Bali: Dinner at Dewa’s

Family Temple

We’ve been spending time with Dewa, Ayu, and Rama.  One night, they invited us to dinner.  Typical of many Balinese families, they live in a family compound with Dewa’s mom, dad, and aunty.  Before Ayu was allowed to join the family in this community-centered society, Dewa needed permission from not only her family but also the Banjar committee to ensure his intentions were good.  Every family must have a member representative attend Banjar meetings where much of the life of the community is decided from what to plant to when to celebrate holidays.  Such control keeps the community and the culture strong.  It ensures that those fields at the bottom  of the irrigation system have the water they need just as those at the top do.   There is no “trickle-down” philosophy here.

Rama helping

Aunty, Ayu, Dewa, Barry, and Rama

Aunty never married and so has always lived with her brother’s family and is in charge of making the daily offerings at the family temple in the compound.  There are separate small buildings  for sleeping and a kitchen.  Eating and communal gatherings are done on covered, open-air hale types of buildings.

Dad, Dewa,  and photographer Rama

Dad and Mom still work growing rice and peanuts in the community allocated fields.  Dad is also supervising the building of a new house and compound for Ayu’s sister Ari who has married Jerry, a Californian guy who teaches at the Green School here.   Dewa and Ayu have been very involved in the project too.  Jerry says he could never be getting what he has without the help of all of them.  Ari is due to have their first child in about three weeks; everyone is excited.


Mom gets up at 4 a.m. to start the rice as she has been doing for over 40 years.

Of all the great restaurants in Ubud, we think Ayu is the best cook

Rama, Dewa, & Barry

Yesterday we went for the afternoon and walked and rode bikes through the beautiful rice fields and long, windy pathways.

Bali rice paddies

There is a continuous process of growing, harvesting, and replanting the rice fields

The fields are beautiful; working them is hard

Our great news is that Johnny will land here on February 14 at 2 a.m.   I need to leave on February 17 to return to China to teach for the spring term.  Barry is hoping to get to stay at least a few days longer.  We hope to have a good visit with him.

Also   because we have had many computer challenges and so are not able to get the Internet regularly,  you may have been frustrated about coming to our blog only to find that nothing new is up.  If so, subscribe to our  blog; you’ll then be notified of new postings.  We hope everything is going well for all of you.  Aloha, Renee & Barry

About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

4 responses to “Bali: Dinner at Dewa’s”

  1. Elaine Woodall says :


    This message is for John…as in years past I have sent him an email when we have the hill open for sledding…well this would have been the year…last Tuesday thru Wednesday we had 15 to 18″ of snow…depending on which side of town you lived on….my apartment had the 18″…took me 1/2 hr to drive the usual 10 minute drive from the office to home…terrible roads, not plowed and could not see for the snow blowing and drifting…then ice….mixed in for good measure…Many in Illinois without power for several days….Lucky we were not one of them…Thor’s work out of power all
    week last week. We still have piles of snow 4 to 5 ft tall…and Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive was closed due to stalled cars abandoned on the expressway….what a time…I know you are looking forward to seeing John….the rice fields look so much like spring and a warm sunny experience. That is what everyone here is looking for….Enjoy the good food and warm weather….and Hello to Barry… Elaine

  2. Renee says :

    Hi Elaine: You have really been having the weather. I’m sending your message on to John. He’d like to be there in the piles of snow. This morning, I got to talk to Ryan, Vanessa, and the girls by Skye, and they filled me in on their heating challenges, but everything seems good now. When I talked to Al later, I could see his flickering fireplace. Stay warm. We’ll enjoy the good weather for all of you. Barry says “Hi” to you and Howard. Love, Renee

  3. Patricia Rouse says :

    H Renee!
    Somehow I got off the notification list of when you post a new blog so I just caught up on your adventures since I last read at Christmas.
    Best news of the year so far is that Amanda and Adley, recently secretly married in Maui in Dec are now pregnant and expecting in october. They are on the fasttrack with just moving into their new coop in Park Slope Brooklyn this past month. Thanks for all your photos of Bali and recipes!!! I sent my borhter Lee, a non cook but interested in healthy eating my made up recipe for avocado soup which I will also send you cause it is veg if made with veg soup base. Wait a while until cold soup feels good to you again.

    Pat’s great Cold avocado veggie soup with a kick

    Make soup early to eat later in the day

    Make a homemade vegetable soup with boxed chicken or vegetable broth.

    Cut up enough veggies like celery, carrots, peppers, onion ,asparagus, leftovers are especially happy in a soup, to make a hearty looking veggie dense soup but still with some liquid. Can add water if need be to thin it. Leave out potatoes or rice in this recipe. Season to taste with fresh herbs if you can get them, I used cilantro and oregano. Shake in a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

    Cook the soup and hour or so till veggies are soft enough to turn liquid in the blender.

    Cool the soup.

    For each serving of soup you will need to add to the blender:

    1 whole Hass large avocado cut up,

    1 juice of 1 lemon,

    2-3 garlic cloves cut up.

    1 coffee mug of soup

    My blender can take only one serving at a time.

    Blending the soup

    I blended one serving of soup at a time in the blender by filling a coffe mug of soup then dumping it into the blender with the cut up avo, lemon juice and garlic. You have to pulse the blender to get it rolling, maybe scrape it a little as well. It makes a thin guacamole looking cold and delicious soup that fills about a coffee mug and a half. It’s a filling lunch because you are eating a whole avo all by yourself.

    Wait a few minutes after eating this and you will not be hungry.

    Think about all the good stuff you just put into your body.

    Ingredients list:

    Boxed chicken or vegetable broth

    Veggies cut up


    1 avo per serving of soup

    1 whole lemon juiced per serving of soup

    2-3 garlic cloves chopped per serving of soup

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Pat: Congratulations to Amanda and Adley; they are in for a great adventure. Their baby should be great fun for you too. And your avocado soup sounds wonderful. I’ll try it when it warms up here and the avocados show up in the markets. Beautiful big red strawberries are appearing now, and I’ve been feasting on them. Enjoy the Maui warmth for me. Aloha, Renee

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