Indonesia rising ~ a new twist…

Business priorities for Ben are pulling us increasingly toward spending more time in, like a LOT more time in …

Indonesia

This is not so much a change of plans on our Sri Lankan adventure, as much as it is an additional layer of complexity.

Indonesia is a thriving economy in the fast growing Southeast Asia region, and due to both its geographic location and make up as an archipelago of some thirteen thousand islands, with 5 or 6 very large primary islands, Indonesia also happens to be poised to play directly into the South China Sea narrative, where US and Chinese wartime forces are inexorably drawn toward some form of confrontation.

Indonesia is also the world’s largest Muslim nation, that stands, far away philosophically and geographically from all the Jihadism of Muslim countries of the Middle East.

The Indonesian archipelago lies South of the Indochinese peninsula and East of Sri Lanka.

OK, so Ben starts to rev up his professional engines with a slew of meetings in Jakarta, the capital, on the island of Java.  It may be that one grows to like Jakarta.  But, for now, our very limited exposure to Jakarta translates into traffic, traffic jams, cement, more traffic jams and malls as a destination for some relief from the congested streets.

Jakarta may become the focus of Ben’s professional endeavors, but we are clearly not going to be spending extended time here, be it sequentially, temporarily, sporadically or any other adjective that may convey a sense of limited exposure to the intensity of an over-populated urban megacity.

Since Ben considers taking a plane akin to taking a bus, let him take the “bus”.  I’ll find us a nest in a more serene environment, which is nonetheless within sufficient proximity to Jakarta that day trips are fathomable.

That brings us back, yet again, to Ubud, (Yay!) on the culturally and religiously distinct island of Bali, the Southeast Asian epicenter for creativity, yoga and plant based food.

Or maybe it is the other way around.

Ben asks me, “Where else in Asia would it be fun to be based and live for a while?” There are many places of interest, but spending time in Bali, based in Ubud is something akin to idyllic, for me, from a sense of health and wellbeing.

Not a bad view to wake up to… fields of rice paddies, in an early stage of new growth. This is the environment of the first place we are staying at. Tranquil and quiet, with the only downside being that one needs to “shuttle” into town, whereas we are more the motor scooter types, but with rainy season a 15 minute steep curvy road is not ideal. So we start out here…

 

Palm trees reflected in the waters of the young rice plants. It is the rainy season and there is a soft pastel light that transcends each day.

In contrast, the bright colors of these pots at a warong (small eatery) near where we are staying.

 

We rent a motorbike and drive around a neighborhood Nyu Khunning, where we have stayed during our two previous visits and which is much quieter than being smack in the center of Ubud. We find ourselves Sonia’s villa which suits our needs just perfectly.

 

The infamous sculptures which flank most houses and many buildings, which either welcome the gods or scare of the demons.

The scent of daily offerings which usually include sticky rice, blossoms and incense is something which immediately reconnects our senses to the fact that we are back in Bali.

Temple down the street. Ceremonies are an integral part of life in Balinese culture.

Almost everywhere you look, around most corners, curved archways, tropical foliage and basically what we call Bali bliss.

Ganesha reminds us of Bali’s lineage to Theravada Buddhism, (India / Sri Lanka).

Should we spend extended time in Ubud, we have found a perfect place to stay… These little Javanese bungalows are nestled in a quiet spot with quite a few “perks” for us…

An extensive organic garden of veggies is on site and supplies the vegetarian restaurant which is part of this “eco complex”.

This is a good spot, to be sure.

A perfect breakfast of chia, fresh fruit, sprouted granola and edible flowers.

And Ben’s favorite… a herd of goats lives on the property

Ben’s office in Ubud, Bali.

Who me?

So many incredible restaurants, so many yummy juices, raw vegan desserts….. Clear Cafe.

Another favorite breakfast jar…. Chia pudding with dragon fruit, dehydrated bananas, sprouted seeds… Oh yum!

