Day 25 – Singapore

SO! It’s been a bit since updating this blog. Whoops!

I was always a few days behind real life with updating the blog post since it took a lot of time, and as we went through the final few days of the honeymoon I got caught up in the constant travel. Then when we made it back to America, we immediately went straight into finding an apartment in Los Angeles. And then we actually moved to Los Angeles. Needless to say, we were slightly busy!

So this blog fell by the wayside, and the entire WORLD never knew what Landon and I did those last few days of our trip. Everyone’s been at the edge of their seats, and I’ve started feeling really guilty about it. I mean, we’ve kept our FANS waiting!

Well nine months later, here are the answers. To remind you, we had just flown from Bali to Singapore and discovered that it was ridiculously hot outside. Even hotter than Bali! And our room didn’t have air conditioning… so that was fun. But besides that, Singapore is a beautiful place as you’ll see below.

We went into the day without a specific plan – just wandering around has given us some of our favorite moments of the trip. We decided to head to the Gardens by the Bay first as we’d get a good view of the city on the way. We walked about a mile (even though it felt a lot longer in the heat!) and saw the Singapore flyer on the way.

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Even though we could see it from our AirBnB’s porch, seeing the Gardens by the Bay up close was incredible! It looks like something that’d be in the next Jurassic World movie.

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Beautiful, right? But remember, it was HOT outside! This will be a recurring theme throughout the day. I really did enjoy Singapore, but I will always remember it for its intense heat. Especially with Landon being allergic to his own sweat… not the best combination! But finally we made it to the gardens.

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We weren’t sure if we wanted to spend the money to actually go inside the gardens, but then we found out that the structures are air conditioned to keep the temperatures down for the flora inside. The minute we heard that, we were sold! INSIDE FELT AMAZING!!! It was cool and breezy, with waterfalls everywhere. We were speechless and so glad we went inside.

There are two main garden structures that are air conditioned, but the first we went to was called the Cloud Forest. It simulates the vegetation you would find up in the tropical highlands up to 2,000 meters above sea level. It even has the highest indoor waterfall in the WORLD!

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Nine months later, I’m not sure exactly what Landon was pointing at. Probably something hilarious.

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While most of the vegetation was real, they had a small exhibit of venus fly traps… made out of LEGOS! It was so wonderfully weird and random. It inspired us to get our own venus fly trap one we got to Los Angeles. We also promptly killed it, so maybe we should stick with the Lego version.

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The garden had an elevator in the middle that would take you to the top, and then you could walk down the pathway at your leisure. The view from the top was incredible, especially since the walls are all clear glass.

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At the top we took some cute pictures because when are we not cute, right?

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Luckily neither of us are scared of heights!

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I’m somewhere in this next photo. WHERE’S WALDO?!

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And this is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. The spray from the waterfall felt soooooo good after escaping the heat outside. Kind of cool to see how the water comes out of the pipes at the top.

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And here’s Landon with the Marina Bay Sands hotel in the background. There’s some better photos of it later.

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The really cool thing about the Gardens by the Bay is how it is built in a completely eco-friendly way. Even the air conditioning is powered via energy from horticultural waste (I didn’t even know this was a thing?!?!) And the Supertrees (photos below) collect solar energy from the sun to power the entire place.

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Landon got eaten but he’s okay now, don’t worry.

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After leaving the Cloud Forest (which tbh was a very difficult decision because I cannot convey enough how amazing that air conditioning felt) we headed to the Marina Barrage next to the gardens. This is basically a big dam that’s used to provide water supply and flood control to the city. Also, even more importantly, it was a pit stop on The Amazing Race 16! The show has been to Singapore a few times, so naturally I went to all the pit stops I could find.

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Also we randomly came across a patch of a BAJILLION four leaf clovers. That’s got to be good luck for the last bit of the trip, right?

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So leaving Marina Barrage, we headed back to the Gardens by the Bay because we still had tickets for the other main garden and we wanted to see the Supertrees! Not only do these look insanely cool (and you can see them from across the city they’re so large) but they also conduct solar energy and help power the entire gardens. Really incredible!

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At this point we were dying of heat again, so we were psyched to get back into the air conditioned gardens. This garden was called the Flower Dome, and it basically held more flowers than you could imagine! There are different areas for different biomes and vegetation zones (our favorite of course being the Californian garden). It was a bit strange being halfway across the world and having your future home state being showcased.

The Flower Dome also had some fascinating decorations including some horses I know my grandma would love and some monkeys that I personally loved. They’re made out of wood and sticks, giving them a wild look.

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After we got some rest sitting in the Flower Dome enjoying the cool air, we decided to venture back out into the heat to explore the city some more. We came across the Helix Bridge, a now-famous double helix bridge that crosses the bay. It was built in 2010 and is already one of the most popular tourist attractions to see in the city.

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And then we came across the Marina Bay Sands hotel that we saw earlier from the top of the Cloud Forest. Also built in 2010, this is now the most famous building in the city. It’s MASSIVE, and the top of it looks like a boat is laying on top of the three towers. Who thinks of this stuff?! But I’m glad they do. There’s been multiple TV shows and films shot here. There was even a challenge on Amazing Race here where the contestants had to cross a tight rope hanging between two of those towers. WAY up there! Insane.

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Underneath the hotel is a huge mall. And as we all know by now, malls = air conditioning.

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It was also about time for lunch, so we walked across the whole place looking for a restaurant. That’s when we found Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant! Landon was so excited…

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…until we saw the price. Ummmmmmmmm, maybe if Singapore had Bali prices we could have afforded it, but nope! So we went to the food court instead, which actually really hit the spot. Landon was craving some Indian food (obviously Singapore has the best Indian food?!) and I had some Korean chicken (obviously Singapore has the best Korean food?!)

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On the side of my food were these FISH HEAD THINGS WITH EYEBALLS. I politely said “not today, Satan” and passed. The rest of the food was delicious though.

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When they talk about Singapore being ahead of the game on the technology game, I believe it! Even their malls had an incredibly intricate technological navigation system.

