Bali, Indonesia. My kids Eddie (5) and Kasey (3) actually loved Bali. But you wouldn’t know it from these photos. In fact, they look pretty pissed off. “Not another temple, Mom!” Eddie exclaimed when we arrived at the Pura Taman Ayun Temple — or the Royal Temple of Mengwi. In all fairness, to visit Pura Taman Ayun, we had dragged the kids away from the water slide at our hotel.
Enamored with Bali’s temples, I couldn’t get enough, so nearly every day we were on the island we saw a new spiritual site. In the above photo, we had met an artist who was painting a piece at Pura Taman Ayun. Kasey was mildly curious, so I wanted to snap a photo — one of those feel good travel photos of your kids interacting with locals and absorbing the culture. When I asked her to smile for the camera, Kasey instantly scowled at me.
Monterrey, California, USA. I don’t think my dad took a photo from our family trip to San Francisco and the towns along Highway 1 in which we are not wearing our trench coats. Granted, the weather was fairly overcast and cloudy, but dang, we got more than our money’s worth with this rain-ready apparel. Clearly, I had a prominent Dutchboy bowl haircut. Constantly being mistaken for a boy, I definitely was in the awkward years.
Becoming fluent in Spanish was an important goal of mine in seventh grade at Santa Barbara Junior High in 1981. Already, I knew that I wanted to travel.
Every Sunday when my dad brought in the Los Angeles Times and placed it on our kitchen table, I rifled through for the travel section, which was huge. I scanned all the ads and articles as well as filled out every form, requesting brochures and tourist materials. Many of the countries to which I wanted to travel were Spanish-speaking nations.
Consequently, to learn Spanish, I dutifully conjugated verbs, poured through my textbook and practiced the book’s basic dialog scenarios at home. Literally translated into English (only in present tense), the riveting stories went something like this:
Because of the recent unthinkable tragedy in the United States, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my own kids and children in general. I want this Travel Ahh…to be a celebration of children and their innocence. The photo above is of a child in East Berlin, East Germany feeding pigeons in a mall area. I love how kids can be captivated by a bird adults think of as a dirty pest.
Goa Gajah or the “Elephant Cave” is a beautiful ancient Hindu complex near Ubud, Bali (what isn’t beautiful in Bali?) The entrance is a bit intimidating since it looks like a dragon’s mouth. A place to worship, the Inside of the cave is rather small and at one corner stands a small statue of the Hindu deity, Ganesha, who has an elephant head. Photography is not permitted, and visitors and worshippers, alike, must cover their legs (except children and this was good since it was so hot and humid, the cave was somewhat stifling!)
A bathing temple with fountains is also part of the lovely grounds. Another open air building stands nearby in the peaceful and serene setting. It is believed the spiritual complex was built around the 11th century as a sanctuary for Hindu priests.
I actually met the one Down Under resident who doesn’t adhere to “no worries.” She was a flight attendant (I’ll call her Hortense) on our Air New Zealand flight from San Francisco to Auckland in January, 2010.
Instead, her slogan, I believe, was “Yes Worries!” and she adopted this long ago because she secretly and firmly believes all the people around her are inept imbeciles. On the flight, I especially thought she despised her co-workers. They, along with most passengers, were her recurring nightmares.
The other flight attendants could not have been more helpful, accommodating and funny. One of the head flight attendants was a tall, blonde woman who wore bright red lipstick and always smiled — no matter what your question was. “I’m sorry,” She beamed. “We can’t have you up in the aisle just yet. We’re still in the midst of our ascent and not at the proper altitude for walking around.” Huge permasmile.
When traveling with kids, you hope they will appreciate culture as much as you do. You also, when they are young, hope they will remember what they have experienced. In 2010, the beautiful dances of Bali, in particular, Legong Dancing, definitely made an impression on my daughter Kasey.
We went to a show in Ubud that was spectacular. Then, little did we know, we would see more Legong dancing in several restaurants (geared for tourists). The striking music always caught our attention — especially Kasey’s. She would look around and wait for the princesses to come out.
For her, these beautiful princesses, who were unlike the Disney princesses that she loves, captivated her even more. The music that complements the dancing so well also stuck with her.
“Mommmm! SPIDER! Mom, Come PLEASE!” My five-year-old daughter Kasey yells from the bathroom. Expecting to see a huge bulbous glossy black widow, I mach-5 it to the bathroom. “Where?!!” I’m looking for one to be dangling from the ceiling or clinging to the toilet. “Where, honey?”
Kasey points to the base of the bathtub at what looks like a tiny clump of newly sheared whiskers from Kurt’s Norelco shaver. It is a spider — a really miniscule spider. “Mom, KILL it!!” Kasey screams while she simultaneously holds my leg and peers down at the monster.
“I think we’ll let this guy go.” I reach down with a tissue to gently lift the little spider up and then I head (with Kasey still clinging to my leg) out to the back door to free him in our Colorado yard. “Mom don’t touch it!!!”
As anyone who travels knows, there are missteps, mishaps and misadventures, but then there are those perfect moments when we say: “Yeah, this is why I travel.” A Travel Ahh…
Young man and the Sea
My son, Eddie, is on his first deep sea fishing expedition in Los Cabos, Mexico. He couldn’t wait to get out on the ocean with Kurt and his Grandpa Ed. Here he patiently waits for a fish. Patience pays off and he (along with the help of Kurt) reeled in a dorado. The bottom photo clearly shows his feelings about the day.
No kid car seats. I convinced myself this was no big deal as I looked in the eight-passenger seat van that had arrived to pick us up at the Denpasar Airport. Calm down.This is Bali and things are a bit different here. I asked the driver, Waylan, if there were some seats lying around that needed to be set up.
“No, I am sorry, we don’t have car seats for the little ones,” Waylan said as he hoisted up my three-year-old daughter Kasey and tickled her chin. He then leaned over to give her five-year-old brother, Eddie, a high-five.
“They will be fine,” he reassured my husband Kurt and me with a smile displaying the most reflective set of white teeth I’ve seen aside from a Crest White Strips ad. “I am an excellent driver.”