Ben’s breakfast: Scrambled tofu “eggs” on mushrooms with crispy eggplant “bacon”. Thumbs up for being the best breakfast. Surprising!

Vegan seed “pizza” crust, one with avocado topping one with pesto and mushrooms. Heavenly stuff. Seeds of Life restaurant.

This was one of the best bowls of blissful Bali food. A heaping and fragrant bowl of vegetarian laksa. Elephant restaurant.

 

One of the many spas we frequented over a span of 4 days for a variety of massage treatments for our travel weary muscles and brains. Price point is between $15-$22 an hour.

Every day everywhere aesthetic beauty abounds in the form of the Buddha.

We have had quite a hectic week… of many flights, hotels and for Ben, meetings. Having a few days hiatus from big cities and being on planes, is quite the treat before we continue on to Singapore for a day and then Hong Kong for two days (more meetings.) Stay tuned..

Of note: Sometimes comments take a while to download onto the blog. So if your comment does not show up right away, no worries.. it will. Thanks to all our readers ~ we appreciate that you take the time to read us and to comment and add your voice to our Green Global Trek.

60 thoughts on “Indonesia rising ~ a new twist…

  1. Shari Pratt

    No wonder you are so healthy and young looking, Peta.

    Food is a creative, visual and palatable experience in Bali, more so than in the US, where it is most often a gluttonous affair. I’m impressed with the restaurant that grows its own garden. There are good options here in Southern California, but they are long drives and expensive.

    When will you be returning to your house in Sri Lanka? Such a beautiful home you built.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Well thank you Shari for the compliment. I had breast cancer in 2005 and after that I changed my eating habits rather dramatically. But quite simply when I eat vibrant nourishing food I feel great. So it is a no brainer at this point for me.

      The thing about Ubud is that the food at restaurants is not only vibrant and nourishing it is also inexpensive. Especially for raw vegan food which is quite time consuming to prepare.

      We will go back and forth between Sri Lanka and Indonesia ~ a good combination of home bases to be sure. The house in Sri Lanka is currently on both Air B&B and Home Exchange. So that’s a good way to gain income during the time we are not there.

      Peta

  2. Lexklein

    I admire your flexibility about where you live at any given time!

    This looks like heaven for a vegetarian (well, for anyone, really). I hope Ben’s business goes well here, adding another fantastic destination to your Asian life and travels!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Lex, we pride ourselves on our flexibility and it plays to our advantage. It is the concept of taking opportunities as they arise that we live by.

      Yup it is pretty close to heavenly in many ways. Certainly be a great place to experience from a point of view of actually spending extended time in.

      Peta

  3. Caroline Helbig

    I’m glad you’re getting to spend time in Ubud—one of both Mike and my all time favourite places. If you’re going to spend more time in Indonesia and wanting to travel to other spots, I thought Sulawesi (the Tana Toraja region) was really interesting. I loved Flores too. But again, this was 1991….

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Caroline thanks for the recommendation. We are hoping to explore and discover other parts of Indonesia, so are very open to suggestions.

      Sulawesi came up in the past when I was doing research for the U.N. on bamboo in Indonesia. We are looking forward to visiting Sulawesi for its bamboo tall houses (because we had a bamboo housing business in Nicaragua, Central America). Also looking forward to Borneo and Sumatra to hopefully see orangutans.

      Ben

  4. Frank

    Bali a place I’ve always wanted to go to and Lissette’s into yoga, vegan food etc…I think she’d love it. I just get nervous about the very different versions of Ubud that I hear about…but I assume that depends where someone stays in Ubud.
    When the day comes hope you guys can give us some advice.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Frank,oh yes, Lisette would LOVE Ubud. Plenty of yoga studios and classes and abundant vegan food! And add to this low cost massages and every treatment you could dream of!

      For sure the downside of Ubud is that it has become so popular and there are horrible traffic jams almost every day on the main road. Our strategy is to find accommodation away from the busy central jam. Very near Ubud center lies Nyuh Kunning on the other side of the monkey forest. It retains its village feel and one is unaware of the “Ubud craziness” that one can feel if you are smack in the center. As well, there are many places to stay and spend time, that are less central, on the periphery which are still tranquil and offer the best of Balinese life.

