Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Bali: Week 7

I can’t believe I spent 7 weeks in Bali – the last 2 weeks we were there just flew by!

I woke up on Sunday feeling much better than I did the day before. While we were having breakfast, our butler Sucipta suggested we go to Echo Beach for lunch. My sister and I had passed a sign for Echo Beach on our way back from Tanah Lot – it sounded familiar to me because we had considered renting a villa there for part of our time in Bali. Sucipta also suggested having a look at the Canggu Club which was on the way. So we took his advice and left home at about 1pm.

It took about 15 minutes to get to the Canggu Club, a private members club – and it was definitely worth visiting. I asked the receptionist if we could have a quick look around as we were considering membership. As it was Sunday there were quite a few people around (mostly expats), and there was a game of cricket being played on one of the lawns. It was very colonial – it reminded me of the Ikoyi Club in Lagos when we were growing up – we spent our Sundays at the pool and eating suya. The Canggu Club also has villas available for rent so I’m going to suggest that the next time we go to Bali! It was really lovely.

Echo Beach was about 10 minutes away from Canggu. We walked up to the beach and chose a restaurant – there were several in a row. We went to one called… Echo Beach!


I had the warm goat’s cheese salad to start with and pasta for my main course. They did have a big selection of barbecued seafood but after feeling so ill the day before I didn’t want to risk it. Mum ordered the snapper and Dad ordered a tuna steak. My food was great. Dad ended up sending his tuna steak back to the kitchen because… they’d forgotten to cook it! It was covered in the sauce but was ice cold. He was so upset. Mum and I looked at each other and burst out laughing as these things only ever seem to happen to him! The staff were very apologetic and brought him a new (cooked) one.

It was an overcast day and there were several surfers in the water.


The sun did try to come out from time to time.


Next to the strip of restaurants was a small temple. Mum and I walked over to have a look.


That evening I had a massage and then Harry came over and we went to Potato Head Beach Club for a drink before dinner.


We didn’t want to have dinner there and ended up at Rumours – on Jl. Kayu Aya, a few doors down from Trattoria. The music was loud and it was too noisy to talk in there. I ordered the Indonesian beef curry but the waitress told me they’d run out. I asked about the Indonesian chicken curry but they didn’t have that either. I ended up ordering a burger and not eating the bread. I wouldn’t go back there for dinner – but I would for drinks and a game of pool.

On Monday my parents were out running some errands so I had the place to myself. I sat by the pool and read my book. That night we went to Bali Nikmat in Kuta for dinner. The family had been there while I was in Phuket and had enjoyed it. The food was amazing – much better than Furama! Dad and I shared a hot and sour soup, and we had the chicken with dried chillies and black pepper beef. I thought the chicken was a bit too sweet but the beef was excellent.

On Tuesday my parents had more things to do so I sat by the pool and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Once they were back Mum and I went to Kuta Square to check out some of the sports shops. I’d been want
ing to get a new pair of running shoes but hadn’t seen anything I liked. The selection in each store was useless and the staff were no better. If I asked to see something in my size, they would bring me something two sizes smaller (or bigger) as they didn’t have my size. It was annoying and I soon gave up. I have little patience for shopping as it is! I went home and had a massage to relieve me of the stressful afternoon I’d had.

That night we went to Chat Cafe on Jl. Sunset Road for dinner. We’d driven past it so many times and wanted to try it. It turned out to be just OK – I don’t think I’d go back again although my pizza wasn’t bad.


When we finished dinner we decided to walk home. The usually busy streets were deserted due to the Galungan ceremony/holiday that was taking place the following day.


We stopped at a bookshop (I didn’t buy anything) and continued walking to Jl. Raya Seminyak where we stopped for ice cream and looked at a few shops. It would have taken us about 15 minutes to get home so we got into a cab. I finished packing and went to sleep.

