A Travellerspoint blog

January 2011

India: Chandigarh: Meet the Parents

January 31st, 2011

sunny 72 °F

Today Tony got to meet Ruby’s mom who lives in Chandigarh. Our driver didn’t really know where the house was but as we drove by Ruby could see her mom sitting outside in the sunshine having tea. Ruby’s mom lives with her brother (mamaji) and their family who are amazing. We were greeted with hugs and the whole family took off from work and drove home to meet us. Before everyone arrived Tony asked Ruby’s mom and dad for her hand in marriage. Of course they said “YES” and now all he needs to do is buy a ring :) We had an amazing home cooked meal and Tony got asked every question they could think of . . . including what was his heart rate when he first met Ruby :) We still had a few places to go before the end of the day so we grabbed a cab and drove over to Ruby’s Uncle’s house. We were once again greeted with open arms, food and a cup of chai tea. We got to meet Sonu’s wife Amen and their sweet adorable 2 week old daughter. We had another amazing meal with delicious pepper chicken (Ruby’s uncle’s favorite). Ruby’s cousins Sonu and Monu encouraged Tony to drink whiskey with them . . . and Tony got his new nickname “Tony Singh” as an honorary Punjabi. We had a lot of fun and made plans to hang out in the next few days. It was a great day getting to see/meet the family and there’s nothing like homemade food! We forgot to sterilize some water that we drank and ended up getting some minor GI upset but nothing a little medicine couldn’t handle.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 02:52 Archived in India Comments (2)

India: Shimla: A Hypothermic Himalayan Horseride

January 30th, 2011

snow 20 °F

Today our host Heena and her friend Jashan are going to accompany us to Shimla and Kufri. Ruby’s dad reserved a driver for this 4 hour drive north into the Himalayas but I don’t know if Heena or Jashan knew what they had signed up for? The road was narrow and steep with switchback turns every few meters. Our driver thought he was in a rally race and was passing people left and right (literally on the left AND the right)! It turned out to be too much for Heena as she yelled out “Stop the Car NOW”! After a short break we continued on our way. Jashan was the next to ask the driver to stop and this would be a continuing theme for the rest of our drive up. As we finally drove into Kufri it started snowing! This was great because neither Heena nor Jashan had ever seen snow before and we got to see the Himalayas the way we had always thought they would be (very cold and very snowy). As we pulled up all we could think about was getting some hot chai. The driver told us that they had tea at the top of the hill but we had to take horses to get there. Being skeptical that a horse was the “only” way to the top we started walking. The path was very muddy and we had rented rubber boots to save our shoes. The mud was slippery and thick causing Tony to slip and fall back FIRST into the muddy hillside. At this point we decided that a horse wasn’t such a bad idea. The ride up was so much fun and the views were amazing. When we finally arrived to the top we dismounted our horses and Tony immediately slipped again, this time taking Ruby’s feet out from under her like a bowling ball hitting the pins! Now, both of us were covered in mud. We talked Heena and Jashan into getting on yaks for a short ride and photo shoot. I think they look pretty good, maybe they should get one for the city! :) We had a cold, wet, muddy ride back down to the town and Jashan’s leather shoes were so frozen that he could hardly put them on! We took a short drive to the mountain town of Shimla where we actually found a mannequin that looks like Tony (see pic below!) We watched an amazing sunset over the mountaintops and had a delicious Punjabi dinner before starting the crazy drive back DOWN the mountain. The driver was no more prudent on the way down so I think we got back in record time. . 3 hrs?!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 02:49 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Jaipur: An Elephant Ride up to Amber