      Peta

  5. My Inner Chick

    Peta,
    I love living vicariously thru your great adventures, different foods, smoothies, and pets!
    You are so inspirational & beautiful.

    Are you going to live there now?
    What about your other house?
    What do you guys do for work?
    Love clicking into your freedom! xx

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Aw Kim thank you for the lovely compliments. You make me blush….

      We will spend time living in both Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Our house in Sri Lanka is listed on Air B&B and home exchange so that we can get some income and added benefit from it, during the time we are not there.

      Ben is a strategist and currently working to help the S.L government acquire transport aircraft for humanitarian missions (for U.N. peacekeeping operations).

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Peta

  6. Liesbet

    I can’t blame you for not wanting to spend time in Jakarta! Ah, lovely Bali… It is so nice and “refreshing” there. The food looks fantastic. Enjoy the experiences and the peace in between travels!

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Thanks Liesbet… Bali definitely has something special that makes it a great place to live for a while and offer up opportunities to explore other parts of Indonesia at the same time. And of course Ben can jump in a plane for meetings and work in Jakarta as needed. Yes, looking forward to our more usual slow paced explorations.

      Peta

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks! It was quite hard to select which photos to use as we have so many of all the delicious meals we had. Many new places have opened since we were there last, about a year ago and so we were visiting old favorites and discovering new spots too!

      Peta

  7. Anabel Marsh

    Ah, you two always surprise me!

    I can see why you wanted to get out of Jakarta with that traffic – ugh. All that beautiful veggie food has now reminded me that it’s dinner time here…..

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Anabel 🙂

      I am sure Jakarta has lots of hidden gems as big cities often do, but with all the traveling we were doing it was oh so nice to stop and be immersed in green and nature and have quick easy access to healthy food and massages.

      Peta

  8. Robyn Quint

    I love these posts – especially when I am sitting and working. It takes me away from the reality of life and i can live vicariously through you and Ben. Enjoy and keep the photos and stories coming!

  9. Paul Fowler

    Hey Peta, thanks for sharing. You are an inspirational blogger, that’s for sure. I think I’ve been to Thailand so many times that I rarely take out my camera to take pics anymore. Now that you guys are in Ubud, maybe I’ll pop back there. I was there about 4 years ago I think and didn’t love it. But so many do that I’ll probably go back and give it another chance. May have just been my state of mind at the time. I’m in south Thailand right now after the Chiang Mai trip and just swimming in the warm salty sea and relaxing. Sending my love to the both of you.

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Thanks for the flattering comment Paul. So good to hear from you. Yes, do come to Bali and we can have a sweet reunion. Ubud is more popular than ever but yet it still retains such vast beauty…gotta try it again 🙂 we originally came to Ubud lured by the bamboo school “Green School”.

      Enjoy your break!
      Much love and hugs your way,
      Peta

  10. Jeff Bell

    Indonesia is my favorite country in SE Asia – it would be great to spend extended time there. But agreed, Jakarta looks like a mess! Labuan Bajo on Flores might be a great place to stay also.

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Thanks Jeff…will look into that recommendation. We definitely would like to do some exploring and move around a bit, living in different parts of Indonesia ~ hopefully.

      Peta

  11. J.D. Riso

    Well, just full of surprises, aren’t you? 😉 Bali seems like the perfect balm for Jakarta. I have never been there, but it’s one of the few places that is on the mainstream tourist radar that still appeals to me. That food alone is calling me there.

  12. Sylvia

    Your Bali photos make me want to visit there again. I have many relatives in Indonesia, some of them in Jakarta, but that traffic looks so daunting. I doubt we’ll be calling on them anytime soon.

