Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Wrapping it up

We are finally back home!! It took a fabulous 48 hours to get back due to a typhoon in our layover city of Taipei.  Luckily, China Airlines put us in a nice, brand new hotel to wait out the delay.  It was frustrating, but China Airlines took care of us, and we are home now!  But I still want to post about our last stay in Bali.

After coming back to Bali from Singapore, we stayed in Seminyak to be close to the airport for departure.  I booked an amazing villa for us with a private pool!  The living room had only 3 walls so it was open to the pool area, but the bedroom was enclosed with a glass wall to look out at the pool.  We were blown away when we stepped foot in that place!  Bali is known for it's private pool villas, but we didn't book one last trip.  We tried our best to enjoy it, but we were a bit stressed out about the typhoon and the delay of our flight and the uncertainty of when or how we were getting back home.

That was just a small bump in the road, and overall, we are so thankful we got to experience Bali twice so far with two total different experiences.  We love that island for so many reasons, but especially because it is so different from where we live.  They eat ferns and catch dragonflies with sticky spider webs to make dragonfly soup.  They celebrate everything with the most beautiful ceremonies with handmade decorations.  They honor family tradition and center their lives around religion.  The most beautiful thing to me is that they live in a way where Spirit, Nature and Man work in harmony together.  How beautiful the world would be if we all lived by that philosophy!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Singapore, probably the most 'western' city in Asia, is a place we'd been wanting to explore for a while, and it lived up to our expectations. 
Upon arriving, the Changi airport set us up for how great of a city it would be.  It's mainly made up of Indians, Chinese, and Malaysians giving the city a very unique, eclectic vibe.  Its amazingly clean streets are full of business men and women, but it's also got nooks and crannies full of culture. 
Little India was such a neat area! With many women wearing beautiful sarees, Little India is packed full of color! We ate at a restaurant where lots of locals were, and had one of the best meals ever- a North Indian platter.  The streets were lined with saree shops, gold jewelers and markets. 
Next, we checked out Chinatown where the streets were full of shops with all sorts of trinket imports.  We ate at the Maxwell hawker center in Chinatown which was also another amazing meal! Singapore didn't let us down on food! Hawker centers are basically covered outdoor food courts, and it's a common way the locals eat. We also went to a couple temples- Sri Mariamman, a Hindu temple, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.  The Buddha Tooth Relic was so ornately decorated and was full of monks and worshippers which was fun for us to see! 
We also went to a couple other Hindu and Buddhist temples in Singapore which were busy with worshippers.  The streets outside the temples had vendors selling flowers and incense for the worshippers to use. 
The highlight of our Singapore trip was the Marina Bay Sands! It's 3 towers that are all connected at the top.  We went to the Ku De Ta lounge on the top of the towers for drinks and to watch the sun go down over Singapore. It was truly dreamy! 
Will we go back to Singapore? Probably not unless it's a layover because we felt we got to see and do all we wanted, but we loved our experience there and would highly recommend it to other travelers! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pan Pacific Nirwana, Bali

We cut out Sidemen stay short before we even arrived to head back to the luxurious 5-star resort of Pan Pacific Nirwana. It's like the Japanese-owned version of Four Seasons, and it's got one of the best, if not the best, golf course in Asia. I'll spare you the description since I've posted on it here already, but I'll share a few new pics!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sidemen, Bali.. The countryside

We headed out to east Bali in a small village town known as Sidemen for our next stay, a first for us.  Sidemen really captured our hearts. 
After an hour and a half of a curvy, mountainous drive from Ubud, we checked into Sawah Indah Villas.  We were in awe of the scenery! Sawah Indah is at the foot of the mountains amongst rice terraces, crop fields and the most beautiful gardens. The best thing to do there besides relax in the infinity pool and take in the beauty is to walk around the country roads and check out the villages.  We had the best time walking around the rural town.  Everyone was unbelievably friendly!  Farmers would throw up their hand to say hello while working in the fields, and the children loved practicing their English with us.  After a rain shower the village kids stream raced little palm leaf hand made toys, and I think we had just as much fun watching as they had playing.  On our way back, a small girl around 4 picked a frangipani flower and held out her arm from across the road for me to come get it from her.  It was the sweetest gesture from the sweetest smiling face.  
While we really loved the little town of Sidemen, we cut our stay short to head to Pan Pacific.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Slagle's are back in Bali!

