Sketching at the Lotus Cafe.

lotus_cafeMy friend was booked in for the Casa Luna cooking course today. I decided to skip it because I did a cooking course at Kalibukbuk the last time I was in Bali. But the hotel driver was taking her to Honeymoon Cottages in Jalan Bisma, so I decided to hitch a ride. I had been to Jalan Bisma in 2006 on the recommendation of another driver who was an artist. He said if you want to see beautiful scenery without leaving Ubud, take an early morning walk to Jalan Bisma.


I had done that, back in 2006, and got some great photos, so I wanted to go back to see what time had done to the view.  I knew that a luxury hotel or two had been built down the bottom of Jalan Bisma, so I was expecting change. In fact the area I had walked to was still recognisable from this 2006 photo, still with some ricefields, but with far more buildings. I would have liked to walk further, but it was so hot in the full sun, even though only 9 a.m., so I decided to turn back. No drivers about, to get a lift back.

By the time I got to Jalan Raya, I was parched. I walked by the Lotus Cafe, which was dark and empty. I stopped to make a note about the dancing they have some evenings, and I was invited in. Yes, they were open. So, all alone in Lotus a cafe, I got a front row seat and sketched the Pura Ubud. It took me an hour and two lemon juices to cool down.image

A little more gift shopping at Ubud Market and a look in some of the shops in the Monkey Forest Road, and to Cinta Grill for lunch. Well, first another lemon juice, lunch, then a Ginger fizz. I am mostly buying clothing for my friends. Very little for myself. I have everything I want from Bali. Not much has changed in what to buy in the past eighteen months. Though I did buy some essential oils for myself.

A quiet afternoon, as my friend seemed to be feeling less and less well. Back to  Cinta for dinner as my friend onlimagey wanted something small and I could recommend the Hawaiian Crab Cakes. She also managed to share a large Bintang beer. Probably helped with the pain of her tooth. I had Tenggiri Fish Steak. I do like Cinta Grill.image

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Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Up the volcano


Today was our first long tour, so my friend could see something of Bali. Our driver was ‘Diana’s Lovely Nyoman’. I did tell you we have to differentiate between them somehow. In the absence of our departed Nyoman, we hired a driver recommended by a friend.

I had recommended my favourite two tours, and this one is known as the Kintamani Tour. It goes to various places , but culminates at a village called Kintamani which runs along the edge of the caldera of Mount Batur, and overlooks the crater lake, Lake Batur.

Our first stop on the trip was Goa Gajah, the elephant cave. I have been there a number of times before, so I didn’t go down, because I am not doing steps so well at the moment. Steps in Bali are mostly high, and each one is a different height. Not easy at the best of times. So I just chatted to the sellers around the car park and found a cotton dress for a friend. I had canvassed what my friends wanted before I set off.

Next stop is Tirta Empul, the holy springs. Very picturesque. Again, I have been many times, but my friend had not. As you leave you have to run the gauntlet of sellers to get back to the car park.  I remember them as being ferocious in their efforts to sell, but this time they seemed more subdued. Everyone says it is quiet and they are doing it tough, so I am not sure why that was.

Finally up to Kintamani.  You stop up at the top and there is a view of the crater lake, with the cone of Mt Batur rising on the left. From the road, the landscape falls away before rising to the cone, and people live down in that area. I always like to eat satay up at Kintamani. Somehow it is just more delicious up there. Sometimes they have tiny slivers of crispy fried onion in the peanut sauce. Anyway it is GOOD. Nyoman dropped us at the Mutiara restaurant and I ordered the satay and started my sketch.

I roughed it in with a blue-grey watercolour pencil. Then I sloshed on the paint. I had to work fast, because the rain was coming and the mountain would be obscured by the cloud.  I ate my beautiful chicken satay while the paint dried.  Eight sticks. I gave my friend one to try.  Then quickly i sharpened my pencil over the drop from the restaurant verandah, and restated the lines in the blue-grey pencil. Then we headed back to Ubud just ahead of the rain, down the leafy back road with woodcarvers.

imageOur last stop was Tegallalang, a place not far from Ubud, famous for spectacular views of the rice terraces. Ruined now, really, because of cars, buses, restaurants everywhere. I remember it when there were just maybe three of four stalls with vivid Balinese batik bedspreads displayed with the stunning rice terraces for a background. But the rice terraces are still there, and regardless of the traffic chaos, still look wonderful.