January 29, 2011

sunny 72 °F

We woke up painfully early today and drove to the base of Amber Fort for breakfast. The sun was just coming up so we got some great sunrise shots. There are two ways to get up to Amber Fort: walk or take an elephant. Of course Tony really wanted to take the elephant ride and we both had a blast. We did made the mistake of talking to one of the local vendors as we got onto the elephant and he just about followed us all the way up the hill yelling “700, 600, 500, how much you pay?” Amber Fort is amazing and a must do if you make it to India. It’s so large and I don’t think we even got to see half of it. We may be biased but we think the best time to go is early in the morning because of the way the sun illuminates the walls. . . they almost glow gold. The fort is high on a hill and there are gorgeous 360 degree views. The buildings are so pretty and the decoration is ornate throughout. You’ll see some pics of entire walls made of painstaking glasswork. In the parking lot we ran into some more monkeys hanging out on top of the cars. Afterwards we had an all day drive to Chandigarh and we started this long journey with Ruby and her dad getting into a fight in the car. The joys of traveling with family! :) After learning all about the “Truth of Life” they both apologized and we stopped for some delicious food at a dhaba (roadside restaurant). We arrived into Chandigarh late and ate a yummy dinner with Baboo (Ruby’s dad’s best friend) and his daughter Heena who we would be staying with.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:53 Archived in India Comments (0)

India:An Elephant Inside an Elephant Inside an Elephant

January 28, 2011

sunny 71 °F

After a quick breakfast of aloo parathas (tortillas stuffed with potatoes) and tea we headed to the Royal Palace. This is the India that I think most people think of. On the way we saw camels and elephants all along the road. There was a little fiasco with an ATM shutting down just before spitting out the cash . . . because the power went out--nothing a quick call to Chase couldn’t fix. At the Royal Palace we realized that Tony’s beard was not helping get the local discount haha, I guess he needs a darker tan too! At the Royal Palace we got an introduction to the beautiful textiles of Jaipur (in the museum showing real antique Maharaja’s (old kings) clothes). WOW! We wish we could have taken pictures of all the beautiful cloth and workmanship but it wasn’t allowed :( Afterwards we headed across the street to the Jantar Mantar. Ruby’s dad told us that we didn’t need a tour guide and that he would just tell us everything because he had been to all of these places. He then told us that a Jantar Mantar is a maze that you walk in and have to try to walk out of. This is not even close to being true and after that we realized that we would not be using Ruby’s dad as a tour guide anymore :) The Jantar Mantar is actually full of contraptions to view constellations in the sky---it’s a combination of astrology and astronomy so we checked out how to find Libra and Aries before heading off to Fort Nahargarh up on a hill outside at the edge of the city. There is a crazy long wall around the city which reminded us a bit of the Great Wall of China (on a much smaller scale of course). The architecture at this fort was a combination of European and Indian which was really interesting to see. Tony had a close encounter with a cow there too! Afterwards we decided to go shopping since Ruby LOVES all things from Jaipur! We even tried doing a little artwork of our own using vegetable dyes at one of the textile shops. We looked at carpets, sheets, pillows and scarves made of the hair of the baby goat's chin hahaha. We have to laugh because EVERYWHERE we go they try to sell us a marble carved “elephant inside an elephant inside an elephant” which we are NOT AT ALL interested in. We topped the night eating dinner at a traditional Rajasthani restaurant with dancers and music. None of us escaped the strong hands of the dancers pulling us to the front . . . not even our driver Suresh!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:29 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Agra: Tourist Price for Tony at the Taj

