March 28, 2018


Sadly, we come to the end of an era this month, with the closing of Toko Senyum, the great little second hand shop in Sri Wedari Ubud (opposite Seniman Cafe). For more than a decade, the Smile Shop has supported Yayasan Senyum – the Smile Foundation – an extraordinarily successful non-profit that has brought smiles to thousands of Indonesian children, through cranio-facial surgery. It’s always been a great shop, with clothes, household goods, books and DVDs/CDs at bargain prices, and the occasional lucky strike – as when one of the big hotels tossed out all its sheets and towels and donated them all to the foundation.

The non-profit continues, with the Nyuh Kuning Smile Shop open everyday from 10am to 6pm, and a new Smile Shop having a grand opening in Sanur (Jl. Pantai Sindhu No. 3, close to Mc D Sanur) on April 6. Meanwhile, there are still a few days to support the original shop. Until the end of March, all items 50% off the price tag; all books at 5.000 each; all DVDs/CDs 4 pcs for 10.000. Please spread the word and help others to Smile.



Indonesia’s innovative, tech-savvy generation – Generasi Inovasi – is the inspiration behind this year’s Ubud Food Festival, to be held this year from April 13 to 15. And for sure this generation, both the consumers and those who work in the food industry, are super creative.They are inspired by their own Indonesian superstars, and the many amazing chefs and restaurateurs that have come to Ubud from other parts of the globe, bringing fresh approaches to food and an increasing respect for the quality of Indonesian produce. For the three days of this festival, the ‘Generasi Inovasi’ lens will focus on innovative ideas in Indonesia’s food industry, ideas that are clearly creating a distinct culinary culture, unique to the archipelago.It’s a fabulous adventure, bringing together more than 100 speakers and chefs, including Indonesia’s most outstanding chefs, producers, restaurateurs, food entrepreneurs, food photographers and storytellers; my taste buds are tingling already.

GET RE-MOTE(IVATED). Like many expats who’ve lived in Bali a long time, I sometimes find it challenging to stay focussed on work-related topics, surrounded by so much natural beauty, and the temptations that a bustling tourist town can offer. So Hubud Coworking Centre is on the money, as usual, offering a “Productivity Mindset” workshop for members, so that we make the best use of our resources, time, energy and efforts. Led by a visiting entrepreneur with a solid corporate background, holding high-level management positions including co-founding an SME, the session will walk us through seven techniques for remaining clear and focused on achieving our goals in an organised way. To be held on Tuesday, April 17, from 12:30pm-1.30pm, it’s a members only event, but Hubud’s “Event Only” membership rate of 400,000rp/ month is great value, even if you don’t need all the other services the coworking provides. Find out about various Hubud memberships and events at



Do you know Hash House Harriers? If you like exercise, stunning scenery and meeting other energetic people, Hash is a great way to go, and next month’s Kartini Day event a great starting point. The life and work of Ibu Kartini – Indonesian pioneer in the area of education for girls and women’s rights – is celebrated as a national holiday every year on Saturday April 21. Taking part in a mixed running and rafting activity would have been one of many activities forbidden to women and girls of her generation.Hash House Harriers – an international organisation – has chapters all over Indonesia, including Bali and our neighbouring island of Lombok. Participants run a different mapped course every week, with one trek for the slower paced, and a slightly different version for the gung ho, both ending up at the same place for food and drink (mostly beer in Australia, far more subdued in Indo). If you know Hash, you’ll be delighted with the Bali version, but total newbies are also welcomed. The decided bonus of running in Bali is that each week reveals more beautiful scenery – often places you can’t reach any other way.

The Kartini event, starting from Desa Rafting, Bongkasa, includes rafting, running and a delicious Balinese lunch (200,000rp). For more info, search Bali Hash House Harriers One on Facebook.



For those who aren’t feeling physical, but want a bit of a challenge in good company, how about a game of Scrabble or Mah Jong in relaxed and pleasant surroundings? Bring your Scrabble board if you have one – you are welcome without – to Indus Restaurant any Thursday at 10am, or your Mah Jong set on Tuesday, 10am to Casa Luna Resto in Jalan Raya Ubud. Superb views, delicious food, good company; what more could you want? Some take the games very seriously; others are up for a chat and a laugh. Have a go.



I’ve steered away from the parking debate, because the news seems to move faster than this monthly column. But I can report that the well-organised Monkey Forest parking area is gaining popularity, and the Ubud shuttle operates regularly from there and around the main Ubud streets. The government plan to limit parking became operational just before Mount Agung first began to sizzle, and tourism has been quieter since, so perhaps that’s why the authorities haven’t clamped down fiercely on people parked in the wrong place – or at least, not as strongly as they first threatened to do.

But for sure, Jalan Raya, Dewi Sita, Monkey Forest, Hanoman are still targeted; cars are often smothered with no parking stickers, and the parking police are letting down the front tyres of scooters and bikes parked on the road (though the footpath is apparently okay, which is just weird).But you can safely recommend that guests from down south use the shuttle. There are no obvious shuttle stop signs – nothing so simple lol – but the drivers will stop if you flag them down. They run every 20 minutes.

A completely different update next month, perhaps. Who knows?