love it there, swimming with penguins, iguanas, Turtles, and sea lions Have a terrific Christmas! Linda in LA but missing Palau!
9th December 2009

Hi guys, good to hear from you!
Hi guys, it's always a pleasure reading you (I love the way you write, did I tell you???) We didn't know you were still in Bali! We were in Bali ourselves in September! We stopped over 1 week on our way to diving in Labuan Bajo. If you want to see one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen let me know, I'll give you the directions! Diving Komodo is simply amazing... Take good care, ok? A hug from me and Andrea! XOXOXO P.S. Next September we'll be back in Bali... ;-)
9th December 2009

live the life
good on you guys. Big envy coming your way from China! Me and Celi are actually off to Indo in just over a week - but to Sumatra, if you fancy another island then head up, would be great to see you again.
9th December 2009

Julia Roberts
There is already a buzz going on here about the upcoming Julia Roberts film based upon the book Eat Pray Love, part of which is centered in Ubud. I am guessing that this movie will change Ubud forever and not in a positive way. I imagine this will catalyze even more commercial "development" and new vacation houses there. Paradise doesn't last... treasure each moment you have there. Could be an investment opportunity though. Kris
9th December 2009

good to hear from you
Glad you both are doing well and have decided to stay in Bali while the US gets itself back on it's economic feet. I have enjoyed your blogs; you might consider writing comedy travel guides if you get real bored. jeff
9th December 2009

Good finally getting an update. Don't think I'll make it there, but is a nice thought. What kind of meat does Toby eat anyway? Can you get good ole beef, or is it something that a lot of us have as pets?
9th December 2009

So good to hear from you!!! Life sounds awesome for you in Bali. Thanks for filling us all in on the fabulous descriptions and pictures!
10th December 2009

I truely do not know how the two of you can return home after such an experience! I would die to be able to live a life filled with the experiences you have been emersed in over the last year and a half. Have a safe, peaceful and rewarding time as you live your last stretch of your trip!
11th December 2009

Thanks so much for the great read woman!!! Few comments; Um, did you forget most people reading this ARE in the nail biting stage still? =) Can I move there and help at the animal shelter? Sales People DO hate you =)~ Why so darn many acronyms?? Love the HHH thingy Your too skinny I’m coming around March and wanting to talk Stephanie into it, she isn’t a good roughing it kind a girl though (dam sales people again)
28th December 2009

So glad I found you guys!
Actually David found you after I was frantically trying to figure out what happened to you both. Didn't realize you had a travel blog but then again I still can't figure out all this techno stuff. Glad to hear you are alright, infact fabulous from the looks of it. Miss you both soooo much! So glad to find this blog!

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