January 27th, 2011

sunny 70 °F

We walked out of the hotel today and Tony instantly got to see the India Ruby had been talking about. Camels, horses, bikes, tuk-tuks, and cars zigzagging all over, street vendors yelling . . . and all the good and bad smells you would expect. It is almost sensory overload and like no place we have seen to date. We were only a few blocks away but Ruby’s dad thought it would be more fun to take a rickshaw ride to the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, they don’t actually drop you at the gate but just down the road and you have to walk through a gauntlet of sales people, guides, and shop owners to the ticket window.
By the way, locals only pay 50R but if you’re not a local (Tony) you have to pay 750R. We made it into the Taj Mahal and it was amazing! We can’t tell you the level of craftsmanship in the marble inlay and no photo will ever do it justice so just put this on your list of places to see. We paid a local photographer to take some photos and think they turned out pretty good! When we walked out of the Taj we realized that none of us knew what the hotel name was we stayed at last night since we were delirious at 4am. We knew it was on the main street so we picked a direction and started walking. We didn’t get far before getting a whiff of fresh cooked samosas and had to stop for a snack! We made it back to our hotel and a short drive later arrived at Agra Fort. This is considered to be the most important fort in India and was the capital from 1556-1605. From here you can look over the Jamuna River to see the Taj Mahal as Sha-Jahan saw it when he was imprisoned there by his son for 12 years. We stopped for lunch and saw some trained monkeys dancing on the drive to Fatepur Sikhri (a Muslim temple/mosque). A young kid there said he was would show us around for free because we were his “friends” and we confirmed that there would be no charge. At the end of it of course he wanted money but we refused. . on principal and because we didn’t have any small bills. If people in tourist areas are a little too nice you do have to be a bit wary of people’s ulterior motives in any country. We enjoyed seeing Fatepur Sikhri; it looked especially beautiful at sunset. We were ready to rest after looking at all this amazing architecture so we headed to the state of Rajasthan.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:32 Archived in India Comments (0)

India: Republic Day in Delhi

January 26, 2011

sunny 72 °F

At Mumbai airport we walked into the craziness that is India. The baggage belt would kill the power to the building every 2 minutes and two guys would have to move the bags and push on the belt to get it to work again! The airport was confusing and without printed tickets for domestic flights you have to go outside and catch a cab to the other terminal. Unfortunately when we got outside we realized that there’s a free bus on the inside. Security was on high alert every place we went because it’s Republic Day in India. Just on a side note, it’s also Australia Day. We squeezed all our stuff into a small Tuk-tuk (three wheeled cart) and held on for dear life to the airport. We are back to a country with no order to waiting lines and Ruby met a funny Indian guy at the coffee shop because of it. He tried to cut in front of her and Ruby made an angry sound and that started a conversation. He told her “I’m not letting you get a samosa in the airport. That’s not how I would like our food represented!” We got a great deal with Indigo Airlines but like with most budget airlines it had very small seats and Tony had to practically sit sideways. Good thing we had all three seats to ourselves. :) Since we arrived around 9 in the morning and would be waiting until 10pm for Ruby’s dad to arrive we decided to hop on the first city bus we saw and told the driver to drop us off somewhere good so that we could explore the city. We ended up near a mall that was closed due to the holiday and Tony had his first experience with being charged “American” prices when a street food vendor charged him 50 Rupees for something that should have cost only 5-10!? Lesson learned early. We took an auto to the center of all the celebrations-- India Gate and Ruby had her first pani-puri in India :) Delhi’s a really large city so we took tuk-tuks all over until we ended up at a tourist office where we met Turan (his dad owns a tour agency). He took us to his fave restaurant (which was pretty good) and we went to a mall with him and his two friends from Korea. Eventually though we made our way back to the airport around and picked out Ruby’s dad out of the crowd of people coming off the plane. He was well rested so the bargaining began . . .Ruby’s dad worked out a deal for us to head to Agra, Jaipur and then to Chandigarh over the next few days and we were off. . . on a 5 hour drive to the Taj Mahal. On the way we stopped at Tony’s first roadside dhaba for some freshly prepared food and then we found a hotel in Agra at around 4am and passed out!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:21 Archived in India Comments (0)

Indonesia: Bali: Sad Goodbye to Indonesia . . Hello India!

