Bali 2012

My brother was living in Sanur, Bali. He invited myself, Craig, Jasper, my sister Christine, her partner Luke and our father Bernie to visit. It was the first time we have all holidayed together and the first time my dad and Jasper had been overseas. I was a little nervous travelling with an 11 months old baby on a 10 hour flight. I was still breastfeeding Jasper as well as giving him solids.  Normally I had home made meals already prepared for him each day, so I was feeling a little unprepared travelling with limited ready made meals. I like being organised!

We decided to spend a few days in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast visiting family before flying out to Denpasar, Bali. I booked a flight to coincide with Jaspers sleep time. I think he was too excited to sleep on the plane. The poor people around us had to listen to the same books being read and same songs sung over and over during the 2 hours flight from Townsville to Brisbane. We hired a car from the Brisbane airport. Jasper crashed the minute we drove off to visit my family.I was very proud introducing my son to my Aunts and Uncles. We met my Dad in Brisbane and he was super excited to “show” off his grandson to his brothers and sisters. It was so nice to see.

We stayed at the Ocean Boulevard on the Sunshine Coast for 3 nights. The room wasn’t officially considered wheelchair accessible, however I was able to manage all the same. There was a step at the entrance of the unit that I needed Craig to help me up, however once inside the unit I was able to get around without any problems. I was able to use the bathroom fine. I just needed a plastic chair for the shower. The staffs were more than accommodating. It was nice to relax with my little family at the Sunshine Coast before embarking on a family trip to Bali. We met my dad, Christine and Luke at the Brisbane airport. We made sure that we were all seated together, mainly so we could pass Jasper around when needed.

All in all the flight to Bali wasn’t too bad. Again it took a lot of reading books, singing his favourite songs and playing with a few toys. Having extra family to entertain him was priceless. We flew with Jetstar Airlines. Thankfully they left a seat in our row free so we could spread out. This helped as it allowed Jasper to lie down to sleep. He has never been one to fall asleep on us. He seemed to always fall asleep right before the seat belt sign would go on. Therefore he didn’t sleep well. But we made it to Denpasar. I had a few prepared meals for the plane flight so all was good.

I must say travelling in a wheelchair and with a baby makes getting through customers very quick. Craig was super pleased about that. He hates waiting in lines…and at traffic lights! We were greeted by my brother and his wife Anna. This was a little odd as we didn’t know he was married (Nothing like having a close family!). Anna is a gorgeous shy Indonesian lady.

Our villa

Our villa

My brother organised for a wheelchair accessible bus to transport us to our wheelchair accessible Villa accommodation. The bus was just like a taxi in Australia, so I felt very safe and secure driving to our Villa amongst the crazy traffic. The name of the place where we stayed is Accessible Villa G in Sanur. My brother did very well with the organising. The accommodation was AMAZING. There were three villas surrounding an outdoor private pool with an outdoor kitchen and lounge area. It was so beautiful!

Toilet & Shower

Our Villa was simply perfect. I have never stayed in an accommodation that was perfectly wheelchair accessible before. There are no steps and is very wheelchair friendly. It also has a large swimming pool with a hoist, mobile electric hoist in the bathrooms and various shower chair options.  The bathroom is massive and luxurious.  It contained a huge bath and a large wheel in shower area. There was even an outdoor shower, however this wasn’t wheelchair accessible.

Luxurious bath

Luxurious bath

Waking up each morning to the lovely pool view was so relaxing. The paths around the pool leading to the kitchen and outdoor lounge were all level and easy to wheel over. This was just paradise. They also had access to a shop up the road if there was other equipment that I might need. It was amazing yet comforting to find that added option in Bali.

Jasper loves his rocks

Jasper loves his rocks

We had two staff members who lived at the Villa also making us breakfast and waited on us hand and foot. They fell in love with Jasper and spoiled him rotten. They always wanted to hold him and he just wanted to crawl around on the ground.  Jasper discovered the decorative rocks around the pool area. He spent all his time moving the rocks from one place to another than returning them to their original spot. Hours of entertainment. There was no need for toys!

My brother also hired us a mini van for our time in Bali as well as two local guys. One guy Wyan was our guide and Kutuk was our driver, both available 24 hours a day. This made travelling around very easy.

Jaspers car seat

Jaspers car seat

My dad, Christine and Luke were the adventurous ones travelling on the back of my brothers’ motorbike through the CRAZY traffic. Craig, Jasper and I stuck with travelling in the mini van. Fortunately I was able to lift myself into the van most times, however lucky enough to have Craig’s help when needed. There was no baby car seat, so Craig ingeniously placed my wheelchair (seat part without the wheels attached) in the middle of the back seat. He put the seat belt over Jasper, clipping him in securely. It worked a treat.

