A Beach Town without a Beach

A town whose busiest street is named Monkey Forest Road is going to be a lovely and unique place, which is exactly what Ubud, a land-locked town on the Indonesian island of Bali, is.  Each of my days in Bali has begun with a simple breakfast paddy- or pool-side: fresh fruit salad of pineapple, papaya, … Continue reading

Monkey Tales

A part of my novel involves the Southeast Asia great ape, the orangutan.  I came face to face with an adult male orangutan 7 years ago in Borneo, and have been fascinated with orangutans ever since. Sunday night I went to see a Balinese kecak dance.  The kecak is a Balinese interpretation of a story … Continue reading

Boutique Shops and Marshmallow Clouds

I discovered how lucky I have been to live on quiet, boutique- and temple-filled Jalan Hanoman during my first few days in Bali when, on Saturday, I went up to the not-pedestrian-friendly Jalan Raya Ubud for the first time, cut west, and turned to walk along the northern end of Monkey Forest Road.  This part … Continue reading

KAFE Culture

KAFE is just good.  Not easily accessible from Ubud’s main tourist drag, Monkey Forest Road, KAFE is a very popular spot for the expats who live in Ubud full or part time, and the backpackers that discover it soon return again and again.  The menu is eclectic but imaginative, freshly prepared with good ingredients, and … Continue reading

Backpacking for Grownups

The founders of Lonely Planet, the Wheelers, first backpacked through Asia in 1972 and are now old enough to be grandparents.  The graying of the Lonely Planet generation, in combination with the advent of affordable mobile computing, has engendered a subspecies of backpacker that is older, constantly wired in, and less interested in drinking a … Continue reading

Mooncakes, Revisited

I never cared for mooncakes when I was young and things with the word “cake” in their name involved expectations of chocolate and icing, not salty egg yolks and gummy lotus seed paste.  However, now that there are mooncakes available made out of chocolate and icing, I find myself fascinated with the classic egg and … Continue reading