Stay tuned…I’m going to rework this site…

I’m not going to post one of those “under construction” photos they used to have on websites while they were under development.  (Do they do that anymore? Did I just reveal my vintage?)  Anyone who has spent anytime in Toronto this summer is so over everything to do with construction – I won’t contribute to the madness.
Thanks for following me this far – hopefully you will stick around for the next phase and follow me back.  🙂  On my way to Sydney in October – but will be back here, soon!!

Nicole xoxo

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Photos for your Friday morning…

See – I’m really here – and with cleavage. In a temple. I know.

Temples, temples, temples. Some monkeys and some rice fields. Have good weekends!

Rice fields…

I have no idea where I was when I took this – but, beautiful, isn’t it?

And more rice fields, on the way to the hot springs, where my guide decided to ask me if he could be my boyfriend…

The now forever in my mind (not) Love Hot Springs…

And some monkeys….

Yes, I was very close. They roamed free. One grabbed the hem of my dress and tried to drag me away…maybe he read Eat Pray Love, too.

And one more…because my Mom loves monkeys…

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Eat, Pray, (not) Love…

Ok. So I didn’t do Italy or India…but I have seen many many temples (pray) and have eaten my weight in everything covered in peanut sauce (eat)….

Playing the gamelan

I had the opportunity to watch a performance of the Barong and Kris Dance – the pamphlet they provided for me defies any kind of understanding and just might be the most confusing translation I have ever seen…suffice it to say most of these things are about the struggle between good and evil and involve a lot of men wearing make-up and strange masks….and usually a monkey.

I’m not sure if she represents good or evil but she has FABULOUS eye make-up

Some more shots for you…

I’m also not sure if they are good or evil but they have fabulous eye make-up, as well

And then there was this guy….

I think he was a witch maybe?

Whatever he is, all I could think was…he kind of reminds me of Tina Turner with that hair…and in spite of myself starting humming “Private Dancer”…

Toured around the countryside – lush, gorgeous. Lots of rice fields. The photos below are from Ubud.  All of the work in the paddies is done manually…and the processing of the rice is, too.  Everywhere we drove we saw mats on the side of the road in the sun so that the rice could dry – usually with a woman sitting beside it to make sure the chickens didn’t eat it…in fact, most of the hard labour I have seen (aside from construction) has been carried out by women. Harvesting the rice (which looks like some nasty, dirty work and makes me thankful for a lot of things…) walking for miles for water, temple offerings, huge baskets filled with food  – all on their heads….they are some tough chicks.

And another view…

Again, in Ubud

The big thing to see in Ubud is the volcano. It was pretty foggy yesterday….but you get the idea.

This was my view while I ate lunch…

And just a couple of more things before I go….as I am sitting in a bar with free WIFI at 7:30 pm on a Friday night.  I’m half-watching a kick-a** rugby game surrounded by Aussies….and even though I am drinking beer…I feel like an Accenture geek sitting here with my laptop…

To address the (not) love portion of Elizabeth Gilbert’s well-known book, not counting the numerous advances made by the guys who have sold me beer on the beach, the men selling me my souvenirs, the security guards at my hotel (and to clarify – I know this is NOT because I am the most amazing thing they have ever seen – I’m female, foreign and here on my own….they have all probably read Eat Pray Love, too….and have visions of immigration visas dancing in their heads…) – my tour guide asked me if he could be my boyfriend today.  After a conversation that took far too long after I initially declined…I mean his English wasn’t great but NO, absolutely not, never ever going to happen, HELL no and TIDAK (no in Indonesian)…I thought a prolonged discussion of said response was really unnecessary.  Of course, he chose to bring this up at the point in our journey (on a motorbike – yes, Mom, I had a helmet) at the furthest point away from the hotel. Let’s just say that the ride back – more than an hour on the WORST roads I have ever seen (seriously – for you Torontonians…construction on the Gardinder has NOTHING on where I was today…) was rather uncomfortable – literally and figuratively.

So, (not) love in Indonesia. 🙂

Most of you know – and well, all of you know, now – how essential coffee is to me.  (My brother could tell you stories about searching for coffee in remote villages in Ireland…and no, really strong tea doesn’t cut it…) That said, no trip to Bali would be complete without drinking coffee that came out of a civet’s butt.  Yup.  I did.  And it is some damn fine coffee (any Twin Peaks fans out there? <grin>).

Previously sleeping civet…

I’m not sure if the coffee I bought came out of his behind or the behind of someone else…but, Dad, I’m bringing some home for you. 🙂

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Bali Hai and Gado Gado

Just a little something in my neighbourhood

It has been more than 10 years since I have been in Indonesia – $2 Bali Hai beers, $10 massages, the smell of clove cigarettes and frangipani (quite possibly my new favourite smell), $2 million (rupiah) in my wallet and everything you could possibly want to eat smothered in peanut sauce….

It’s a new thing for me, going on a chill resort-style vacation when I am already relaxed.  No need to spend the first couple of days wondering where my phone is (dead, in case you are wondering, I think I forgot my charger…), drinking myself into a dreamy haze poolside (although with $2 beers this is a cheap and easy task)…

This is where I am staying. I really like NOT being a backpacker this time around…

Some beach shots…

Legian, Bali

I’m not convinced they could get me to stand up in an hour unless it was on dry land….or standing in the surf holding onto my surfboard…

Outside my hotel at sunset…

Legian, Bali

I’m sitting in a cafe right now, drinking coffee that just might keep me awake for the next two or three days (seriously – I don’t think I have been this awake…ever…) and this is my view….

