My Experience Staying in a Homestay, Ubud, Bali

I decided to stay in a homestay as I usually like to stay in accommodation that reflects the country’s culture. Rumah Roda Homestay is a traditional Balinese family compound where three generations live on the property. The pool and garden separated the family living quarters from the homestay allowing some privacy.

Rumah Roda is situated on a quiet lane and walking distance to the busy main street. Nearby a ten minute walk takes you to the rice fields.

A book named ‘A Little One O’clock’ has been published portraying the family history. More information available on their website at

Rumah Roda Homestay overlooking the Pool

The Homestay overlooks a tropical garden surrounded by Hindu statues and a delightful swimming pool. The rooms were very large with a bathroom, air-conditioning, fridge and a large terrace.  The cost for one night is from IDR400,00 (about US$23) which included breakfast.

A restaurant is open all day overlooking a lane where you can view daily Balinese life.  Tea or coffee is available all day, Balinese coffee is delicious.

Terrace outside Rooms where I relaxed in the Afternoons

Overlooking the Roof Tops

In the mornings I walked in the heat, visiting temples and sightseeing.  Afternoons I relaxed on the lovely terrace outside my room, overlooking the rooftops, writing in my diary and reading a good book. A small temple nearby would play Balinese music every evening creating a Balinese ambiance, this was so peaceful and relaxing.

Whilst I was staying here there was a three-day Hindu festival called ‘Gulungan’ The family decorated the statues in the garden and made Bamboo decorations that lined the streets of Ubud. The family cooked me a traditional lunch consisting of Pork and Balinese vegetables.

Hindu Statues

Festival Decorations

The family and the staff at Rumah Roda were very friendly and as I was travelling on my own; it was nice to have someone to talk to.  I took two trips with the owners son to Tellallang Rice Terraces and North Bali.

Dharta the owner of the homestay speaks good English, is a character and was very helpful.

Samoan Culture and Traditions, Savaii, Samoa

Savaii, Samoa

Whilst we were staying at Lauiula Beach Fales, Lano Beach the young man who worked on the fales invited us to watch him cook some traditional Samoan food.  He made a dish called Palusami which is taro, coconut cream and onion wrapped in taro leaves.  He prepared the fire first named a Umu using coconut shells, then adding stones. When they were hot enough he added the Palusami which took about 40mins.

Savaii, Samoa


While the food was cooking he gave a demonstration on how to extract the milk from a coconut, using a handmade coconut grating stool.

Savaii, Samoa


He invited us to church on Sunday, my sons werent that keen so I went on my own.  Each village has its own church and there seemed to be a church on every corner. They are usually painted in bright colours and families dress up for the service. I was invited into the pastor’s house which was behind the church and his wife made me a coffee.  We then went to the church service, which was all in Samoan.  There was music and singing which was beautiful.

You can read more on Samoan Culture and Traditions here

Below is a few pics of my three sons:

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 3

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 2

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 1

Rickshaw Run Across India from Kochi to Jaisalmer

A guest post from my oldest son Gareth Jew:

At the end of this year two friends and I from humble New Zealand will be attempting the Rickshaw Run, a 2,500km trip across India from Kochi to Jaisalmer in a seven horse power three-wheeled rickshaw. Starting 1st January 2017 over seventy different teams will be joining us, and it all happens to raise money for charity! This is organised by ‘The Adventurist’s.

One of the biggest challenges we will encounter will be the vehicles themselves. The rickshaw has the same top speed as your average ride-on lawnmower, tends to fall over if you go around corners too fast, and breaks down constantly, and that is all if we can manage to get the thing started.

We do however get to decorate our beast of a vehicle as we see fit, which makes for a colorful race as each team will be doing the same. We have decided to go with the theme of a cricket playing duck, nicknamed Ducky Bollinger, to try to attract favour with the fanatical cricket fans of India. To commit to the theme, we have decided that despite the extreme equatorial heat, we will start the race in our recently acquired duck ‘onesies’, and challenge local kids to some backyard cricket throughout the trip.

Embarking on this mad mission without an honourable motive would seem a waste, so of course, this will all be in an attempt to raise money for charity. We have selected the Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust to benefit from our efforts, a cause which is close to our teams heart.

You can find more information on our journey and follow along at:



Visiting Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

I visited Milford Sound about 25 years ago.   We were going to fly one way from Queenstown and bus back, but unfortunately we couldn’t fly because of the weather.  So it was a long day busing both ways, it took about four hours each way from Queenstown.  The scenery is amazing as you mostly drive through rain forest.

We took a boat ride for two hours. It was a misty day with light rain, but created an eerie atmosphere.

The fiord remained undiscovered by Europeans until Captain John Grono discovered it c.1812 and named it Milford Haven after his homeland in Wales. Captain John Lort Stokes later renamed Milford Haven as Milford Sound.


Maori Myths

The Māori named the sound Piopiotahi after the thrush-like piopio bird, now extinct. Piopiotahi means “a single piopio”, harking back to the legend of Māui trying to win immortality for mankind – when Maui died in the attempt, a piopio was said to have flown here in mourning.

Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand MILFORD SOUND SYLVIA 3 Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand Milford Sound Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

Photo Credit:

Snorkelling Trip, Savaii Samoa


Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

My Three Sons

Snorkeling Trip, Savaii Samoa was one of the highlights of our trip.  Dive Samoa took us too three sites which included a ship wreck.  I hired an underwater camera and one of the diver’s took some photo’s.

I was comparing the fish and coral to the Great Barrier Reef, I went diving there a long time ago.  The coral didn’t seem as colorful and the fish were quite small.  However my boys thought it was fantastic as they had never seen colorful fish and coral before.

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkelling In Savaii SamoaSnorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkelling In Savaii Samoa

Dive Savaii Samoa

We had lunch at Le Lagoto Resort while we were waiting for the photos.

Dive Savaii Samoa

Dive Savaii Samoa

Le Lagoto resort taken from the Dive Boat

Visiting Hobbiton in the Spring, New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Hobbiton New Zealand

Visiting Hobbiton in the Spring is one of the best time to visit.  Spring flowers are in bloom, which will die off in summertime with the higher temperatures.  Flowers and vegetables plants are based on a traditional cottage garden. The grass is cut in a certain way so it looks natural.  There are about seven gardeners working full-time to upkeep the grounds.

After the two-hour tour of the  Hobbit holes the last stop is the Green Dragon Inn, which is a pub, serving complimentary beer or cider which is brewed only for the Green Dragon Inn.

Don’t forget spare storage/batteries for your photos as you will be taking a lot of pictures

You get to visit Sam’s home, Bag End – Bilbo and Frodo’s house

The Hobbit homes are just facades – there is nothing inside them

Take plenty of water and sunscreen if visiting in summer

Tours are available from Rotorua and Matamata.  For more information on tours visit:

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Surrounding the 44 Hobbit holes, there are a variety of props such as clothes drying on clothes lines, smoke coming out of chimneys, mail boxes and outdoor furniture.


Hob 1

hob 2

Hobbiton New Zealand



hob 6


Travel Monkey