Local kite festival at Pererenan Beach, Bali

Our beach is very popular with the locals on Sundays. But today it was extra delightful as it filled with teams of kite flyers from the surrounding villages.

I was fortunate to catch teams as they were arriving, as well as a few competitive matches.

It was a sight to behold.

Each July in Sanur they have a major kite festival, but I will always be loyal to the local one here.

In memory of Anthony Bourdain

There are two ways of traveling, which are really two ways of looking at the world. You can see another country as simply an experience to consume, a place to collect trophies. Or you can look at it as an environment to interact with, something that changes you through the encounter and that you inevitably change by visiting.

James Poniewozik

The second half of the above quote, while not by Bourdain himself, describes the very reason why Boudain became a major success. He saw travel as a way of knowing the world and himself better, taking risks and ultimately being rewarded many times over. And changing others too.

I am not a foodie, but almost everything about Anthony Bourdain’s approach to life appealed to me. While he had access to everyone from presidents and prime ministers to the top chefs on the planet, I mostly admired his excursions to the restaurants sought out by the locals.

Bourdain, who died Friday at 61, didn’t just offer tips on scoping out good street food or seamlessly navigating an airport. Whether he was eating bún chả with Barack Obama, sitting with kids in Gaza, or charming food vendors on every continent, to watch Bourdain conduct himself was to watch a global citizen in the most aspirational sense of the phrase. You could see it in the sweaty film that dappled his forehead as he drank a cold beer on a hot day. In the look of industrious seriousness with which he approached a steaming hot bowl of noodles. In the earnest politeness and gratitude with which he unfailingly treated his hosts. Bourdain possessed a no-bullshit vitality, a humble awareness of his privilege as a white, male American, and an appreciation for the things—cold beer, hot noodles, the fact that seafood always tastes better when you’re barefoot in the sand—that are true no matter where you find yourself on this big Earth.

Rosie Spinks



As close to a blank slate as possible

There are two times during the building process when you are faced with a world with infinite possibilities: one is during the first meeting with your architect, when you share your vision; and secondly, when the land has been cleared of debris, stripped down to dirt and grass.

In both cases you can say, let’s begin! Let’s make something splendid!

Like a marriage, everything you eventually build will be a matter of compromise. You want a view? Then given the land constraints you will need to climb a few flights of stairs. You want plenty of garden space? Then create parking under the building. You want privacy from renters? Create access that’s clearly distinguishable for the rental space, but that is just as welcoming as our private space.

The world of infinite choice has been narrowed and refined with the architectural team. The next phase is to make the plans real.


Property boundary pins in the ground (finally!)

Thanks to:

– two realtors

– two Indonesian nominees

– two notaries

– a government land survey department

– the BPN office – Badan Pertanahan National (Ministry of Agrarian And Spatial / National Land Agency)

– a road building crew

– Shelly, and more

Above: two of the four pins

Having placed a deposit on the land back in December 2017, it’s been a very long road just to get to this point. A big part of the problem was buying land that was in the middle of being divided. Twice!

First the owner was dividing the land into two parts: her villa and a parcel of land. That’s when I joined in the mix.

When the new land certificate arrived, one important sentence regarding tourist zoning was missing. So that resulted in an additional delay.

Then the land needed to be divided again so that I can get approximately 1/3 of it. That’s when the government land surveyors came into play — again.

At the moment, a final signature from the previous Indonesian nominee will be signed tomorrow. Then the land will be ours. In a sense the land has already been ours, since the seller (a foreigner), at the time of the deposit, signed away her rights. But the Indonesian signature makes it official, as land transfers can only take place between Indonesians.

The lesson from all this — if you are in a hurry, buy land with a land certificate that has been finalized.