On Wednesday morning I was picked up at 6.30  for my trip to Komodo. I got back on Friday morning in time for breakfast! We had lunch at Menega Cafe in Jimbaran – I wanted to go before we left. The food there is just out of this world.


After lunch Mum and I went to Jl. Raya Seminyak to do some shopping. I picked up a couple of dresses and then rushed home. After trekking in Komodo my legs had been aching so I booked a massage for Friday evening. That night Dad said he wanted to have Chinese food, so we went back to Bali Nikmat. The food was still great.

I was up early on Saturday so decided to do some work before breakfast. I sunbathed, swam and then Mum and I went to Trattoria for lunch. I think I’d been there six times this holiday! After lunch we went to Discovery Mall in Kuta. I was still looking for new running shoes and flip-flops and Mum needed a couple of things too. I managed to find a pair of trainers I liked at Nike and the staff were more helpful than they were at Kuta Square (but that’s not difficult). The flip-flops I liked weren’t available in my size but I’m sure I can find a pair when I’m back in Dubai. On our way home we stopped at Gloria Jean’s Coffee. Apparently there are three in Bali, but I’ve only seen two so far.

Back at the villa I had another massage (wow, that’s four this week!) and then did some packing. Harry came over and we went to Warisan on Jl. Raya Kerobokan for dinner. What a beautiful restaurant!


And the food was so good. I had the lobster ravioli to start followed by a steak (well, it was our last night there!). I skipped dessert!


There were some musicians there too – a guitarist called Lianto and a vocalist who was his daughter. They were both brilliant and it turned out that Harry knew them so they came to meet us when they were finished. It was a lovely last evening in Bali.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

Leave a comment »

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.


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!

Img_1<br />

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.


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


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).


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


I had the grilled prawn salad with spinach to start.


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


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.


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.


And Woobar is just as cool.


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


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.

1 Comment »

Bali: Week 3

It feels like all I’ve done this week is eat and drink!

Sunday and Monday were quiet during the day. My sister and her family arrived on Saturday evening so we spent Sunday relaxing at home. My brother and his wife arrived late Sunday night/early Monday morning so we didn’t do much on Monday either.

On Sunday evening Harry came over to say hello with his son Timothy. After that five of us and Harry (Timothy was dropped home) went back to Trattoria for dinner. I had my first slice of pizza since September! I couldn’t decide what to eat – I didn’t feel like fish or steak so I ordered chicken stuffed with emmental, mushrooms and spinach. It was excellent! I don’t usually order chicken when I go out but I think I should reconsider that. We shared tiramisu for dessert.

On Monday night we went to La Scala for dinner. I ordered a soup to start with and tacos for my main course. Nothing really appealed to me that evening – I don’t know why! And thankfully there were no bats that night.

We spent Tuesday afternoon at Bali Zoo. That night we went to Sushi Tei for dinner. My parents went home after dinner and the five of us went to Hu’u Bar for some drinks.


It was quiet but we stayed on until they closed.

On Wednesday my parents and I went to Jenggala Keramik for lunch (the others had all gone to Seminyak). I ordered a hot dog – it was the best hot dog I’d had in a long time.


After lunch my mum and I went to Le Salon des Coiffures in Jimbaran. I really needed a mani/pedi and wanted to get my hair coloured before going to Phuket. The mani/pedi, colour and blowdry cost $65. Bargain!

That night we went to Mama San in Seminyak to celebrate my brother and sister-in-law’s second anniversary. Harry joined us as well. We got there and had a drink at the bar upstairs while waiting for our table. I had the passion fruit and vanilla martini – it was pretty good but not something I could drink all night.


We sat down at our table and ordered. To start with we had: Peking duck with hoisin sauce, char sui pork with five spiced sauce, beef and bamboo dumplings with chilli and hot bean sauce, pork and prawn siu mai, crispy salmon with green mango salad and sweet fish sauce. For our main course we had: crispy lemongrass chicken with sweet chilli sauce, clay pot snapper braised in soy with Szechuan shitake mushrooms, Massaman curry with duck, stir-fried black pepper beef with asparagus, crispy whole fish with three-flavour sauce, pad thai, roti canai, steamed rice. We shared everything. We finished almost everything.