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We stayed in the mall for a few hours for the AC, and then ventured back into the city to check out a few more spots. I love cities built on the water (whether it’s natural or manmade) and that was one of my favorite things about Singapore. Come on, you can’t tell me that this isn’t beautiful!

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Thank goodness Landon puts up with my obsessions, because we went out of our way a bit to check out another Amazing Race pit stop location. This is the Fullerton Pavilion, a random floating pavilion in the middle of the city on the water. This was a pit stop in Amazing Race 25.

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And in that same Amazing Race episode there was a task to find a clue at one of the merlion statues in the city! We came across Merlion Park and had to take a few photos!

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This was me trying to take a selfie with the giant merlion statue behind me. I underestimated how giant my head is though.

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Take two:

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We then went in Suntec City mall (again to escape the heat, sensing a pattern?) and found a 7-11. THAT MEANS SLURPEES! It was exactly what we needed to cool down. As you can see, Landon was having an allergic reaction to sweat! Poor guy! But being inside certainly helped.

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Inside SunTec Mall is the Fountain of Wealth. I remember seeing this structure on TV way back on Amazing Race 3 (filmed in 2002!). For some reason this place always stuck with me, and it was beautiful in person!

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There are certain steps you have to take to get “good things from the fountain.” While I already had the best thing in my life (<3), we figured it couldn’t hurt to participate in the ritual. You have to make a silent wish and then walk around three times while touching the water.

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And this is the view of the Fountain from the street level:

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As I’m writing this I can’t help but realize that soon after returning from our honeymoon, we found out we won a sweepstakes grand prize. WAS THIS WHY WE WON?!?!?! THE FOUNTAIN OF WEALTH WORKS!!!!!

We went to another movie to end the night. Singapore has some fancy entryways into each theater (I guess to prevent people from sneaking in?!) I lost my ticket and almost couldn’t get back in from a bathroom break, but then I found it in my shoe. (Still have no idea how it got in my shoe or why I thought to check there? Singapore is a mystery)

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By the time the movie was over, we were STARVING. So naturally we walked an entire extra mile just to make it to POPEYE’S LOUISIANA KITCHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was a glorious meal. Louisianaaaaaaa faaaaaaast. It was just as good in Singapore as it is in America.

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And that was our day in Singapore! Overall, it’s a beautiful city (and country!) but the heat did make it hard to enjoy some parts. Still, the views of the city were worth it.

Tomorrow we head to Malaysia via bus. Hope it goes smoothly! (Spoiler alert: it does not).

Until next time (and hopefully it doesn’t take nine months),

L&L

Day 24 – Flight to Singapore

Okay, so I might have gotten a TAD bit behind on the blog. It’s time consuming! Between transferring the photos, re-sizing them and writing the text, it’s difficult to keep up while also enjoying your honeymoon. So for the last few days of our trip, we decided to forgo the blog and catch up later. So here we are!

Spoiler alert: We have survived the honeymoon! We’re home safe in Austin preparing for our cross-country move to Los Angeles. It’s a crazy busy time, but I want to catch up and let friends and family know how the end of our honeymoon went!

So where were we? Waking up in Sanur for our last morning in Bali. It was bittersweet as I truly enjoyed my time in Indonesia, but we were ready for a change of scenery as well. Bali was a relaxing paradise filled with beaches, pools and a whole lot of sunshine. Next up on the list? Singapore! We had a nice breakfast in the hotel before heading out to the Denpasar airport.


The flight was uneventful, a short 2-hour flyover. We had done some research on the best way to get from the airport to our AirBnB, and we decided the train was the easiest and the cheapest. One of the most difficult parts of traveling to so many cities is transportation to and from the airport as they sometimes add all sorts of airport taxes and fees. Nothing a little research can’t fix, and we got on the train to the city once we landed in Singapore.


The train station is a few hundred meters from the Golden Mile Complex, the building our AirBnB is located in, so we had a quick walk once we got off the train. My dad visited Singapore on a business trip a few months back and he warned us that the humidity and heat was ridiculous! Luckily, coming straight from Bali the weather wasn’t too different so we were prepared. When we finally got to the Golden Mile Complex, I was struck with how cool the building looked! Like a gold-accented cruise ship.


Plus, the AirBnB was on the 17th floor, so the view wasn’t bad either!


The apartment had a “modern, New York” theme, so we felt right at home. The only problem was we didn’t have air conditioning in our room. I didn’t think it’d be a big deal at first, but we weren’t prepared for actually sleeping in the Singapore heat. We also shared the bathroom with our host couple, so I was terrified of accidentally locking them out of their bathroom. I’m sure I probably did on accident, but they never said anything. So we’re good!


By the time we got settled in it was mid-afternoon, so we wanted something easy to do for the evening. We settled on walking to a mall and seeing a movie. This way we’d get to see some more of Singapore on our mile walk, but more importantly we’d get some air conditioning in the mall! The walk was interesting though, as we passed by a local park and got great views of the city.


Plus we found this awesome sketchy alleyway under a road. 


It was nice being in such a modern city since we just came from Bali. Bali was great, but I wouldn’t call it modern by any means. Seeing a highway was exciting at this point! I’ve also always heard how clean Singapore is. It definitely wasn’t a dirty city, but it didn’t overtly strike me how clean it was. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. I did sneak in some chewing gum which apparently is illegal? I chewed it anyways. Such a rebel.


We walked around the mall for a while basking in the glory of the air conditioning (which was 100% glorious) until we found a Thai restaurant in the mall. It wasn’t bad. They didn’t have any Diet Coke though. They had this nonsense:


Okay, it’s exactly the same thing. Interesting they call it Coke Light though!

Also at one point I got this photo of Landon which I’m obsessed with. I’m sure this was in response to me taking photo after photo of him. He’s such a trooper, even if he gives me looks like this!


The food was pretty good. Landon had some beef soup, and I had Pad Thai again. Not bad!


For the movie, we finally got to see Finding Dory! It would have been fun seeing it back in Sydney, but it was opening weekend and we couldn’t get tickets. The tickets came with a snack package. I think US theaters should do this too. I mean, WE GOT PRINGLES! And popcorn and water and such. But also pringles.


