Bali: Week 5

A busy week!

I was still in Phuket on Sunday and woke up at about 2pm after a really late night/early morning. I could barely function all day. We got ready and went to the wedding ceremony. It was outdoors and we’d seen the stage being set up since the day before. It was absolutely beautiful. It was also absolutely boiling, even at 6pm. About 20 minutes later, a friend and I decided to get a couple of drinks at the bar in the lobby – we thought it would be cooler there. We were there until the ceremony finished, and we went to get changed for the reception. I also had to pack as my flight was early the next day. We got to the reception just after 9.30pm.

Champagne was being served outside the ballroom so we joined the rest of our friends and had a couple of glasses before we were asked to find seats and sit down. It was 10pm at this point. The reception started with the couple making their entrance, cutting the cake, and then the speeches – father of the bride, father of the groom, friend of the groom, friend of the bride, another friend of the groom, a friend of the bride and groom, and finally the groom himself. We didn’t get to the buffet until 11.45pm! You could tell that people were tired that evening as there were only about 30 people left in the ballroom at 3.30am when I had to leave. I went to my room, changed, finished packing and headed to the airport.

I was at the airport by 4.45am and was shocked to see the queue to check-in at the Air Asia counter. There were two flights leaving within 5 minutes of each other – the first to Bali, the next to Bangkok. It took me an hour to check in. When I was done I saw some friends in the baggage drop queue and they told me they’d been there for 45 minutes as well. Ridiculous! I went through passport control and thought I’d get a cup of tea but nothing was open. If I thought Ngurah Rai Airport was boring, Phuket was a thousand times worse. I made my way to the gate and found a seat. A few minutes later I decided to walk around as I was falling asleep and didn’t want to miss the flight. I got on the plane and I had an empty seat next to me again but it was so cold I couldn’t get to sleep. I was exhausted when I landed in Bali.

After the long queues at the visa-on-arrival and immigration counters when I landed in July, Harry had arranged for someone to take me through immigration. He was waiting for me when I landed, took my passport and told me to wait for him at the luggage carousel. I was out of the airport in 10 minutes! My parents and nephew were waiting for me outside and 20 minutes later I was in the pool with the rest of the family.

That afternoon, my sister (A), her husband (N), my brother (S) and his wife (T) went shopping. I went to bed. I woke up at about 7pm and decided I was done for the day. My parents went out for dinner on their own and brought us back a takeaway. I thought I’d sleep well that night but I woke up at 4am feeling queasy. I was awake until 6am and then decided I’d try and get back to sleep.

It was Dad’s birthday on Tuesday so we all had a late breakfast together. I did some work after that (I had over 100 work emails in my inbox when I got back from the weekend!) while the others splashed around in the pool for a while. We all went to Dijon Cafe for lunch later that afternoon. After lunch, A, N, S and T went shopping and my parents and I went to the reflexology place across the road from Dijon Cafe.

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My mum had been the day before and had been raving about it. We walked in and were led into a dark room with 40-50 reclining chairs in four rows. Each chair had a TV and headphones you could use while you were having your feet massaged. There were only two or three other people in the room and I could hear snoring coming from one corner! We sat together and our massages began.

My feet were put into a tub of hot water while the masseur massaged my back. It was more like prodding and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Then he moved to my feet. I’ve decided I don’t like having my feet massaged – I couldn’t wait for it to be over. When we were finally done after what felt like the longest hour ever, we headed home and I did some work.

At 7pm the villa staff and a few people from the Temple Hill office came in with a cake for Dad and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for him – it was most unexpected! We decided we’d take some family photos that evening so we met in the living room of our villa at 8pm, opened a bottle of champagne, cut a cake for Dad, and took some photos. Harry joined us as well. We had a table booked for 9.30pm at Sarong in Seminyak. My parents and T had been there but the rest of us hadn’t. What a beautiful restaurant!

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I had the black bean encrusted chargrilled barramundi – I’d never had barramundi before and it was fantastic. It was a lovely evening and N and S treated us to dinner.

I decided to go to Denpasar Market with Mum, A and N on Wednesday – we left home soon after 11am and it didn’t take long to get there.

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A and N were looking at paintings for their home and picked up some beautiful ones.

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I asked whether they had a smaller version of the orange padi fields but the man said he’d just sold them an hour before and only had the smaller version in green (I hate green).

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Every kind of painting was in this shop – Balinese, African, abstract, Disney, it was all there.

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I’d never seen so many paintings!

