Tjampuhan, Chocolate & The Peace Agency

Good Morning!

It really helps me to write the title first, so that I write on track… even if it is in a stream-of-consciousness way.

I have a lot to pack in to todays blog and feel that thematically this is a tapestry of things I love: spas, chocolate and documentary films.

Let’s start with Tjampuhan Hotel & Spa which was the first hotel built in Ubud in 1927. I wanted to checkout a well-known house that was a temporary residence in 1928 for a Russian-born German artist called Walter Spies.

IMG_2187  His style of painting was to become of great influence to Balines artists and he styed in this house for a long time before a second house was built by him which is bigger, more remote/stand alone and is also available to rent Walter Spies House.

Here are some photos of this beautiful 1927 built house which Walter Spies was the first to live in. He was also the first non-Indonesian person to live in Ubud-What an adventurous and intriguing man, someone I would have loved to meet and know.

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I headed over there to first checkout the historical house and then to use the many bathing pools and spa facilities for the bargain price of $8 USD! The hot jacuzzi jet pools and the icy cold plunge pools were both set into a magical cave that looked out into the jungle, with carvings of mermaids and monkeys running all along the rocks. My absolute favourite exoerience was spending un-interrupted time all on my own floating about in the natural spring water pool. It felt so deliciously rejuvenating on my skin- underwater love.

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I then returned as a shiny, happy, glowy person to my house which is in a community of several other small houses. My neighbours for the evening were cooking up a feast and invited me to join. They were from an Indonesian island Sulawesi and had all spent the day learning about growing and making chocolate at a cacao plantation and chocolate factory-yum. The idea being to return to more rural loations and teach the women in each township to farm and grow their own cacao- with farming to become their empowerment and livelyhood. We were joined by Milicent Johnson of HUB, fresh off the plane from San Francisco and Lian Gogali, founder of Sulawesi’s Mosintuwu Institute a centre for women’s education and empowerment. Lian is a pioneer, an activist and a solution seeker/creator. She is also the main character in Sue Useem‘s documentary film The Peace Agency.

Here are some photos of the cooking and “modelling” Balinese-made products- from chocolate to coconut syrup to soap.


Novieta Tourisia sharing some delicious Balinese Narkabo chocolates.


Milicent Johnson with some Balinese Coconut syrup

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Sue Useem Producer/Director of documentary film "The Peace Agency"

Sue Useem Producer/Director of documentary film “The Peace Agency”

Lian Gogali sharing some homemmade chocolate cake

Lian Gogali sharing some homemade chocolate cake


Martince Baleona chopping some chilis



Asni Jati Hamidi making a rice noodle vegetable soup-delicious

Lian Gogali & Sue Useem

Lian Gogali & Sue Useem the creative team behind documentary film “The Peace Agency”

Over dinner we discussed the importance of women’s roles in the rebuilding of society in post-conflict situations such as in Sulawesi. I learnt more about Lian’s humanitarian causes championed by the foundation she setup called The Mosintuwu Institute (Mosintuwu means Togetherness and that is also the mission of the foundation).

Here are some links to the causes run by The Mosintuwu Institute:

Perempuan Poso

Sophia Library

We discussed Eve Ensler‘s charity V Day and how we had all taken part in the 1 Billion Rising flashmob dance campaign on Valentine’s Day 2013 (they dancing in the streets of Sulawesi much to the shock of the locals and police, me outside of the Pompidou Centre along with hundreds of others in Paris.)

We celebrated Novi’s birthday with songs and laughter and more organic Balienes chocolate and cake.

We discussed the upcoming documentary film The Peace Agency starring Lian and Martince and made by Sue Useem. I am really looking forward to seeing this film, especially having spent time out here getting to know the maker and it’s stars.

Here is the trailer for that documentary:

So from the 1920’s “House of Spies” in an amazing spa to a lot of Balinese chocolate to the cast and crew of a hard-hitting and likely to become award-winning documentary… Yesterday certainly was a full on wonderful and inspiring day….

On a final note, I am placing my order for a kaftan designed by performance-artist Heidi Kilpelaine and I hope she can ship it to this part of the world!


I have also commissioned an original handmade piece of HK119 ceramic and rope jewellery which I will collect when I am next in London- whenever that may be. I love what this woman is doing creatively and if you are into a fusion of magical earthiness and spacey electronica then you will too. Check her out!

Enjoy clicking and bouncing around all these links.

Be inspired

Bye for now


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