Friday, October 28, 2011

A (Family) Night on the Town

On a recent Friday night we hit the town -- family style.

First we went out for dinner at one of the few American restaurants in Taipei. I have been trying to take my camera everywhere to capture every day moments. The kids don't much like me taking their picture all the time, so I let them have a turn at it sometimes.

This is how Anna "drinks" lemonade:
Ethan, after eating ribs, in a rare moment of cooperating for a picture.
This was our waiter. He was crazy to the point of being annoying. He wrote our order on his arm. We wonder what that looks like at the end of a busy night? When we were almost ready to leave he came and asked if he could sing us a song that he wrote. Okay, sure. It was ridiculous and I think he had better keep his day job. Afterward he agreed to pose for a picture (no surprise really, he was not short on ego!) I wish I had taken it instead when he was singing, but I think I was too much in shock to reach for the camera.
(By the way, the waiter's glasses were fake. You see that a lot here. A LOT. People wear frames with no lenses. Sure, because it makes them look...? We don't get it.)

After dinner we went across the street to a mini night market. (For those who don't live in Taiwan, a night market is a common thing. Many neighborhoods have certain areas where vendors come out of the woodwork about 4:00 and set up booths selling all kinds of cheap junk. And always there is food. Stinky tofu and squid on a stick and such.
There were some bouncing things. My kids are ALMOST too old for that stuff, but not quite too old yet, and so we let them burn off some energy.

They climbed up loads of times.

They slid down in all sorts of positions.

This one I thought for sure was going to result in a broken neck. Thankfully the only injury was a "rug burn".

I snuck a few pictures of other people's kids because I thought they were so cute. This first little girl was really adorable as she toddled around. I had my camera aimed at her for awhile but either she had her back to me or someone would step in between us.
Another very sweet, slightly older, little girl.
When I got bored I took dozens of pictures of the Miramar Ferris Wheel, trying to capture all of the different light combinations.

Since none of us are brave enough for the street food, we headed back to the mall for dessert. This is one restaurant we will actually MISS when we move back to the States: Haagen Dazs. I am not much of an ice cream fan, but it is impossible not to love Haavc gen Dazs. Here in Taiwan they not only sell the scrumptious creations, they do so in fabulously beautiful restaurants.

The restaurants all have these luxurious lounge chairs:

They have beautiful light fixtures.

A cool, sweet ending to a sweaty, fun evening.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Little Details

This will be my last post about Bali. (At least until the next vacation!)

I took a lot of pictures of the little details. I am not sure if I was so entranced by Bali that even the little details seemed wonderful or if all of the wonderful little details were part of what entranced me, but either way I came away with the idea that Bali is the best place on the planet.

There was the tray of chocolate covered treats, along with a welcome note and a bottle of wine that was waiting for us in our room when we arrived.

We chose to enjoy the treats that evening in the outdoor living room.

The wine was chilling in a wooden bucket. I loved the bucket.
It became sort of a joke between Eric and I that I wanted to bring home everything from the villa. (I actually did purchase some of the bathroom accessories! After returning home I said I should have purchased the pillow because it was heavenly. Since returning home I have purchased THREE different pillows hoping to find something I like as well. Nothing I have tried yet compares to that pillow! I did NOT ask if I could purchase the wine bucket. Sometimes I regret that.)

Our first morning I woke obscenely early so got my camera and went outside. I captured this picture of our plunge pool. I love the colors.
Thatched roof detail.
Remember the outdoor shower that I loved so very much?
I am showing it again not because the memory of it causes me to melt (it does, and it is wonderful!) but by way of explaining the next picture. It is a close up of the shower wall.
I actually took SEVERAL pictures of the rock wall. Can you believe it? Truly I think Bali put me in an artistic state of mind. I contemplated the different colors in the stone, the abstract pattern in which it was laid and the slight variations in texture. I took pictures so that I could look at them and be inspired to... do what I am not sure! And no, I wasn't smoking anything funny. (Never have.)

