Feeding a hungry tiger – with my bare hands…

Warning!  I’ve been advised that this is cruel.  However, I’ve decided not to delete this post because… if this is the extent of my ‘cruelty’ then I can live with it.

Yes, I fed raw meat to a hungry tiger, using only my bare hands… and a long stick!

The zoo-keeper (at Bali Zoo) skewered an uncooked chicken onto the end of the pole and handed it to me with strict instructions, ‘only feed the tiger from up there’.  She was pointing to the row of railings above my head but just within reach of my extended arm which held the long pole.

Feed the tiger from up there

Feed the tiger from up there

One of the 3 big cats in the enclosure padded towards me – he was on a mission.

Lunch is a serious business!

Looking half like a big, soft, cuddly toy and half like the magnificent, yet menacing, wild animal that he was, he stretched up and put his huge front paws on the metal bars – the only thing between us.

Paws for thought!

Paws for thought!

He lifted his head, opened his jaw and, effortlessly, tore the raw flesh off the stick (like sate – but not as we humans know it!).

Hmmm, a new waitress

Hmmm, a new waitress – maybe I can eat her for dessert!

Just look at him… such a beautiful big cat, with raw chicken in his mouth

Raw chicken... my favourite

Raw chicken… my favourite

The waitress loved her new temp job

That's one happy waitress

That’s one happy waitress

Doubtless pleased with his success at intimidating the new waitress, he strode to a corner to relish his lunch in peace.

Cleaning himself after lunch

Cleaning himself after lunch

More tales (including crocodile tails), from Bali Zoo will follow in future posts – so why not ‘Follow’ my blog to see me hold the crocodile in my bare hands (literally this time).  But not before you look at the other tiger pics below…

Here he is in 'thinking' mode

Here he is in ‘thinking’ mode

Time to roll over

Time to roll over



Now where’s the wife?

At home with Mr and Mrs Tiger

At home with Mr and Mrs Tiger

So beautiful

So beautiful -purrrrrrr

A big ‘Thank You’ to Nancy for taking the photos of me feeding the tiger.  Look out for more from Nancy and I (as well as elephants, monkeys, crocs, birds etc.,) in my next blog post.

Snooze time at Bali Zoo

Snooze time at Bali Zoo


Reinventing my life – podcast

Alexsandra (Smart Alex Coach) interviewed me recently, as part of a series about women who have reinvented their lives.

Please have a listen to the ‘Julie in Bali’ podcast / interview and learn what my life is like in Bali (take note of the tropical birds singing in the background, especially towards the end)

I hope you enjoy it and give Alexsandra some great feedback, here’s the link:



2014 lessons, successes & memories, part 1

Indulge me while, over the next few posts, I’ll take a stroll through 2014, learn its lessons, smile at its successes and remember its most memorable moments, most of them exquisitely good but one, awfully sad…

I lost my beloved Dad a year ago, 25.1.14.  He was 89 years old.  I’m not going to tell you tales of what a wonderful man he was or how deep the loss is.  Not here, not now.  But I will explain a little of how being in Bali helped me deal with my emotions.

Harry Edward John Silvester, my Dad

Harry Edward John Silvester, my Dad at 88 yrs old eating his favourite pie and mash

You see I’ve come to a realisation… I believe there is no such thing as ‘death’.

I believe that the essence of who Dad was, the essence of who we all are, is ‘energy’.

You cannot create, nor destroy ‘energy’ but,
energy can, and does, change…
from one form to another.
In a similar way that water can become ice – can become steam.

I believe we are all ‘energy’ currently housed in flesh and bones and when our bodies returns to dust and ashes, our essence, our ‘energy’, will continue on a journey that we cannot currently comprehend.

Like one realm closing, in order for another realm to open.

I miss you Dad, in this realm, but I know you still exist in some unknowable way and I take comfort from that.  And, my oh my, what an amazing legacy of fabulous memories, love, advice, jokes and anecdotes you’ve left us with – so it is as if part of you is still here.

