Summer Digs

Happy 4th of July. It’s the official thick of Summer back home. San Francisco is currently experiencing a heatwave and is even hotter than Bali, where it’s now Winter. For at least the past month, the weather here has been noticeably cooler than when we arrived in April. Not as hot. Not as humid. More clouds covering the sun. Even cool breezes throughout the day, which are so nice.

We moved into our Summer home 1 month ago, and get 2 more of them before we’ll need to find our next shell. This is our third dwelling in Bali. With each move we’ve given something up and gained something in return -though each new place has gotten a little bigger and more comfortable. We’d still prefer to have that swimming pool from May, but because of the cooler temps since then, we don’t miss it as expected. Upon entering the arched gate to our rumah, you first pass our private temple, situated in the northeast corner to be closest to Ganung Agung, the Mother volcano of Bali. You pass through the tidy yard and trimmed lawn and step up onto a large open terrace, wrapped by a tranquil fish pond. This terrace is a relaxing and pretty place to eat, sit, read, or just listen to the jungle, and is made even better by a corner nook complete with a big square mattress and varied pillows. An acre or 2 of rice fields extend away from the back edge of the terrace, and are surrounded by a few homes similar to ours, and lush terrain.

Two large sliding-glass doors open into our main living room. A small-but sufficient kitchen is in the back corner. The fridge, stove, and sink are all small, but we’ve learned not to stockpile food anyway, and less food makes for less crumbs, and less ants -something else we’ve learned about. Another comfortable nook is carved into the center back wall like a squared cave. You climb up onto its wall-to-wall-to-wall king mattress. It’s a fun spot to be, and such a simple design, though I’ve never seen such a space before. Behind a frosted double door off to the side is a large, bathroom. The far half is open-air. This includes a large, round, stone tub, and separate shower, where you stand surrounded by a tall, curved, stone wall, with beautiful ferns and orchids growing out of it, and with tropical trees -and the sky- overhead. It’s a fabulous setting in which to shower. Under the overhang, the small washing machine is a real perk, as is the humidifier inside the large storage closet.

The lower terrace and living room uses typical marble floors that -we’ve been warned- get very slippery when wet. In contrast, the stairs and upstairs bedroom has wooden floors, as does its adjoining open-air terrace that overlooks those rice fields. This large, main bedroom is more traditionally Balinese. Its walls and high pitched ceiling is made of bamboo and rattan and -as is Balinese custom- it’s king-sized bed is angled towards (the nearest) Gunung Batur volcano, 20 kilometers away. The upstairs open terrace is yet another valued nook in which to curl up with a book, watch the daily maintenance of the rice field, or to spy flying squirrels, iguanas, and tokeks -the large geckos that keep things interesting around here. Once, while I lay reading on the downstairs terrace, one suddenly fell from high above smack onto my chest! I’m not sure which of us was more startled. I know it was a fluke, but I’ve yet to sit in that once-favored spot since.

Dirna is the Balinese owner of our home and adjoining properties. He’s a husky man of about 50, and can be seen nearly every day as each new sun rises, tending to the rice fields. He passes through our gate now and then. On auspicious days, he places small offerings around the yard and temple, which we like. He’s one of 3 people who we see routinely around our home. Another is Made (Mah-Day), who tends to the garden and yard. Every other week, he dredges the fish pond, knee-deep into it, while smiling. We feed the fish 3 times per day. They gather around in a cluster of white and red, looking up with gaping, flexing mouths, anticipating the frenzy that follows. Watching nearby, nonplussed, is Syd, an orphaned ginger cat that I’ve befriended. Ours is now his home too, but after he bloodied my leg a couple of weeks back (because I stopped petting him), his closest access is now limited to the terrace steps. No longer is he allowed to curl up next to me. I do love having a cat around, and I do still pet him. He purrs like a loud motor just at a glance, and craves company, but is just a tad unrefined and unpredictable to get any closer to.

The third person who frequents our home is Arik, who cleans our home 3 times per week (included in the price). She’s a sweet young woman, studying math at the university. When we were first told about her frequent visits we thought it too much. But we quickly learned how vital it is to clean, thoroughly and often. Without her, we’d be struggling. She works hard, and spends 3 hours or more every visit. She mops and sweeps and cleans every nook and cranny. She also manages the water deliveries, orders the various supplies, and takes things to the cleaners as needed. She’s a very trustworthy person, who’s been working for Nancy for a few years. As with most pembantus, this is a mutually beneficial, and symbiotic arrangement. She scoots herself here from the Peliatan village a few kilometers away, and has keys to let herself in as needed.

We value and appreciate her work and tell her so often. She assures us that she values it too.


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. artmarysf
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 15:53:45

    Beautiful home!!!


  2. Kathy
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 03:05:19

    What a lovely place to live! Thank you for the vivid descriptions and beautiful photos.


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