I was so worried about how I was going to keep Jasper in some sort of a routine with his sleep and his meal times. He is a dream baby to look after when happy and in his routine so I was hoping things didn’t change.  I had to make sure that we had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Jaspers eating time even if the others ate later. Fortunately he totally loved the Balinese cuisine and ate heaps. I was concerned about the heat, however it was comforting knowing that he was drinking enough as I was still breastfeeding him as well as giving him water.

We were in Sanur for 8 nights/7 days. We made sure that we weren’t out on long sightseeing trips each day.  On alternate days we hung out by our amazing pool and just relaxed. This actually suited my dad very well. He enjoyed seeing the sights but he needed the rest also.

I wouldn’t consider Bail to be very wheelchair accessible. I was just lucky enough to be travelling with family who were able to carry me up steps etc. Also beware with the toilets. They often have hoses to wash yourself with rather than using toilet paper!

We visited the village of Tenganan Pegringsinga. It is a popular sight to visit due to its original Bali Aga compound. Bali Aga means a village that still holds the origin traditions and rules of ancient Balinese, like house design, religious ritual ceremony, and how to interact each other (the way of life). It is known for its rare “Selunding” music and “double ikat” textiles.

Wheeling around was ok, however there were many areas I wasn’t able to visit as the stalls were situated in their traditional buildings meaning many, many steps to negotiate.  I don’t feel like I missed out on see anything at all. I got to see the amazing way they make their traditional textiles and crafts.  Everyone was so happy!

Wyan's Family

Wyan’s Family

 

We were so privileged to be able to visit Wyan’s family in the mountains at Besakih. The terrain was very rough but so worth a visit to this beautiful countryside. We were greeted by Wyan’s mother, father and his daughter who was a similar age to Jasper. The little girl handed Jasper a flower. It was so sweet.  His father proudly showed us around this land including his 4 pigs and his mother gave us a heap of Manggistien fruit and mandarins taste and to take with us. Before we left, she made sure we were all dressed respectfully to visit the Besakih Temple.  We all had our Saragons and Sashs on looking very Balinese.

The Mother Temple of Besakih  is the most important, largest, holiest temple in Bail and has millions of steps. Poor Craig had the job of piggy backing me up and down the sometimes steep steps. But it was so worth a visit. The locals were asking Wyan if I was royal because I was getting carried. Word spread and we were our own tourist attraction in ourselves. We were the only westerns walking around the temple. All the people gravitated towards Jasper. They were fascinated with his blonde hair and blue eyes. The kids just wanted to play with him all the time.

The Mother Temple of Besakih

The Mother Temple of Besakih

The temple has different levels for different classes .i.e. 1st level for the farmers, 2nd level for the economic, 3rd level was for the warriors and the 4th level were for priests family. There was a lot of rubbish around the temple which really surprised me since it was considered a very holy place. There were also a lot of people trying to sell you things like drinks, photos of the temple, fairy floss etc. I didn’t really like the idea of the children selling or pushing for sales. It was a bit full on.

The steps were too much for my dad, so he stayed at the bottom. We also left my wheelchair down there with a friend of Wyans’ who was selling drinks. When we got back we purchased 2 drinks just as a thank you for keeping the wheelchair safe.

It was a 1 and a half hour drive back to our villa in Sanur. Jasper was sick of travelling in the van. He was crawling over the wheelchair seat from me to Craig all the way back in the van. He was delirious. Very very tired.  I breastfed him in the car on the way home. I thought this was pretty cool, however we past a mother breast feeding a baby while sitting on the back of a motorbike. Her husband was driving and had a boy about 4 yrs sitting at the front. Now that was impressive.  Don’t know how she did it practically since the roads were so bumpy and crazy busy with other bikes, cars and trucks all darting all other the road. In saying that we also saw a lady carrying eggs on the back of a motorbike. Amazing!

Amazing!

Amazing!

We had to really keep a close eye on who was holding Jasper. The Balinese people would just come up, pick Jasper up and walk off with him to show him to others. It was a little scary. They were just being friendly as they all loved him so much. I think that is just their nature. Very family orientated!

We drove to the Sukawati art markets. I didn’t like it there. It was so hectic with people trying to sell you everything. I think my dad was amazed at all the stalls. He purchased a few souvenirs.  While there we saw a theatre production of Obyek Wisata Budaya, Sahadewa, Barong and Kris Dance. It was a very theatrical production.  Jasper was mesmerized by the noise and colour of the costumes.

