A Travellerspoint blog

Ubud....... street scenes and a nite for the performing arts

A "free" day for some window shopping and lazing around so here are some street photos and a few comments >

.....peeked into this compound and coudn't resist the Ganesh:

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.....around the monket forest area a sign you don't find everywhere:

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......there is a mix of boutiques featuring mostly high end women's fashion, international labels, higher end art and silver jewery and of course lower priced general merchandise, a somewhat eclectic mix. The higher end shops are fixed price and for the rest ...try your luck !!!:

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...we also saw two shops which try to foster traditional weaving and dyeiing methods by Indonesian artisans...not cheap, fixed price but some very nice items:

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....everywhere you see (mostly but not exclusively) women making offerings in spots where they feel the deities need nourishment:

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...for you bikers out there: check out this one on the internet

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...and for Cuba bound tourists a little preview:

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if you fancy a cold refreshment you can't go wrong with this ice cream parlor:

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For lunch we found an out of the way warung (in the interest of full disclosure, it was written about on tripadvisor) > a tiny place with a smiling/happy chef owner > basic local fare ...with 2 soft drinks the bill came to 6.50 Cad

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.... the Ubud Art Market has a good produce (organic once or twice per week) market mostly for locals and a lot of stalls selling tourist items: clothes, handicrafts etc. >> a hagglers paradise > " meester what is your best price" "no so low...my children need to eat" or just overpay !

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Tonite is our date night..

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.....an early supper at Warung Melting Pot as we have no reservations........2nd time just as good as first > went for curry with coconut milk asked for medium spicy and got MEDIUM ....cold Bintangs not an option !! Thank god they feature:

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This place is only a few minutes away from Ubud Palace and we went early to score some good seats for the performance of the Legong of Mahabharata > the story of two branches of a royal family struggling for the throne of Hastinapura. An action story, very dramatic with precise hand and foot movements and intense facial expressions. Got there super early armed with bug spray and water > it is staged outdoors in a courtyard of the palace. Price for all tickets is 100m Rp or Cad 10 each. Perfect seats in the first row on the side but you can also sit on the ground around the stage which is actually at ground level.Need not have bothered with the water as beer, water, soft drinks were readily available, A full house and at 19:30 the kempul gonged and the 1.5 hour (no intermission) show started. Hard to do it justice with pictures, but following are some snaps ....the show was great, with a light breeze and stars overhead and no mossies:

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A nice walk back with no rain and the end of an excellent evening.........tomorrow a new adventure !

Posted by marcofisher 05:11 Comments (1)

Ubud........temples and palaces

Nice morning .....our adventure begins at 8:30 as we depart with Made our "driver for the day" to visit various temples and palaces within a reasonable driving radius of Ubud. First stop enroute are the Rice Terrasses near the village of Teggagalong.....after paying our entry fee (basically a tax grab by the community), we stop, take a few pics and drive on. As it turns out we will actualy see nicer ones later in the day.

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We slowly leave behind the lowlands as we climb towards Kintamani where we will be able to get a look at the Mt. Batur Volcano (1717 m high) as well as Lake Batur. The initial drive from Ubud is virtually one continuos strip of shops .....with the change of altitude farming switches from rice to tangerene groves, coffee plantations and vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots etc. as the temperature is cooler (a relative term) allowing for better growing conditions. Kintanami is oriented to the tourist and trekking trade with the usual restos, souvenir hawkers etc. We have decided to defer our plan to hike up the volcano until later in the trip when feet and other minor ailments will hopefully disappear and we can be our regular out of shape selves. Being on site and looking at what will need to be accomplished we see it is a slog .......so no point making it overly painfull.

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Below a pic of Lake Batur:

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The next stop is the Pura Kehen (Kehen Temple) built in the 11th century and located near the town of Bangli, it is the largest temple in east Bali attracting relatively few visitors, as this is considered a "lesser" temple i.e. not on the must see list.

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In fact it is set nicely on a hillside and is a downsized version of the Pura Besakih "the mother temple". Although a "must see" we decided to take a pass as we have been told that between the hawkers, "guides" and others trying to separate you from your money, it is a bummer. We have no problem with entry and parking charges but undue harrassment makes not for a pleasant experience.

When visiting temples there are certain protocols one being to wear a sarong and sash when you enter the temple grounds, among other ground rules. As part of the entry fee you "rent" a sarong and the attendants "dress" us ensuring that the sarongs are tied correctly.