Finding Dory was perfect. That fish is dope.

The walk back home was beautiful as the city is even more beautiful at night. I’m really excited to explore the city tomorrow, as we have plans to go see some of the biggest sights. Funny enough, we can pretty much see all the sights from our apartment’s porch. 


Tomorrow we can actually go explore them though. Should be fun!

Until tomorrow,

– L&L

Day 23 – Sanur

Wait, we have to leave paradise today?! Nooooooo! Sidemen is literal perfection in every way imaginable, and we’re kinda bummed to be leaving so soon.

A lot of places were left too soon this trip, but that’s the goal Landon and I had. With our honeymoon we just wanted to get a quick snapshot of different places in Oceania/Asia. Now we know our favorite places so we know where to return for the rest of our lives! We’ll hopefully have many trips in the future, and so we can’t be too sad about leaving too soon.

We had breakfast before checkout, and this time we knew to order a few things each so we weren’t hungry 30 minutes later! It was delicious as always with an incredible view of the rice terraces. I’m going to miss this place!


The hotel in Sidemen is of course beautiful, so here are some more pictures of where we’ve been living for a few days!


We had arranged a driver to take us to our next city, and he showed up at noon as we were checking out. Perfect timing! Sanur is our last spot in Bali with easy access to the airport. 


It’s only about an hour drive from Sidemen, and our driver was pretty entertaining! He was obsessed with cars, so Landon and him really got to talking about different brands and prices compared in the two countries. I don’t know how people afford cars there since they’re even more expensive than in America! Lots of import taxes. And with how cheap it is to hire a car for the entire day, I don’t see the math adding up for them to make money. But I guess it works out somehow!


After an hour drive we pulled up to our hotel in Sanur. This beach village is on the other side of Kuta/Seminyak, so it’s a busy area with tourists. Still, it’s much quieter and more relaxed. It fit us very well 🙂


We laid down in bed for about an hour waiting for the A/C to kick in, and finally got cool enough to start exploring Sanur! We only have one night here so we really wanted to make the best of it. The streets look a lot like Seminyak, just with less people. Still a lot of people pressuring me to buy stuff though!


The beach was absolutely stunning! They have these huge pagodas you can sit on and enjoy the view. Fisherman were doing their thing out in the water, and the beaches were bustling with people walking around. There are a lot of private pools attached to hotels in this area that overlook the beach, so people watching was our sport of choice!


We found a beach bar to get some lunch and drinks, and everything was sooooo cheap (have I mentioned how I love Indonesia???) and still delicious. We each got a “large Bintang” which I believe cost less than $3 each. 


Also there were LOTS OF BEACH DOGS!!!!! It was a little sad because the dogs didn’t seem to be taken care of that well, but they made do and got lots of food scraps from tourists. They were so cute running around!


The cutest dogs are posted below though. Miss these crazies!! Proof Bentley is still alive and well.

After walking around in the Bali heat, the hotel’s pool was calling our name. Well, technically all we could hear was Taylor Swift cause the pool speakers blared like every single one of her hits in a row! Which I’m of course not complaining about, but it didn’t seem right swimming there listening to T Swift without the other Da Besties!

The pool was pretty nice though. By the time we got out there it was 5 PM and the sun had gone down behind the trees so we didn’t get much sunlight. But the pool was mostly empty, so no complaints. Not as good as Sidemen’s pool, but really nothing is as good as Sidemen’s pool!


It was our last night in Bali and I was REALLY craving pasta. Because you obviously go to Indonesia for the best pasta on earth! But I was tired of Indonesian food by this point, and Landon really wanted pizza. So we found a super nice Italian place and went ALL out! Salads, entrees, dessert, drinks. You name it we tried it. It was our last night in Bali with cheap prices so why not!


The restaurant had a pianist playing some absolute classics (Near, far, WHEREVERRRR YOU AREEEE!) which actually set the mood for a really nice meal. Great conversation with my favorite person! We also discussed not slouching and learning how to sit up straight properly (as I write this blog completely slouched over at an airport). Landon couldn’t stop laughing at my proper pose that I learned in my second grade play (WHERE I WAS THE STAR PRINCE PENGUIN!)


So yes, everything was on point.

On the walk home I saw a Swastika Restaurant, which we’ve actually been seeing swastikas EVERYWHERE in Bali. Apparently here they are a good symbol, much different from the symbol in Germany. We found that really interesting.


We went back to the hotel and relaxed watching a movie. It wasn’t the craziest day we’ve had, but it was a welcome relaxing day. I really have enjoyed visiting Sanur even if it’s just one day. If I came back to Bali, I’d probably focus my stay in Sanur and Sidemen, and only return to Ubud or Seminyak if I was with someone who hadn’t visited Bali before.

Tomorrow we’ve got a short flight to another country, so that should be exciting. For now, SLEEEP!

– L&L

Day 21 & 22 – Sidemen

I think we’re really starting to get the “hang” of Bali! At first it was a little bit of a culture shock (and temperature shock!) but we’re feeling comfortable here now. Navigating the streets and arranging transport seems like second nature. Now that we’re feeling more comfortable, I think we’re able to enjoy this beautiful country even more!

Ubud was an interesting place, but I’m excited for our next location – Sidemen. It’s a small village in the heart of Bali, and later on you’ll definitely see why I was so excited for it. To get to Sidemen, I contacted Kadek through email again and arranged a half-day transport around to a few locations. I was excited to finally meet Kadek and hear his Bali expertise seeing as he was sick a few days prior.

After checking out of the hotel we headed to the parking area and looked around for our car. A man was sitting in the shade and he started walking towards us. I was a little confused since this man didn’t look like Kadek’s picture on his website, but the man asked me “Luke Swee-nee?” I nodded and he introduced himself as Rah, our driver for the day. 

Apparently Kadek was chosen to be an “important person” in his village, and they had some sort of last minute need for his presence at the village. I’m not so sure Kadek is actually real since we’ve never seen him! But like Naya, Rah seemed perfectly nice and we set out to our first stop – the Elephant Cave.


