So its been months since I’ve last updated this blog, but I there are a few loose ends I’d just like to tie up before abandoning Kelly & Mike’s Trip.

Firstly,  we have to give props to a local artist we found in Bali and who cut us a deal on a painting.  We wanted to buy something there that we would always have, and remind us of our journey together.  One day while exploring the town center, we stumbled upon a small art gallery on East Monkey Forest Rd (very near the entrance to the Monkey Forest – duh!).  In exchange for the deal we told them we would put them on the Internet….so…here they are!  The artist is named Dodik Sarta and he and his brother paint, while Dodik’s wife sells the work in their shop.  They were lovely people and very excited that we had gotten married just hours before.  So, if you’re ever in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, be sure to patronize this great shop.

Secondly, we really need to thank Sonny in Sapa, Vietnam.  Sonny was the shop owner we purchased our warm hiking clothes from our first day in Sapa (who knew it would be so freaking cold?!)  Sonny loved Canadians, mostly because we were so “awesome”, and because he had a Canadian guy help him make his store sign, so it would have proper grammar.  This guy was truly a generous soul, and could literally procure anything your heart desired.

One evening, we ran into him around town, and he took us to his friend’s house where we drank beers and sang karaoke with their family.  No one but Sonny spoke any English, but it was still one of the most memorable experiences we had the whole trip.  I’m not sure where they got their karaoke set from, but among the songs you could choose from was “O Canada”!  Of course, I had to sing that one!
So if you’re ever in Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam, be sure to visit our man Sonny across from the Cat Cat Hotel.  Tell him we said hello!

So by the time I’ve gotten around to writing this, its pretty much old news. Well, 21 days old by my Facebook counter anyway. Getting married this way was definitely a good idea. So relaxed, so laid back, and so….us. I guess neither of us could imagine having a huge wedding with all the bells and whistles, and years of planning and budgeting, not to mention the insane stress-factor. This could not have been any LESS stressful. We started the day with a long hike, then just relaxed for the afternoon, got cleaned up, and got hitched! We just wanted the day to be about us, and about our love for each other, and avoid all the other drama and pitfalls that can so easily happen. So it was a pretty fabulous day. And even though it rained (HARD), it was still perfect.

Since we were in Bali for a few days to get married and have a mini-honeymoon, we decided to go all out. We stayed at The Four Seasons Sayan. Located in the central part of the island, which is the cultural centre of Bali, as well as its agricultrual heartland. Mostly jungle, there are also many rice paddies surrounding the village. Its amazing. The entrance to the hotel is enough to blow your mind. To get into the main building you must cross a walkway that is placed high above a jungle valley. The views are spectacular.

The building has a very modern design which blends into the landscape. For the first two nights we stayed in a suite. Each suite has 2 levels, and 2 patios overlooking the Ayung River. The last 3 nights we had a villa with a private plunge pool overlooking the valley. It was fabulous! And peaceful…at least for the first night. Our visit happened to coincide with a local Hindu Festival. Which is cool, except it meant that from sundown to sunup, for two nights, we had to listen to the most bizzarre stuff being blasted on loudspeakers across the village. Traditional Hindu music is okay with me, but the creepy laughtracks were…creepy, and the whistling was really insane. I couldn’t wait to go home and get a good night’s sleep!
The most impressive thing about the hotel was the level of service. Everyone knows your name! For the first two days I was Miss O’Mara. And by 5pm the third day I was Mrs. Hurren. People we hadn’t even interacted with knew us on sight! It was incredible! I even asked the manager if there was a photo of us behind the desk that the staff had to study! He laughed, and said it was Balinese culture…they are just really great with faces.

On our last day we checked out and went to the Hotel’s Jimbaran location, which was conveniently closer to the airport to kill time. There we sat on the beach all day, soaked in the sun and generally relaxed. They even provide showers for us before flying out. While we loved Jimbaran, we preferred the Sayan location…it had a much more chill vibe that I loved. And the nibblies at the bar were better in Sayan!

We flew to Bali on ValuAir. It was such a value that they didn’t even have printers! Our boarding passes were HAND WRITTEN. That has GOT to be some kind of security violation! Our luggage tags…also hand written. Our flight cost: all in for both of us, $666.00. That has got to be unlucky.

But we arrived n Bali safe and sound a couple of hours later. And so did our bags.

It was about an hour drive to our hotel from the airport, and the infrastructure in the country is less than perfect. Tons of motorbikes, no lights, no barriers, nothing. Bare bones. We asked our driver if there are a lot of accidents, and he replies, “Oh yes, there are more people killed on the road every year than in the Bali bombings of 2002! Haha!”. Uh yah. Great stat. Thanks.

We arrived at our hotel about 11 pm. It was quite dark so we couldn’t see much, but we didn’t fail to notice the INTENSE security to get into the resort. We were stopped, searched by a bomb dog, examined with those mirrors on a stick, and questioned. Felt quite safe. NOT!

But it was all done with the friendliest smiles and saluations, so I guess that’s okay. At least they didn’t check our bags. That was likely due to our innocent appearance. Being born white pays off again!

So, I guess I’ve been a bit negligent in mentioning that Mikey and I are getting married! I assume if you read our blog, you probably know us well enough that this is old news. I had wanted to keep this blog to travel and travel-related observations, but I guess since we are getting married in Bali…it counts!
The process of getting our legal documentation together has been less than easy. The completely unhelpful and sometimes flat-out rude Canadian Consulate staff, the language barriers between us and our Indonesian wedding planner, and the geographical issues have made it altogether more difficult that I could imagine. Part of the process has been to supply 8 photographs of us together to send to the Indonesian government. We finally got around doing it today. Here is the result of our efforts! Our first family portrait:

The guy airbrushed it and everything! He made our teeth whiter, skin clearer, my neck thinner… Oh wait…No…Wait…I mean….we naturally look this good!!! I swear!!! But really, it makes me appreciate the magic of modern technology. Wow!