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Bali and Singapore

01/24/08

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Bali and Singapore

I first went to Bali in Indonesia with Lu, in 1992.  Bali is very green and tropical, and full of artworks and religious statues - many of which they drape with cloths and provide offererings every day.  We drove to the town of Ubud in central Bali, where there is a twice-weekly farmers market, and a monkey forest.  You can buy nuts for the monkeys, but they are not polite and will not leave you alone until they have grabbed the whole bag!

  Near Ubud we went for lunch to a restaurant in the country called The Dirty Duck.  The waitress spilled a full tray of drinks, all over me.  The manageress came over gracefully and said, "So sorry, in training!"

We stayed at a hotel near the beach, but we had heard of a new hotel called Amandari, in Ubud.  So we drove again to Ubud, and after some detective work, found Amandari overlooking a river gorge outside of town.  The hotel is built around a rice paddy, and each room is like a little Balinese house.  Nowadays there are other hotels like that, but this was a first.  We liked it so much, we drove back to our hotel, packed up and moved to Amandari.  Lu had a room with ducks and a cow in the back garden!  I have been back to Bali with Sidney twice since then.

While in Bali, you have to dress appropriately in Indonesian dress to visit a temple!


 

  • The best way to get to Bali is to go to Hong Kong or Singapore, and fly direct on Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines.  Don't go via Jakarta.

  • Because of two spates of bombing, tourism in Bali is now greatly reduced, and many of the hotels are half empty, or less.  Hopefully tourism will pick up again - Bali is well worth a visit.


Singapore and Raffles

Singapore is a 'city state' - a country that comprises just one city.  Beginning with the airport, it is beautifully clean and modern.  Chewing gum is banned, and the laws are generally strict.  Raffles Hotel in Singapore is an Asian landmark.

Raffles is a beautiful white building with polished wood and marble floors and British colonial furniture.  The first time I went with Sidney, they gave her a first-edition Somerset Maugham book, which he wrote at Raffles, inscribed and signed by the manager.  Every evening, they leave a short story on your pillow.

Outside Raffles (note ever-present shoulder bag when in Asia), a good spot to read in the shady courtyard, and outside the Somerset Maugham suite.

While at Raffles some years ago, I wrote a short story called 'Elanor The Frog'.  See the Stories page.

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