The Elephant Cave, or Goa Gajah, is a temple and sanctuary built in the 9th century. Rah gave us a little lowdown on the place and told us we shouldn’t touch the statues but we were welcome to touch the water in the bath temple area. We nodded like we understood, but honestly had no idea what he was talking about since we hadn’t seen the place yet! It was a small walk from the parking area to the temple, and after we had donned our sarongs we were ready to go.


The area wasn’t huge, but it was a bit bigger than I thought. The actual “elephant cave” part was incredibly beautiful. I’ve seen pictures of this cave before, so actually going inside was an experience. It was pretty cramped inside and smelled from the incense burned, but it was very peaceful. I can see why it’s such a spiritual place to many.


The bath temple areas were also interesting, as they had big fish swimming around the small ponds. I bent down to touch the water, but definitely didn’t jump in!


Overall it was a gorgeous temple, but not a place we could really spend a ton of time so we moved on to our next activity. With this being my first time in Asia, I wanted to see the local wildlife up close and person. I forget the exact name of it, but next we went to an elephant sanctuary!

The sanctuary has rescued eight Asian elephants from the island of Sumatra where they were living horrible lives and getting poached for their ivory tusks. We met one of the elephant keepers Saan who reminded me of a horse jockey with his tiny frame! He hopped on the elephants head as we hopped on the seat attached to the elephants back and off we went!

Saan explained to us that the elephant was named Andrew (lol same) and was about 28 years old. They live around 80 years, similar to average human life, so these rescue elephants were relatively young. Out of the eight, five were males who Saan said like to fight over the females. Saan also told us that the stereotypes really are true – Andrew is terrified of small creatures like mice! I don’t know why but that cracks me up. 

The ride was a bit… bumpy, but that’s to be expected I guess! Reaching down to pet Andrew, you can feel the massive power that one mammal can possess (TWSS?) It’s overwhelming and incredibly cool! Sometimes Andrew would stop to play in the mud or blow air on his legs, which was fun to witness.

At the end of the ride, Andrew got to take a dip in the water which he absolutely LOVED! It’s hot out in Bali, so getting a bath has to feel amazing. He splashed around a bit and then went over to these three stumps where he flung us backwards as he sat down on them. I don’t know how they teach elephants to do tricks, but I guess they are very smart.

It was good to see how well they treated the elephants here, as I’ve heard some places can be cruel to how much they work the elephants for profit. These elephants got lots of breaks, and they seemed to be happy and enjoy their lives. Much better than being poached in Sumatra.

After our ride was over, Landon and I sat to watch other people have their rides. We sat in awe of these magnificent creatures. All I could think about is if “Zoo” happened and animals turned on us humans, we’d be in big trouble! We had a quick lunch at the elephant sanctuary before meeting Rah at the car and heading out.

In the car Rah told us about his village and what they like doing there. He asked about sports in America, and said that he plays a lot of ping pong. Apparently the Balinese government will buy ping pong tables for villages if they have enough people wanting to play. I think this is awesome! If anyone wants to run for president with a “free ping pong” platform, well my vote is up for grabs!

Our next stop was Pura Besakih, the largest temple in Bali. This place is MASSIVE and crawling with tourists and tour guides. On the way there, Rah warned us about people pretending the be tour guides as you walk into the complex and getting tourists to pay them ridiculous amounts of money. 

We thought we were well prepared, but I underestimated just how pushy these guys would be! They tried lying to us by saying we had to have a guide or we’d be kicked out, and tried to physically stop us from walking past their entry table. We called them out on their you-know-what and told him we knew he was lying to us. Eventually we were so annoyed with them that we paid them 50,000 rupees (a few dollars) just so they would go away. I figure they can use the money more than me, but I still felt uneasy about giving it to them.

Once we walked to the actual temple part there are legitimate tour guides to take you around the complex. Our guide was a middle aged man whose name escapes me, but he was nice. He was also obsessed with getting photos of EVERYTHING from EVERY ANGLE with EVERY POSE! There’s a lot of photos from this temple on this post, and this is just the tip of the iceberg on all the ones he instructed me to take!

There was actually a festival or ceremony going on at the temple while we were there, so we got to witness prayers being made. Since it’s the biggest temple in Bali, people come from all over to pray and worship. Our guide told us all about Hinduism and the different gods they pray to at the temple. It was beautiful seeing the ceremonies being held. Very spiritual place.

We also got to participate in a traditional ceremony, where I finally got to see what they use those offering flowers for that I’ve seen all over (and accidentally stepped on). 
The rest of the photos are some that our guide instructed us to take! Watch out Annie Leibovitz, you’ve got some photography competition. 

Our guide also made sure to point out the HUMONGOUS SPIDERS in the webs ten feet above our heads, and if you know Landon you know how he felt about that! The guide realized Landon wasn’t okay with the spider talk, so of course he egged Landon on by pointing out MORE of the spiders! Landon if you’re reading this, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN OKAY KEEP SCROLLING.

OKAY NOW YOU CAN STOP SCROLLING!
After the temple we headed to Sidemen, stopping off at a resort that has an incredible panoramic view of the rice terraces. This view was INCREDIBLE! We had a drink and enjoyed the picturesque landscape. The rice terraces are at the bottom, and we can also see part of Mount Agung disappearing into the clouds. Agung is the biggest mountain in Bali.


Our drive from the panoramic resort to Sidemen should have been about 20 minutes, but our driver got a bit lost and it lasted almost an hour! Not a big deal as we got to see more of the scenery. When we got to Sidemen, my jaw dropped. 

And take a look at our hotel room! Parts of the roof are purposefully opened up, and the bathroom is outside as well. Because of this we saw numerous lizards crawling around the walls, but mainly they kept to themselves. But the room was beautiful, the view was beautiful, everything was beautiful. I love Sidemen!

This is by far the most relaxing place we’ve been on the trip so far. There’s only 10 or so rooms at the whole hotel, so there aren’t very many people around. At night we could see SO many stars dotted up in the sky. And the hotel restaurant was outdoors too, so we got to eat our meals overlooking the rice fields. Granted, our first meal was at night so we couldn’t see much. But we knew what was out there!