After a 29 hour long journey, we landed safely at Denpasar Airport in Bali, Indonesia...otherwise known as heaven on earth to us. I arranged to have a driver pick us up and take us to our hotel, Saren Indah.
We started our Bali stay in Ubud, central Bali, just like last time, but we opted for a different hotel for possibly a different experience. And that we had! Saren Indah is about 100 yards from Monkey Forest, a forest inhibited by monkeys, of course. Those little boogers are everywhere! We could hear them running over our roof at night. We saw them in the rice fields surrounding our place, on our balcony, and running and playing all over the hotel grounds. The workers have to carry sling shots, and for good reason too! One morning at breakfast, the monkeys were in full force, and one jumped on a table while a family was eating and stole bread. It was pretty hysterical! Needless to say, we really enjoyed the stay.
You all know how much I love our driver, Wayan, from a previous post, so of course we had him take us around the glorious island again. This time we wanted to see totally different things from the last. We toured Gunung Kawi, a temple surrounded by the most magical landscape..hills, creeks, waterfalls, and the very important banyan trees. It took our breath away. Next, we went to Jatiluwih which is a Unesco World Heritage site. Jatiluwih is acres and acres of hills with rice terraces. Their irrigation system is actually what got Jatiluwih on the Unesco list. Next, we stopped by the Batukaru region and toured the Pura Luhur Batukaru, a very tranquil temple. Joshua got to have a small cleanse with holy water from a natural spring in Batukaru. We also had a few stops with beautiful landscape views with Wayan. Sadly, we only used him for a day because he had a very important house blessing ceremony for the new construction of his home. Each time a new building is constructed, the Balinese have a house blessing ceremony where a priest draws a blessing picture to hang on the very front of the structure. Things like this are very important to the Balinese culture so we knew this was Wayan's priority.
Along with walking and exploring all of Ubud, we went to a cooking class in a real Balinese home and learned how to cook with real, quite primitive, Balinese coking equipment. The kitchens are all in covered outdoor areas, and there is nothing electric..at all. Everything is blended by hand, no electric blender. The stove is a wooden stove outside where coconut wood is used for the fire, and coconut husks are used for charcoal. The experience was nothing short of amazing! We started with a tour of the local market to see the fresh fruit, veggies and spices, and ended up cooking 8 different dishes. We made friends, learned a lot, and we ate some of the best food we've ever had.
We also visited some pretty amazing restaurants. The food in Bali is so fresh, and the style of the restaurants is just so unique and beautiful. We started our first meal to celebrate my 30th birthday, which was actually the day we landed in Bali. The restaurant is quite unique in that the front faces the main strip, but the back faces rice fields which is exactly where we sat! Lots of restaurants look normal from the front then have an amazing rice field view once you go inside. And all restaurants are open to the outdoors as are most building in Bali, including the airport. We also ate at a really trendy vegan spot where you have to take off your shoes to enter, and everything is served up vegan or even raw. Actually, lots of vegetarian, vegan and raw restaurants are in Ubud because it's a big yoga town with lots of yoga centers and retreats. And every single menu, no matter where, has a vegetarian section..not as easy to find in the beef-loving state of Texas.
We both feel bittersweet about leaving Ubud. We are so grateful to have gotten this special experience twice in our life, and we aren't sure when we'll get to come back as there is so much of the world we hope to explore. But Ubud has made a deep impression on us, and we are changed by the sweet people and depth of spiritual life that thrives.

Blogging tips