Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August in Sweden

We returned to Sweden for the first time in four years. This has been a warm summer there and our first week was rather like Bali, but it reverted to normal and the day time temps were 22C or less. We began in Uppsala where we spent a delightful week with friends Claes and Karin Höjenberg from our post-doctoral days at the Biomedical Centrum in Uppsala. The city has really developed nicely and it is very enjoyable. Walking or biking are the preferred modes of transport. Like most Swedish cities, there is a real effort to discourage use of autos.
Susan (L) with Claes and Karin
After a week exploring the Uppsala area and enjoying the fine meals prepared by Claes we took a Waxholm's ferry  to the Island of Lådna.  The island is 3 hours east of Stockholm in the middle archipelago.  We stayed there for two weeks in July 2008 in a charming cottage owned by Ann.  This time we booked on Airbnb.  Before Ann had her own website.  It was very nice to see Ann again and to enjoy the nature of the island.  A real benefit to staying here is that this is one of the few islands which has a grocery store open year around.  
Ann's dock on norrvik (north bay)
Our third week was spent in a very nice flat on the Stockholm City island of 

Södermalm.  We lived only 15 minutes walking distance away from this Airbnb flat for 13 years.  

While in Stockholm we visited more friends, did shopping for Bali and Susan cooked some really nice meals in our apartment.  Stockholm is a great city for walking and having coffee and pastries in the numerous konditori and bakeries.  It is also a nice place to provision.  While not exactly Paris, we were able to get some very nice Nordic cheeses to bring back to Bali.  

Our return flights were with Qatar Airways.  Very smooth connections in Doha and very effiecient lasting only 16 hours in total.  Of course we were happy to arrive back at Villa Cengkeh!

Sveavägen 21, Uppsala, Sweden - we lived upstairs in 1977-1978

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Owners of SV Villa G

I spend three nice days in Langkawi last week with the new owners of SV Villa G, Debbie and Dick Van Hasselt.  There were the usual "boat things" that needed sorting out; however, we got the water, toilets, air cons, genset, engine and sails into normal working order.

Dick and Debbie are from Vancouver and will spend the winter season cruising Malaysia and Thailand this year and then after that, who knows?

Debbie and Dick Van Hasselt

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SV Villa G is sold but please meet The Spice House Inn

By April we had sold SV Villa G and returned to Bali.  Here we have embarked on several new projects.  One of the most interesting is the purchase and renovation of Jon House, an old four apartment house on the beach in Lovina.  It stands on the site of the first bar (with alcohol) in Lovina and is in the village of Kaliasem.  Jon and the owners of the surrounding properties are directly descended from the last king of north Bali (Buleleng).  The status of the royalty in Bali underwent numerous changes in the 20th Century under the Dutch, the Japanese and then the Independence of Indonesia which was declared in 1945.

Kaliasem village as seen from our home
The grandson and great-grand sons of the last king live adjacent to Jon House in a small cottage resort called Puri Manggala.  They also have the Little Museum there.  It commemorates the founding of Lovina in the 1950s.  Lovina per se is a name created for the purposes of marketing the stretch of small villages along a section of north Bali beach west of Singaraja.  The main villages are Kalibukbuk and Kaliasem (kali is Indonesian for river).  Just to the west of Jon House are the grounds of the last king's residence in Kaliasem (pictured below).  It is a fascinating ruin that is not open to the public.  More on it another time.

Palace gate to the beach
Jon House was a 1970s modern building of four one bedroom apartments with leaking ceilings and eclectic furnishing.  We are currently renovating and creating two 3 bedroom apartments (one up and one down).  Each will be 120 square meters (>1200 square feet).  It is directly on the beach and fronts a paved sidewalk to Lovina's famous Dolphin Statue Square, bars, restaurants and shopping.  Guests will be able to go out for a latte, lounge on the beach and have our Balinese staff serve them snacks and beverages, or sample local international and Indonesian restaurants.

Yesterday's view from the upstairs balcony
The renovation is going to be quite extensive.  The roof is gone.  The floors have been stripped of tile.  Plumbing and electrical is being replaced.  The upstairs flat will have two nice balconies and the downstairs flat will have a patio with a gate onto the beach.  Each flat will have a small service kitchen.  The building will have a kitchen for preparations of meals for our guests.  Breakfasts will feature fresh pastries from Buda Bakery, Kalibukbuk and Bali grown coffees.

Agus, our manager is speaking with a construction worker in front of Spice House Inn
The renovation schedule is for a three month project.  We will miss most of the high season and have a soft opening for a few months before the Christmas/New Year's rush.
The Star Clipper in front of Spice House Inn 19 June 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Great to be back in Bali for Galungan

We flew back to Bali from Langkawi a few days ago.  It is great to be home!  All of Bali is green now as the rains have continued.  Villa Cengkeh's gardens look really nice and the house was so inviting.  Mr. Roland's crew made small repairs while we were gone.

It is now time for the Balinese Holiday of Galungan.  It is a time to celebrate the success of good over bad (dharma versus adharma).  Temples are cleaned up and re-decorated and many prayers are said at various village and family temples.  It is said that the spirits of former inhabitants return to earth for a ten day visit.

Female staff have a day off to prepare for the holiday activities and all staff are free tomorrow for the important day (Hari Raya).
Susan with the staff who did the decorating

Penjors at the main gate

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Villa G is getting a new owner!!!

Susan and I are happy and sad.  We had decided in January that we should put Villa G on the market.  We have moved forward with a number of new projects in Bali that will need our focus and time.  Dick flew out to Langkawi and spent several days with us.  We're in the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and very impressed with the new facilities since they renovated and enlarged.

Reinhard (Dick) Van Hesselt and his wife Debbie will be the new owners.  They are from the Vancouver region.  They have owned numerous boats before and are downsizing to a beautiful motor-sailor.

Dick with Susan on Villa G in Langkawi

SMS from

Lat+6deg18'9" Lon+99deg50'59" Alt+056ft GPS Sats seen: 09 2017-03-26 03:16UTC Sent via Iridium GO!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Royal Langkawi Yacht Club

We are in Langkawi and comfortably berthed in the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club which is right in Kuah near the ferry terminal. Lots of activity around here with ice cream, different cuisines and the Langkawi International Marine and Air show starting today.

Royal Langkawi Yacht Club