December 24 2014

December 24, 2014

I’d like permission to shout and scream at every person who rides a motorbike without a buckled-up helmet. But of course this is Bali, where showing anger is the mark of an animal not a human, so I should just register confusion and express myself politely.

So; I would be delighted if you’d pass this simple message to anyone (I realise it isn’t you, dear reader) who has a helmet but doesn’t wear it, or wears it in the manner of a hat. Or indeed, carries it in his or her hands, presumably as some sort of protective glove.

And in context, may I refer to international statistics. More than 95% of those who are permanently disabled or killed in road accidents are not wearing seat belts (while in cars etc) or not CLOSING THE CLIP on their helmet when riding a motorbike.

Simply put, with the helmet on one’s head, one is perfectly safe from falling coconuts. However, the helmet leaves the scene of the accident at the same speed as the person wearing it, and will be dislodged from its owner while travelling through the air. So by the time of impact, the helmet won’t be anywhere near the victim’s head. Do up your helmets!

There’s a great new restaurant starting just south of Ubud, across the road from Mas hospital. Managed by a talented Indian chef, D’Star Bar and Resto has a delicious menu including signature Balinese and barbeque dishes (try their cheese crusted chicken!) often with a special theme night, featuring regional cuisines.

Tables are set around cool green lawn in a garden filled with tame monsters – quirky recycled animal sculptures – while the actual restaurant is a unique construction combining a Javanese teak house with two recycled shipping containers. Live music from Ubud’s Bali Bull and others at the weekend – check the website for music schedule and weekend discounts on the a la carte menu.

If you’re coming from Ubud, you’ll find D’Star directly opposite Mas Klinic on? Raya Mas in Banjar Abianseka. It’s not difficult to find, but don’t look for the hospital; that’s now completely overshadowed by a huge Coco supermarket sign on your left – the D-Star car park is on the right. P: 0361 8493 601.; E:

Helping the environment starts with me, right? “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” So I’ve stopped buying shampoo, liquid soap, detergent and mosquito repellant in plastic containers. It is a simple solution and easy to explain to my international and local friends.

The answer is to buy good quality natural products, in bulk, and either put them into plastic bottles you already have, or buy recycled glass “pump” bottles.

Ubud’s little green Eco Shop on Jl Dewi Sita will deliver bulk orders on all of these liquid eco products (all made locally, by locals, using local materials) and is currently sourcing the bottles too. In the meantime, you can buy the bottles from Kaltimber – a fascinating gallery and eco-display shop on? Raya Sakah, with monthly eco-related talks by local and international experts.

For the Eco Shop’s restaurant and home cleaning products list, call on 0361 970060 or 0819 999 47180. Eco Shop is on Jl Dewi Sita near the Jl Gautama corner. W: For more info on Kaltimber; W:, call 0361 975219 or visit? Raya Sakah No. 22x (south of the huge baby statue, 15 or so minutes from Ubud) in Batuan.

The Eco Shop also sells great biodegradable brooms, if you’d rather not use those hideous plastic brooms that go floppy and have to be tossed out into landfill at regular intervals. The brooms are made the traditional Balinese way by a low-income family in need from North Bali. The materials are bamboo, duk and tapis from the coconut palm with a tiny amount of plastic twine in the binding.

Smart move by the Bridges Restaurant – home delivery from their extensive wine collection at Divine Wine Shop. Wine connoisseurs will be delighted by the extensive collection – there are many discoveries to be made amongst more than 250 wines and 20 grape varietals from all over the wine-growing world.

And if you yet are not an expert in this field, or you enjoy finding out more about wine, I recommend that you join an evening of discovery with Bridges’ wine expert Antoine Olivian. On Friday evenings, he selects five or six wines to discuss and sample in combination with some of Bridges’ outstanding mezes dishes.

Once you know which wines you prefer, you can choose delivery to your home, hotel or villa, or take your purchases home personally and get an extra 5% off. Villa/hotel owners should email for information on special deals:

Inspiration comes in many forms. For me, it’s often a traveler who clearly has his or her own unique style. Not long ago, via the international couch-surfing website, I hosted a Danish woman in her late sixties. She was a professional weaver and had travelled for more than thirty years, walking to some of the most remote parts of the world, both learning from local weavers and teaching the native crafts of her ancestors in the northern European region.

Only a year before I met her, following a horrendous car accident and with both her legs broken in several places, she had rejected the doctors’ verdict that she would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Before she arrived in Bali she had travelled to Africa, walking across the Serengeti desert and staying with an African woman in her tent to learn yet another local weaving style. While staying at my home in Junjungan, she walked the four kilometers to and from Ubud every day of her visit.

I spoke briefly with another such woman in Ubud yesterday; also from northern Europe, she has roller-bladed her way around the world, with many trips all over Asia during the past thirty years. I’m starting to feel a little stale; it’s time for a new adventure!

Copyright  2014 Wayan Jen
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