Thursday, May 30, 2013

The chocolate factory...

We had a very yummy afternoon checking out the chocolate factory. They make over 3,000 types of chocolates. Made to order for a price. The owner is Swiss and showed us the difference between premium chocolate and cheap chocolate. His factory is small and makes the most beautiful creations as well as the most yummy! I had to come home afterwards and workout! We enjoyed hazelnut, raspberry and amazing white chocolate made with only cocoa butter no palm oil or vegetable oil there. The process is very interesting from conching the cocoa to tempering the chocolate. Even watching the labels being folded and put on the packaging. Mostly they make high end chocolates like for the Peninsula Hotel or the Sheraton. Very fun to see the chocolates coming out of the machines!

Diamond Hill--Budhist Nunnery Visit with Grandparents

In May Grandma and Grandpa Hale came to visit.  We went to this beautiful park that was surrounding a Budhist Nunnery.  The grounds were immaculate. Quiet and serene in the midst of the bustle of the huge city.  Chimes ding and quiet music plays on speakers hidden in the landscaping.
This is how the buildings were constructed--no nails just a huge puzzle of linking pieces dove-tailed together.  Carvings of gods to ward off evil spirits and curves because spirits only travel in straight lines.
Many hidden alcoves offer seating which is so unusual here in Hong Kong.  Most places just want people to finish their business and move on because the crowds are so thick.  There is no outdoor seating anywhere!

This golden pagoda reminds me of the house of Miss Bianca (the little white mouse in the children's books by Margery Sharp.)

In Asia umbrellas unfurl rain or shine!  Here Emma protects her Grandma from the fierce mid-day sun!
The city peaks in to this tranquil spot around the edges making you appreciate your moment of peace.

A vegan restaurant is hidden under this falls.  The tables are just behind the  curtain of water.  A tempting place to eat if you care for a Fungus plate!

This building held some shiny stones or petrified wood that were the size of couches so we sat and rested in the cool building.  There is some sand around the base of some of the boulders.  A sign clearly states--no sand writing!  They must rake it daily though to keep the neat lines.  Temptation avoided for a group of 4 kids(and myself--I admit!)

The actual temple and nunnery must remain as images burned into our brains that we may not share unless we learn to draw as they will not allow photos!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bali Epilogue



All told, it was a wonderful trip.  A new culture…a new stamp in the passport…great beaches and experiences.  A testament to the adventure is the kids’ chatter about the trip.  They all recount fondly different favorite moments on the trip.  Even JP talks about seeing komodo dragons in the swamp in Baliindonesia (all one word)…  


Many apologies for the length of time it has taken me to get this onto the computer. After arriving home the entire family had stomach flu, colds and a different stomach flu times 7 people!  So we were out for the count for about 3 weeks.  Then we had some testing to do to get the kids enrolled into the Potter School for next year.  Some how my extra hard drive ended up full so we had to wait for the Hale Grandparents arrival to download photos!  I continue to be way behind in blogging!  We have some great posts coming . . . Soon!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 7: After Snorkling Komodo dragons during lunch?

 This pond was a few steps from the patio we ate lunch on and had quite a few komodo dragons!

 Chickens in basket ready for chicken fights--ick!
Great day! Just a little exhausting!

Day 7: Snorkeling Adventure

 We had a wonderful driver who took us everywhere and showed us everything.
 Rice fields and volcanos--the view is amazing!

 Renting snorkeling gear and getting a guide.
 A canoe with pontoons on the side and a motor.

 Lubing up for the day!

 So many amazing fish.  We threw in a few pieces of bread and masses of fish came.
 Resting and playing on the pontoons.

 Balance contests.



Our final day was a snorkeling excursion.  Our driver took us to one of his friends, with whom we negotiated a fee for snorkeling gear and a charter to choice locations.  After terms were settled and the price set – I was given every assurance that it was an extremely fair price because our driver was a personal friend, yada, yada – we loaded into the brilliantly colored seafaring vessel that looked like a cross between a canoe and a catamaran (sans sails). The first of two beaches we visited proved to be an ideal spot, exactly as advertised.  The entire cast of Finding Nemo – well, maybe minus the sea turtles – was there for us to observe.  With a loaf of bread, the menagerie of brilliant colored sea creatures was literally eating out of our hands.  The sight mesmerized everyone.  After spending a couple of hours there, we went on to the Blue Lagoon.  We clearly went to the first beach for a reason.  The corral was more plentiful, the water was clearer – and everything was generally better.  The winds picked up as the day progressed so the water was choppier at the Blue Lagoon.  

Day 6: Resting after Ripping and Curling!

 Enjoying a dream back yard!

 A great game of horse.

Bali Day 5:Ripping and Curling

 Surf School! Listening to the instructor before hitting the waves!

 Trying it dry and then hitting the waves.

 They are up almost the instant they hit the water.

 This crash was easy to predict and fun to watch (no casualties!)



Today we decided to check out Kuta Beach.  All that we heard and read is that it's over crowded and commercialised and it should generally be avoided. We actually enjoyed Kuta beach.  It is crowded and built up with countless shops, restaurants and hotels, but we thought it was a better beach than Sanur beach.  The waves at Kuta beach are good for surfing.  So Devon, Alexis, Emma and Tim got a surfing lesson and hit the waves.  The girls took to it a right away; surely aided by a gymnast's agility and sense of balance. Devon, we surmise, benefited from one part athleticism and four parts surfer dude attitude. Despite my advanced years, I managed okay too. A few hours of surfing left everyone exhausted.

 Away goes surf tot!
 What form! Can't wait until he stops freaking out when he gets his face wet.
 An amazing sunset for an amazing day!