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Suiitably attired we mount 38 steps to the courtyard which features 8 terraces with 43 shrines (no we did not count them) for the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with a wonderful setting under a massive banyan tree.....

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Made drives us to the town of Penglipuron which is a "traditional" village meaning the architecture and the way of life is preserved and the 743 inhabitants continue their daily agro oriented activities. Of course it is also tourist oriented as virtually each house/compound is selling something:

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Annie purchases the evil looking green drink (betel leave extract + chunks of coconut)...apparently good for the system....hmm but it allowed us to visit the compound:

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It is a quid pro quo as you get to go in and take a tour right down to checking out their kitchen...all you chefs out there propane cookers are the way to go!!

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Prized fighting cocks are in the baskets and tumeric is drying in the shed:

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As we wandered around the town site a group of students approached the write requesting an interview (I guess I looked suitably senatorial..haha). Their teacher gave them an assignement to conduct an interview and film it.....another fun experience, I do love to expound!!

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Back in the car we are off to visit Tirta Empul (Water of the Ganges) > it was built in 1948 by the water loving Rajah of Amlapurra.........

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........it is a multi level aquatic fantasy with 2 swimming pools and whimsical water features filled with koi and lotus blossoms.

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This was a fun visit with a procession, bathers and ceremonies:

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Gunung Kawi is located about 18 kms north east of Ubud and dates back to the 11th century. It consists of 10 shrines, 8 meters high cut into a sheer rock face. The monument sits at the bottom of the lush Pakersian Valley, itself bisected by a river and requiring a descent of some 270 steps or roughly 20 storeys, albeit with a few level areas which provide for some intense views of terraced rice fields:

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........as you reach the bottom of the valley, there is an urn with "holy water" and switch with which to sprinkle the 'holy water" on your head and cleanse oneself before entering:

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After reaching the river you cross a small bridge and voila you are there:

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Oh yeah.....you need to come back up.....we were sweating on the way down but now it feels like we are just melting....needed to top up the radiators half way up.....

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>>>>> but it was well worth it. We think it was the most interesting site so far !!!

The last stop of the day is the Goa Gajah or more commonly known as the Elephant Cave. It dates back to the 9th century and consists of rock wall carvings, fountains and bathing pools:

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It has been a great day with a lot of ground covered but we are sweaty, tired and hungry.....Made drops at the hotel and we head of for a well deserved swim and shower. We hem and haw about going out but in the end decide to go to the well Tripadvisor rated Laba Laba Warung, about a 12 minute walk.

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.......another great meal and under threatening skies we stroll back ....unfortunately instead of strolling we should have marched in quick order.....200 meters from the Tebesaya Cottage our luck runs and the heavens open up with a torrential downpour. We huddle under the eave of an electric parts shop and the owner even offers us stools to wait out the rain....but there seems to be no end, so with a friendly wave and a stiff upper lip, we set off, by the time we get to the bridge the water is half way to our knees. As we get our key they offer us an umbrella, which we gently decline, as we are far past the point of umbrellas....a dram of duty free scotch and the day is done....sorry no pics of this performance.

Posted by marcofisher 17:17 Comments (3)

Ubud........one museum day and one ricefield day

Lovely morning and excellent breakfast > many choices and quite filling btw Balinese coffee (locally grown) is quite good, so no suffering in that regard.

After consulting the map we are off for a cultural morning excursion to visit the Agung Rai Museum of Art, otherwise known as ARMA .

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It is an interesting concept, striving to find a balance between man andd environment. The museum is dedicated to the presevation of Balinese as well as Indonesian art, and the encouagement of Balinese artisits through a learning cente. It also includes a wellness center and a resort. There is an ARMA Fundation made up of Indonesian and foreign donors helping to finance the cultural endeavour with the resort serving as a further cash generator in this regard.

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The grounds are really more of a botanical garden and we spent time not only looking at the artwork and artists at work;

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....but also strolling and enjoying the gardens:

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...and peeked in at some of the villa locations:

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The price of the entry ticket incuded an inviation to have a tea or coffee in one of their restaurants........which we enjoyed at the end of our visit. We then had a bonus as the owner Agung Rai approached us, asking how we were, where we were from etc. and spoke a bit to us about his goals and aspirations for the museum et al. Below is a pic of Agung Rai discussing a promising artist'd (so he said) painting:

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He invited us to enjoy the grounds and suggested a "shortcut" to return to Tebesaya Cottage by way of a path accross the nearby rice paddies.....

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School's out for the morning...

