Sunset Bali
Tracy's Retirement Celebrations

Celebrating RetirementRetirement ReadsIn June of 2017, Tracy finished her teaching career at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, an adventure that took her from Orange County, Virginia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and then internationally to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Lebanon, Singapore and Malaysia (with a stint in North Carolina between Jakarta and Beirut). There were two separate celebrations. The first was with colleagues at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, and it was hosted at the Grand Hyatt in late May of 2017. The photo to the upper left shows Tracy and colleagues celebrating at a roundtable overlooking the city center. To the right, she displays a thoughtful gift -- favorite books from each of the women, one for each month of the ensuing year.

Flatbed Seats!Reception AreaWe celebrated a second time as a couple, and it was  a double celebration -- Tracy's retirement and her 65th birthday. Since Tracy stayed in the US for our niece's (Kate's) wedding, we were apart for her birthday. So, in late September we celebrated both our birthdays and Tracy's retirement at our favorite resort, the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay. It was our fourth visit: we first went to celebrate Tracy's 50th, and then returned once solo and once again with her sister Laura and my brother-in-law, Ward. For the retirement do, the celebration spanned three days, and there was a different focus to each day. We left mid-morning on an AirAsia to Bali. To celebrate, we upgraded to the AirAsia X flatbed seats, the poor man's business class. Upon arrival, we were whisked to the welcoming check-in area of the Four Seasons, shown in the photo to the right.

 Moments later, we were in the golf cart, heading to the villa. All the villas at Jimbaran Bay are pool villas, and all have a view of the bay. To see more of this stunning villa, please take the virtual tour below.


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During our 3-day celebration, we enjoyed one special activity each day.

DAY ONE
: Progressive Dinner
Cooking Academy MenuIndonesian CondimentsAfter resting up,  enjoying the complimentary wine, and lounging by the pool, it was time to celebrate in earnest. Our treat for the first night was a progressive dinner at the resort's main restaurants. Billed as a "Culinary Tour de Force," the first stop was the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy, where we dined on Indonesian fare on its patio out front. We had previously taken an afternoon course at this cooking school when (sister) Laura and Ward visited us. The photo to the left shows the tapas menu for this appetizer course, while the first course is shown to the right. The meal started with Tongol Saos Rojak (seared tuna loin with a tamarind palm sugar glaze and ginger torch flower relish), followed by Ayam Pelalah (shredded chicken, green beans, lime and chili sauce). The final appetizer consisted of Gegecok Sayur (crunchy vegetable salad with coconut and wild ginger sauce). Delicious food, although a bit on the spicy side for the two of us (especially Tracy)!



Liguine Algio OlioSeafood Au FeuThe second stop of the night was Taman Wantilan, an open air restaurant with views of Jimaran Bay. This is also where we enjoyed breakfast every morning. Here, the emphasis is upon western cuisine. Tracy dined on a Linguini Algio e Olio with garlic, parsley and pecorino (photo, left), and Dale opted for the Jimbaran Seafood Pot Au Feu with fennel, saffron and garlic rouille (photo, right). This was il primo or first course of the progressive dinner.










Tracy at SundaraPot Steamed Black MusselsOur third stop was  Sundara, the beach-front fine dining restaurant with an Asian flavor. As a special touch, the staff set our table out onto the beach, for a beautiful tiki-lit dinner overlooking Jimbaran Bay. (photo, left) We started our main course with pot-steamed black mussels in a lemongrass, ginger, and citrus broth (photo, left). From there, our palates diverged. Tracy continued with the seafood theme, ordering a pan roasted cod fillet with mushroom escabeche, torched leek, and dashi butter. Dale went for the bebek: twice cooked duck with shaved coconut, chinese celery, and red curry dressing. The duck escaped the watchful eye of our camera, but
Pan Roasted Codthe cod dish is shown in the photo, lower left.














Dessert!Creme BruleeAfter our tapas, primo plati at Wantilan and secondi plati at Sundara, it was back to the Villa for dessert. The staff had lit small lanterns that led to the table on the outside deck, and that the table was decorated with rose petals. (photo to the left) Once seated, Tracy was presented with a belated birthday cake and her choice of desserts, a vanilla creme brulee with cocoa tuile. (top right photo) Dale chose the all-American option, a chocolate brownie with caramelized popcorn, and salty peanut butter ice cream (bottom right).

This was the perfect ending to our culinary tour!


Brownie Dessert










DAY TWO
: Sunset Cruise
Tracy at the CatamaranCanapesWe spent the second day of our stay enjoying the villa, pool, and fitness center -- along with a long walk through and about "town." Late in the afternoon, we headed down to the beach for the highlight of day two, a sunset champagne cruise on Jimbaran Bay on board a catamaran. The photo to the right shows Tracy behind the boat as we prepared to shove off. What's in the basket, you ask? Enough canapes "to sink a ship" -- to be consumed with chilled champagne! As we departed the coast, we truly sailed into the sunset (a nice retirement metaphor) as show in the photo at the top of the page. Along the way, we watched the evening's colorful goings-on along Bali's east coast. There was a myriad of wedding party members, all posing for photos. Each group was just far away enough from the next so as to afford a sense of privacy!
                                               Perhaps the best way to view the experience is via the 360 video below.

360 Videos of the Bali Sunset Cruise




[You will have to look down to see the canapes]

DAY THREE: Dining in the Gazebo
Lantern Lit StairsView of the GazeboOn the final full day of our stay we enjoyed a romantic dinner at one of the several gazebos on the property which overlook Jimbaran Bay. The meal is ordered in advance from Wantilan and then delivered by buggy to the gazebo. While we cannot recall exactly what we dined on that evening, a part of the meal was the pan roasted cod filet that Tracy enjoyed at Sundara the previous evening. At any rate, the food was excellent and it was a wonderful experience looking out over Jimbaran Bay in the evening, cooled by a gentle breeze. The man delivering the meal had an impressively long descent from the restaurant (first by buggy, and then via the stairs to the gazebo) to bring the meal to us. The photo to the left shows the lantern lined path from the main pathway down to the entrance to the gazebo, while the photo to the right offers a view of the gazebo from those stairs. The two photo below left shows us at the table before the meal. As if the atmosphere and food were
not enough, we were also tFireworksreated to a fireworks display over the bay as our meal ended (photo to the right).
Dining at the Gazebo













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