Thank you Dad.
1924 – 2014

Dad as a young man working in the London docks

Dad as a young man working in the London docks

Peaceful Warrior – unleashing tranquility

After reading a book about the Hindu epic, ‘Ramayana’ (a story which pre-dates the Mahabharata), I was moved to write this poem:

Peaceful warrior

The peaceful warrior went to war
carrying caskets of swirling mists
laden with gentle delights

sprays of restful comfort
gifts of golden joy
essence of benevolent laughter

fine shimmering dusts of compassion
and amulets that when looked at
released soothing tranquil music

The peaceful warrior won.

And now, for the first time in this blog, which has featured all my own original material, I’ve decided to share a post copied from elsewhere.

Why? Because it connects so well, because it made me laugh and because I hope the Buddhist’s aim, ‘to unleash tranquility on west’ succeeds.

Please feel free to share this too:


Fashion – made from rubbish

Now this really is a different way to re-cycle…

Turn that trash into fabulous fashion!  A great concept, and one that pulled a big crowd at Delicious Onion, Ubud on Saturday.

The organiser and host of this Trash Chic Fashion Show, Alexa, wore extremely colourful garbage and had a train of broken, old, flip flops trailing behind her as she walked.

Trash Chic Fashion Show host, Alexa

Trash Chic Fashion Show host, Alexa

Still on the wedding theme, here we have a wedding dress made from Bali Advertisers!

Wedding dress made out of the Bali Advertiser

Wedding dress made out of the Bali Advertiser

How about using an old fan as a rather cute hat:

One way to keep a cool head!

One way to keep a cool head!

Her dress was made from inside-out rice sacks ‘sewn’ together with inner tubes!

What about this next one – just purrfect… all dressed-up in kitty food packaging (presumably washed before being worn!):

Outfit made from cat food packaging

Outfit made from cat food packaging

And here they used frangipani flowers for the Balinese style headdress and made the dress itself from offerings:

This man really put his back into it…

Who got your back up?

Who got your back up?

Thanks for putting Ubud’s first Trash Chic Fashion Show together Alexa!

Click here for the last fashion show I went to in Ubud – complete with Edward Scissorhands!

White Water Rafting

Vince and his friend Andy came to stay with us and we went White Water Rafting together.

Life jackets, helmets, paddles, sense of adventure… Ready!

All geared up to go rafting

All geared up to go rafting

Actually, no.  Not ready yet.

First we have to walk down 400 steps to get to the river which is DEEP down in the valley.

Our great rafting adventure

Our great rafting adventure begins

Our cameras and the guy’s cigarettes are safe in Mega-Rafting’s water-proof bags, so now we can climb into the raft and listen to our guide’s instructions.

Nyoman said if we were about to hit a rock he would yell, ‘Boom Boom” – which meant ‘Hold On!’  We said that phrase a lot over the next two hours.

Rafting with Yaniq, Vince and Andy

Rafting with Yaniq, Vince and Andy – Boom Boom!

No one fell out, but we did sometimes topple backwards inside the inflatable raft… like insects that can’t right themselves we had to rely on each other for a helping hand.

Fabulous scenery around every bend

Fabulous scenery around every bend

Between the rapids there are plenty of calm waters where you can look up to nature’s jungle scenery on each side of the steep valley, simply breath-taking.

A well deserved beer

A well deserved beer

We had a pit-stop half way along the journey where we enjoyed a cold beer (the women selling the drinks had carried them down 400 steps – is it any wonder they were expensive?).

Yaniq and I at the half way stop

Yaniq and I – chilling on a rock at the half way stop

The rapids here on the Ayung River are grade II or III.  Not the wildest rapids I’ve experienced, but far and away the most beautiful – think: ‘Indiana Jones’, especially when you see the carvings in the rock and go under the steep wooden swing bridge.

It was also the most fun rafting too – especially when our guide slammed us into the waterfall – boom boom!

Hmmm, maybe Yaniq will be inspired to write a song about rafting

Hmmm, maybe Yaniq will be inspired to write a song about rafting – boom boom

We had a waterfight with the crew of another raft and then we jumped out and swam the last section, just as a huge thunderclap shattered the air.

The rafting has ended - let's eat!

The rafting has ended – let’s eat!

Ok, so now we are wet and hungry… easily sorted as Mega Rafting has showers and towels and then they give you a huge plate of food to eat as you sit next to the river.

A great adventure has ended – but now we have to climb up the valley again.  Only 291 steps this time (Andy counted them all).

Rice field walks and volcanic views

I’ve known Dave for years.  We were both in an adventure sports club called Social Pursuits – along with all the rest of you SP’ers!

It was based in London and we regularly went out into the countryside for unusual outdoor activities, but nothing quite like this…

Drinking from coconuts in the rice fields

Drinking from coconuts in the rice fields

Well, we don’t have coconut trees and rice terraces in the UK, so that might explain it.  (Okay, okay, drinking from coconuts while on a rice paddy walk is not adventurous – but it is cool!)

I’d never seen Dave in temple costume before either…

Outside temple gates

Outside temple gates

While we were at Tirta Empul temple he even drank some of the holy water – straight from the spout.

Don't fall in now

Don’t fall in now

on this occassion we didn’t join the Balinese people who were ‘taking the waters’, but here you can just see one of them waist deep in the water

By the lake with hundreds of giant koi carp

Here I’m holding my take-away holy water bottle

We headed up to the volcano for lunch.

Spectacular volcanic scenery

Spectacular volcanic scenery – no it is not a painting!

The lake at the base of the volcano, Mount Batur, is approx 16k long and it, and Mount Batur itself, are inside the super ancient volcanic caldera.

The restaurant we’d just stuffed our faces in, is on the rim of that very old caldera.

Dave inspecting the coffee process

Dave inspecting the coffee process

And then we sipped coffees and teas at a plantation, where they show you the coffee making process as well as cacao (chocolate), cinnamon, ginger, tobacco etc., etc.

Give 'em a good roastin'

Give ’em a good ole roastin’

Dave roasted the beans as if he had been born to it… I was even going to offer to buy him a colourful hat like the professional bean roaster by his side.

That's gonna hurt if it lands on your head

That’s gonna hurt if it lands on your head

We came back to Ubud via the scenic, picture-postcard, views of the sculptured rice terraces at Tegallalang.

Rice Terrace View

Rice Terrace View

And we popped into the Monkey Forest where my favourite Beringin tree lives.

The tree that grows on both sides of the path

The Beringin tree that grows on both sides of the path

From the smile on his face, I’m expecting to see Dave here again one of these days.

Dave in the rice paddies

Dave in the rice paddies

Maybe this will encourage other SP’ers to come and visit me here in Ubud, Bali – and if you are looking for real adventure, we have plenty of that too – gonna get Dave on the white water rafting, canyoning, cycling, elephant riding or mountain climbing trip next time around!

A piece of cake or… a cake of peace

What a great way to teach values at a school.

Get the kids to make a paper cake, where each ingredients, such as the paper, tape, decorations and even the air inside and cherry on the top represents a value, such as respect, honesty, peace, compassion, love etc.

Cake of Peace

Cakes of Peace

These cakes were made by children at Karuna Bali, located at ‘Open Heart Space’, Campuhan College, Ubud.  Teachers in the western world, please take note.

Get far more than a piece of cake – get a cake of peace 🙂

I have a poem that fits with this idea… it’s called ‘Ingredients of Life’ and it starts like this:

Ingredients of Life

The most important ingredient
in our meal of many flavours
is love

The essential component
of our house built with strong hands
is heart

          and it ends like this:

The sole reason for our happiness
is the attitude we chose
to take

When we mix all the ingredients together
the word on the cake
of life says,

(if you want the whole poem, please email me and I will send it to you)

What’s new at Rumah Jepun

I want to tell you about the 10 latest additions and improvements here at Rumah Jepun – your friendly guest house in tropical Bali… (For availability and room rates please contact: rumahjepun@outlook.com)

The River View Room and Lotus View Room already offered many facilities, but now they also have:

  1. Free wifi – inside your room, as well as on your balcony
  1. A portable fan – available for guests who do not want to use airconditioning
  1. A lush, mature garden which provides the papaya in your tropical fruit platter at breakfast

    Fresh papaya anyone?

    Fresh papaya anyone?

  1. Breakfast is now served at a time to suit you between 8am and 11am

    Flexible breakfast times

    Flexible breakfast times – legendary pancakes!

  1. Our blog: www.rumahjepun.wordpress.com provides lots of information, pictures of the rooms, guests reviews and things to do around Ubud
  1. An extensive information pack in each room helps you get the most out of your holiday here

    Rumah Jepun information pack

    Rumah Jepun information pack

  1. We can recommend, and book, many scenic and cultural tours / activities for you

    Hot about hot springs next to Lake Batur

    How about hot springs by the volcanic Lake Batur

  1. Airport transfers can be arranged, with a friendly, English speaking driver
  1. A Rumah Jepun umbrella is on your balcony for your use – some guests use it as shade from the hot sun!
  1. And we’ve just bought new sunbeds , so you can comfortably (and stylishly) top up that tan while you’re here too

    For lazing in the Bali sunshine

    For lazing in the Bali sunshine

  2. We’ve got new uplights in the garden, making it look even prettier in the warm, balmy nights
  3. And, to top it off… our friendly, helpful staff, Gede and Ketut, have smart new ‘Rumah Jepun’ T. Shirts  – but wait a minute, that’s more than 10 new improvements!

    Gede and Ketut - with a jepun on their T Shirts

    Gede and Ketut – with a jepun on their T Shirts

So now there’s 12 new reasons to stay at Rumah Jepun – a welcoming guest house, offering bed and breakfast at affordable prices in the heart of Ubud on the enchanting, tropical island of Bali.

Rumah Jepun beyond the banana trees

Rumah Jepun beyond the banana trees

We’ve already had many guests from Europe, Australia, America, Asia and beyond.  Their great reviews have resulted in Rumah Jepun being listed as no. 18 out of 234 guest houses in Ubud on TripAdvisor – and we’ve only been listed on it since Nov 2012!

So contact us asap with your holiday dates, just email: rumahjepun@outlook.com

We look forward to welcoming you to Rumah Jepun, Ubud, Bali.

Kind regards

Julie and the Rumah Jepun team…

Pasek, me, Gede and Ketut

Pasek, me, Gede and Ketut on a team night out

For availability and prices please contact: rumahjepun@outlook.com

Musical poetry at Dragonfly Village

In the midst of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival I performed poetry, along with Yaniq http://yaniq1.wordpress.com/ who played guitar.  This was part of a ‘Spiritual Creative Writing Day’ held at the beautiful retreat, ‘Dragonfly Village’ out in the rice fields.

On arrival we walked past the swimming pool, where the golden flames of a giant bonfire were dancing against a moonlit sky.

Barefoot, we climbed the stairs into the natural bamboo and wood framed building and reclined on comfortable floor chairs (well, they were legless – and no, I don’t mean drunk, as this village is a health retreat and they don’t even serve beer!)

Yaniq singing 'Ticket to Paradise'

Yaniq singing ‘Ticket to Paradise’

Our host, Eagle, welcomed us next to the flower petal mandala she had made on the floor.   The pink, cerise and purple heart had Balinese offerings (canang) inside.

Next to the flower petal mandala

Singing next to the flower petal mandala

We chatted about Eagle’s successful day which had already featured talks, via skype on the big screen, from authors around the world – America, Canada, France, Thailand and then there was myself from England and Yaniq from Bali, Indonesia.

Her other guests for our evening session were Italian, German, English and American – a small, but multi-national, group.

I read poems that fitted with the spiritual theme… ‘Valley of Meditation’, ‘Stone Buddha’, ‘Alternatives’, Who Is It’, Living Consciously’ and ‘I am a Bridge’.

Are you ready for a poem?

Are you ready for another poem?

Yaniq then joined me for musical poetry that we performed together called, ‘TMTTT’ (Meditating), and then he continued to play and sing for us with his own new material, ‘Smile’, ‘Ticket to Paradise’, ‘Lost in a Hammock’, ‘B’cos of You’ and more.

It was a lovely evening and I was pleased that my friends, Sandeh and Ulrika had joined us as well as Karen, who works for the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Karen was here to promote a campaign called, ‘Great’ (putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain).  It’s about encouraging people from Indonesia to study the creative arts and do business in Great Britain.  I couldn’t help suggesting that a reciprocal link would be a good idea too – i.e. get people from the UK to visit Indonesia, and Bali in particular, in order to study the incredible range of arts and culture here, and bring some much needed funds into Indonesia!

Anyway, we gave away free smiles 🙂 during the evening, – if you would like one, just click here.

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