I found out the Internet only connects to two devices per room after I connected both my phone and iPad before Landon connected either of his. It wouldn’t let him on the Internet! I felt so bad, but he said it was no big deal and we were going to sleep anyways. Love him!

The next morning we slept in until around 10 and went to breakfast at the hotel restaurant. For some reason we were the only ones there – maybe the other people ate earlier than us? They gave us a menu with a few items and we both chose the French Toast. The portions weren’t the biggest, and I was a little annoyed at first since I didn’t think this would hold me until dinner that night. They don’t serve lunch at the hotel, and Sidemen is kind of in the middle of nowhere. No restaurants around! So when food becomes an issue, I get nervous!

Later I found out we were supposed to order multiple items but I didn’t realize that til after we left breakfast! Oh well, we’d figure something out. We spent the next few hours relaxing at the pool and getting some sun. The infinity pool is obviously gorgeous, but I can’t really explain how relaxed it made me feel. This place is possibly the prettiest place I’ve been in my entire life. It’s quiet, relaxing and completely gorgeous. I’m definitely in love with Sidemen!

Around 2 PM my stomach started rumbling, and Landon and I decided to walk outside of the hotel’s grounds in search of food. Luckily we found that the village had lots of “warungs” which I assume means kind of like small cafes? These places are the definition of mom and pop restaurants. Well ours was only a mom restaurant, as Warung Ida had an older woman named Ida cooking for us!

We were the only ones in the restaurant besides her son who was doing some schoolwork at another table. We’ve gotten used to being the only ones in a restaurant as it seems to be pretty common in Bali. I don’t know how these restaurants stay in business, but I guess the economy is different there. I only took online economics in high school so what do I know!

The food was pretty traditional for Bali. I had pork satay, which was delicious. Over this whole honeymoon I’ve definitely experienced new foods that I haven’t tried before. Also I like tomatoes now? I know, I’m disappointed in myself too. But they kinda taste good now.

After a quick lunch, we went back to the hotel room and relaxed on the porch. I can’t believe how nice this hotel is for the price. I think it was about 40 bucks a night? Not bad at all! 


Dinner that night was in the restaurant. We splurged a little bit and had a few glasses of wine each. Mine was actually made in Bali, and it wasn’t half bad! And of course we had to get some ice cream to end the meal off with! 

Also one of my favorite things to do is take pictures of Landon while he’s eating or about to eat. His facial expressions are hilarious ❤

So that pretty much wraps up our time in Sidemen! This was possibly the most relaxing day of my life, in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. A lot of people love the classic tourist spots of Seminyak and Ubud, but I’d argue no trip to Bali would be complete without a few days in Sidemen. I only wish I had a few more!

– L&L

Day 20 – Ubud

In these quieter parts of Bali, relaxation is our main focus. We did the sight-seeing thing in Australia and New Zealand. Now it’s time to chill out, seeing as once our honeymoon is over the real work of a cross-country move begins! 

So yeah, relaxation is the main priority at the moment. Still, when in Ubud we had to check out a few of the shops around the hotel. It’s the culture district of Bali after all!

We slept in because relaxation. Well, “slept in” means 9 AM because no way am I missing breakfast! This hotel’s buffet is even bigger than the last with more fried rice and fried noodles of course. 


The best part of eating breakfast at the hotel is overlooking the entire complex. Since it’s right next to the Monkey Forest, packs of monkeys roam the hotel grounds! 


These are sneaky monkeys too. We saw one steal a lady’s pool cover up and a hotel employee with a stick had to chase the monkey to retrieve it. Tbh, kinda the lady’s fault for letting the monkey get it. These monkeys are SO cute but Landon wouldn’t let me try to pick one up. Apparently they’re mean. I think I could be the monkey whisperer though.


Today is also the year anniversary of my G-Dad’s passing, so I spent a lot of time today reflecting on his life. I love that man so much! It means the world to me that he got to meet Landon and enjoy spending time together. I know he’s still with us in spirit, but it’s nice to reflect on such a special person’s life. Love you G-Dad.

After breakfast we went back to the room to relax a bit before getting ready to explore Ubud a bit. We didn’t really have a plan of where to go, so our trip ended up being a bit shorter than expected due to the heat. Five minutes of walking and we were ready to pretty much die. But the views were gorgeous! Ubud is such an interesting place. Much quieter than Seminyak, but still bustling with daily life.


The sidewalks in Ubud, and Bali in general, are pretty poor for the most part. Sometimes they feel more like an obstacle course than a place to walk. And the obstacles were ever changing. Sometimes vehicles were parked right in your path.


Sometimes there’d just be too much stuff in your way.


And most of the time there wouldn’t be enough stuff in your way! Holes in the sidewalk are very common. Luckily we didn’t fall in yet, but we’ve still got a few more days in Bali so who knows what will happen!


Vehicles also use the sidewalk as a way to bypass traffic, so you really have to watch out and be aware of your surroundings when walking through Bali. They’re not afraid to get super close to other vehicles and humans for that matter.


When we made it back outside the hotel, we stopped back into the pizza restaurant for a beer to help cool us down. Well, we tried to lemon flavor of Bintang, and I’m not sure you can even count it as a beer at only 2% alcohol! But it did the trick of cooling us down.

We went back to the room to clean up a bit and got our swimsuits on to head to the pool! I think I posted a picture of the pool yesterday, so you can see how pretty the area was. Plus we had built-in entertainment with the monkey watching as they sidled up to the sides of the pool waiting to see if anyone had any food to steal.

We befriended a group of ladies from New York while at the pool who ended up being a group of teachers on a trip to teach some local children. They adored Landon and I when they found out we were on our honeymoon. We talked with them for a bit, but spent most of our time just enjoying the pool and the sun. 

After the pool we went back to the hotel room and CRASHED. I thought I’d take about a 15 minute nap for 2 or 3 hours later we woke up and the restaurant we were thinking of going to had already closed! Oh well, we walked around and found a different cafe which actually had some spot on spaghetti bolognese. Like one of the best meals I’ve had on the trip so far. Who needs Italy for Italian food when you have Bali?!