For dessert, we had home-made banana cake with cinnamon and cardamom with coconut ice cream – it was fantastic.

After dinner my parents went home and five of us went to Ku De Ta for a drink. Again, it was quiet, but not as quiet as Hu’u Bar the night before. We had one drink and called it a night.

Thursday was an uneventful day. We woke up late and lounged by the pool all afternoon. I did a few lengths of the pool and passed out on a sunbed for an hour.

We had dinner at Queen’s of India that night, at their branch in Tanjung Benoa.


It was full of Indians. The chef told us they had all been attending a wedding at one of the hotels nearby. We sat outside – there was a live band playing Indian music. The singer was Indian, the tabla player was Italian and the guitarist was Danish. At one point everyone from the wedding party got up to dance and I felt like I was gatecrashing a sangeet. It was weird. I ordered a dosa for my dinner. It was average – I don’t think I’d order that again.

Friday was a busy day! I was up early(ish), went to the gym, came back and had breakfast. We splashed around in the pool for a while and then five of us decided to have lunch at Menega Cafe in Jimbaran Bay.

We ordered the prawns, red snapper and lobster.


It was excellent. And the restaurant was a lot more relaxed compared to what it’s like at night. They only had a few tables out and some sunbeds and umbrellas too. After lunch I was too full to move.


We stayed at the beach for a little while and then headed home.

Early that evening four of us (my mum, brother, sister-in-law and me) went to the National Deaf School (or ‘National the Deaf School’ as the sign outside said) to feed the children. On our birthdays and anniversaries my mum always feeds the poor – if she’s in India she’ll do it herself and if she’s elsewhere she’ll arrange for it to happen. This year, for my brother and sister-in-law’s anniversary, Harry arranged for us to feed the children at the deaf school. He arranged for all the food (KFC) to be delivered and the kids were so excited.


They put on some entertainment for us. Three girls did a dance…


And two boys put on a very entertaining skit.


Harry explained to us that it was a state-funded school and they didn’t get many treats. He said that the age range of the school was 8 to 28 years. They stayed until they graduated, no matter how long it took them to get their high school diploma. He said a couple of the hotels employed a few high school graduates from the school as well. We asked how often they saw their parents – and he said that several of the boarders (all the kids we served were boarders – there were about 50 of them) were from neighbouring islands and rarely saw their parents. He said sometimes their parents couldn’t afford to make the journey or that the trip would take days to make and they couldn’t take that much time off work. He said the school runs mainly on donations – several local companies donate things, such as 50 kg of rice each month. I’m so glad I went – the kids were so happy.


That night we had dinner at a Korean Restaurant on Jalan Sunset Road called The Grill House. We ordered way too much food – beef, pork, chicken, kim chee – the portions were huge and the waitress really should have told us that! After dinner we weren’t sure whether to go out as we stank of Korean barbecue. My parents, brother and sister-in-law decided to go home, and my sister, brother-in-law and I went to Hu’u Bar for a couple of drinks. We got there before 11pm and managed to get a sofa outside – but inside the club was heaving. We left just after 1am.

On Saturday we hung out at the pool in the morning.


We then decided we’d go to Turtle Island (Dad stayed home). We spent an hour there, and then came back and had lunch at Bumbu Bali. I can’t decide whether it’s prettier in the day or at night!


That night my parents went out for dinner on their own and the five of us decided to go to Potato Head Beach Club. Harry had told us it’s the new place to go and was similar to Ku De Ta. We got there a little before 10pm and didn’t have a reservation. The woman at the desk told us all the beds by the beach/pool were booked but that we could have a table in the restaurant (none of us were keen). Luckily we saw some guys paying their bill and managed to get their table.