January 25th, 2011

sunny 75 °F

We got up to the sound of roosters crowing and Ruby would like all of you know that we would like you to eat more chicken! :) We’ve been diving everyday and usually save our showers till the afternoon but today had to get out of bed and in with NO hot water. That will wake you up better than coffee, but maybe not in the best of moods! Thankfully most of our stuff was dry so we packed our bags and got down to the Perama boat back to Bali. We were sad to go and as we sailed off looking at the glassy crystal clear water with Mount Agung looming in the distance. We know that this is one of the locations we’ll be coming back to soon! When we arrived back to the mainland we were greeted by every taxi driver in town saying “hey boss, where are you from? USA, Obama, Hotel California!” We had some time before our flight so we decided to get hour long massages, two 15 min head massages, and one manicure all for $19 including a good tip! We took a taxi (we think that’s what that unmarked van was) back to Roma’s on Jimbarran beach for delicious seafood BBQ before leaving. Tony picked out some live shrimp from the tank and Ruby ran to our table so she didn’t have to see them swimming around before heading to the grill. Then we arrived at the airport and off we go on another adventure next destination: India!

  • ***Travel tips on Bali*****: Buy alcohol at the airport, when you get out the only thing you can buy cheap is the beer. If you are paying ++ (Tax and Tip) you are in a tourist location and it’s time to move! Always ask if your room has A/C, hot water, and self flushing toilets (these are not standard items when you get out of the big hotels). If you are on an island or by the beach don’t forget to ask if the water in your room is saltwater or fresh. Always ask for the sweet soy and the sambal (hot) with your food because they may not bring it initially. 150,000RP airport exit tax cash only!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 04:26 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Indonesia: I think a Manta Ray was Swimming in Our Room!

January 24, 2011

rain 70 °F

Tony was up bright and early today ready to go diving while Ruby was enjoying the rooster-proof walls in our new room. After dragging Ruby out of bed we loaded our gear on the boat and made our way to Manta Point. This was a bumpy ride over to the south side of another island called Nusa Penida and we didn’t know if we would even be able to get in the water when we got there. Luckily the wind was coming from the north and the large cliffs helped shelter the bay where we would be diving. Jaya (our dive master) told us that mantas are almost always at this location because there’s a cleaner station (where they come to be cleaned by cleaner fish). There were four or five of these giant manta rays swimming around the rock. It was like a scene from the Discovery Channel, large manta rays swimming into view over a rock then turning and slowly swimming back into the deep blue water. One of them with about a 12 foot wingspan even swam a circle around less than 2 feet away! This was something we will never forget and we wish we had photos or a video to show you. As our boat sped off we could see rain falling at the dive site and we realized that we were very lucky to see these rays and not get stuck in a storm. After another delicious meal of Nasi Champur we dove between the two islands at a spot called Crystal Bay. This dive spot has thermoclines or junctions of salt and freshwater currents and as we swam through them we could see and feel the hot and cold water in the channel as we swam along the reef. This area also has HUGE colorful coral formations including mushroom and table corals. We really had some amazing dive experiences here at Nusa Lembongan—definitely the best so far. When we finished our dive all we could think about was a hot shower and some soup. Unfortunately we didn’t have hot water at our hotel so soup would have to do. When we stopped to eat, the rain came in horizontally and so hard getting just about everything in the restaurant soaked. We walked back to our room in the rain and took cold showers before curling up in a ball on the bed to warm-up! By the way there are no ATM’s on the island and most hotels, restaurants, and dive operations don’t take credit cards. The only way to pay is with cash and the only way to get that cash is using one of the two credit advance locations. We used the cheaper one and were still charged 8%, ouch! On the way back we stopped at a small restaurant called Waroeng Boemboe Bali located on the main street. They had a dish called Urap Bali made with long beans, bean sprouts and cabbage that was so good you forgot how healthy it was! We will have to look for it when we get back home. . . When we arrived back at our room we realized that it was NOT waterproof and all our bags and most of our stuff got wet in the rain storm this afternoon. We did our best to dry things off and hung our bags and clothes from every hook in the room. We hope our stuff will be dry by tomorrow or we are going to have some stinky, wet, heavy bags going to India. :)

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:39 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Indonesia: Nusa Lembongan: Superheroes Adrift

