‘We first arrived in Bai in 1974, the very first year that Murn’s Warung opened. We were living in a grass hut on a Balinese farm, or pondok, in the hills of Bali, just outside the town of Ubud. Our hut, which eventually became a house, was just across the old Dutch bridge and up past the Tjampuhan Hotel.
We mostly ate at local food stalls or warungs to save money but our big treat was to wander down the hill, across the bridge to Murni’s for the famous chocolate cookies or her husband Pat’s famous “Upper Elk Valley Burgers”
In those days kerosene lamps lit the houses and restaurants and there weren’t any street lamps to guide our way. We would meander to Murni’s Warung and arrive just before dark when our Balinese neighbors were bathing in the rivers. You could hear the laughter and joking as we crossed over the bridge. After a delicious dinner we would walk back across the bridge up the path in complete darkness. Only the flicker of fire flies, or moonlight would help the flash lights guide our way.
Best View In Bali
We hosted Murni and Pat at our house, with as Murni would say the “ the best view in Bali . Guung Agung, the Mother volcano in the distance, the long grass or aloand-alang covering the hillside with the river quietly flowing below.
After lunch we would descend down the hill to the river for a swim. Only Murni would join us as Pat wasn’t the swimming in the river type. In fact, he was very reclusive, but Murni did get him up to our house at least once.
As the years went by, we often met Murni and joined her in search for the perfect “durian” fruit. We also would take hikes through the hills of Bali even as fare as the monkey forest at Sangeh. Murni was always such a wonderful, kind generous hostess- and still is today as I bring by Spirit Tours Bali members to her warung for lunch.
My daughter, Gitana , was born in 1977 and Morny, Murni’s daughter, a year later. This bonded together our two families. We would often have lunch or dinner at the warung and the two children would play together. I remember fondly we all had to walk over the dog, Dausa ( I think that was his name) who sat at the front door to welcome us all and of course Murni’s Dad was always part of the scene.
My Daughter Gitana 2008
Fire Flies Hovering Over a Dark Road
Before 1980 only a hand full of tourists lived in Ubud, or even visited, as it was very difficult to get there because of all the one way suspension bridges that you had to cross when coming from the beaches in the south. I long for those simple days, fireflies hovering over the dark roads, the ducks following the “magic wands” held by the Balinese farmer, the distant, hypnotic sounds of the gamelan music drifting through the warm still night, the beat of the Kulkul calling everyone to the Pura (temple) and the grateful presence and beautiful welcoming smile of Murni. We were all so lucky to share that magic time together. Recalling those happy days long ago has given me the opportunity to revisit some truly wonderful time in Bali.”
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