Getting Ripped Off In Bali

Getting Ripped Off In Bali

I am no novice to traveling in Asia, and I feel like I have put my time into giving Bali a chance, but there are days where I wonder, why the heck do I live in Bali?  These days are generally the ones were I get ripped off, or spend my day avoiding getting ripped off in Bali. There is no way of avoiding it, I am, in fact, a Bule.  Bule originally translated to albino, and was the word that the Balinese used when first seeing the Dutch settling in Indonesia.  Now, it refers to any foreigner, particularly of the white-skinned variety.  That includes me. There are benefits and burdens to being a Bule in Bali.  The biggest benefit relates to the cost of living here, and is the reason why an increasing number of expats, retirees, and digital nomads are calling Bali home.  When you earn your money online, or from other Western sources, and are living in Bali (or most of Southeast Asia), it is a steal. One of the burdens of being a Bule, in Bali and elsewhere in the region, is that we are often seen as giant ATM machines.  Now, I understand that there are a lot of things that I pay more for in Bali, solely because I am a Bule.  And, most of the time I am okay with it, because I know I earn more money than the average Balinese.  But, today, things went too far.  They went far enough that I want to scream that I am sick of getting ripped off in Bali. Our Babi Guling Place There...

Foodies Guide to Taipei

Our initial purpose in going to Taipei was to visit a friend during a visa run from Bali.  Plus, we heard there was good food.  And, it is impossible to find a dumpling in Ubud. I was jonsing for some dumplings. I laid out a plan of where to eat, and most importantly, what to eat, as I started to create a Foodies Guide to Taipei.  And, if you are wondering how much food can two people eat in 5 days, check this out: Stay tuned for more information on the Foodies’ Guide to Taipei, or subscribe to the With Husband In Tow...
Eng’s Noodle House Singapore – Photo Essay

Eng’s Noodle House Singapore – Photo Essay

I think I am getting island fever.  I love living here in Bali, and generally praise the food, but anytime a foodie lives in a small town, at some point they itch to try something new.  They think about what is missing from the local food scene. They fantasize about food. I have yet to have noodle hallucinations, but I do miss some of the great Chinese food we have had in places like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.  Considering we have two more months before we leave the island on our first visa run in six months, I am left salivating over photos of Eng’s Noodle House in Singapore.  It did not help that our Singaporean friend, Leigh, was visiting last week, and was tempting us with offers of exploring more of Singapores famous food stalls. We visited Eng’s several times during our trips to Singapore, as it is a short walk from where we were house sitting for George and Daisy.  It was not our intended destination that first night.  We tried to go to a strange sort of hawker center, which had a pleasant Thai pork dish we had the day before.  Unfortunately, the stall was closed, as were most of the other stalls in the food court.  Deflated, we started to walk back towards the house, while trying to find an alternative for dinner.  Eric had his heart set on that pork, though. As we walked the busy street, we were drawn in by the simple sign, and the even simpler menu at Eng’s Noodle House Singapore on Tajong Katong.  The place was also pretty packed, which...
Bintang and Babi Guling in Bali

Bintang and Babi Guling in Bali

Now that we have this gorgeous Bali house, even if fraught with problems, we started talking about a house warming.  We had enough room, the gorgeous view.  We even had friends to invite.  Eric came up with the idea around New Years of hosting a Balinese inspired party – with babi guling and Bintang beer.  Babi Guling Being a Hindu island surrounded by Muslim islands, the Balinese tend to embrace their love of pork.  Babi Guling is a roasted pig, with crispy skin, stuffed with Balinese seasonings.  It is possible to find local babi guling stands, and there is the famous Ibu Oka in Ubud.  Babi guling in Bali is one of the main specialities of the island! The pork is served with some rice, slices of skin, perhaps some vegetables, often mixed with pork, a sausage or two, and other pork related delectables.  For a special occasion, like a wedding or important Balinese ceremony, an entire babi guling can be ordered and delivered to your house.  Of course, this was what Eric wanted to do. So, about a week before the big day, we had a consultation with “the babi guling guy.”  He came to our house to talk about how many people we had coming and what services he provided.  On the day of, at the perfectly appointed time, the babi guling guy showed up with a warm and toasty roasted pig about 20 kilograms, fully in tact, from snout to tail.  He was glowing a gorgeous red color, and smelled so fantastic.  Eric was in hog heaven, literally.  Shortly after delivery, Eric sliced off the skin,...
Sugary Sweet Desserts in Amman, Jordan – Photo Essay

Sugary Sweet Desserts in Amman, Jordan – Photo Essay

After a lovely evening of cheap Shawarma in Amman, Jordan, we walked back to our hotel, in no particular rush to get back to the room.  We had walked by a huge sweet shop, and although we are not big dessert people, we wandered into Al Sahil Al Ahkdar Sweets.  I could smell the sugar in the street.  WE followed the saccharine smell and ordered some desserts in Amman. All we saw were enormous, round, metal sheets, loaded with every combination of the local sweet ingredients – sugar, nuts, filo pastry, honey, and more sugar. There were no signs or prices, so we just started pointing to various desserts saying two of those, two of those, two of those. One of the employees behind the counter even threw in two extra treats, he said “just for visiting.” It was another example of the friendliness of the Jordanian people.  Once we felt how heavy the little tray was, we were concerned that we had just bought 20 dollars worth of sweet desserts in Amman. Instead, it rang up at less than $3.00.  Wow.  I was simply amazed at the good value of the food in Amman.  So, we lugged our tray back to the hotel, ate almost everything on the tray.  Then, I swore I would go to the dentist once we were back in Kuala Lumpur. Thank you Amman, for the sweet treats. If you are familiar with any of these sweets, please let me know their names – we have no idea what we...
Cascades Restaurant – Decadent Breakfasts at The Viceroy Bali

Cascades Restaurant – Decadent Breakfasts at The Viceroy Bali

I knew we would eat well during our stay at the Viceroy Bali.  The real luxury, though, started the second day.  I loved our 5 course dinner, but I expected fabulous things from Chef Nic before we even arrived. The breakfast at the Viceroy Bali, though, just surprised me immensely.  Instead of the typical hotel buffet breakfast, the Viceroy Bali offers an a la carte, all inclusive breakfast menu, complete with appetizers and desserts.  I tried to play it all cool, like I can afford to eat breakfast like this all the time, but I could not hide the fact that I was simply giddy about breakfast! And, that my friends is how I had the following for breakfast: 1) fresh squeezed beetroot and apple juice; 2) a latte; 3) warm pastries including a chocolate croissant and cinnamon raisin roll; 4) fresh fruit platter; 5) citrus crepes as a breakfast appetizer; 6) a mushroom omelet; 7) side of crispy bacon; 8) another latte; 9) carrot and ginger juice; and 10) a breakfast dessert of coconut rice pudding.  And, that was just day one.  They had to roll me out of the restaurant.  I am not kidding, I struggled to peel myself off the cushions set neatly on the floor of the short Asian-style table. Day two was something similar, merely swapping out a few dishes.  Breakfast is my favorite meal, so I was in heaven. I did not care that I was overstuffed or that I had not been hungry in days, I just enjoyed the decadence while it lasted. I knew I would never eat breakfast like this again....