Bali really is paradise on earth. The weather is lovely, lush foliage is laden with flowers, the people smile, stone houses are intricately carved, rice paddies are lined with palm trees and populated by ducks - what we have come to call "classic Asia". We like classic Asia.
We went cycling, we saw a volcano, we had lots of Balinese food in picturesque settings, S. even had black Russian pie on his birthday, we saw amazing paintings in a museum that turned out to also be a spa and a resort, and we walked around the lovely city of Ubud and saw lots of plants and wild life and a guy imitating horse while dancing through fire. E. particularly enjoyed the chanting and hand waving that accompanied him. S. claims it was probably his best birthday ever.
However. It is widely understood that the Balinese adore children, it says so in all the guidebooks. But see, we've been living in Asia for a while, so our standards of "child friendliness" are slightly higher than those of twenty-something Danish guidebook writers.* We loved the food, but no restaurant was able to provide a high chair. Our wonderful hotel (with a bath tub rivalling the lovely pool outside our hotel room door) did not provide a child cot. As E. is under 12, she had to pay half price for the bicycle tour (I mean, really? For a toddler seat strapped to the back of a bike, five grains of rice she ate at lunch and sitting on her parents lap in the bus?) This would not happen in Singapore.
Neither would we be charged almost 2 euros for the non-voluntary buying of a promotional leaflet at a museum. "But see, you get a complimentary coffee!" insistent ticket-selling guy pointed out. Well. That depends on your definition of complimentary, doesn't it? It was however another utterly lovely cafe in a wonderful rice paddy setting, where E. got to play peek-a-boo with the girl one bamboo hut further on.
The other lesson we learned is that having a manduca, while utterly wonderful just doesn't cut it anymore six months later. E. refused to sleep during the daytime. Admittedly, all the ducks and chickens running around, and the roosters crowing in the background - kukelegrrrrrrrooo as she prefers to call them - made for a general atmosphere of wild excitement that meant that sleeping would not have been part of her agenda anyway and woke her up early every morning, but the lack of proper child cot ensured two long days of bright eyed wakefulness. (Yes, she would sleep at night. If I stayed with her until she had finally surrendered.)
"Maybe she doesn't need her afternoon nap anymore?" suggested S. after the first day. But I do. I need her to sleep. And besides, after the seventh tantrum on day two (no you may not make anymore dents in the table with the salt shaker, no you may not swim with the fishes in the hotel restaurant, no you may not eat daddy's vodka drenched pie after you've polished off mummy's chocolate one) S. too was convinced that she really does need to nap. Which she has been doing abundantly and lengthily ever since coming home.
Lovely, lovely Singapore.
This is "a lighthearted view of a cremation ceremony" by Ida Bagus Made Wija (1912-1992), hanging in Ubud's ARMA museum. What I liked best is the guy with the camera in the middle, as made clear by the reflection of me, the photographer. V.v. post-modern.