  13. Dahlia

    Wow that was an amazing tour of Bali and i hardly noticed the traffic jam 😉 I loved Ben’s office and the reflection of the palm trees on the paddy fields – beautiful and so serene, lush and full of hope and expectancy. Found the cuisine very interesting and Bali goes on my travel list – thanks for letting me tag along!

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Thanks Dahlia. Glad you like Ben’s office. He does too!
      Bali is of course pretty popular as a destination these days but its easy to get away from the crowds, as always, they usually bunch together in the center of any popular place.

      Peta

    1. Peta Kaplan

      We do love Asia and decided to focus our energy on SE Asia for 5 years or so ( much like we did in Latin America) and then maybe “start” an African chapter. Or ” continue”, beyond my roots in South Africa.

      Thanks for stopping by Nicole!

      Peta

  14. Amit

    Ha! I didn’t know they let the goats out of their pens, I’ll have to drop by when I’m next by EcoS, and see them wandering around myself 😉 Yum for the Elephant’s goodies, right? Glad to hear you’ll be spending more time in Ubud. If you’re planning to bed down in NK, though not quite in my neck of the woods, we’ll surely find a way to meet. Sampai jumpa Peta and Ben!

    1. Peta Kaplan

      Isn’t it a great place Amit? The goats aren’t so much wandering around as staked to parts of the garden during the day. Guess it helps with not having to mow the lawn.

      Thanks so much for all your terrific restaurant recommendations. We did not have time to try them all, but Elephant was our favorite one!

      Look very forward to meeting you. Where abouts do you live?

      Sampai jumpa indeed!

      Peta

  15. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    Looks like you have the best of both worlds, Peta and Ben! I love the Javenese bungalows and the food (that chia pudding with dragon fruit especially) looks awesome. You have written about many exotic places but this one looks like one I’d keep returning to also!

  16. judith westerfield

    “our travel weary muscles and brains” — I have NO sympathy for your travel weary muscles and brains. . . . not with the pictures of the delicious looking food, the accommodations, the surroundings, the adventure, the stimulation of other cultures, the beauty . . . (you’d better not post anymore pictures of you and spas and the like! cuz I’m getting jealous and it’s not becoming)

    How do they make the chia pudding?

  17. Peta Kaplan

    From Erasmo:

    That’s great Peta! So excited for you and Ben.

    Clarifying question, what do you mean by: Indonesia is also the world’s largest Muslim nation, that stands, far away philosophically and geographically from all the Jihadism of Muslim countries of the Middle East.
    Abrazos!
    Erasmo

    1. Erasmo Post author

      In reply to Erasmo:

      Erasmo,

      Thanks for reading us and commenting. And thanks for the opportunity to elaborate… Americans tend to converge Islam, Arabs and the Middle East. And this leads to frequent misunderstandings, unfounded fears, and of course the surge of racism and islamophobia that is sweeping through the U.S. currently.

      So a bit of geography might be a good place to start to put things into perspective: Indonesia holds the world’s largest muslim population, with over 200M muslims. India comes next, with over 180 Million muslims – though a minority in a country of 1.2 Billion people, it is still important to note that neither Indonesia nor India’s muslims have anything to do with the Jihaddists in the Middle East. To put things into perspective, Iraq has only 30M muslims, Afghanistan has 29M, and Sudan has 39M.

      In terms of geography, Indonesia is very much a Southeast Asian country. It is nestled in a neighborhood that includes the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand etc. The war torn region of Iraq/Syria/Pakistan, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, the Iran Shiite vs Saudi Sunni rivalry – all these are very far indeed, geographically. But they are very far philosophically as well because, while Indonesia has had occasional bursts of action by a small group of muslim extremists, they are just not that connected to the various conflicts Western media routinely reports on and accentuates.

      Ben

  18. Sue

    Well one never knows where life may lead. You two seem so flexible and adaptable. The photo of the traffic in Jakarta made my hands sweat. I can see why that location will not be working. But Ubud looks dreamy. so much delicious food, so lush and so beautiful. I look forward to future updates.