After our naps Landon started feeling a bit sick with an achy body and sore throat. We’ve done SO well avoiding sickness throughout this trip, so it was bound to hit at some point. Hopefully we can nurse him back to health so he can enjoy the rest of Bali!

Tomorrow we’re traveling even further into rural Bali, so expect some incredible landscapes and of course more relaxation!

– L&L

Day 19 – Drive to Ubud

Seminyak has been wonderful, but I’m ready to get away from the hustle and bustle and escape to quieter parts of Bali. Luckily our next couple of days are in Ubud, Bali’s art and culture capital. 

Ubud is around an hour north of Seminyak, but there are so many things we want to see that aren’t within walking distance of our hotels. Public transportation is non-existent in Bali, and you never know what you’re going to get when you hire a taxi. Instead, we elected to hire a private driver for the entire day to take us wherever we wanted to go! It might sound posh and expensive, but to hire a driver for the full day is only about $40, and that includes gas and parking as well. Bali prices are insane.

I found Kadek’s email on TripAdvisor and saw lots of reviews saying how good of a driver and tour guide he is, so I sent him an email a few days prior and hired him for the day. His company is “Off The Tourist Trail” and he specializes in avoiding crowds at big attractions by going during off-times and taking back roads around Bali. We were excited to get to know a local for the day!

We ate a quick breakfast from the buffet, packed up our belongings and headed to the front desk to checkout at 8:30 AM. Saying goodbye to the hotel was sad seeing as it’s such a beautiful place.


Kadek wanted to pick us up early so we could make it to our first destination before the crowds swarmed the area. When we got to the front desk, we were met by a man named Naya who explained that Kadek had gotten the flu! Naya is one of Kadek’s employees and was sent to be our driver instead. At first I was a little disappointed as I had read so many great things about Kadek, but Naya seemed perfectly nice and capable as well. We checked out, climbed into Naya’s air conditioned (very important) van and started our drive to Tanah Lot Temple about 30 minutes northwest of Seminyak.

Naya apologized to us for his bad English as we chatted along the way, but we were actually pretty impressed with his English speaking abilities. He could understand everything we were saying, and we could understand him as well. He wasn’t as talkative as Kadek seemed to be based off reviews so we didn’t get a lot of Bali history through the drive, but Naya told us as much as he could. By the end of the day, I’d definitely consider Naya a friend!

About 30 minutes later we pulled up to Tanah Lot, probably the most famous temple in all of Bali. It sits in the ocean on its own island almost, and is a very popular tourist spot. Naya dropped us off and we headed into the area, and even at 9 AM the place was still packed with people. I can see why though – the views are stunning.

There are other temples along different cliffs in the same area, and we first saw the Snake Temple. If anyone saw Amazing Race last season, this is where teams had to pick up giant snakes and carry them to Tanah Lot (which looks far away in the show but is actually pretty close). Luckily there were no snakes there for us, because I would have embarrassed myself in front of lots and lots of tourists!

From the Snake Temple you actually get a pretty good view of Tanah Lot, so we took some pictures before walking over ourselves.

While walking over to Tanah Lot, like we’ve experienced in all of Bali, there are people lining the streets trying to sell us souvenirs and drinks. They don’t stop! I guess the more people they ask, eventually they’ll get someone to say yes so it’s a good business plan. We didn’t stop and headed straight for the temple. I was worried at first about wearing a tank top, as I heard that you have to cover your shoulders while at a temple. Apparently not, as Naya assured me I would be fine. He was right, as tons of people were in tank tops at the temple. After fighting the crowds for a good spot, we took some pictures.

You can’t actually get into the temple because it’s surrounded by water (although we’re not sure if low tides allow access) but even being so close to it is breathtaking. This was one of the photos of Bali we had seen before booking the trip, and it’s one of the main reasons we chose it. It was just as beautiful as we had imagined!

Some of the temples had some interesting rules for the “Ladies” as well.

After leaving Tanah Lot, we talked with Naya and decided that river rafting in Ubud was next on our list. I love rafting, and experiencing the river in Bali seemed like too good of an opportunity to miss! 

The river runs through the bottom of a canyon, so after a quick car ride to the far end of the river, we had to hike down lots of stairs. After Australia, we are stair EXPERTS so it wasn’t a problem for us, but other people seemed to struggle a bit. At the bottom of the stairs were lots of groups of tourists waiting to get into their rafts. Looking around was an incredible view, as we were in the middle of the rainforest!

We shared a raft with a couple from Malaysia who were very nice but not much help when it came to paddling the raft. Luckily we had our guide Marco to help us, who turned out to be great at navigating the raft and hilarious as well. Some of my favorite memories from rafting were from the different guides talking to us as we passed their boats. They’d always ask us where we’re from and when we said USA, they’d have funny responses. One of the guides said he was from Balifornia.
The guides would try to scare tourists by telling them there were huge snakes coming up behind them, or slamming their paddles onto the water to make a huge “bang” sound. They also LOVED to splash water on the tourists as much as possible. So that was fun.

We didn’t have our camera out on the raft to take pictures cause ya know water and all. But just know it was very fun! The rapids weren’t too strong, but they always kept us moving along. Halfway through we stopped at a snack stand they had set up along the jungle river, and we had a few beers. We bought one for Marco to share with us as well! Also this is where we saw our first monkeys in Bali as a group of three or four tried stealing some of the snacks. But don’t worry, it definitely won’t be our last monkey sighting!

After finishing the rafting adventure, we had to hike back up some stairs to get to the road. Again, we’re stair experts so no problem, but our Malaysian friends were having a rough time with it. We slowed down so they could catch up and got some good views of a rice terrace and a cool chicken.

To end the trip they fed us lunch at their rafting headquarters (fried rice what else) and we sat watching the street and the people who would pass. Bali is a very interesting place, and it’s incredible experiencing such a different culture. It started out being major culture shock to me, but I think we’re finally settling in a bit.