Not scenic, but as anyone who has been to Bali knows, motorcycles and scooters are everywhere. I have almost been run over twice.  On the sidewalk.

Doing some temple traipsing and volcano climbing in the next couple of days – so more photos to come. But for today, I’m off to find a deck chair and an attentive pool waiter – the sun just came out and with all of the peanut sauce I have been eating and beer I have been drinking I need to work on my tan….we all look slimmer with a tan….<grin>

Hope everyone is well!
N.

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Apa kabar? I’m going to Bali tomorrow….

Legian Beach, Bali

So, yes. I haven’t been super chatty lately, as many of you have commented.  I’ve been living life – plays, museums, art galleries, hopping on ferries to explore new neighbourhoods, spending the day at the cinema because it is raining outside (I have seen some terrible movies – but I highly recommend Salmon Fishing in the Yemen),  playing in the park with the doggies, yoga on the beach….

Yoga class at Bondi

I have so much freaking zen these days….

I’m off to Bali tomorrow for a week – photos and stories I promise.  Most of you know that I have been all over Indonesia…but I never made it Bali.  And I’m all of this way…and now that it is autumn/winter here….I need another fix of puka shells, sarongs, sand and summer…and yes, surfers. <grin>

More Legian Beach in Bali

Sampai jumpa lagi!!!

P.S. Suzi-Q – I didn’t make it to see Nicole Richie at the launch of her handbag collection….I think it is safe, however,  to assume that she looks like a Q-tip…although, to her credit, she has come a long way since her Paris Hilton sidekick days…

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More random thoughts and random photos

Sunset, Sydney Harbour

Pretty, isn’t it. I went to the zoo last weekend – took this photo on the way home on the ferry.  More koala photos below.  I just love them – I want to call them George and hug them and pet them and squeeze them and …wait…that’s something else…

You think I’m living the life…I think he’s living the life…

Yes, the one on the left IS in an awkward position…

To be honest, this post might be more photos than thoughts. That’s just the kind of mood I’m in today.

KRYPTONITE, BABY.

Superman has kryptonite. I have rugby players.

Penrith Panthers vs. Melbourne Storm – Rugby League

Finally saw a live game on the weekend – Rugby League vs. Rugby Union is something I am only now learning about.  Most of you will be familiar with the latter.  The game I saw was Rugby League – which is a faster game with less mauling and scrumming but still has hookers. 🙂

I had corporate tickets from a friend – so found myself standing beside the coach and some of the players at one point. I actually didn’t know who they were until later but when you are surrounded by giants it is usually fair to assume they are somehow connected to the team. I can also spot a rugby player from a mile away. It’s a gift.

The home team, Penrith, got their a**es handed to them, 10 – 44, but still great fun to be a part of the crowd.

Paging Mr. and Mrs. Howell…

What is about yachts that make me start talking like the Howells from Gilligan’s Island?  Well, lovies….here is the thing.  The Accenture office building in Sydney has FREAKING YACHT PARKING.

The office…

And the parking lot….

I’m totally NOT making this up…

I suspect that in many of our Canadian Accenture offices we could create snowmobile parking, but it isn’t nearly as glamorous.  The office in Sydney is also directly across from the casino.

I seriously like the way these people think.

I’m off to walk along the coast and look at this…

This is a 15 minute walk from my house. It is any wonder I love it here so much?

To all of the Moms reading this – lots of love to you and hope that you are spoiled rotten this Mother’s Day.

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Camping

Yes. Camping. That’s what I said.

Central NSW

That was the view from the tent.  Yes. Tent. That’s what I said.

Anyone who knows me typically blows a synapse or two trying to get their heads around me spending any kind of significant time in a tent (that isn’t prefaced by the word beer….as in “meet me at the beer tent”…).  And while, it is true that it isn’t exactly my idea of a fantastic vacation, I’m not as precious as you might think, despite what you think my shoes say about me. <grin>

This trip is about experience and experimentation so when the sleeping bags came out, I put my eyebrows back down and just went with it. When we arrived, I was informed of the three brown snakes that they killed that morning, right where I would be sleeping, in the tent, on the ground. (I won’t include a photo of the snake because I love my Mom and don’t want to give her nightmares.) Of all of the snakes in Australia that could kill you, this one, I think, is in the top 3.

So I had a drink and helped set up the tent. (It wasn’t 5 o’clock but as Jimmy Buffet says….) Then I was told about the nest of Red Back spiders living in the shed.  (They are related to the Black Widow spider, and the females do eat the males while mating. They also have the more poisonous bite AND spin the webs.  I love Wikipedia.)  Their bite won’t kill you but it is apparently quite painful.

Super.

AND (yes, there is more…) another fun and exciting fact of which I was not informed was how cold it would get.  There was frost on the ground in the morning.

All of that said, it really was beautiful and I survived to tell you all about it. I did drink an awful lot of wine, though.

I went for a walk in my flip flops – the only shoes I had with me – and while the photos that follow are NOT of my feet, that was mostly what I was looking at while I walked as I was terrified of encountering any of the brown snakes in the vicinity that I was convinced were desperate to make my acquaintance…

Below is the map of where I was…just north of Oberon between Bathurst and Lithgow.

North of Oberon is where I was

And one more shot of the scenery…

And a few of your have been asking for updates on Oscar.  He’s just delicious.

Yes, he was camping, too.

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