January 23, 2011

semi-overcast 75 °F

Did you know that roosters crow at all hours of the night? I would like to let you know that they do, and if you plan on getting an open-air room in Bali . . . make sure that there’s not a rooster farm in the backyard! We watched the seaweed farmers from our balcony for a few before talking to the managers of Linda’s hotel about local dive operations. They recommended PADI certified Drift Dive. We meet the dive master Jaya and both of us instantly felt comfortable diving with him. We started our dives about an hour later going out by boat to SD Point on the far north side of the island and drifted* to Ped a little further down the beach. This place had some of the most gorgeous corals we’ve EVER seen. . so many varieties and colors with tons of bright tropical fish too. Our divemaster (DM) Jaya brought us a lunch of tea with Nasi Champur which is a rice dish with chicken, fish, beans and freshly roasted coconut YUM! Our next dive was another drift* dive, this time at Mangrove and going to Blue Corner. There were also HUGE coral formations and so many colorful fish at this location, puffers, moray eels, giant sea anemones with clown fish just to name a few. The currents where much more powerful at this location and we felt like superheroes flying over the reef. When we arrived back to town we decided to take a little ride on our scooter up to the Mangroves (north side of the island) for some chill time. We read our books and watched the storms over Bali until they arrived at Nusa Lembongan and it began to rain. This was a great day and what we think about when we say paradise!

  • Drift Diving is when you use the currents to push you and the boat meets you at the new location to where you have drifted.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:09 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Indonesia: Nusa Lembongan: What’s Sarong with Us?

January 22, 2011

sunny 78 °F

We hopped onto a Perama bus to Padang Bai pretty early in the morning, and then we hopped on a boat to a small island called Nusa Lembongan which is to the east of Bali. The boat was running a little late so we stopped in to get Tony his first pedicure ever! Just to keep some of his masculinity he would like to let you know that it was only $3 and his toenails were getting a little long! Of course when the boat arrived there was no dock or walkway, you just walk in the sand to the water and climb on. I don’t think this is recommended just minutes after a pedicure but it’s the only way to the island! As our boat sped away from mainland Bali we didn’t know if we had made the right choice because it was so far away and the water wasn’t that pretty. . . but the closer we got to Nusa Lembongan the more excited we became. The island has the most amazing pristine crystal clear water. There are still people living in huts and seaweed farming is the main income of the island. They definitely welcome tourists though! We got a beach front open air room at a beautiful little beach hotel called Linda’s Bungalows ($27/night) and headed off to explore the island. We ran across a motor bike rental (aka moped) and decided this would be a good way to get around the island. He recommended visiting Pura Dalem for the traditional religious ceremony going on tonight. We think everyone on the island was there! They all had white shirts, sarongs, and headbands. Both of us also had to have a sarong on and Ruby thought Tony looked pretty good in his scarf/sarong getup. There were costumes, dancing, music, and singing. The ceremony was amazing and really something special to see and the music still reverberates in our minds. We decided to take our scooter over to the other side of the island and see what the other beaches had to offer. We stopped at a restaurant called Scallywags where Tony dropped his sunglasses in the pool. The only way to retrieve them was to get in and get wet. On our drive back we got stuck in the 5pm rain shower and stopped for a bowl of Tom Ka Gai. . the thai food is pretty delicious on the island too. We are starting to think that you can’t get bad food in Indonesia. When the rain stopped we headed back to our room and met Josie and Paige from Minneapolis. We chatted for hours over wine about our collective travel experiences. . they are just as addicted as we are! It was a great way to end the night!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 00:07 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Indonesa: Bali: 75 Shirtless Men and a Monkey!

