November 8, 2017


This island is rich with people who, for their own unique reasons, come Bali and stay to “make a difference”. One such extraordinary man was John Fawcett, who died recently at the age of 85.John made Bali his home about 24 years ago, after his life in Australia fell apart as a tragic side effect of an epidural block for back pain. Against all predictions he recovered, and discovered a new life’s passion in helping Balinese people regain their eyesight, at first raising money for a mobile clinic for cataract surgery.

Initially, his fight wasn’t just to find funds, or doctors and other medical staff who would volunteer their time, but he also fought the Balinese belief in karma – that there was a reason for this blindness and it should be accepted. Over time, he successfully challenged that thinking, not only helping people restore their sight, but also obtaining surgery for hundreds of children with cleft palates and other facial deformities.Truly, this man’s legacy will love on for generations, both in the shape of the John Fawcett Foundation, which continues his inspiring work, and in the thousands of clear-sighted eyes and smiling faces of the Balinese whose lives he enriched through his work. To donate to the foundation, go to, or visit the foundation in Jalan Pengembak in Sanur, or call +62 361 270812 for more information.



It’s been an exciting year, both in Ubud and abroad, for celebrated restaurant, Locavore. In July the team opened Nusantara – yet another extraordinary Ubud restaurant – where Café Havana used to be on Jalan Dewi Sita. At the same time, Locavore chefs Ray and Eelke were sharing their expertise internationally as guest chefs/speakers in two completely different parts of the world – the Philippines and the Netherlands.

Now, they are returning the compliment, and bringing the world’s chefs back to Ubud. On November 19 and 20, talented Filipino chef, Jordy Navarro from Manila’s Madrid Fusion, will present his take on “contemporary cuisine, local ingredients” for a limited audience. (The four sessions may be sold out by the time you read this, but think positive, perhaps someone will cancel for one of the lunch or dinner sessions! Then on December 2 and 3, we will sample the latest from Amsterdam, when Executive Chef Joris Bijdendijk, Chef de Cuisine Ivan Beusink, and General Manager Lex Gasseling, from Rijks – the iconic restaurant within the Netherland’s famed Rijksmuseum (National Museum) – present their signature casual, New Dutch dishes. What’s possible for 2018! for reservations.



After a huge international tour, culminating in their fourth annual appearance at Malaysia’s outstanding Urban Retreat Festival in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month, Ubud’s Sound Medicine Collective is back in town. We honour their successes but we’ve missed them!!! In November and December, the Collective is offering private and group sessions in Ubud once more, including the weekly Sound Medicine: a Tama-Do Sound Harmonization journey through elemental sounds every Wednesday at 7.30pm, and a very special community Spirit Night presentation coming up on Monday, November 20, at 7.30pm at the Yoga Barn.

The Collective’s “One with the Beloved” Peace Campaign continues to grow and evolve. To find out more, google rumi-music-healing-project.



Looking for a quiet place to relax, take in a spa, enjoy some delicious vegan food and step away from Ubud central for a little while? Just a short ride away from the bustle of Ubud central, Bali Dacha: Lounge Spa Club has that serenity you’re looking for.Open Wednesday and Sunday for public events, including the Sunday Sauna Lounge Magic session, you can phone to inquire about massages and other activities at other times. Ask for the three-hour massage, gomage and head massage, or try the sauna and then jump straight into a swimming pool that’s brimming with sacred waters from the nearby spring.

Bali Dacha is hosted by a loving Russian couple, Ekaterina and Denis, who have somehow captured that relaxed, tranquil side of Ubud that’s gone missing a bit lately. It’s only 20-30 minutes east of Ubud on the way to Gianyar, past Goa Gajah. Call 0813-5399-4900 for more info and bookings, or find Bali Dacha on Facebook.



Indonesia’s national disaster agency last week downgraded the warning levels for Mount Agung, more than six weeks since the initial red alerts for a volcanic eruption. Hopefully the level of seismic activity will continue to decline, with the number of recorded earthquakes continuing to drop from their peak of 300 per day. For Balinese people evacuated from the exclusion zone weeks ago, it will be an opportunity to get their lives back on a more normal footing, so I hope our beloved mountain continues this calming trend.

The news is great for all of Bali, which has naturally suffered a major downturn in the economy during this period with many tourists cancelling or postponing their trips. It feels like perfect timing though, as our villages begin to line the streets with their beautiful penjor, those joyous decorated bamboo poles that are designed specifically to carry the Hindu prayers up to the Gods.



Good on you, Ubud Deli, just heard about your baking demonstrations. I love cooking but as a savoury specialist I need all the help I can get in the cake-baking department.

I’ll be down to get some tips from your chef next Saturday, for sure. Ubud Deli, on Jalan Raya Mas (actually Jalan Cok Rai Pudak, at Teges) hosts cake baking demos every Saturday from 2-6pm, and has cake tins and other paraphernalia, as well as top quality ingredients if you are in the baking mood. Actually, Ubud Deli reminds me of my favourite Norwood (South Australian) deli of years ago. First thing in the morning, there’s that unbeatable aroma of bread fresh from the oven. And it’s a good idea to get there early for the breads, if you want to make a scrumptious sandwich for lunch with something from their excellent range of cheeses and salamis, and fresh salad vegetables.

Or hey, you could just chill with one of Ubud Deli’s ready-made sandwiches, have a chinotto and wait for the baking class to start at 2pm! Call 0361 971852.