On the way home we asked the driver to detour via Peliatan to visit one of the florist shops there. I wanted some sedap malam (queen of the night……tuberose). It smells like heaven. I wanted some for our room. Instead of just buying a number of stalks, I bought a big floral arrangement, I guess you’d call it. These flowers are not often available at home and so expensive. So I lashed out the whole fifteen dollars,

For dinner, we got the hotel driver to drop us off at Cafe Nomad, an old favourite of mine for more than 20 years. Like many of the cafès here it has gone a bit upmarket, but still good and not at all expensive.   After my huge satay lunch, I wasn’t very hungry of I had an entree of Japanese dumplings, and green pancakes with coconut and palm sugar. I love any of these green Indonesian desserts with the pandan flavour.


Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Rumah kedua – back to Ubud

imageSo here I am back in Ubud, my second home. My friend still has the dental problems and wants a quiet morning. So I head off up the Monkey Forest Road to check out Ubud Market. But first I run the gauntlet of the old friends and the drivers I have known.

For those who don’t know Bali, you might be getting confused by the names shortly. There are only four first names in Bali (on the whole) so one knows a whole lot of people with the same name. They are birth order names. First born is Wayan, second is Made (pron Marday) then Nyoman, and then Ketut. Child number five will be called Wayan and then you go round again.

I seem to know mostly Nyomans, and a few Mades. So I ran into the Made who calls me Mama (silly boy…though I have known him for almost 30 years) and another Made, a driver I met last visit. I have been emailing a lovely Nyoman who was our driver last time, became a friend and really touched our hearts. I wanted him to pick us up and bring us to Ubud. When I got no reply from the email, I texted, then called and got no reply. I had a bad feeling about that. I found out from his friend Made, that he has got sick and died of cancer in the eighteen months since my last visit. I am really sad about that.

So, off to the market. A look around and a tiny bit of shopping, then back for lunch with my friend. A heavenly mango mint smoothie and lumpia again at Dian Restaurant.

It was very hot and humid, so a long long swim and sketching by the pool. Out to dinner at Rai Pasti, just down the Monkey Forest Road.


Filed under Uncategorized, sketching, watercolour, Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, Travel

Last day in Sanur


I am writing this while the lights are out in Ubud. No storm, no warning….darkness. Poured a drink by the light of my phone. Blogging offline into an app called Textilus, and can cut and paste later. Oh, back on again….GOOD.

The day we departed from Sanur dawned beautiful. We could see Mt Agung through the clouds for once, just the misty outline, but then it became clearer and bluer and ….well, you see. Such a perfect day. My friend was still under the weather with her tooth, so we packed and had an extremely long lunch sitting at the hotel restaurant on the beach, admiring the beautiful day. Lumpia. I eat lumpia often when I want a small meal. I drew the decoration on the roof of the pool bar. I am pointing out here that our own pool did not have a bar. It was a teetotal pool.

imageAt 2pm we were picked up for Ubud and about an hour later we were in the pool at Cendana. Again, almost a private pool, right outside our room. Our bungalow is huge with two huge beds, maybe queen, and mosquito nets, so very coooool to look at. There is a slightly larger salt water pool at the back, but I like the chlorinated one right outside the door.

My friend was interested in doing the cooking course at Casa Luna, so we decided she should book right away. I also wanted her to see the temples along Jalan Raya (the Main Street) of Ubud, get a feel for Ubud, and maybe have a drink at the Lotus Cafe. imageAll Ubud first-timers spend time at the Lotus Cafe, and for that reason I ‘outgrew it’ twenty years or so ago.( My thirty-year Ubud anniversary is in 2016.)  The reason lotus cafe is special is that the view has the beautiful temple of Ubud behind two lotus ponds with a path between. I always go to see if the lotuses see blooming. They were past their best this time, but still some blooms.

So we booked the course, crossed the road, and got a front-row table at  Lotus Cafe to drink a large Bintang beer.

Walking back to the hotel, in the dark, a voice said ‘Ibu Wendy?’ ……and it was Nyoman, a friend since 1992, who was on the staff of Ubud Village Hotel when I used to stay there all the time. He had come to see me on the night I arrived because he was going back to his village for a few days. So we changed our plans and went to the hotel restaurant where it was quiet and we could chat and catch up.


Filed under sketching, watercolour, Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, Travel

Thunder, lightning and rain

imageEating breakfast and the rain came down, Torrential. Everyone hung in there. Nobody was going anywhere. It was like being on an ocean liner when the weather is bad.

