I have spent more time on Bali than any other surf destination, except for California. I came here several times in the 1990s, learned everything about the different breaks, and had some of the best waves of my life. I also ventured over to the neighboring islands Lombok and Sumbawa to find more waves with less people.
The days leading up to Christmas were filled with anticipation and excitement, as well it should be in a house with 4 and 5 year old believers. How would Santa find us? But the villa doesn't have a chimney! What if the reindeer land in the pool? We had equipped ourselves with multiple advent calendars on the iPads, force-feeding a daily dose of holiday classical music but also allowing for a daily game and virtual gift unwrapping to set the mood.
Bali is our vacation from our vacation. I was worried at first that a month on this small island could drive me insane, given that both Staffan and I have spent ample time here in the past and it should be obvious by now that we like to keep moving. But it is working out better than I could have imagined. We are staying mainly in villas with private pools, carefully selected based on proximity to renown surf spots.
The food in Laos and Cambodia was good, but it is not by chance that the cuisine of Thailand (and that of Vietnam) are much more famous. One reason is the variety—there are simply many more thai dishes composed of many more flavors than in Lao or Cambodian food.
Last night, I read The Velveteen Rabbit to the kids. It had particular impact since they each still have a dear stuffed animal to whom they cling at night or when upset. Woof is a white stuffed dog with sad, brown eyes who was given to Phineas by Mia, his paternal grandmother. Phineas caresses the tips of her clumped fur with his fingertips as he falls asleep. She is the first thing he reaches for when awaking from slumber, his small hands groping in the dark to strum the soft spot of fur left under her tail.