We were pretty tired by this point so we told Naya we might just want to go to the hotel, but he convinced us to check out a few more nearby attractions. I’m glad he convinced us! First we went to the Luwak Coffee Plantation to see where they grow and make their special coffee. We were met by Dana, our plantation tour guide who had worked at the plantation for a year.

Luwak coffee is special because it includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defacated by the Asian palm civet. Yes, THESE CAT CREATURES EAT COFFEE AND POOP IT OUT AND THEN WE DRINK IT.

Dana promised that it’s well sterilized after they collect the poop, so that was reassuring I guess. He showed us the entire process of making the coffee, and even showed us where they grow vanilla, ginger and ginseng which they use in their coffees and teas. The first photo is a vanilla tree and the fourth is cacao aka chocolate!

The coolest part of the plantation was that Dana let us try samples all 12 of their teas and coffees. Their Luwak coffee cost a little extra, which of course we paid because when else will I get to drink cat poop. From someone who doesn’t like coffee much, the Luwak coffee wasn’t too bad! Also the teas and coffees in the sampler that we tried were incredible as well! Family, don’t be surprised if a few of you get a little sampling from this plantation when we get home!

After the plantation, Naya showed us the nearby art village. Ubud is the art and culture capital of Bali, and Naya told us that anyone who is talented at art lives here. That talent is then passed from generation to generation, so truly everyone who lives here is talented at some type of art form. Each village is known for a different type of art, and we visited the paintings village as well as the silver village.

The Balinese paintings were beautiful, and if I had any room in my suitcase (and money in my bank account) I would have taken one of them home with me! A guide followed us around the paintings house, which actually was a bit annoying since he was trying to sell us paintings. Which I guess is the whole point of the paintings house, but he was attached to our hips and was a little pushy. At one point Landon told him we didn’t have enough room on our walls for another painting, and he replied “Maybe you don’t have enough room in your head!” So sassy.

The silver village had some incredible silver work as well. Jewelry lined the cabinets, and lots of statues filled the cases along the walls. My favorite was a statue of a ship made entirely out of silver. It was pretty, but everything was way too expensive.


Our last stop before our hotel was a smaller temple that Naya wanted to show us. Since this temple was free, he came along with us to give us any history he knew. The temple was first built in 944, which I thought was pretty legit. We also got to wear these super cute sarongs which are semi-dress-like so Sarah Ross, you finally have another picture of me in a dress.


Even the statues had to wear sarongs!


After the temple we finally headed over to our hotel in Ubud. Our hotel is literally next door to the famous “Monkey Forest” which tomorrow you’ll see what that means. But it’s a beautiful area! There are two pools, and they gave us a welcome drink of pineapple juice right in the lobby. The wifi does completely suck though, just in case you’re vacationing in Ubud anytime soon. Be warned.


We walked a little bit outside of the hotel grounds to find dinner, and right outside is a pizza restaurant. It was pretty good.
I also decided that we NEEDED to get some laundry done, but paying the hotel to do our laundry is way too easy and makes too much sense. Instead, we tried a DIY method using our bathtub and then hung the clothes to dry anywhere we could find – off the shower head, the mirror, the door handles, etc.


Without wifi to keep us entertained, tonight we flipped on the television to see what Indonesia TV has in store for us. The only working channel the television had was HBO, which is ironic since it’s one of the few channels I don’t get in the States! We watched Interstellar and John Wick. People hate on Interstellar and I heartily disagree with them. People don’t hate on John Wick and I heartily disagree with them. This has been Movie Reviews with Luke!

We are exhausted so it’s time to get some rest. The next few days should we pretty relaxing, but we’ll see what happens!

– L&L

Day 17 & 18 – Seminyak, Bali

Only one thing can get me out of bed at 8 AM, and that one thing is FREE BREAKFAST! We were totally ready to go HAM on the breakfast buffet our first morning in Bali.

And I’m completely obsessed with this place. They eat fried rice FOR BREAKFAST! And bacon and eggs and all the normal stuff. But also fried rice. This is a situation sent straight from God to bless my little hungry heart.


 Breakfast is about twenty feet from our front door, right outside the pool. So we didn’t have to go too far for food. After eating and enjoying some juice and coffee, we went back to bed to relax as it started to sprinkle down rain. Nothing major, but we wanted to wait out the rain before getting started for the day. 

This is the view from the bed, where you can see how close the pool is. It’s so pretty!


Also there are CATS roaming the hotel, which makes me think Sarah Wilson would love it here. They meow outside our door trying to get in, but Landon wouldn’t let me let them inside!!! I just wanted to cuddle with them. They’re very cautiously interested in people, kind of like my parents’ dog Kramer. They want to know what you’re doing, but if you get close they run away. And they’re just as motivated by food as Kramer is!


We looked online for some fun stuff to do in Bali, but the main thing we wanted to do today is walk around and explore. So around noon, after the rain had subsided, we packed up a backpack and went walking down to Seminyak Square. There are lots of little towns in Bali, and the area we’re staying in currently is the most “touristy” and “busy” part. Later on we’re going to more secluded parts.


Seminyak Square is basically a little mall, and it took about 45 minutes to walk over to it. Crossing streets is terrifying, but I have survived so far. Some places there aren’t sidewalks, or the sidewalks are too small to walk in. We were drenched in sweat by the time we got to the square, and we had to find a place to get a drink. Luckily we stumbled across a coffee place that had all sorts of cold drinks!


The best part of this place was that they gave you cold towels to wipe your hands and face with! Complimentary! Food and drink in Bali is SO cheap that we almost feel bad about it. It’s crazy. I’m certainly not complaining though!


Also random, but they spell taxi funny here.


So we made plans for something at 2 PM, and we had another hour to kill beforehand so we went to the mall to just sit and relax in air conditioning. It was SO humid outside that we retreated to the mall to survive!


If you are a follower of Devon’s Twitter (shoutout to @devonrmiller) you might know what happened next. I will let this text conversation tell the story.