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.....and the kids race off many on their Scoopy's (Honda) and available for 20 million Rp or 2000 Cad > financing available with 30% down...in these parts there are no school buses, so either mom or dad deliver/pick-up or you have your own wheels:

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By the time we got back we opted for pooltime rather than lunchtime....

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...then an early dinner at the Warung Melting Pot where we chatted with the owner a French woman from Reunion and her husband from Laos who was the chef. A superb fusion of Laotian, Balinese flavours overlaid with a touch of French panache.

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Our best meal of the trip > with a couple of beers we walked away roughly 13Cad poorer. The world of Tripadvisor sure makes things less chancy !!! Suffice to say the place was packed and without a reservation you are out of luck !! Sauntered back with a happy, happy feeling and called it a night.

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October 28th.....time is flying...another sunny morning, another excellent breakfast this time opting for yummy pineapple pancakes, fruit salad with yoghurt and strong balinese coffee.....a good base for some hiking. A short negotiation for a taxi and we are soon near the Gunang Lebah Temple . nice setting .......

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...and the start of the Campuhan Ridge Walk.....

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...a quite cool walk but the heat is on and we are glad we have our hats and water. Soon the path rises and we are on the ridge affording some nice views:

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The only way to enjoy things here is to do them slowly....so after a while we declare a reinvigoration stop at a trailside warung which also had cottages:

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Feeling refreshed we continue on and complete the out and back of the Campuhan Ridge Trail.

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Back in town still relatively frisky, we decide to do another walk through the nearby ricefields:

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with the objective being the locally highly regarded Sari Organic Restaurant .....

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no this is not a foodie excursion but a serious walk haha..... A really nice lunch in a chill atmosphere and although my toes are not completely in agreement, we decide to complete the loop...another 4 kms. At the warung a French couple with a rambunctious toddler were relieved of their burden by a waiter for at least 20 minutes, giving the couple some relief to finish their lunch. Everywhere we go we see the smiles ansd positive attitude of the Balinese....be they young or old.....even when you say no to a hawker they will generally smile back at you!!

Lots of llittle homestays and villas where you can stay although a bit out of town.....definatley scooter country:

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as well there are many retreat Centers and Yoga facilities...Kat there is a place for you here:

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...no shortage of ricefields and you can certainly see the engineering skills these folks have developed to circulate the water through the fields:

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...everywhere you go you can see the interplay between the people and their gods particularly the offers o the various entities by both young and the old:

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well all good things come to an end and we are back at Tebesay Cottage we are bit pooped...... thank god forr A/C and ice cold Radlers > for the uninitiated this is beer infused with either lemon or grapefruit juice ...mighty refreshing in this super hot & humid climate. Something that should be introduced in Florida...distributor rights for Bintang Radler in Fla...???

Starting to feel the hunger we set off and Annie suffers a missfortune slipping and falling on some loose gravel near a construction...some loss of dignity and some knee pain. But we do find a French creperie and enjoy crepes and beers in a jungle garden setting .....short chat with the young French owner who has been here for 4 years and is loving it, and it is time to call it a day.

By the way thanks for the comments and if you have any suggestions as to content etc. ....bigger pics whatever, give us a shout!!

Posted by marcofisher 02:01 Comments (0)

Ubud the Cultural Heart of Bali

Up and at em.....final views across the strait:

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Breakfast at 7:30, settle up > for those interested our daily accomodations here with a decent breakfast came to CAD 68.00 per nite. Our transport arrives precisely on schedule at 8:00 dropping us at Mushroom Beach

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... for return by fastboat > the return boat ride includes pick-up/drop off to your hotel within a certain range of the departure point as well as luggage on and off load...a user friendly good package........ the Dreambeach Express is good to go at 9:00 on the nose...the organization/execution has been stellar to date.

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Btw for those who like boats with serious horsepower this one should fill the bill....six of them....

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Ony 10 souls on board and with flat seas we fly across the strait ...this time only mild Indonesian tunes. By 9:30 the driver awaits on shore, luggage into the car and we are off towards Ubud. This is a young man of few words and with only minor delays around Denpassar, we arrive at the Tebesaya Cottages around 11:00, well before the check-in time. As we enter the compound we are first greeted by a statue of Ganesha "the remover of obstacles":

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.....then by uniformed staff with the traditional Balinese greeting (hands clasped as if in prayer with the fingers pointed and a small body inclination) and a welcome drink of cinnamon infused tea, but being early we will need to wait for room to be prepped.