It’s a gorgeous space, but it didn’t feel as cosy as Ku De Ta – there was a large unused space in the middle of the ‘amphitheatre’ which made the club seem too big.


We ordered our drinks first and then looked at the food menu. That first round of drinks took forever to get to us. We decided we’d have to order our next round when we were halfway through our first! We ordered a cheese platter, a cold cuts platter and some smoked salmon to share. I was so excited when the cheese platter came that I forgot to take photos of the other food.


At midnight we decided to move on to somewhere else and ended up at Hu’u Bar. Because we’d arrived after midnight we
had to pay the entrance fee ($10), which included one free drink.


There were some interestingly dressed women there…


We took a cab home at about 2.30, stopping at the McDonald’s drive-thru near the villa. We were laughing so hard about something (the Australian guy that walked up to the drive-thru window – ‘Where’s your dingo, mate?’) that my sister had tears running down her cheeks. I’m not even going to explain what we were laughing at because it won’t seem remotely funny now.

We got home, scoffed our food and went to bed.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

Leave a comment »

Bali: Week 1

I have been to Bali many times in the last few years but I have never seen the airport as crowded as it was on Sunday morning. The queues to pay for visa on arrival were long, and the queues at immigration were even longer (because they weren’t moving as fast). I did have a laugh (silently) at the sign above immigration: ‘One at a time or be deported’. That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? It took me close to an hour to get out of there. On the positive side, my parents already had visas so they went straight through, met our friend Harry who had come in to receive us, and collected our luggage (yes, it all arrived). I didn’t have to deal with any of that. 

I asked Harry what was going on? The last time I was in Bali was July 2010 and it was nowhere near as crowded as this. He said that over the last two years there were millions of tourists coming in (apparently 3 million in 2011). I told him the other thing I’d noticed while waiting was the amount of signs and tourist brochures in Russian. He said flights come in several times a week from Moscow, Kiev and other ex-USSR cities, and they’re all full. While walking to the car I noticed construction taking place at one end of the airport – it was being extended to accommodate all us tourists.

We got to our villa at Temple Hill about half an hour later – most of that time was spent getting out of the airport! Harry joined us, gave us our SIM cards for our mobiles and stayed for a little while.

My parents first met Harry when he organised my sister’s wedding in 2006 and since then they have kind of adopted him. He also organised my brother’s wedding in 2010. He keeps threatening to organise mine and I keep telling him I’m going to elope.


The villa is lovely.


There are three bedrooms on the pool level, and on the first floor are the master bedroom, living and dining rooms and kitchen. There are also two ‘butlers’ who make breakfast, clean, sort out laundry, et cetera – they are on call from 8am to 8pm. This is the pool area:



My bedroom…


The view from my bed…


My bathroom (half of it). There’s a statue on the other side of the frosted glass and every time I walk into the bathroom it makes me jump as I think someone’s standing there.


The view from the balcony upstairs.


 After unpacking I sat by the pool for a while. At about 7pm we decided we’d have an early dinner and call it a night. We went to Bumbu Bali in Tanjung Benoa, about 15 minutes from our villa. We’d been here many times and it’s one of our favourite places in Bali. We ordered chicken satay, nasi goreng, prawns with chilli and lime in coconut sauce, and marinated diced fish grilled in banana leaf. It was all excellent.


We were home by 9.30 and I was passed out by 10.30!

On Monday morning I went to the gym at Karma Spa across the road. When I got back my parents and I went to Jimbaran Corner to have a look around and get some lunch. It’s a new complex with shops and restaurants – and it wasn’t there the last time we were here 2 years ago. We ended up at Grocer & Grind, a deli/cafe concept (similar to Jones the Grocer). I ordered the penne with salmon, caramelised onions and capers.