After that we went to another store, looking at incense sticks and other pointless junk. We spent far too much time there.

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We were hungry by this time so on our way back home we went to the Bali Bakery for lunch. I had fettucine with smoked salmon and strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

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I was told I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the Bali Bakery (and, no, I hadn’t seen the sign on the door as I went in).

That night we went to Sakala in Tanjung Benoa for dinner – we’d driven past it several times and had also seen it from the water while in a boat and had been wanting to go there.

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It was the last night in Bali for S, T and N. The restaurant is stunning but unfortunately there was nobody else there.

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I had the foie gras to start with, followed by the rack of lamb.

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When we’d finished our main course the manager came over to us. He told us that as our starters had taken so long to arrive, dessert was on the house! None of us had particularly wanted dessert but we each ended up ordering something. I had the cheese platter.

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We were all so full by the end of dinner!

On Thursday S and T left at 1pm. They had a long journey back to Jamaica – via Hong Kong, Vancouver, New York and Miami! I didn’t envy them. I joined A and N for a late lunch at Menega Cafe.

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They’d put in a new aquarium since we had last been there.

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We had a kilo of jumbo prawns and a red snapper.

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Amazing, as always.

We got back to the villa and I decided to have a massage. I’d been telling myself every day that I’d have one the following day but never got round to it. It was so good.

N left that night and my parents, A and I went to Kat’s Kitchen for dinner. After dinner we went back home and started packing as we were moving villas the following day.

Friday was busy! We had breakfast, played around in the pool for a while, finished packing and left Temple Hill at 1.30pm. It took us about 45 minutes to get to our new villa in Seminyak.

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It was actually just a temporary villa for two nights until the villa we wanted to stay in originally became available.

After dropping our stuff off, A and I decided we needed to get away for a while so we walked down the long drive to the main road.

We walked for a while and came across Superman Pizzeria.

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We sat down and ordered a large bottle of Bintang – A had the margarita pizza and I had spaghetti with chilli and garlic. I’ve never had so much garlic in anything before!

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Our meal cost us $11 in total.

We walked back to the villa, dodging traffic on one side and open drains on the other. The street is filled with little art galleries, shops, restaurants and villa complexes.

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When I got to my room, there were at least eight mosquitoes waiting for a piece of me. I sprayed the room hoping they would have disappeared by the time I was done in the (outdoor) shower.

I have to say I hate outdoor showers in Bali. The first time I experienced one was in our villa in August 2006. I quickly learned that the most peaceful way to shower was while it was still daylight – the first couple of days I showered at night and was constantly swatting away insects attracted to the light. It’s not easy to do while washing your hair!

I did some work after that (the internet is so much faster than at Temple Hill!) and then got ready for dinner. As I was getting ready, I opened the door to the bathroom and some thing scurried into the room and out under the door into the living room. It was too quick for me to see what it was – which is probably a good thing!

That night my parents, A and I had dinner at Mannekepis (‘Little Pissing Man’, I’m guessing), a Belgian restaurant which had a live jazz band.

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Being a Friday, most restaurants on the street were crowded. We had some steaks and dessert.

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A and I went to Ku De Ta for a couple of drinks after dinner – they were setting up for their annual ‘white’ party which was the following night. We had thought about going when we found out we were going to be in Bali at that time, but were having second thoughts. The set-up looked pretty damn cool though, I have to say.

On Saturday we spent the day at the Bali Safari & Marine Park. When we got home I found the doors between the outdoor bathroom and my bedroom wide open. No wonder the place was full of mosquitoes! I’m so sick of the damn creatures!

That night I finally got to try Black Pepper, a restaurant we’d driven past at least 20 times but hadn’t been to yet. It wasn’t very crowded but had only been open just over a month.

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I had the grilled prawn salad with spinach to start.

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For my main course I had the ‘Pancho Villa’ crepe – grilled chicken, sour cream, guacamole, and some other Mexican-type ingredients.

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Dessert was disappointing. I’d ordered the lemon tart but what came looked nothing like I expected it to. I had a couple of bites and left the rest.

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After dinner, A and I decided to skip the white party and go somewhere new for a drink. We ended up at Woobar at the W Hotel. The hotel is just… so cool.

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And Woobar is just as cool.

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Each table even has a bottle of mosquito repellent (similar to Hu’u Bar’s ‘Shu’u Off’).

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The music was good and it wasn’t too crowded. We had a couple of drinks and called it a night.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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