January 21st, 2011

sunny 75 °F

We wanted to take full advantage of the last few hours at our deluxe hotel so we got up early and went to the gym. They have the best machines and after working out the personal trainer offered to help Ruby with stretching. Instead of demonstrating how to stretch, he actually physically did the stretching for her. . like a Thai massage only better! After he did 30 minutes of stretches for Ruby he started on Tony. Definitely deluxe service! :) It was just perfect before starting our car ride to Ubud. Our driver Sam stopped at a few places on the way to check out the making of Balinese Batik fabrics and silver jewelry. When dropped our stuff off at the Panorama Hotel and headed straight over to Ibu Oka , a local spot, for the town specialty of Suckling Pig. Tony thought it was really good, Ruby ate some but enjoyed the spicy veggie soup with potatoes more, mmmm! After lunch Sam took us over to the Monkey Forest just down the road. We loved the "Indiana Jones" feel to the place with the old statues and moss everywhere. The monkeys were running around all over the place and it was really fun to watch them. . . until they tried to attack Ruby! We took some great shots and enjoyed watching them do silly things. Afterwards we went to visit the Ceking rice terraces. This place is beautiful but Ruby was getting bombarded by the local vendors trying to sell her everything from sarongs to wooden motorcycles. Back in Ubud the streets have the most amazing things for the home. . . we wanted to load a boat and send it back to New York! That night we went to a Kecak and fire dance (aka monkey dance) show. I’m glad we waited to do this in Ubud because it was the real deal where local Balinese would go to see the show. The night was filled with the sound of chanting, dancing, and a horse costumed man kicking flaming coconuts. The story is a bit complicated to explain so let’s just say that it was a bad day to have flip-flops on and I don’t think this show would meet fire codes in the US! On the way back to our hotel our driver took us to a local spot for mi goreng (noodles with vegetables). It was amazing and cost around 8,000 IDR each (that’s a little less than 1 USD). We took a short walk up the road to the Perama bus stop to figure out where to go next. . . the locals thought it was hilarious that we didn't know where we wanted to go (too many good choices) and that we had to "rock paper scissors" it to decide.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 10:46 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Bali:It’s Hard to Relax with Karate on My Back!—FOODIE ALERT

January 20th, 2011

semi-overcast 74 °F
View Around the World #1 on Tony.Ruby's travel map.

We started our day in our fabulous room at the Ayana Resort. It was so great staying some place that has soft pillows and a cozy bed with amazing bedding! After a few minutes of trying to ignore the daylight we hit the gym, and took a cab into town. By the way, every taxi driver in Bali has a tour company or a family member with one so don’t worry if you come here and don’t have a plan. The first cab you get in will tell you the prices of just about everything on this island. When we were in Australia Mic and Loz gave us a travel book for Bali and it has been a lifesaver. Thank you guys! Ruby picked a restaurant from it called Poppies and we had the BEST mi goreng EVER! After lunch we stopped for a massage at a place called Steiner Salon. We both got hour long massages and but like usual Tony got a man that wanted to do karate on his back for an hour. . . Ruby could hear this next door and started cracking up during her awesome massage! After Tony’s back recovered from our massages we headed to Ku De Ta for Happy Hour with another great recommendation from Mic and Loz (expensive but an amazing view at night). We hadn’t had Italian in a bit so we went to Ultimos in Seminyac. The food was ok but they did have an amazing rocket and mushroom salad that Ruby had two orders of. We finished our night at our hotel with a drink at the Rock Bar. Just like the name says this is a bar built on the rocks over the ocean. It’s an amazing place and one you have to see to believe! We will be sad to checkout tomorrow but with the limited time in Bali we would like to see more of the island.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 10:38 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Bali:Eat at Warungs,Pray you dont get sick and Love the Food