My parents had prawn risotto and pad thai, and we ordered a Greek salad to share. After lunch we went to check out the Body Star Fitness Centre (which I joined). We then went to Discovery Shopping Mall for a wander. Dad and I had a coffee at Starbucks (we couldn’t find anywhere else) and I bought some flip flops. We stopped at a supermarket on the way back to the hotel just to pick up a few things we needed for the villa – soft drinks, toiletries, water – and headed back home. 

After being in Dubai where people are (mostly) conservatively dressed, seeing people walking around in just shorts and bikini tops or just swimming trunks is quite a shock to the system! I almost want to say ‘Put some clothes on – you can’t walk around like that!’ And then I remember I’m not in Kansas anymore…

That night we asked Ranuh (our driver) to take us to a Chinese restaurant close by. He took us to a place called Furama in Tuban. As soon as we walked in I realised we’d been there before – on my dad’s 60th birthday a few years ago. To start, Dad and I ordered a hot and sour soup to share – it turned out to be a huge portion, at least five people could have shared it! For our main course, we had the mapo tofu, beef on a hot plate, steamed garoupa (grouper – which I had to pick out of the fish tank) and pak choi. I forgot to take pictures of the food but remembered to take photos of the spelling mistakes in the menu!

Tuesday was a quiet day. I went to the gym and spent the afternoon at the pool. We had a late lunch at the villa and I had a massage in my room at 5pm. I didn’t feel like doing much after that. At 7pm we went to Bali Collection in Nusa Dua – a collection of shops, restaurants, spas and outdoor entertainment. Because we’d had such a late lunch, we walked around the shops for a while – there are several surf shops, sports shops, a Sogo department store, art galleries. Again, I noticed lots of signs and menus in Russian. I would go back for a proper look around. While wandering around we came across a seafood restaurant and I saw this:


A baby shark!

We eventually had dinner at an Italian place called Uno. Dad had the tom yum soup to start (who orders tom yum soup in an Italian restaurant??) and Mum and I shared a Caesar salad. I had the grilled tuna for my main course, Dad had the chicken steak and Mum had a mushroom pizza. 

It rained heavily all night that night. I was up early on Wednesday. I’d asked Harry to recommend a dive centre where I could do a PADI Open Water course. He said he had a contact at YOS Marine Adventures in Tanjung Benoa and even got me a good discount. Their driver picked me up at 9am and took me to the dive centre for a morning of classroom-based diving theory. 

When I got back to the villa it was 1.30pm and my parents had already left for lunch in Seminyak. My phone battery had died halfway through the morning so I wasn’t able to tell my parents what time I’d finish. It was quite miserable outside so I managed to get some work done and enjoy the peace! My throat was also starting to hurt and I wanted to take it easy.

I wanted an early night so we headed out for dinner at 7.30pm. We decided to go to La Scala in Tanjung Benoa – the last time I’d been there was in 2006, and I remembered the food being good. We eventually found the restaurant – there are so many new ones on the same road I wondered whether it still existed. We eventually found it a lot further down the street than I remember. 

The food is a mixture of cuisines – pizzas, pastas, local favourites, grilled seafood, steaks, a bit of everything really. It sounds weird but I had the chicken and sweetcorn soup to start with followed by a steak. Mum and Dad had the calamari to start with, Dad then had the beef strogannoff and Mum had the ‘tasty pepper prawns’. I did take some photos but they didn’t come out very well! There was a singer in the corner playing an electronic keyboard – he looked bored out of his brains. There was a man and his family sitting on the table behind us – my mum was convinced it was Russell Crowe (it wasn’t). I even Googled him and showed her a photo of him and she was still convinced it was him. 

Halfway through dinner a bat flew into the restaurant, swooping over several people’s heads, including mine. It flew out again but flew back in a few minutes later, staying for longer. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I couldn’t relax knowing there was a flying rat in the vicinity. We got home at 9.45 and I was in bed soon after.

I woke up on Thursday with a sore throat and temperature. I had to postpone my first day of diving – I had so been looking forward to it! I spent the morning in bed and the afternoon working (still in bed).