  19. Erasmo

    Erasmo,

    Thanks for reading us and commenting. And thanks for the opportunity to elaborate… Americans tend to converge Islam, Arabs and the Middle East. And this leads to frequent misunderstandings, unfounded fears, and of course the surge of racism and islamophobia that is sweeping through the U.S. currently. So a bit of geography might be a good place to start to put things into perspective: Indonesia holds the world’s largest muslim population, with over 200M muslims. India comes next, with over 180 Million muslims – though a minority in a country of 1.2 Billion people, it is still important to note that neither Indonesia nor India’s muslims have anything to do with the Jihaddists in the Middle East. To put things into perspective, Iraq has only 30M muslims, Afghanistan has 29M, and Sudan has 39M.

    In terms of geography, Indonesia is very much a Southeast Asian country. It is nestled in a neighborhood that includes the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand etc. The war torn region of Iraq/Syria/Pakistan, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, the Iran Shiite vs Saudi Sunni rivalry – all these are very far indeed, geographically. But they are very far philosophically as well because, while Indonesia has had occasional bursts of action by a small group of muslim extremists, they are just not that connected to the various conflicts Western media routinely reports on and accentuates.

    Ben

  20. Peta Kaplan

    Yup Rachel, Ubud is definely heavenly..with a great combo of attractive features. It DOES have its own problems with traffic though. The main street gets completely congested every day at certain times that one has to know about, to avoid getting stuck. Although being on a motor bike makes navigating traffic a bit easier.

    Here’s a post about the market, from an earlier visit.

    http://www.greenglobaltrek.com/2014/02/going-to-ubuds-central-market.html

    Peta

  21. Johanna Bradley

    As a dedicated island hopper, how could I fail to be seduced by Indonesia? There seems so much of it!

    You face everything with such equanimity, Peta. It’s an enviable trait.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Jo, that is a really very nice observation and comment!

      I hope so, I do try to “face everything with equanimity”… 🙂 Makes life’s waves easier to navigate.

      Peta

  22. rommel

    I was initially going to say that Jakarta main city is kind of like major Philippines cities, but that traffic jam is much more whoa insane! *Phew* that you segue to some peace and quiet. I need me to stay away from the concrete surrounding.

    So thanks for this post.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Rommel, thanks for stopping by and commenting…

      We find that even in the most densely populated areas, there is usually a path of escape to some green spaces to restore balance from the concrete jungles and horns. Indonesia is such a beautiful country (from what we have seen so far), but… when you gotta do business, there is no escaping Jakarta. We have heard that time unveils hidden gems, even in Jakarta. We are not there yet, but looking forward to the discovery of what we will find what we start exploring a bit.

      Ben

  23. Joanne Sisco

    It sounds like you and Ben naturally gravitate to places that sooth and recharge your souls, even if there are times when you must be in the heart of chaos and congestion.

    From the look of Jakarta’s traffic, this isn’t a place I could stay for long without getting a little wound up!!

    Enjoy your peaceful oasis!! 🙂

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Joanne… Yes indeed! that’s the idea… even in the midst of chaos and urban sprawl, there are usually enough pockets of green and calm to offset the ambient frenzy. We found this, for instance, in New Delhi where the street traffic and chaos was a bit much… but then we would walk into a mosque and chaos would instantly turn into serenity due to the peaceful and quiet gardens or courtyards that usually surround mosques. Jakarta does seem a bit daunting, but then again… let’s check in after a few trips to Jakarta and I expect we will start to see the trees from the forest and we will be able to navigate from oasis to oasis, ignoring the traffic.

      Ben

      Ben

  24. Yvonne Daniel

    I hope my comment takes. I see that I’ve been missing some fine blogging with beautiful and interesting photos . You commented back in February or maybe even January and I am just getting around to returning to my blog. I am so sorry to keep offering an apology. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am enjoying yours a great deal.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Hi Yvonne. You gotta keep up girl! 🙂 Glad you are enjoying the blog and welcome to our Green Global Trek. Thanks for the compliments on the writing and the photos!

      Peta

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