No worries, we head off for the Sacred Monkey Forest about 25 minutes from Tebesaya Cottages, Annie gets the tickets (80m Rp =8 Cad)

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.......and the monkeying around starts.....there are about 600 of these varmints and they seemed to be happy to put on a show.

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As well as dozens of statues of monkeys and other jungle creatures...

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There is a stand selling bannanas....so if you want a monkey on your head and have a banana to offer, they will oblige. Sometimes they will even jump on you free of charge...yours truly had one clinging to my backpack ....so I had to buck him off. It was a fun visit.

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Although touristy, it is an actual forest with a river cutting through it. ...

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and a water temple in the middle ...so much more than a monkey feeding site:

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On the way back we take a "shortcut" and follow what are in effect laneways, our intuitive sense of direction utterly fails us and obviously we get lost in no time. Eventually we see several guys bbqing satays on the floor of a carport beside a highly decorated doorway...after asking us where are from etc, they tell us we can go inside the compound and look around. As it turns out, a wedding ceremony has just ended and the groom meets us > he is elaborately costumed and made up as is his wife who in fact looks quite incredible ....lke a prince and princess of yore. After a short discussion about where we are from, how we like Bali etc, and they invite us to sit down but we thank them kindly, take some pics (couldn't bring ourselves to ask them to pose) and disappear with lots of smiles and bows all around. It seems each day we are bumping into some neat happenings....great fun!!

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.....back on track, we stop for a light lunch before settling into our new digs for a short siesta.

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Out into the din of Ubud's main drags with diesel fumes assaulting us as bemos and scooters buzz like so many flies...yours truly is paining a bit with blisters on both little toes....never mind ...sites to see and dinner to eat, so must soldier on. We get to the Ubud Palace > the historical site of the royal family of Ubud (partially open to the public) and the site of nightly dance performances:

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and also the Ubud Market....not so impressive but it is late in the day for them and for us. We will give it another crack in the next few
days. Time to find a dinner spot and we finally settle on the Cafe Angsa:

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> decent food and a table beside a rice paddy ....not a bad way to finish this day.

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Posted by marcofisher 09:30 Comments (1)

Island Walkabout.........the last day

Surprise ...another good day, apparently this is the best month of the year on Nusa Lembognan: still good weather but a lot fewer tourists. Waking up here is kind of special with the cockerels in the background and chirps & whistles of the birds in foreground, overlaying this symphony are cymbals and incantations flowing up thill from the temple in the village below us......very zen! BTW the island is 100% Hindu and we found everyone calm and smiley...

As we walk to breakfast, the smell of incense accompanies from the offerings placed by the owner in homage to their deities. Breakfast on the patio/deck:

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...... and then we are off to the town below us. As we walk along we come upon a gas station (smoking while filling permitted):

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......carrying on we reach the promenade, but this time walking west ....this is a much more upscale version and there are some really nice villa compounds working their way up the steep slopes as well as restos along the shore.....

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...and several hundred meters offshore another floating playground:

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The objective is to checkout the little beaches tucked in between the rocky foreshore, where the promenade ends we are forced to hike through some trails in the forest until, we meet the next beach....quite a pleasant jaunt:

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After arrriving at Tamarind Beach we are met by an old man who welcomes us to Bali, questionning us as to where we came from, where we are staying etc. On learning we are staying at Bukit Taman. he is quite excited as he says that this is family ...finally with many tooth gapped smiles he lets us go on. Ketut later confirmed this was possible as the land has been owned for many generations by her family and it is a large clan. Time for a break we sit on a deck overlooking the water having a capuccino and banana milkshake.

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A boat anchors just off the beach and the offloading begins, these guys are bringing just about everything you need for an extended stay > the waiter tells us they will be building some villas next door to this resto:

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and, if anyone doubts a scooter is an all terrain vehicle ...check this out:

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Retracing our steps we stop for lunch at The Deck...not surprisingly overlooking the ocean and playing Jamaican tunes......Bob Marley is still king on this island > A+.... this resto would not be out of place in North Van with the food quality & service pretty darn high albeit at a higher price > 2 wraps and two beers = 300Rp = 30 Cad.

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We hustle back up the hill and relax poolside for the rest of the afternoon, supping on classic Indonesian fare at our place > nice treat were some chilli prawns on toast:

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.....let it be known that Annie has yet to have a burger, the Indonesian fare is just too tasty!! Till tomorrow.

Posted by marcofisher 23:02 Comments (1)

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