Harry joined us for dinner on Thursday night – we went to Trattoria in Seminyak.


Trattoria is one of our favourite places – every time we’ve been to B
ali we’ve come here at least once. It seems to be at the top of everyone’s list. You can’t book a table after 7pm so there’s always a queue outside. In the last couple of years they’ve ‘expanded’ by putting up a few tables across the road and serving there, and there’s also a ‘branch’ a couple of doors down from the original (but I’m not sure whether they have their own kitchen). I had the antipasto platter to start with and the grilled tuna with sauteed spinach and cherry tomatoes for my main course. I also shared a tiramisu with my mum for dessert. I tried to take some photos but it was too dark and the photos didn’t do the food justice. I’m sure we’ll be back there soon so I’ll try again.

On Friday I stayed home the whole day – my sore throat had developed into a cough and I just wanted to take it easy. My parents were out most of the day so I sat by the pool reading my book. That night Harry recommended we try a seafood place in Jimbaran Bay called Menega Cafe. The area consists of several seafood restaurants in a row and they didn’t look particularly exciting.


But once you’re inside, past the kitchen and fish tanks, the restaurant is huge. There’s an indoor seating area (which was a bit too smoky with the kitchens being right there) and the outdoor seating area which was where most people were sitting. The waiter showed us to a table which was just one table away from the water’s edge. There were a few times during dinner where the waves just missed our table! We could still smell the smoke from the barbecue and our table was on a slope which wasn’t very comfortable. We ordered the king prawns, a red snapper, mussels and calamari.


I didn’t have the mussels or the calamari but the prawns and fish were excellent. Steamed white rice and vegetables were also served with each dish. The restaurant seemed popular with both tourists and locals. Interestingly, the restaurants on either side of Menega Cafe were empty. I would definitely go back, but would request a table further away from the water, just in case! While looking at the sky after dinner (the stars shine so brightly here) I saw my first shooting star!

I woke up on Saturday feeling terrible. My cough was worse and I had a fever. I thought it would be best if I saw a doctor before it got any worse. Harry called to say he’d made me an appointment with his GP for that evening, and 45 minutes later, while we were having breakfast, he showed up with what seemed to be the entire contents of the chemist. Vitamin C tablets, four bottles of lemon water infused with vitamin C, Panadol, an antiseptic throat spray, and a thermometer for his ‘little sister’. I was touched. I took some vitamin C and started drinking some lemon water and a couple of hours later I did feel a bit better. I took it easy the rest of the day.

I went to see Dr Chandra on Saturday evening. His office was just above the pharmacy I’d been to a couple of days before and was about the size of my bathroom. But at least it was clean. I was there for less than 10 minutes – he took my temperature, looked into my throat and ears, and listened to my chest. He said I had a throat infection and prescribed antibiotics and a cough syrup. The pharmacy under his clinic didn’t have what I needed so they called another pharmacy who would deliver it to our villa. Sure enough, an hour later they arrived.

I didn’t really feel like going anywhere on Saturday night but my parents didn’t want to leave me home alone either. We compromised by going to Pepenero, an Italian restaurant just next to our villa. I’d been past it many times on my last trip to Bali and had always wanted to try it. We sat down and they brought us some bread, balsamic vinegar and bruschetta while we perused the menu.


I had considered having just soup but all I’d eaten that day was a fruit platter for breakfast, a croissant (bad) and McDonald’s French fries (very bad). I ended up going for one of the specials.


I ordered the black ravioli with salmon. I don’t usually eat pasta at night but I just felt like it that evening. I also had some of the sauteed spinach my mum ordered.


The portions aren’t huge at Pepenero, but they’re adequate. I would go back – and I can see us going there at least two more times when the rest of the family get here, even if it’s just for the sake of convenience! 

I was home by 9.30, took my medicine and went to bed.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

Leave a comment »