Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Back from Bali

We got back early yesterday morning, after flying all night. I'm off tomorrow with the two older kids to Guam for a week. More on that later.

Bali was an interesting experience. Mara and I have been probably 10 times. The last two times were with Arman and Nava. This was our first "vacation" style trip since we've had four kids. I had a great time, mostly because I enjoyed just being with my family without all the distractions of daily life. I didn't have much personal need for a vacation, so I wasn't really expecting either a lot of stimulation, nor a lot of doing nothing, and the trip was a nice combination of both. It rained a fair bit, so we spent lots of time inside, with me making up stories to entertain the kids. We spent a day in Kuta at the Water Park, which was the highlight for the kids, then went up to Ubud, which is the cultural center of the island. In years past, we would go out to the cultural dances, but this time, the kids were falling asleep early (Bali is 2 hours behind Saipan), and so as darkness would fall, we would call it a day. We ate a lot of good food, drank lots of fresh fruit juices, swam a lot, and just hung out.

Some members of the family were going a little stir crazy with this slow pace in Ubud, so we headed back down to Kuta for the last few days. But there, the hustle of the city, and the inabilty to cross a street without risking your life began to wear on us, and so we decided to go to Nusa Dua, which is a tropical resort enclave of some dozen hotels. It was built for upscale tourism, and there are no street vendors (no streets really, it's a little like being in a hotel Disneyland), no traffic, no shops -- just miles of manicured hotel grounds. We splurged and checked into the Grand Hyatt for two days of decompression. What an amazing property. It has 750 rooms, five swimming pools, 958 employees, six restaurants, two dozen or so shops, all spread out over 41 acres on the beach. I'd never been anywhere like it. It would take us 20 minutes to walk from our room to the lobby. We arrived the week after the UN Climate Conference, portions of which were held at the Hyatt. We didn't discover it until our final hours there, but there are some nice restaurants and a grocery store in the "Bali Shops" compound across the street from the hotel.

It's nice to be home now. I do want to put in a plug for the folks at BaliHotels.com who did a great job of finding nice rooms for us in Kuta as our plans morphed. They provide a great discount over the rack rate, and were very responsive in finding rooms during the holiday season.

It's nice to be home.

Photos later.

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