For somewhat the same reasons, I took this close-up picture of the dining room buffet. Unless you get close you don't see the layers of finish, it just looks like a honey-colored wood. Only on close inspection did I see that there was some green underneath the stain. I suppose when next I refinish a piece of furniture I will incorporate this technique, which was the reason for the photograph. (Except I don't refinish furniture either.)
A very comfortable, weather-resistant living room chair.
The living room daybed...
...which was layered with beautiful pillows.
(I took photos of many of the pillows individually, but I don't want to bore anyone into a stupor.)

This was a garden light along the courtyard path. Isn't it cute and different?
This is the courtyard path, looking back to the entrance gate.
Here is our gate from the inside:
Just inside the gate is a light switch, set into a concrete stone! I didn't actually mean to photograph the light switch. I was interested in the fact that the wall sort of looked like it was crumbling. I imagine this was done on purpose to give the illusion of being in a grand old property. It works for me since I love OLD things.

Finally, remember I said in the past that I have a new love of doors and gates? Well, I think the doors into every villa were unique; just one more detail to enthrall me. And despite the fact that my kids complained about the number of photographs I took of DOORS, I feel like I did not begin to take enough.

(Yes, I know this last one is a repeat. One in daylight and one at night. I guess I thought it was particularly pretty. I do love the scroll design.
As we were preparing to leave Eric found a couple of postcards in the desk drawer - pictures from the resort. Guess what was pictured? The doors! It is just so amazing to me that this thing which I love was such a feature of the resort. We had no idea about that when we booked the place. We truly had no idea how spectacular the resort was. Yes, the pictures looked REALLY nice, but experience has told us that photographers are quite good at finding a sliver of "nice" and snapping it for the web designer to post on the property's website. Generally we get to a place and are disappointed by something. But this time Eric said the pictures didn't even begin to show how truly beautiful everything was. So true.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beyond the Villa

We did venture outside of our villa a few times. Around every corner there was something new to take my breath away. This is one of the pathways between villas. A bit of an upgrade from your standard hotel hallway!

There are active volcanoes on Bali, so I am guessing these retaining walls were built using lava rock from around the island.
Around one corner, a lovely little waterfall.

Flowers around every corner.
This flower I have never seen anyplace else. I don't think it shows in the photo, but in real life the flowers looked almost like they were made out of wax.

Bali is predominantly Hindu, a fact which sort of surprises me since most of Indonesia is Muslim. There are Hindu temples everywhere. As a side note, I have to say that the Hindu temples are nowhere near as ornate as the Buddhist temples which we see all over Taiwan. The Hindu temples seem to be mostly a pile of rocks. I began to identify them by a two-tiered golden umbrella-type thing that seemed to always be attached.

There is a temple within the grounds of the resort and it happened to be very near to our villa. One evening I heard a lot of racket coming from the direction of the temple so went to see what the cause of the racket was. (I'm sorry to describe it in less than flattering terms, but I find that the "music" associated with both Hindu and Buddhist religions is very distasteful. It is a cacophony of strange and discordant instruments which seem to all be playing whatever strikes their fancy rather than everyone playing notes that blend together into a beautiful song.) On this particular evening there were temple dancers putting on a show for the guests. I found the costumes to be beautiful.

The dances themselves were not particularly appealing to me, especially the dance performed by the male. It was full of frenzied shaking which, sorry - just being honest here, seemed demonic to me and was therefore not the least bit enjoyable to watch. Nevertheless, interesting to see this bit of another culture.

I still have a few more photos to share. For now I will leave you with a preview of the centerpiece of our NEXT vacation in Bali. Yes, we are returning in December with the kids! The house beyond the pool will be our base camp for exactly half of our time. Eric and I visited and were treated to a lovely lunch by the owners of this little gem. I don't expect the next trip to be as indulgent as the last, but it should be fantastic in it's own way.