Our return to places of ministry in East Java with our daughter, Lori, and her family concluded with a few days of vacation on Bali, a popular tourist attraction and exotic island to the east. With Jember, our place of assignment, only two hours from the eastern tip of Java, our children remember two or three times a year getting away for a few days of family vacation in Bali.
We would load our jeep on the ferry and soon be driving through lush green rice fields to the sprawling beaches of Kuta or Sanur. Thirty years ago there was only one major hotel, but we would stay at simple beachside cottages for as little as $12 a night, enjoying the abundance of luscious tropical fruit, seafood and a lobster dinner for $5. Things have changed considerably with commercialization with miles of modern hotels along the beach and congested traffic, but the beauty and joy of time at the beach has not changed as evidenced by the photo of Lori and the children at sunset.
The kids were excited as our vehicle crossed the gangplank onto the huge ferry for the hour-long crossing of the Bali straits. We were anxious about the thunderstorm moving up the straits as we embarked, but it quickly passed over resulting in a smooth crossing.
Immediately the culture changed from the predominant Muslim presence on Java to the temples, idols and ubiquitous offerings and incense of Hindu Bali. It was a unique experience to see a cremation on the beach and the subsequent funeral with priests spreading the ashes in the ocean.
The grandchildren stayed in the water constantly. When the sun got too hot at the beach they retreated to the hotel pool, only a few steps from our poolside rooms. Not many people have seen Bobbye Rankin in a swimsuit, something she would don only for the the grandkids, but she still looks pretty good for a grandmother!
Relaxed visiting under the palm trees, enjoying the unique culinary treats of “satay ayam” (grilled chicken and seafood kabobs), and bargaining with hawkers along the beach enhanced our cherished family time before we returned to America and our daughter’s family to their post in Central Asia.