We arrived in Ubud @ 5:00 pm. We were met at our new house by Jared, the realtor who helped us in our search for where to live. I was nervous about choosing a house from so far away, based on a few pictures on the internet –we’ve all been tricked by the fish-eye lens before! Luckily for us, Jared has worked with lots of American families. He found us a very nice house, in a great neighborhood with an amazing staff. In addition, our landlord, who lives next door, (in an INCREDIBLE house he built last year), has lived here for many years and is a great resource for all things Bali. He had graciously arranged a delicious dinner of chicken curry to be prepared for our arrival. I wish I could say how much I enjoyed it — unfortunately, we barely could keep our eyes open! We did our best to stay awake as long as we could but, despite our best efforts we were all in bed by @ 7:00!
One of the great luxuries of living here is the availability of cheap labor (especially compared to the US). For about what it cost to have a housekeeper once a week in Los Angeles, we have a full-time driver, chef and 2 housekeepers! The chef is going to be hard to get over when we return! Every morning he prepares fresh fruit, smoothies, eggs, french toast or whatever we request. My kids are in for a shock when we return to Eggo waffles and cold cereal! After breakfast, we decide on the menu for lunch and dinner. He was trained in a French restaurant here in Ubud so, he can cook lots of Western dishes as well as Thai, Chinese and, of course, Indonesian.
Our arrival in January coincided with the rainy season here. Iit rains almost daily but, I’m actually kind of enjoying it. It’s a tropical rain so, it’s sunny and humid most of the day and then at some point (mostly late afternoon or at night), the sky opens up and, wow! It comes down! Not like at home where a tiny shower becomes the lead story on the news — (“Stormwatch” for you Angelenos!), and people lose their minds trying to leave work early. Here, people just go on with their day, just part of life. Unlike us Americans, the Balinese don’t spend a lot of time trying to control their environment the way we do. They’re very easy going and accepting of most things…..more on this later.
The downside of the rainy season is that nothing dries — EVER! Towels and clothes have a vague damp feel and the few books we brought now have distinctly wavy pages. For those of you who’ve lived in Florida or Hawaii, this might not be so unsettling. But, for those of us who live in a place where water is so precious that letting our kids run through the sprinklers could result in jail time for their parents, this takes some getting used to. To contend with the wet climate, the houses are mostly open, including, (which I didn’t fully grasp from the pictures), all our bathrooms! This might seem romantic after a massage in a Hawaiian spa, but not that awesome when you need to pee in the middle of the night.