Suncatcher! Time Stops in Jimbaran


January 6th I woke up to an email from my 87 year old mother. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Sherry, happy birthday to you! We love you, Mom and Dad. Ever since I can remember, and wherever I am in the world, my parents have called me to sing this song on my birthday. So there was no way I was going to let her off the hook with an email version. I punched in their number on Skype.

“Hi Mom. Thanks for the email, but I want you and Dad to sing to me like you always do.”

“Sherry?! Oh honey, your Dad just, well, he’ll be back in about 5 minutes.”

“I’ll call back in 15!” And so I did.

Dad (93) was quite a star in his day, playing guitar and singing with the Northwoods Opry. His voice is more whispery now, but together they did a fine job. Emotion welled up as I cherished, perhaps for the last time, that intimate moment

Nostalgic memories persisted as I bypassed the usual heaping breakfast bowl of papaya for a more delicate serving of mouthwatering mango and ate in a shady corner pondering life. My new bamboo blinds kept the blistering morning rays at bay.

P1100961The rest of the day there wasn’t time to think, just play! The Bali wife next door had plans for me! Nina passed newborn Nola to her husband, gave me a death-grip hug and trotted me to the new restaurant down the street. Watercress, she told me, had a kombucha bar and I was about to be initiated.


Refreshing apple turmeric and a ruby mixed berry had the astringent tang of vinegar, a healthy, virtuous drink! But those would be finished long before we’d had enough chatter time so, lunch? Why not!


A towering tempe burger and fat little fried potatoes with aioli dipping sauce seemed a perfect nursing mama’s meal. But I wouldn’t have traded roasted pumpkin salad with sundried tomatoes, walnut pesto and feta cheese for all the tempe in Bali. Oh, those flavors! The beautiful harmony of colors! My first bite was proof that the dish was a serious palette pleaser, not just another pretty face.

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Babbling for three or four hours has never been a problem for Nina and me, but Bapak Sudi, in charge of hungry baby Nola, can’t keep her happy forever. Another bone crushing hug and I was back at home in time to prepare for dinner!

I’ve heard tales of ocean-side dining in Jimbaran, but I’ve never been. A romantic, sunset dinner for one doesn’t do it for me. Ketut is willing to take me just about anywhere, but dining out with a beach full of foreigners is not his idea of a good time. And if the strolling minstrels came to our table singing love songs, I can only imagine the look of abject horror that would cross his face!

So that’s where I’m going tonight! The car arrives and I pile in with Steve, Bayu, Janet, Carol, Oni and Princess Rina for an hour’s ride to the south.

When we arrive I’m sucked in by the party atmosphere and cooking smells as saliva dribbles down my chin. Seafood being charred to perfect done-ness wafts from doorways of restaurants lining the street along the beach. Steve heads straight for one of them. I notice the sign, Jimbaran Cafe. As we enter, flat bins of ice bristle with fins, tails, and great buggy eyed heads. The fish man with gleaming tongs, pulls out granddaddy red snappers, slime covered calamari, and prawns that look prehistoric. He plops them in a pan and weighs them. “That’s too much!” we mutter among ourselves, but we’re ignored as Steve gives the nod and our dinner disappears into the kitchen.

“A table in front,” Steve says to a waiter in a red bib apron.

“Nothing available by the water,” he’s told.

I scan over the heads of diners, thousands it seems, digging into heaping plates. I don’t see an open table anywhere.

“I think there’s one coming,” Steve says and we shuffle after him toward the steady roll of waves breaking on the beach.

P1100988There’s a huge expanse of wasted sand here where tables could be. The thought passes through my mind as I instruct my friends to line up. They pose for a photo and then…

P1100985 Like magic, a table appears! Of course! Prime real estate comes at a price. “How much?” I ask Steve and he smiles that saintly smile.

A tablecloth and chairs follow. Then the purpose of the green thing that has been passed between Steve and Bayu on the trek from the car to the beach comes clear. Out of it appears a bottle of white, a bottle of red, and iced glasses. You thought of everything, you darling man! Let the party begin!

We toast and pose for pictures enjoying the music and the innovative guitar strap!

A platter of snapper arrives followed by calamari, salads, veggies, rice, and it just keeps coming! There’s no more room but still it comes, piles of prawns and more snapper. The table is too painfully small for the abundance, but we don’t care!


That’s when the Suncatcher stops time.

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Our world is touched by Midas. We dine bathed in gold.

I’m deep in calamari heaven when I hear them:  “She was just sevente-en, you know what I me-an, and the way she looked was way beyond compare…” The minstrels are singing to me in the candlelight, years melt away and I’m 17 again!



That’s what happens when the Suncatcher stops time in Jimbaran!

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