January 19th, 2011

semi-overcast 72 °F

The Yani hotel was a great place to spend the night and included a breakfast with everything from fried chicken with potatoes to toast and jam. We were so excited to get to the Ayana Resort. Our friends Hong and Tony and stayed there, we loved their pictures and wanted a little bit of the 5-star luxury hotel experience for ourselves (although Loz and Mic's house was pretty close exluding the rain!). The staff was amazing receiving us with leighs, fresh drinks and going out of their way to help us in any way we needed. The grounds at the hotel were equally impressive with well manicured lawns, infinity pools galore and fabulous fountains and sculptures you have to see to believe! We decided to start our stay at Ayana in their beautiful spa. Their hot spa was actually in a cave that had an opening in the roof that allowed the afternoon rains to pour down on us while we relaxed. . . it was like something out of a dream! We're not sure if you can even see it in the photos but it was amazing. We ordered a couple drinks at the bar and instantly realized that we would be going outside the resort for dinner. We were so glad that we left the resort and had dinner with our feet in the sand on the beach. We went down to Roma one of the South Warungs (Small Restaurants) on Jimbarran beach for some BBQ prawns and fresh fish. It’s always crazy to walk up to a restaurant and pick out your fish from the tanks. It was really fresh and cooked to perfection with the best sauces and kangkung veggies on the side! You could make it as hot or sweet and you liked using garlic, sweet soy and indonesian chilli sauces. We met Sam our taxi driver on the way back to Ayana and made plans to have a tour of Ubud (in the middle of Bali) in a few days.

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 10:08 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Singapore . . . and We Even Squeezed in a Samosa

January 18, 2011

sunny 72 °F

We started our day off on Orchard Road which is the most famous shopping street in Singapore. . .it runs all the way through town. We went directly to the Food court for some Roti Prata (flaky bread with curry) and we actually watched him make it! We had never seen a food court with such crazy varieties of asian food. . . some less appealing. After a little shopping we were off to Chinatown and the Maxwell hawker station finally! We paired the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (saw it on No Reservations) with another order of, Roti, fresh fruit juices and Pad Thai. . . so we basically had to be rolled out of that food court! We decided that all this hard “work” deserved a foot massage and stopped at a local acupressure spot for a quick 30 minutes of pampering. After Tony got us lost in Fort Canning Park we decided it would be good to head back to our hotel with a few hours to spare. The Little India stop on the subway was too much temptation to resist so we ran out of the subway with just enough time to get a little bit lost but finally find some yummy samosas. We sat outside to eat because there’s a $500 fine for eating in the subway (that is why it’s so clean in this city). We ran to our hotel, grabbed our bags and were on our way to Bali. It was late when we arrived but even in the dark we could see amazing statues and temples and couldn’t wait for daylight!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 09:43 Archived in Singapore Comments (1)

Singapore: Closed for Spring Cleaning

January 17, 2011

rain 70 °F

When traveling you never know how things are going to go. . . We started our day with a set plan: Maxwell hawker station (food court), Merlion Statue, and a walking tour of the city. Well, the hawker station was closed for spring cleaning, Merlion was taking a shower (closed for cleaning), and it was raining most of the day. Didn’t we tell you how clean Singapore is? We did make the best of the closed landmarks and decided to check out Chinatown. . lucky for us late January falls in the middle of the Chinese New Year celebrations (Year of the Rabbit) and this entire part of town was lively and colorfully decorated. The Buddhist Temple of the Tooth Relic has gorgeous architecture, an orchid garden on the roof, and the largest prayer wheel we have ever seen! We even sat listening to the chants and meditated for a little bit. Exploring the rest of Chinatown led us to some flat pork stuff (traditional gift for Chinese New Year) and some sort of Jell-O in every flavor of the rainbow that are super popular (Ruby got lychee). Dr. Ruby wanted to check out some traditional Chinese medicine shops. Later we tried to stay dry in the monsoon-like rains that came down as we explored some of the cool architecture in Singapore including the concert hall which reminds us of durian fruit and the crazy hotel with a ship like structure sitting on top of it. We went on a food mission down to the East Coast Seafood Center to get Singaporean chilli crab. . don’t forget the yummy rolls to sop up all the delicious spicy sauce that comes with the crab!! On the way back to the hotel we stopped at some bars at Clarke Quay. This area of bars and restaurants is like combining Disneyland and Miami. It’s over the top with themes, live bands, and has just about something for everyone, except the extremely low budget people, there’s nothing there for you!

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Posted by Tony.Ruby 01:10 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

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