We live in a small typical Asian town - noisy, hot, dusty - and for most of the year we don't travel outside of a 5-kilometer radius around our house. Every other week we make the long (10 kilometer!) drive out to the beach, or pool, and that's it. No road trips, no trips to the next town over for dinner, nothing. David gets to fly to the jungle interior a few times a week, but for me and the kids, most of the time our world is quite small.
All that to say, I was really looking forward to our trip to Bali. I once visited Bali years ago when I was about 8 months pregnant with Luke to attend a women's conference, but we'd never been with the whole family. And to make it even more wonderful, my parents flew to Tarakan and spent two weeks here with us before we all traveled together to Bali. I got my love of traveling from my dad, who is a master at it and makes any trip fun.
One of the best things we did in Bali was to rent a car and ride around, getting lost in the lush countryside. We saw rice fields and volcanoes, and I ate about a kilo of one of my all-time favorite fruits, the mangostein. We hiked to some Buddhist stone carvings that pre-date Hinduism. The place had an ancient, other-worldly feel to it.
We enjoyed a day at the water park, and a trip to the Bali Bird and Reptile Park, where we got to hold some different birds.
When my parents were in Tarakan, Dad got to fly along with David and had lunch at a village interior, where he was fed monitor lizard. At the reptile park in Bali he got to see what he it was he ate:
The hotel grounds where we stayed were just lovely, and I enjoyed seeing several of one of my favorite types of trees, the sea fan. I would love to have one of these growing in my backyard.
So all in all, Bali lived up to my vacation expectations - lots of playing, relaxing, and eating. Dad left from Bali to go back to Georgia, but Mom came back to Tarakan with us and will be here another week. It's so nice having her around.