Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bali Gastronomy

last weekend, i had the opportunity to once again visit Bali together with my family and some visiting friends from France.

first off, i must say, that Bali is a lot more summery in June than when i first went in February of 2010.  but before i show you the food, i just want to show you a bit of the place where we stayed. it was quite old and lacking in amenities but the caretaker was really nice. and the place was always kept clean and i totally loved the way it was designed.

the entrance to our two-bedroom private villa

the tiniest of swimming pools

i just love this open air bathroom!

always looking forward to showering under the frangipanied skies

on the bed

i don't know what was amiss with me before but nowadays (due to my french husband's influence), food is one of the most important part of the trip. during my younger days, most of my trips were hurried and my goal was just to see all the important places and take as many pictures as possible. eating was just a necessary nuisance. but now that i am slower and kinder to my body, eating seems to have taken as much importance as the sights to see.

dinner at Petitenget Restaurant

hungry beach bums

this wine is actually locally produced

tuna salad

the seafood platter for entrance

a garden on a plate -- my vegan friend's main dish

this is what i had

panna cotta!

we went to Petitenget once for dinner on the very first evening, and then again for lunch on our last day! it was our absolute favorite because the staff are friendly and nice, the food delicious, wonderful ambience, and reasonable price!

duck watching

crispy fried duck, the restaurant's specialty... did not disappoint!

i love how you can see the ducks roaming around the huge fields in the restaurant

we had a good hearty lunch of crispy fried duck at Bebek Tepi Sawah restaurant in Ubud, Bali right before hiking up and down the famous rice terraces! the place is also a hotel and a spa.

the rows of restaurants atop the rice terraces in Ubud, Bali

what a beautiful relaxing view

my friends enjoying the view


i could sit here forever!

i thought i should also mention that we had a refreshing snack and drink at one of the restaurants facing the rice terraces. unfortunately, i forgot to take the name of the one we went to. it was the most relaxing, refreshing and wonderful time resting after a tiring hike in the hot sun.

the labyrinth-like path to the W Hotel

i was tempted to order LOL, but i'm not really a fan of lychee

i just love, love, love this dessert!

too much beer? :)

this was inside the toilet!

at the hotel lobby

i love the ceiling patterns and the lighting

i wonder what W means...

we found ourselves marching into the labyrinth-like path towards W Hotel on the way to the Fire Restaurant. hubby saw some good reviews on the internet and thought we'd give it a try. it was, unfortunately, a little bit too posh for everybody's taste. as for me, i didn't mind at all. the foie gras sampler and watercress salad that i had were satisfying. the only thing that bothered me was the techno music coming from the bar on the beach, which gave me a bit of migraine.

parking-side entrance to Menega Café, Jimbaran

look how cheap it is! :)

delicious lobsters!

i can never get tired of this view

it has the view of the surfers and the airport on the right side, which is not included in the frame

cool and bright and airy, although, the smoke from the grills are a bit of a hassle...

seafood fiesta!

lunch in Uluwatu was at Menega Café, in Jimbaran, which offers the best grilled seafood for so cheap price! i especially loved the lobsters! you should try to come and order early if you are hungry, as it takes almost an hour for them to serve the food.

tapas, etc.

the semi-crucified lechon

intricate tile patterns on the floor which reminded me of Madrid

out in the field

nice vines and ceiling art


last dinner in Bali was at Barbacoa. they serve American-Mediterranean inspired dishes, with Indonesian influence, of course. except for the beautiful terasse that opens into a wide vegetable farm and open skies (which are star-filled at night), i didn't really enjoy my dinner so much. most of the dishes were too salty. although, the lechon which was shared by my friend and hubby was really good. i'm not too crazy about lechon, though. also, if you want to have a good table, be sure to ask the caucasian manager who is very friendly and nice, unlike the rest of the restaurant staff that are pretty much useless.