Anyways, after this we walked a few blocks to our next activity. On the way a huge flying bug tried attacking me and landed in my bag, but Landon saved me ❤ He gets the flying bugs and I get the spiders. That’s the main pillar of our relationship and tbh I think it’s stronger than anything else I could think of.


At 2 PM we went to Totem Room Escape! We’ve done a room escape challenge once before in New York with three of Da Besties, but this one we tackled by ourselves. Also out of their four rooms we picked their hardest one because we are dumb. This challenge was HARD!


So long story short, after crawling through air vents and Landon literally falling through a trap door (this place was legit) we got caught outside of the laser room (told you it was legit) and didn’t escape the room in time. I know, major blow to our 1-0 room escape record. But this thing was so hard it was nearly impossible! It was so much fun though. If you don’t know what a room escape challenge is, well google it! 


After losing our challenge, we went to find the beach! It’s Bali so you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard to find the beach, but it was surprisingly harder than we thought. We ended up on some private beaches for a long while, and it took a lot of walking to end up on the public Double 6 Beach. I tried to take a selfie and it took way too many tries to get a good one.


It was a cool beach, but a little bit crowded. We didn’t have our beach stuff with us, but we walked in the water a little bit and planned to come back tomorrow.


On our way back to the hotel, some ladies said hello to us and shoved a pizza in our face. While I’m not one to complain about pizza being shoved in my face, it was a little off putting but we were hungry so we sat down at their restaurant to have a pizza. It was good. They also had delicious cider which tasted so good on such a hot day!


THEN WE SAW SOME CUTE DOGS.


We took a dip in the pool to cool down once we got home, and spent the rest of the night relaxing and surfing the Internet. Very exciting stuff. I also did Landon’s hair during this time, and I personally think it’s a great hairstyle choice.


Now the next morning I attacked some free breakfast and then went back inside to relax. I finished relaxing at around 1 PM. Then Landon and I headed out for the beach!

We’ve noticed that people in Bali are SO friendly! People yell out “Hello!” to you from across the street even! We eventually realized they’re just trying to get our attention so they can sell us things. Our Texas upbringings have taught us to respond when someone says hello to you, but you can’t do that here. A cab driver nodded to Landon once and he naturally nodded back, so the cabbie drove over to us thinking Landon wanted a ride! It’s an interesting culture that’s for sure.

When we got to the beach we walked around trying to decide where to get lunch. We were BOMBARDED by at least 15-20 different people trying to sell us scuba lessons or who knows what else. It was insane.

We finally found a beach bar/restaurant that served some cheap burgers and sandwiches, but it worked for us. We ordered a few chicken sandwiches and took a seat at one of their beach tables. This was a perfect people watching vantage point! Landon’s face in the first photo is hilarious. He saw a bug bite on my arm and was inspecting!


The food came out and wasn’t too bad. We also tried our first Bintang, the beer of Bali. They’re super cheap (25k Indonesian Rupees so less than $2) and they’re surprisingly really good! I’m not a huge beer drinker but I loved the Bintang! I also had a Smirnoff Ice but shhhh Bintang is good.


The most notable part of sitting at the beach is the ridiculous amount of vendors walking around trying to sell you different items. If you wanted to buy anything from sunglasses to bracelets to cotton candy to even TASERS, there was someone wanting to sell it to you. And sell it very forcefully! This lady came up to Landon right when we sat down trying to sell him bracelets, and when we said no she just sat down at our table with us and stared into space.


There was another tourist lady in this lame hat that was VERY rude to the Bali restaurant workers who she thought were taking too long. So I figured I would take the gaining popularity of my viral hit blog to CALL HER OUT so here she is from behind. Shame her if you happen to see her.


Also here is an Indonesian woman trying to sell rude lady some wooden penises.


For some reason wooden penises are a huge thing here. Don’t ask me why.


A lot of the salespeople are actually children, and you can watch their moms in the background sending their children off with bracelets and necklaces trying to sell them. One girl surprised Landon from the side, and given his martial arts training he said he almost punched her in the face! That would have been pretty bad. Don’t know how we’d explain that one to the Indonesian police!

One really cute little girl came over and put her elbow on Landon’s knee (less aggressively than the last girl!), leaned over next to him and whipped these bracelets right in his face! It was so hilarious and cute so we had to buy from her. Her mom rushed over and started naming out random prices. We could tell she definitely was making them up as she went, and we were happy to play along because prices were so cheap compared to the US. We bought a bundle from her for about $7.50, and Landon said that would probably feed her family for a few days! We couldn’t help but get a photo with the adorable little girl too.


After taking the photo she gave us high fives and rushed off with her mother. We went back to people watching and drinking our Bintang, and before we knew it we were four beers in. All of our food and eight beers came out to less than $20! I love Bali.

We walked on the beach a bit more, and then headed back for the day. It was a much nicer day than yesterday, and since there was less rain there was slightly less humidity. Still humid, but less is good!


This is the intersection I almost died at three times. But don’t worry Mom, I’m totally exaggerating about this. (TOTALLY EXAGGERATING MOM)


These are the religious offerings that people put outside on the sidewalks outside their homes and work. Most of Indonesia is Muslim, but Bali is actually mostly Hindu. These offerings are EVERYWHERE in the streets. And yes, if you follow Devon on Twitter (promo @devonrmiller, tweets are hilarious I promise) you’ll know that I did indeed step on one of the offerings. THEY’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK I’M SORRY HINDU GODS! It was an accident, and I saw plenty of offerings that had been walked on or ran over.


We had another dip in the cool to end the day, just chatting and laughing the time away. Landon tried to teach me to swim better, but I’m a lost cause. I think I swim just fine though. I really enjoy this time just talking with Landon. We’re of course invested in our upcoming move, so we’ve been talking through everything that comes with that. It’s overwhelming, but lots of fun when you have someone by your side!

We ordered room service and watched Landon’s favorite tv show The Fosters on my iPad. I found it online and Landon’s finally gotten me into the show too. It’s pretty good.

And then the rest of the night was spent writing this blog. I’m finally caught up! Until tomorrow, which will see us travel to our next city with lots of stops along the way. Should be a fun-filled day! 

– L&L