Monday, December 31, 2012

Bali - Happy New Year

We celebrated New Year's Eve at the villa with a traditional Balinese feast of babi guling (suckling pig) and smoked chicken, while fireworks shot off in every direction.  Then we spent the last few hours of 2012 drinking Bintang beer and watching a series of Indonesian and K-Pop singers on a televised Indonesian New Year's show.  Definitely a unique way to ring in the new year, though it was a bit strange to sit down for lunch on New Year's Day and realize it was still 2012 back in Seattle!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bali - Temples

We visited a number of temples during the various day trips we took to different parts of Bali.  We made a special trip to purchase sarongs on our first full day in Bali (a very interesting negotiating experience); Amelia picked hers out carefully and enjoyed wearing it, while Soren was a bit more skeptical.  Our favorite temple was certainly the holy springs at Pura Tirtha Empul, where Amelia and Soren were fascinated by the worshippers wading into deep pools to drink the holy waters, and the worshippers were equally fascinated by the kids (Soren ended up posing with many of them for photographs).  We also braved Ulu Watu and its famed monkeys, who unfortunately proved as aggressive and unfriendly as we had heard (one of them ended up stealing Uncle Rob's glasses and scratching his face, which put an end to our temple visits)!



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bali - Villa Santai

From Singapore, we headed to Ubud, Bali, where we spent a week at the beautiful Villa Santai.  The villa is located on a river valley on the outskirts of Ubud, with jungle on both sides and monkeys in the nearby trees.  We spent a lot of time enjoying the villa (the staff made it easy, including preparing tasty breakfasts and Balinese meals) and particularly enjoyed the swimming pool.  The kids had lots of swim teachers, including Auntie Zoe and Uncle Rob (who joined us for this leg of the trip from their honeymoon in the Philippines).  Amelia swam all around the pool with her new floaties, while Soren insisted that we keep swimming him over to visit the statute of Ganesha at the side of the pool.



Friday, December 28, 2012

Singapore - Orchard Road and the Raffles Hotel

On our last day in Singapore, we participated in a couple of the city's best known activities:  shopping at Orchard Road and stopping by the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel.  Amelia and Soren dressed up in the new Thai outfits Goggy had brought them from Bangkok and led the way.  After walking all the way along Orchard Road to the Raffles (and picking up some new outfits along the way), the kids enjoyed a $14 Shirley Temple while the adults tried out the Long Bar's variety of Singapore Slings.  We then took one more ride on the MTR so that Soren could say goodbye to his favorite Singapore resident (he particularly liked her outfit)!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Singapore - Zoo/Night Safari

Another highlight of our visit to Singapore was the Singapore Zoo and the nearby Night Safari, which absolutely lived up to their fame.  Amelia and Soren loved seeing all of their favorite animals, many of them at much closer proximity that they allow back at the zoo in Seattle - particularly a mother chimpanzee and her two babies, who were having a meal while hanging right over our heads!  The kids quickly got their bearings at the zoo, serving as our tour guides and posing for pictures all over the zoo.  The Night Safari was definitely a trippier scene, though it was pretty cool to take the tram around and see the animals out at night!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Singapore - Water Fun

Singapore was incredibly hot, so we made sure to build a lot of swimming and water play into our itinerary.  Our hotel had a great pool, including a kids' pool with its own water slide that the kids tried, and we also spent much of Christmas afternoon at a water park in Sentosa with a huge pirate ship.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Singapore - Food

We had four days in Singapore at the beginning of our big Southeast Asia trip over the holidays.  Unsurprisingly, one of the main highlights was the food, both at the hawker courts and at a couple of fantastic restaurants:  a Keralan feast at Mango Tree on Christmas, and some of Long Beach Seafood's famous Black Pepper Crab and Chilli Crab on our last night in Singapore.  Everywhere we went, they had great fruit juices of all sorts, from fresh apple to mango to dragonfruit - the kids liked the rainbow of colors, but agreed that the apple juice was their favorite!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Early Christmas

We had our traditional early Christmas celebration with Grandpa and Grandma Becky.  The kids spent the afternoon helping Grandma Becky decorate a gingerbread house, and tree, and lots of gingerbread men for everyone.  After a great dinner, we opened (and spent lots of time playing with) the fun toys Grandpa and Grandma Becky got for the kids.  Definitely a fun tradition!