Eventually we dodged the rain back to our room, right at the other end of the resort. We sat on the verandah and I sketched the carving. I had been planning that since I arrived.

After a a while the sun came out, and people came and swam in our pool. Our pool!  It seemed half the population of Holland had arrived in the night and they didn’t yet know the rules,

Back along the beach to the market again. Lunch at Rosetta Coffee shop. Mee goreng. I sketched the tree, but left out the akubra that some Australian had hung from a branch. I’m sketching Bali and that would be visual pollution.

Swim and rest. By this time my travelling companion was having trouble with a tooth that had supposedly been dealt with at home. She was not in good shape. Nevertheless, she managed to drag herself out for dinner. Tooth or not, she loves the Balinese food. It was Valentines Day, and though we were before seven pm, we couldn’t get a table in Mona Lisa. People eat early in Sanur!

But it wasn’t a hardship to go back toArt Cafe. Yummy food, friendly service and so close to the hotel.Ikan kemangi (fish), urab and red rice. Total for two meals, a large bintang beer and two glasses of wine, 372k, about $37.20. The man with the glowing orange baton saw us across the road home.


Filed under sketching, watercolour, Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, Travel



Today was the day we wandered along the beach at Sanur to Sindhu Beach Market. I wanted to do some gift shopping, but you could hear my pitiful cries of “tidak ada, tidak ada”, because I couldn’t find what I wanted.

We were waylaid far from the market by two sellers who had shops right at the back of the market and obviously were having a hard time of it. I was wearing my usual Bali pants. They wanted to sell me more of the same. Strangely that was what I wanted…pants like mine, but for a gift for a friend. They told me the name of the fabric is Baliku, – the same name as the company that did my airport transfer. But what they showed me was pants with lizards, and pants with starfish, not the abstract patterns I was looking for. There werent any. Tidak ada

imageLunch was on the beach at Tootsies. Satay. I drew the boat quickly, and my friend talked to people at the neighbouring table  who have turned out to be fellow Bali Travel Forumites.

I went back to the hotel as my friend had decided to go out in a boat to see the coral. Bad decision. Nothing to see. The boatman didn’t help her getting out of the boat, and it moved and she came back half an hour after me, covered in bruises. Black.

So we cooled down with a long swim in our ‘private pool’ and sat on our verandah when this little creature came out to have a snack.

Dinner at Art Cafe along the Main Street of Sanur (the American speller-checker-thingyo wants to always put Main Street with capitals. Why?) Jalan Danau Tamblingan, if you prefer. What do you make of THAT, speller-checker? I loved the food at Art Cafe. Grilled seafood, sambal, urab and red rice.


Filed under animals, Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Orchids and bintang beer

imageA beautiful morning for my friend’s first day in Bali. I quickly sketched the orchids in the restaurant at breakfast time, because I knew we would have More To Do than sit around sketching (my friend is not a sketcher) and I wanted her to have a good first impression of the Island of the Gods.

But from today on, sketches will be more Balinese. I want my sketchbook to show where I have been. I promise.

Breakfast at Griya Santrian is pretty impressive. Guava juice, fresh tropical fruit (different fruit different days). Then an omelette cooked for you if you wish, or a number of other choices like bacon, eggs, pancakes, baked beans, and all the cheese and ham things that some Europeans eat for breakfast.

We walked down the Main Street of Sanur, just having a look around. Very hot, but I had walked that way the night I arrived and now it didn’t seem so far. Lunch at a small warung that served yummy Indonesian food, lumpia and potato cakes. Collected some supplies of large bottles of water, mixes for our drinks, all the important stuff.

imageBack to the hotel for a long long swim in the pool near our room. After a while it started to rain, but who cares when you’re in the water. This is the view of our pool from our upstairs verandah.

That night we ate at the Tandjung Sari Hotel…two hotels along the beach from ours. It is a very small hotel, fifty years old, owned by a Balinese family. Very expensive to stay there, but it is on my bucket list. I have eaten in the restaurant many times though. We used to get the shuttle bus down from Ubud just to have lunch. This time we just dodged the raindrops along the beach path. I ate Ikan Woku Belanga. Fish. Yummy. I drank a large Bintang beer and my friend had two glasses of Italian wine. Her wine cost more than the two meals and the beer put together, she tells me. But why go somewhere nice to eat and not have wine if you want it.



Filed under Bali, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour