2014 – animal memories

From bats, cats, snakes, iguanas and monkeys – and back to cats again…

First up is Jojo.  We’ve had him since he was a kitten and he’s now about 2.5 years old.

Everyone loves him – I’m sure you can see why!  Scroll down to the last picture to see Jojo and our other cat, Jj, curled up together.


Jojo and me overlooking our garden

Meanwhile, here are some more unusual animals I met last year… this must be the granddaddy of all iguanas:



Most of these pictures were taken at a very interactive animal home up in Bedugul – I can’t call it a zoo, as it’s far too small, but it does have some cool, tame, animals – and a giant fruit bat:

'Holy bat cave, Robin'

‘Holy bat cave, Robin’

I’ve no idea what animal this is – anyone know?  (please, no comments about me using him as a toothpick!)

Here he is again:

And then there was this hungry gentleman on my shoulders:

A hungry Luwak - but no coffee today!

A hungry luwak – but no coffee today!

He’s a luwak and they’re famous for ‘Coffee Luwak’.

Yes, these are the animals that eat the choicest of coffee beans which go through their digestive system completely ‘intact’.  When they come out the other end, the, err… ‘waste’ is scrapped off and the beans are taken from the shell and made into the most expensive coffee in the world! = Coffee Luwak or, as it is called over here, ‘Kopi Luwak’ (they have this in Vietnam too and it’s called Weasel Coffee – the luwak comes from the weasel family, I believe).

Anyway, here he is again:


No, there are no coffee beans in my hair, Mr Luwak

What about this sizeable snake – worn as a necklace!



I’m pretty sure it’s a python… keep it away from this little cutie:


Cutie – but are they porcupine quills on your head?

And what about this snake-like reptile, called an Alu:

Snake-like lizard

Snake-like lizard/reptile = Alu

And here’s that iguana again – my what a long tail you have!

Fully grown iguana

Fully grown granddaddy of an iguana

Here I’m feeding the fish – at our nearby restaurant!

Bale Udang has many bale’s (like gazebo’s) perched on top of a lake and that is where you dine – on fish.  If you have a little spare rice left over from your meal you can feed it to the carp swimming directly beneath you:  Eat fish, feed fish = balance.

Feeding the fish - at a restaurant

Feeding the fish – at a restaurant

And now I’m feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest which is just 8 mins walk from my home – so close that, on rare occasions, the monkeys venture into my garden – they eat the leaves from my papaya tree but, luckily, they leave me with the fruit!

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

Feeding a monkey in the Monkey Forest

And here, as promised, is Jojo and JJ in perfect harmony:

Jojo and Jj - in perfect harmony

Jojo and Jj – in perfect harmony

A perfect way to end a post.


Are you hungry Mr Turtle?

We took a drive out to Serangan island and went to see the turtles at the sanctuary.

There were hundreds of them.  Mostly little baby ones that were climbing all over each other, but there were some giant ones in the big pool too.

Hello Mr Turtle

Hello Mr Turtle

I’ve swam with turtles, but I’d never fed them before.

This was a new experience.

Feeding time for turtles

Feeding time for turtles

I was giving them handfuls of seaweed to munch on as an afternoon snack and they loved it.

Giant turles coming together for feeding time

Giant turles coming together for feeding time

These big ones are 60+ years old and will probably live until they are 80 or even 100 years old.

The sanctuary does a good job looking after these wonderful sea creatures.  They run a ‘turtle release’ program, letting them go back into the wilds of the ocean where, once before, I swam with them – in their world.

Savouring the savouries

Its time to celebrate some of my favourite food in Bali.

First up is Ikan Laut which is fish from the sea, with nasi (rice) topped with Bawang goreng (fried onion), plecing (water spinach), sambal merah (red spicy sauce) and sambal matah (raw spicy accompaniment), served on banana leaves – mouthwatering!

Fish served on a banana leaf

Fish served on a banana leaf

Go on… eat it with your fingers – who needs cutlery?

Then there’s my favourite take away, sate complete (it puts burgers to shame, is a fraction of the cost and rather more nutritious, methinks!)

Sate complete

Sate complete

it is bakso (spicy meatball soup) that you eat at the same time as the rest of the meal, which consists of fish sate (the sticks are made from the spine of the coconut leaf), tuum (made from fish and cooked in banana leaves) and sayur urab (vegetables cooked with grated coconut) with peanuts – there’s none of this ‘eating soup as a starter’ non-sense.

And what about the Balinese speciality, Babi guling (vegetarians look away now)

Babi guling

Artistically presented Babi guling

We’d call it a hog roast and here it’s always cooked for special ceremonial occasions and in this picture you can see a few, of the many, offerings beside it.

And below is sate and a number of types of lawar in take away mode

Different kinds of lawar and sate

Different kinds of lawar and sate

Back to fish, which I eat a lot of here, this is Gurami from the volcanic lake at Mount Batur.

Fish with salad

Fish with salad and veg

So very tasty, especially with Gede’s Kintamani style sambal on the top.

I just love the way Gede has artily ‘decorated’ this fish.  It tasted as good as it looked.

Fresh fish once again

A well presented fish from the volcanic fish farm

How about lumpia which are Balinese spring rolls in a delicious peanut sauce.

Here I am eating lumpia from brown paper while sitting on a black sand beach (Bali has both black and golden sandy beaches).

Lumpia (spring rolls)

Lumpia (spring rolls)

I like to snack on bayam goreng.

The bayam plant grows in my garden and goreng means fried – so the leaf is battered and then deep fried, like vegetable tempura.

Bayam goreng

Tasty snack – bayam goreng

Here’s a primarily vegetarian dish… tofu and tempe, cooked to perfection, with a side salad (I say ‘primarily’ veggie because on this occasion there was some chicken added to the dish! – but I do often have it without the meat, honest!)

A vegetarian dish - with chicken thrown in for meat lovers!

A vegetarian dish – with a little chicken thrown in for meat lovers!

Meat lovers can get some great meals here, usually chicken, pork, duck and beef – although I haven’t seen much lamb in Bali, they don’t seem to have sheep in this part of the world.

Back to the vegetarian theme, can you guess what this pineapple contains?

Guess what's hiding inside the pineapple?

Guess what’s hiding inside the pineapple?

a salad, of course:

There's a salad, hiding inside my pineapple

Yes, there really is a salad, hiding inside my pineapple

Can you spot what is missing in this picture?

Where is the knife?

Where is the knife?

A fork and spoon, but no knife.

No problem… the Balinese wouldn’t usually have any cutlery at all, so I think myself lucky that I have a fork and spoon.  Although, you know, sometimes I also like to eat with my fingers (only the right hand of course!)

When I was in London my favourite food was Thai… and I still like Thai food – but Balinese is better!

These are just a few of the many wonderful dishes, maybe in another post I will concentrate on drinks, or desserts – mmmm yum!

Meanwhile, in case you were wondering where most of those fish come from – it is here:

Fish farms in the lake

Fish farms in the volcanic Lake Batur at Mount Batur

More from the Gili islands

We took a lazy stroll along the leafy, bicycle rich, lane

Stroll along the leafy lane

Stroll along the leafy lane

and went to look at the baby turtles in the turtle sanctuary

Turtle sanctuary

Turtle sanctuary

before settling down to watch some new furniture being delivered to the beach bar

Careful with that big chair

Careful with that big chair (Eugene! – for Floyd fans only!)

Don’t drop it now…

I’m going to lounge on that later, with a cocktail in my hand as I watch the sunset

Only 3 more to go

Only 3 more chairs to go

Ahh sunsets… my next post will be dedicated to them, so watch this space… meanwhile, back at the night market, Yaniq was choosing our evening meal

Yaniq choosing the fish

Yaniq choosing the fish

and we had a fresh, juicy corn on the cob, dripping with hot chilli sauce

Grilled corn on a stick

Grilled corn on a stick

I was very full up so the next day I only wanted a light salad for lunch…

A whole pineapple, just for me - but I asked for salad!

A whole pineapple, just for me – but I asked for salad!

I ordered a salad – and was served a pineapple.

Ahh, but look inside the pineapple… now that’s the way to serve a salad

There's a salad, hiding inside my pineapple

There’s a salad, hiding inside my pineapple

Yaniq played a few more songs while sipping pink tuak (a local brew made from the flowers at the top of palm trees – far less strong than arak!)

Pink tuak (not pink champagne)

Pink tuak (not pink champagne)

and I chilled out on the beach before going snorkeling.

Where's that suncream?

Where’s that suncream?

Just another blissful lazy day in the Gili islands

Click for my other blog posts about Gili Trawangan, going to Gili here, or Gili sunsets or Jump off the Boat, shoes full of sand here.

Something fishy going on in Bali?

A fish, from Lake Batur, smothered in spicy sambal matah = finely sliced onion, chilli, lemon grass, grilled shrimp paste, lemo (a small lime), salt and oil – delicious.

Fish on a dish

Fish on a dish

The dish at the back is a vegetable called ‘ares’.  It’s the thinly sliced trunk of a certain type of banana tree in a tasty soup (apparently there are many, many types of banana trees but only one is used to make ares).

Fish farm in Lake Batur

Fish farm in Lake Batur

Here’s the farm where this fish spent… the good ole days.

This is up in Lake Batur in the shadow of the volcano Mount Batur in Kintamani.

For more fabulously stunning views of this area click here.

Koy Carp in my pond

Koi Carp in my pond

And, below, fish of a different kind are released into my pond.

These Koi Carp are quite fragile – some of them haven’t made it.

Then there’s the fascinating array of colourful fish that you snorkel with.

In Bahasa Indonesia many words are turned the other way round, often with interesting results… for instance a catfish becomes a fish cat – which conjures up a whole different image!

So, whether you want to feed fish, eat fish, swim with fish or just go fishing – Bali is the ideal place for all things fishy..

Fish to snorkel with

Fish to snorkel with

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