Traveling makes it hard to keep up on things like this. Actually, it's really just that I've never been good at keeping a journal. I'm trying to change that, though, but it still goes in fits and spurts.
Our last few days in Bali were great. Mom, Dad, Joseph and Rachel arrived late Friday night, and we spent the rest of the time with them. On Saturday we were pretty lazy and mostly biked around a little bit and went out to eat. Sunday, we had a short church meeting in the morning (I was of course invited to speak by Dad), and then Josef and I went on an adventure! We had left two beach towels at Nick's Pension in Ubud, and Josef saw a drum there that he wanted to buy but didn't, so we headed for Ubud and then planned on seeing a palace a little north of that. What actually happened was I lost Josef about 20 minutes into the ride. I went to Ubud on my own, and about 5:20 I went to Nick's Pension and asked for the towels. They didn't have them and told me to come back around 8 pm, so I said I'd be back then. Josef hadn't been to the drum shop yet, so I headed out to look for the palace on my own. I struck northward, but my attempts at reading the map by myself failed, and I ended up half lost in the jungle, I took some awesome back trails and went through a little village where all the children stared at me and bought some petrol there. It was fun going through the jungle, but I was also glad I made it back to known roads and Ubud shortly after dark. I got to Nick's at 7:35ish only to discover that Josef had been there five minutes earlier! We finally met up - it turned out he got lost and almost went to Denpasar before finding Ubud! He bought his drum and a sarong, and we headed home.
On Monday, Josef, Jonathan, Seth and I went out with the intent of getting a lot of rupiah coins and burying them. We got the coins, found shovels and a box at a hardware store, and went home without burying our treasure. Monday night we went to the Uluwatu temple in southern Bali for the sunset. They warned us at the entrance about the monkeys, that they would steal things, especially glasses. That turned out to be prophetic - Seth and I were taking pictures, and a monkey grabbed my glasses from behind and knocked them on the ground. I got them before he did, but a few minutes later I wasn't so lucky; my glasses got stolen! The monkey sat on the wall with them in his hands, looking pleased with himself. I borrowed an umbrella to poke at him from another tourist, but that only made him hiss and bare his teeth. I gave him a packet of tissues in the hopes that he would let my glasses go, but he ripped it open and went right back to my glasses. Finally he gnawed the rubber off, poked out the lenses and bent and ripped the frame in two! And thus I was chastened for my lack of heed to the warning given at the entrance and blinded for the rest of the night. Dad drove my scooter back home and I took the taxi with Mom and Rachel. After Uluwatu, we went to a seafood restaurant on the beach at Djimbaran Bay. It was one of the best meals I've ever had, mostly because the seafood was so fresh, and there was a band on the beach that sang Beatles and Michael Jackson songs to us.
Tuesday morning we finally buried the treasure in the grounds of the place we were staying - not ideal, but we were out of time by that point. Then we returned our bikes, got lunch, said, goodbye to Lena, and drove to the airport. Indonesia took a parting fee of 150,000 rupiah, leaving a bad taste in our mouths, but overall it was a great trip. We got in late Tuesday night after taking the bus to KL Sentral and then taxis home, and we left for Singapore Wednesday morning!
Bulletted summary of our Singapore trip:
- 5 hour bus ride, massage seats that leaned way back!
- Zoo, night safari, taxi driver that picked us up many times (Mr. Chai) because he would take 5 of us
- Stayed with the Garners; Sister Garner made us breakfast and was an awesome host
- Jurong Bird Park, Raffles Hotel, Merlion, Singapore Flyer, Wicked!
- East Coast Park biking (tandem with Ben), $3 Hainanese chicken noodles, best lime juice ever
- Singapore National Museum, Josef got lost (asleep for an hour in an exhibit), dinner at Clark Quay
- Singapore Turf Club, figuring out horse racing's finer details, budget terminal, plane home
That's Singapore in a nutshell. We got back yesterday at midday, and mostly hung out. We went to a symphony concert last night, a tribute to the organ. Bach D Minor Toccata and Fugue (organ version and then the Stokowski arrangement), Liszt chorale fantasy/variations for organ and orchestra, Saint-Saens organ symphony. The organist was famous, and he played very well, although he was French and I didn't like his style on the Bach as much as others I've heard. The Liszt was a little long and boring at parts, although it recovered near the end. The Saint-Saens was incredible. The best performance of it I will ever hope to hear.
Church today, dinner with the Sanders afterwards (huge Chinese New Year feast, sweet and sour pork and kung pao chicken and beef and broccoli and singapore noodles), Mexican train dominoes (not the most fun to endure for two hours - I came in second to last due to some bad luck), and now bed.