Instead of calling our driver, we walked into Ubud from the villa. It’s not a terribly long walk, but the lack of a sidewalk, the uneven road surface and the hot humid weather makes it feel long. We happened across Naughty Nuri’s, a place that we had read about in a local book that is unique because they sell martinis. Martinis, and cocktails in general, are very rare in Bali. It was hot, we were tired of walking and it was lunch time so we decided to stop in to see how good the martinis really are.
The glasses came out of the freezer and put on the table in front of us and then the waitress poured from the shaker into our glasses, right to the rim. The exactness of the measuring was a marvel in itself. Another drop in either glass would have overflowed the glass.
As we were finishing our lunch and martini, the owner sat down at our table and asked us how we liked the martinis. An hour or so later, we heard his story, the story of the restaurant and discovered that some friends of his lived in the Seattle area (an island off the coast of Olympia). He called his friends and I got on the phone to talk to him. He and his wife run a salt business in Bali and knew the Salt Works people we know in Seattle. Small world.
Brian, the owner of Naught Nuri’s, is a New Yorker who one day decided to leave his brother-in-law’s successful car business and travel in Asia. He found Bali and decided to make it a home. He met Nuri, a Balinese woman, got married, opened the restaurant and had a kid. He’s been here for 10 years now and his kid, who we met, is 3.
We had some beers (draft Bintang!) and then walked down the street and did some shopping before returning to Nuri’s for another drink. By this time, it was getting crowded and we realized that Nuri’s is a hangout for expats. We met a German guy, a Canadian guy and an Australian guy (who demanded to know what is so naughty about Nuri) all who lived in Bali at least part of the year.
They also helped explain some of the questions we had about Bali and its people. They even have an acronym for some of the unexplainable behavior of Indonesians: ILF, Indonesian Logic Fatigue. :) Of the things we learned, we discovered, at least according to Brian, that although kids all go to school, reading is not a priority. Many kids get out of school still not able to read. No explanation other than ILF.
We went home and found our crew of three cooking for dinner. The previous night we told them to make enough food for everyone and asked that they eat dinner with us. But the table was only set for two when we arrived. So we set three more places at the table and helped serve everything. The idea was that we would get to know them, but we only learned how shy three young (22, 22 and 19) Balinese kids can be. :) About the only thing we learned besides their ages were that Nyoman went to school to be a chef and wanted to be a professional chef. Ketut and Wayan weren’t able to tell us what their plans were.