 

Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest

We had a beautiful lunch in the town of Ubud. I love the food here. My poor dad is getting sick of some much rice! After lunch we headed to the Monkey Forest in Ubud. It is home to about 340 monkeys. We arrived late in the afternoon. This turned out to be perfect as we weren’t harassed by hundreds of hungry/thieving monkeys.  My brother made sure Wyan and Kutuk were walking either side of whoever was carrying Jasper as he was concerned about then jumping on him and scratching him. We didn’t have any troubles with the monkeys. I found it fine in my wheelchair going along the paths, although Craig did push me a few times.

 

Balinese Funeral

Balinese Funeral

 

We had many a meal not far from our Villa at Café Batu Jimba, Sanur. The Café is situated across the road from Hardys’ Supermarket. Hardys’ has fruit, vegetables, drinks, clothes, shoes and souvenirs. While having lunch one day the road which is normally filled with motorbikes darting around, started to fill with women all dressed in purple.  Then a very elaborate and simply amazing “Funeral Tower” appeared in the street carrying a body. The tower was made out of wood and bamboo crafted by the village carpenter. In order to ensure that the soul of the deceased doesn’t find his/her way back home the men confuse it by twisting, twirling and making full circles with the tower. It was so beautiful combined with the singing and the drums. What an experience to see.

 

On our final day in Bali we went for lunch at a little place called Waring Mei. Again it was a traditional Balinese cuisine which we all loved. It is funny most of the “restaurants/cafes” don’t look like they do in Australia. They look more like a shack with tables which definitely make you feel like you are on holidays. While we were waiting for our meals, Anna took Jasper across the road to the Tailors shop (another shack looking place) where she gave him a manicure as you do. It all seemed so random to us but completely natural to the Balinese!

After lunch we drove for 2 hours to Tanah Lot. Jasper was so tired but refused to go to sleep in the van. He didn’t want to lie down, didn’t want to sit up and he was very hot. He was jumping from Craig to me, trying to get comfortable in the van. Poor little guy. I was looking forward to getting home and back to a sleeping baby.

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

 

We arrived at Tanah Lot mid afternoon.  Tanah Lot is a rock formation situated off the coast of Bali, home to the Pura Tanah Lot (temple).  The temple sits on a large offshore rock.  I wasn’t able to go around the actual temple due to the path conditions but wow what a spectacular view I had!

The paths were very jagged with the bricks lifting up making in a little scary to wheel across. I was thinking that I would fall out of my chair if I hit the wrong bump. There were a few big steps here and there along the path just entering the different areas. Thankfully Craig pushed me for the worst parts and Anna had Jasper in the pram. It was hard to check out the amazing view while wheeling around and trying to keep up with the others.

Melasti Tanah Lot Restaurant

Melasti Tanah Lot Restaurant

We found a great table at the Melasti Tanah Lot Restaurant sitting at the cliff edge, drinking cocktails and eating lovely seafood while watching the sun go down. It was a breathtaking way to finish our wonderful family holiday in Bali.

Our private pool

Our private pool

After a long hot day in Bali and a 2 hour night drive back to our Villa, it was so wonderful to be able to all jump in our own private pool and reflect on our time in Bali. Bali was so relaxing. The Balinese people were so beautiful. We were treated like royalty everywhere we went. We really loved the way they live their life. The world should be more like them.

Leaving our Villa was so sad. Although we were only there for 8 nights it felt like “home”. No one wanted to leave relaxing Bali. Even Dad, although he was keen to eat a meat pie instead of rice!

Our flight from Bali back to Townsville was going to be a huge trip for us. We were travelling from Denpasar to Darwin, then onto Brisbane where dad, Christine and Luke were disembarking. Craig, Jasper and I needed to catch a connecting flight to Townsville.

The flight from Denpasar didn’t start too well with Jasper crying for the first hour. He was just so tired and exhausted from our trip. It was so bad that we thought we might just get a hotel in Darwin for the night and fly back the following day. Thankfully he finally fell asleep, however we were due to land in Darwin for a 2 hour stop over. Amazingly he didn’t wake up for the landing, even going though customers, still asleep in the stop over and only woke up with an hour or so before we landed in Brisbane.  After a run around the Brisbane airport we caught our flight back to Townsville.

Jasper was over travelling by the last hour, so again it just took a bit of entertaining with books, singing and toys and he was fine. We made it!

Awesome holiday in Bali. I would recommend it to everyone! In saying that I was fortunate enough to be travelling with family who were able to help me around when needed. Also thanks to my brother for finding the most superb accommodation ever, making our family holiday one to remember.

Bye Bali!

Bye Bali!

 

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