See also the photos on the Danish page.
The other day I was sitting in the garden gazebo in Santra Putra Guest House, our home in Ubud, Bali. The gazebo is my favourite working place. It was sunny and warm, and the owners wife, Made, came by with offerings to the different deities of the compound. She smiled and asked:
- Do you want more hair?
For a man in my age it’s an offer you wouldn’t refuse, so I said “Why not.” Apparently she had a lot of ingredients on her tray.
Now you should know that one side of the gazebo is covered by a large and heavy bamboo blind. Made tried to wind it up, but had to give it up because the recent rain had made it to heavy. I didn’t really know what the blind had to do with my hair until Made said:
- It’s to heavy. When dry, more hair.
Then I understood that Made had been offering me “more air”.
Besides me writing and Bette painting, we live a very comfortable life with massage, yoga, food and sleep. Once in a while we go for a couple of days holiday. Recently we visited the smal neighboring island Nusa Penida. Very different from the bustling Bali, rather remote and not that many tourists. The inside of the island is sparsely populated and dominated by very, very beautiful landscapes. If you get tired of the density and the tourists in Bali, Nusa Penida is the place, but the food is generally not that interesting.
We had booked a place in advance that turned out to be in a jungle, and although the picturesque Crystal Bay was close, it was a bit too remote for our taste.
A couple of weeks ago we’d been on a trip to the north west part of Bali, to The Menjangan reserve together with our friends Biv and Søren. They are both very interested in bird life and they hoped to se the extremeIy rare Bali Starling, which is endemic to Bali and Nusa Penida. They did see it on an early morning bird watching walk, and they were happy.
While laying by the pool at our nice hotel i suddenly saw a glimpse of something white amor the trees next to the pool. I surely didn’t really believe it could be a Bali Starling, but I got up anyway - just in case. But it was. Less than 8 meters from our pool lived a couple!
The hotel staff had put a large nesting box up for them. The staff were completely aware of what they were dealing with and were very conscious to take good care of them. Given the efforts made by Biv and Søren to see it in the Menjangan reserve, it seemed quite odd that they were staying right here at our pool. At a time when I had left my deckchair, they both landed on it like kind of domesticated parrots. It might be a little like if you found a place in the Himalayas where the Snow Leopard came for breakfast. Or the Yeti ...
Next to the hotel was a diving shop. I went for a dive with mantas, the giant rays, which fortunately only eat plankton. On the south side of the island there are a few places where they come to allow cleaning fishes to remove parasites etc. It was a big experience. There was a lot of manta rays and almost as many divers, but apparently it didn’t bother the rays. They passed so close that I could touch them - which you shouldn’t. But besides diving, the sailing trip around the island was fabulous. Spectacular rocky coast all the way, also showing why the island does not have the same tourist potential as Bali. Apart from some small and beautiful coves, there are no sandy beaches. Some places reminded me of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.
Now, getting back to Santra Putra in Ubud is to get home, except that when you get home to our home in Denmark, it hasn’t been nicely cleaned, there is no fresh laundry - and it's not 30 degrees.