bon appetit! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

French/Schengen Visit Visa for Spouse of French Citizen

my family and i are planning to have a three-week holiday in France and visit some Schengen countries at the same time a few months from now. and since my Titre de séjour has already expired late last year, i now have to get a visit visa from the French Embassy here in Singapore. i was quite pleasantly surprised when i discovered how fast and easy it is now for me to get one, being a spouse of a French citizen.

multiple entry, valid for FOUR years and FREE of charge! :)
here are the procedures:

first, you prepare the requirements listed in the downloadable document that contains the list of the required documents you need to furnish the embassy: passport (orig and photocopy), IC (orig and photocopy), re-entry permit, passport-size photo, your spouse's passport or ID card, your spouse's birth certificate and livret de famille.

fortunately, we already have all the required documents since they were also needed when i applied for the Titre de sejour while i was in France.

then you need to fill-in the application form which can also be downloaded from the web site.

next, you schedule for an appointment, which can also be done online. you have to remember that the appointment slots are quick to be taken. when i logged on to the web site in April, the next available slot was already for the month of May.

you go to the embassy on the date of your appointment and at the time that you have chosen.

they will then take your fingerprints and take a photo of you for the visa. after which, they will give you a receipt and a claim stub where the date and time when you can claim your passport with the visa is written. mine was after four working days! i couldn't believe how fast it is! this is quite extraordinary for the French Embassy!

and the best part of it all is that it's valid for FOUR years and it's FREE! :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

What People Don't Know About Motherhood

your body will never be the same again

what i didn't know about being a mother is how physically painful it is going to be. it has been two years since i have given birth, yet my back pains have only subsided just a teeny tiny bit. i tried exercising and running, but avoided doing the abs crunches as instructed by Google, as i might be nursing a diastasis recti. i thought i wasn't. until i started getting back my old weight and body shape bit by bit, but i just noticed recently that i still have this nasty-looking bulge when viewing my belly from the front. it's not so nasty when i'm all covered with clothes, even the ones that are a bit tight. but it looks really nasty when i'm all naked or planning to wear a swimsuit in public. now, i'm thinking i might really have this diastasis recti after all, and i'm going to consult a specialist about it and get rid of it once and for all.

this diastasis rect is probably curable. and getting back into your old body shape is by all means, doable. but still, you will always know that certain joints and muscles and ligaments will forever hold the memory of once being pulled or strained or misaligned for having been pregnant. and for this, you will never feel the same way about your body ever again.

the emotional trauma

you will never be able to imagine how scary it is contemplating about the delivery date, especially when you are a paranoid person like me. i have dreaded the thought of being cut up, recuperating, having a baby passing through my bajingo, etc, or my baby having fewer or more fingers than normal, etc... and then you think it will be all over after the delivery... wait, there's more, just look again at the first paragraph...

finding back your unpregnant self

this is the hardest and trickiest part. when you were pregnant, you were always thinking for two. and all that occupied your thoughts are the baby and the delivery. but then, after you have given birth and your baby starts to become less of a baby and more independent, you have to find your way back into being the single you again.

life is all about balance. i guess being a mother is a lot like being a juggler. you have to learn to balance, prioritize and get a good rhythm on all the things that you need to be and to work on.

and so, i just want to say in closing that being a mother, especially a GOOD one, is NOT a walk in the park. it's a very serious 24-hour business that NEVER ends. it is definitely not for the weak. you have to do your job despite the broken back and possibly a bit of a broken soul and self-esteem. just take courage in the fact that what you are working on is your most cherished, most beautiful and most important legacy of all.

selfie with my Mima (that's how she calls herself)

Happy, happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and mother-figures out there! :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

An Evening With John Cleese

i've been a big fan of Monty Python ever since i was introduced to this movie, with this favorite scene:

what's so funny about it is the silliness of the dialogue and behavior of the characters, bordering on cartoon-ish. it reminds me so much of the times i was watching silly Bugs Bunny cartoons when i was a kid, and therefore makes me laugh like a kid.

