This is our Neighborhood in Bali. Suburbia in the Island of the Gods.

This story is part of a Blogging Carnival hosted by The Piri Piri Lexicon.

Show me your neighborhood around the world.” There are stories from all sort of places around the globe, it is really great to discover all the different neighborhoods. You should check them out after you read mine.

This is our Neighborhood in Bali

Suburbia in the Island of the Gods.

Bali is much bigger than the classic tourist idea of it. The classic expat neighborhoods are mostly in the south, in an area that is connected to the rest of the island by a little strip of land where the airport is. Ubud, the “Eat, Pray, Love” town is a bit to the north of the airport, and Denpasar the city center is east of Ubud.

Our neighborhood in Denpasar is called Renon, it’s where most of the government buildings are and there is a great big park with a running track and grassy fields to play ball. The park doesn’t have an outdoor playground, I think because it’s too hot.

In the middle of the park is big black monument all built from volcanic slabs of rock, inside you can visit a museum with dioramas about the history of Bali, specially about the Independence from the Dutch.

Where we Play

The closest park is the Lapagnan Puputan Margarana and it’s huge. Kiddos love doing the entire walk around and sometimes we fly kites or play ball. We don’t go that often cause it’s so hot! The kids love the walkway with the yellow strip because there is a tree with little berries that they like to roll down that ramp.

Related: It’s Kite Season in Bali!

We have two favorite playgrounds, one that is inside a complex with the Tiara DeWata Supermarket with a really nice ball pool. The other playground is called Peek a Boo and is a stand alone playground down by By Pass Road. Peek a Boo has a really cool covered outdoor area with great slides and climbing equipment. Photos of these aren’t necessary, they really look like any playground anywhere. If you’re really curious, there’s a link above to the Peek a Boo Playground.

Sometimes we take the kids to the beach to play but not too often, again because it’s too darn hot and also cause I don’t really like sand. Sorry kids, I’m just not a beach person. One day they will probably resent me for it. I can just hear it, “We lived in Bali and we went to the beach how often?” At least there is a nice walkway and there are ok cafes where I can have coffee and the kids can get sandy without me.

How we get around

When we go out as the entire family we use our car but since I don’t drive I take a taxi when I take the kids somewhere, and sometimes if we have a friend around, we go on their motorbike. I try and use motorbikes as little as possible because they freak me out a bit but sometimes it’s just necessary!

Yes I know it’s not safe to have the kids in the taxi without carseats but have you ever tried putting carseats in taxis? Twice a day? I gave up, I just try and keep them sitting down and hopefully with seat belts on.

There are some buses but I still haven´t figured out how to use them, taxis are so much easier. I can just call and I have a car outside in less than ten minutes. If I have to go somewhere further than like 10 kilometers, the driver gives me a set price instead of using the meter.

Here is my son in red getting a ride from some Balinese friends during a family celebration. He went on that bike and I went with my husband and daughter on another.

What the houses look like in Bali

To begin with, our house is NOT a typical Balinese house; it’s very much a western style house. The Balinese house is actually a very complex organism! Houses are really compounds where extended families live together, sharing common spaces and maintaining family temples and traditions.

The Balinese Family compound is such an amazing architectural and cultural phenomenon that it´s best if I link you to a long explanation.

The Balinese Family Compound explained.

On the left is a photo of my daughter sitting under a Balinese Compound Temple in an ancient house/museum close to our house. These temples are very common but differ in size and magnanimity. They are very important parts of the compounds.

Our house has a little temple on the outside to put the daily offerings and it has lots of plants and flowers and fruit trees like all Balinese houses.

The Streets around our House

Our house sits in a little area with little intertwining streets lined will kinds of fruit trees, palm trees and houses of all kinds, western and traditional, also a couple of fields with shacks. There are bigger avenues around, one is a commercial avenue with shops, restaurants and schools and further south are two large avenues where the government compounds, banks and museums are.

Related: Around our Bali ‘Hood

We walk a lot around our neighborhood but there aren’t many sidewalks. We tend to walk on the grassy area next to the road by the the water canals. There are big trees in the big avenues so there is always shade. There is always something temple or religiously related thing happening. In one of these photos my son is helping put up a penjor, a large bamboo offering for the gods.

Our School

Kiddos attend a small Montessori school really close to home. It is basically a converted house and the kids are mostly multiracial with one Indonesian parent and another foreign parent. Our kids are the only South Americans and the only ones that speak Spanish.

The kids are issued a uniform but mine won’t have it. They totally think it’s optional, thankfully the school is lenient and don’t give me a hard time over it. This picture is from the first day when the uniform was a novelty and they gave in to wearing it.

Big Kiddo wants to grow his hair like Rapunzel and his teacher brushes his hair when it gets too crazy! They also put pigtails in Small Kiddos hair with bribery telling her she will look like Anna from Frozen.

Related: Why did I send the kids to school anyway?

Where we Shop

We do most of our shopping in the nearby shops called Tokos. Tokos are the relatively larger stores, like mini markets. There are also Warungs which are actually both shop and mini restaurant all together in one, they are usually the front of someone’s house. There are many shops around us, one is even open 24 hours. A little further down the Avenue and by the park there are a couple Circle K’s too.

When I need more “western” stuff we go to Tiara DeWata and get chickpeas and pasta and Nutella. When I need even “westerner” things like Parmesan Cheese or good sausages we go to The Pantry in Sanur which is the next neighborhood over, by the beach.

For our organic veggies, fruits and eggs we either order online or go to the Sunday Market in Sanur. Once in a while we go to a big fresh produce market just to have a look around, last time we went we got two nice big bottles of fresh honey. The photo on the right is a basket full on Canang Sari, the offerings given to the gods at every temple, house, tree, car, even at road intersections. Some people make their own but you can also buy them made if you don’t have time.

Related: My life in Bali, The Book