Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tuesday May 17 – Green School – Celuk – Luxe Café – Ubud Rice Field Walk - Catherine’s Departure

My friend Natalie asked me to “check out” the Green School in Ubud while we are here. Laura, Catherine and I took off just before 8:00 a.m. this morning with Jero and after about a 30 minute drive through the narrow eclectic village streets we arrived at a place in the middle of the Bali jungle filled with hundreds of cars and motor scooters. We were incredulous at how many there were all crammed into the jungle; it was like a used car lot….or maybe one of those Honda storage lots where cars are stored off the trains. We wondered if these could be attached to the Green School? After all, this was a “green” school with a mission to “support our planet positively for future generations” or “A community of learners making our world sustainable.” Jero advised that these were the cars the students arrived in. A driver drove them to school, and in many cases parked, and waited all day for school to end to drive the student home.

For those of you who have not heard of the school, the Green School ( was conceived in 2006 by John and Cynthia Hardy. John was a Canadian art student who made his way to Bali in 1976. Cynthia was an American who made a stop in Bali in 1982 on a “gap” year while considering attending law school. The school is entirely open air and set in the jungle on the slopes of the Ayung River Gorge. Classes are conducted in architecturally significant and magnificent bamboo structures that would be the dream of many an architect. In fact, we met and talked to a young architect from France who was visiting the school to learn more of the architectural project. Students come from all across the world, mainly America, Australia, and Europe and stay for a year or two, but some do stay longer and graduate from there. There are 28 local students who are paid for through the school’s foundation. The goal is to have 20 percent of students from the local area. Although the academic side of the school programme was not emphasized in our tour, they did mention math, English, and Baha Indonesian; the “green” side was mentioned. Classes include yoga, art, martial arts, and gardening. The gardening was particularly interesting: it was an aquaponic system which means a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics – check it out….it is really interesting! I don't think the fees are extortionate. About $8,000 - $10,000 per year for the school and $15,000 for boarding. The tour lasted an hour, and we spent about 20 minutes with the Admissions Officer afterwards. Unfortunately, picture taking was restricted to those places where there were no kids!  FYI, Catherine is an educational specialist whose husband teaches at an international school in Hong Kong, Laura’s two sons have both taught in Asia at international schools in Vietnam, Korea, and soon to be, Thailand. It was an extremely interesting hour and a half; however, our conclusion at the end was it would be a great “summer camp” adventure, but before sending our kids there we would want to check out the academic side very carefully. Younger children would have a ball and lots of time to catch up in our school systems before the crucial high school years. We are sure that the academic side is strong, but that was certainly not emphasized in the tour. We would want to be sure that the academics were strong enough to turn out “leaders” who could go forward into the world and “teach” the ideas, and/or “create” the “green” equipment and systems of the future.

Talking about "camp". The Green School runs the "Green Camp" ( which could be an interesting alternative to registering for the school as a first choice. These seem to run anywhere from 3 to 7 days depending on whether it is a school group, a family, or simply kids.

Following our visit to the Green School, we became total consumers and visited the silver village of Celuk. Unfortunately I never did find out the name of the place we went to. It was huge, and did not have business cards. Needless to say, although some of the items were beautiful, the assistants were pushy, expensive. Pure tourism. Not my cup of tea!!

We came home, grabbed a light snack, as we had not yet eaten breakfast, then set off with Ray to the Ubud Rice Field Walk. We have done this before, but it is truly lovely and Catherine and Laura had not been there yet. The rice fields are dotted with artisticly designed residences, palm trees separate the paddies, bougainvillea and other colour flowers line the side of the path, and it is all totally stunning. Our goal was the Luxe Café, where we had another great lunch (I had the soup “mushroom cappuchino” which I will dream about for ever). We met and chatted with the owner Paul, and Catherine vowed to come back again with her husband.

It was almost dark by the time we got back to the villa. Ray had done some shopping early in the morning, and so we cooked some salmon and vegetables for Catherine’s last dinner with us in Bali. At 10:30 p.m. we walked her down to meet Jero for her drive to the airport and flight to Hong Kong. Then we all collapsed in bed for another night’s visit to dreamland.

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