we felt a bit scammed when we realized this  row of seating is the most uncomfortable and awkward in the theater, despite being so near the stage, and not to mention, expensive!

last night, i had the luckiest time of my life to be able to see John Cleese perform live here in Singapore. he talked briefly about his early life, family and a lot of funny anecdotes in the span of his works and career.

some random fan

he mentioned that his early inspiration for writing comedy are children's programs. in fact, some of the members of the Monty Python were writing for a children's TV show before they started collaborating together. i guess that is why their type of humor appeals to the silly and those with an overindulgent sense of the ridiculous.

the show was delightfully entertaining. i was on the edge of my seat the whole time. literally (due to the awkward seating placements of the theater) and figuratively. people were laughing from the very first line, and it didn't feel at all like two hours have passed when he said his last.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Moalboal Part II: Montaneza Waterfalls and Mainit Hot Spring

as mentioned in part 1 of this travel post, i initially intended to go canyoning, but i had the misfortune of acquiring the flu on the day of my travel and so figured i should postpone it til next time when i come back with my family, since hubby is also interested to do it.

eating some cacao fruits (my childhood favorite) at the start of the hike

i settled for a short guided hike to Montaneza waterfalls, organized by Blue Orchid Resort manager, Melissa Watkins, together with Wolfgang from Cyan Adventures.

up and down we go into the canyons

i told them, i feel really funny being toured around Cebu with a couple of foreigners, as if i'm not local. :)

i feel like a troglodyte

it was a very short walk from Mainit hot spring, going to Montaneza waterfalls. i was a bit disappointed because i really felt like walking some more. LOL.

steep climb

although, climbing in and out of the canyon was quite tiring. and you only really feel it a day or so after.

isn't this just beautiful?

and it was even more challenging going against the cascades to climb up to go behind the waterfall... i should do wall climbing again. i'm so out of shape.

going against the powerful cascades

just to be able to have a gorgeous capture like this:

taking a rest behind the cascades

the pool of water right below is quite shallow. although, there are areas deep enough to allow you to jump into it from a certain height.

refreshing swim

that big rock in front of the cascades fell there during a recent earthquake

pausing for a pose

on the way down, i was unceremoniously told that we are going to do a couple of jumps from the cascades. say what, now?! i wasn't really expecting to do some jumping. for one, i'm not a very good swimmer; two, we were not wearing life vests; and three, i didn't have a helmet and i could just as easily and clumsily bump my head on a piece of protruding rock. but i held my panic in check.

Melissa was very much prepared for the jump

i jumped anyway because i didn't want to look so lame and be such a total killjoy. especially since there were small kids queuing behind me on the first jump. the second jump though, was too high for kids.

but as a result of the three worrying items i have mentioned above, echoing inside my head, my jump shots looked really weird, like most pictures of people looking shocked and bewildered for being caught unprepared. i didn't post the pics here so as not to embarrass us all. :D

soaking in the heat at Mainit Hot Spring

dipping into the hot spring after all the climbing and jumping was such a welcomed treat!

this pool of hot spring water is tolerably hot. there is another pool, a few meters away, where it's 40+ degrees Celsius. it reminded me so much of the Onsen in Japan. you'd get cooked in a few minutes in there.

relaxing and just about the right amount of warmth

it was really a fun trip. it made me feel like a kid all over again. given the chance to do it all over again, i would try to remember more about the kid i was, who liked to jump into the waters and had fun climbing rocks and trees. and also, will do my best not to look so fearful and crazy scared during the jump shots for the sake of better-looking pictures to post here.

the best part about this trip is not the pictures, though. it was the experience and having a day of fun that calls to mind long-gone carefree days back in my old province -- frolicking amongst endless rice fields, climbing trees and enjoying the view of the mountainous silhouette against beautiful sunsets... and what's more, i didn't even have to pay for this hiking trip because i was treated by a very generous soul. ;)

that's all for now!.. til the next adventure! have a great weekend and thanks for reading. :)