Friday, July 19, 2013

Bali, Java, in My Dreams

Rummaging through a second-hand bookshop in Ulladulla today, I found this beautifully written book by Christine Jordis.

From ancient temples to the muddy streets of Jakarta, from the volcano to the mini-cab, Christine Jordis leads an intoxicating, sensual tour of Indonesia.Relying on atmosphere and sensation over fact and statistic, Christine Jordis has written a deeply personal, vividly impressionistic account of several journeys to the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java. Dazzled, wide-eyed, but always astute, Jordis describes famous monuments, native dances, encounters with locals. She conjures up the various literary and artistic figures who sought refuge and inspiration in Indonesia - Arthur Rimbaud, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad - and brings ancient legends to life. She chronicles fascinating sociological observations and historical curiosities, but it is Jordis' sensual, emotional responses to her surroundings that most distinguish Bali, Java, in my Dreams from the average East-meets-West travelogue. From the heart of the lush tropical forests, Jordis guides her readers through the technicolor paradise that makes Paris seem grey in comparison. Ultimately, it is these very colours that infuse her life - and her readers' lives - with new meaning.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bali 1912

In 1912, a young German doctor working for the Dutch East Indies government fell in love with Bali.

To mark his devotion the doctor, Gregor Krause, took more than 4,000 photographs - making him the forerunner of the vast numbers of visitors who have been taking pictures of Bali ever since.

Then in 1920, 400 of his photographs accompanied by his own reports were published in Germany. Their effect on a Europe newly emerged from four years of world war and still struggling with austerity was dramatic. Here were pictures of a hallowed island of love, harmony and beauty - everything that Europe would like to be.

A selection of Gregor Krause's best work is published in Bali 1912, including many prints from his original glass slides. They offer a unique view of traditional Bali and prove once again that good black-and-white photography can easily hold its own against today's glossiest work in colour.

Here's a video clip of the same time period although unrelated to the book:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hotel Grya Sari near the Hot Springs in the hills above Lovina

One of my favourite little hotels in the north of Bali is the Hotel Grya Sari which is right next to the Hot Springs. It's a lovely little place and the charming owners make you feel like family.

A German, Frank Köhler, also fell under its spell and recorded this video clip (there was a time when my English sounded like Frank's ☺).

Next time you visit Bali, follow Frank's and my example and stop at the Hotel Grya Sari near the Hot Springs in the hills above Lovina. You won't regret it!

P.S. And you won't need to book ahead because Grya Sari is such a well-kept secret - for how much longer? - that you'll always find a beautifully appointed bungalow waiting for you.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Frank Köhler in Bali


I have never met Frank - although we are now in email contact - but his video clips of Bali are well-made and worth bringing to the attention of a wider audience.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Island-sitting anyone?


An American friend, who owns an island in the Kingdom of Tonga, is looking for someone to island-sit the place for the next six months. It's a breathtakingly beautiful place with a breathtakingly beautiful residence.



As my friend says, " The pay is small $500 for the six months, although the benefits of staying on the island at no cost and access to all houses and boats is a plus. "



Interested? Email me at riverbend[AT]



Friday, June 14, 2013

Theo Zantmann


Years ago, on one of my Bali trips, I met Theo Zantman who's been living and painting on Bali since the late 80s. As well as painting portraits, abstracts and nudes, his most characteristic works are his kampong and rice field paintings which, in their vibrant colours, are very evocative of Bali life.

Kaki Lima
Kaki lima are mobile carts from which food vendors sell a variety of local snacks such as bakso (meatball soup), mie ayam (chicken noodle soup) and rujak cingur (spicy vegetables with peanut sauce). They're called kaki lima because they've got five legs (kaki = leg, lima = five); well, sort of - two wheels, a backstand, and two legs on the guy pushing it.

Warung Baru
A warung is a small shop or café'; baru means new; thus 'new shop'

Theo Zantman likes to be known as Bali's Van Gogh. Next time you visit Bali, look him up and let me know if he still has both his ears ☺


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bali here I come?



We expect to be "stuck" here at "Riverbend" for a few more years as there aren't enough buyers with sufficient cash around.


Our last visitors were as enamoured with Bali as we are which made us think: why not buy a property in Bali and share it with four like-minded people (or couples)?

Is $100,000 too much to pay for a second home in Bali in which to spend three months of every year? Three months are just about the right length of time to really enjoy Bali and three-month visas are readily available on arrival.

$100,000 for a quarter-share in a property as exquisite as the one shown here is cheap: a large 130 square-metre main building, a smaller 40 square-metre guesthouse, a 90 square-metre 2-metre deep pool, a jacuzzi and several pavillons, and the whole lot set on a landscaped block of 4,430 square-metres which is large by Australian standards and huge in Bali.

And the property is in the north of Bali, away from the tourists, where Bali still is as Bali used to be. And it is in the hills at an elevation of more than a 100 metres where it is cooler and where there are no mosquitoes. And the views out to sea and neighbouring Java Island are something to die for! There is just one problem: three months a year may not be long enough!

Of course, everything would be legally drawn up. You might lose your pale complexion but not your shirt.

Interested? Email me!








P.S. This is just a thought bubble. I could afford to go it alone but the thought of such a beautiful property standing empty for three-quarters of the year offends me. It's the sort of place that ought to be shared amongst like-minded people.