Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Bali 2015: Days 3 to 9

I woke up on Sunday and made it down to breakfast at about 10.45. Again, I was the only person in the restaurant. I ordered a cappuccino, a coconut water and the nasi goreng. The portion was huge and I couldn’t finish it. I asked for a 1pm checkout and went to my room to sort out my packing and read on the balcony for a while, waiting to be picked up for my yoga retreat. When I was in Jamaica, I was looking for yoga retreats in Bali as I was going to be there for my cousin’s wedding in December. And I found one – Bali Goddess Retreats in Seminyak.

I was collected from Luna2 Studiotel at about 1 pm and spent the whole week at the retreat. We were there for most of the time although Wednesday and Thursday were free evenings – dinner wasn’t provided at the villa and we were able to eat out on those two nights.

I’ve learned that people who live in Bali (and many of those visiting) are really into the healing side of the island – there are a lot of healers here and the retreat leaders had a list of all their favourites and offered to make appointments for us if we wanted them. I decided to see a psychic healer/tarot reader called Sam so on Tuesday morning, one of the girls (C) and I were taken to  Canggu where she lives for our appointments. My appointment was at noon so I was dropped off while C went to have a coffee or a wander around the town.

Before I’d even started shuffling the cards, she said to me, ‘I’m picking up that you’re quite psychic yourself’. It always interests me when people pick up on this because I don’t feel psychic most of the time. I told her that my intuition only works when I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome of a situation – the more important the outcome is to me, the less I can hear my intuition. She told me I really needed to focus on developing my psychic abilities because I had the power to be a great healer. Something to think about! She told me I needed to write as that’s how I express myself. She told me that my work wasn’t very challenging (it isn’t – meeting deadlines is the most challenging part of it) but that I’d be offered a new contract soon. I told her that I’d already been speaking to a new company based in the UK (and they’ve now told me I’d be a ‘valuable asset’ to their work). She also told me I’d been thinking about moving – and I had been thinking about it over the summer, but then Dad had a heart attack and now I don’t think I can leave. She said a lot of things which were relevant to me and I was glad I went to see her.

After my session, C was dropped off and I went to have a coffee at Kitchen Rustica, an Italian restaurant. While I was in there, a guy rode up on his scooter, no shirt, bare feet, just shorts – and ordered a pizza. Only in Bali!

On Wednesday night, we went to a restaurant in Jalan Petitenget called Sardine. I don’t remember it being there the last time I was in Bali three years ago. It’s a beautiful restaurant right next to a rice padi. Me and my fellow retreat-goers (four of us in total) shared a couple of starters: the bass and long-nosed emperor sashimi and the Papua crab tower. Both were interesting but I wouldn’t order either of them again. For my main course I ordered the barramundi steamed in banana leaf. Now that was excellent. For dessert we shared the black pepper ice cream – I’ve never tasted anything like that before! It started off a little sweet and then you could really taste the black pepper coming through.

On Thursday evening, we left the villa to see the sunset from Potato Head. I’ve never been a fan of Potato Head, much preferring Ku De Ta. Potato Head was crowded and we had to wait for a table even though we were there at 5.30pm. We sat at the bar and ordered some drinks (I had the Coco Loco mocktail).

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I’m sure the sunset was lovely but we couldn’t see it as a huge screen had been put up in front of the ocean. How ridiculous is that??

At 6.30pm we decided to go to Ku De Ta as we had a dinner reservation there for 8pm, but thought it would be more relaxing lounging around there for a while. We were right!

I was surprised to see that they’d installed a pool by the beach.

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It was so much nicer than Potato Head, much more sophisticated. And we were able to see what was left of the sunset.

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We decided to go to our table at 7.30pm as we were all quite hungry. Again, we shared two starters: the prawn and snapper tsiu mai dumplings and the grilled calamari. I loved the dumplings! I was tempted to order the barramundi again but I ended up sharing the roasted Balinese pork (for two people) with one of the other girls. It was fantastic – and such a huge portion that three of us could have eaten it (but we finished it!). I was so full by the end of our main course and couldn’t have dessert. The other three each ordered a homemade mini Magnum ice cream bar. I don’t know how they managed it!

Our retreat ended on Saturday and I was moving to the Sofitel Hotel in Nusa Dua. I had asked the hotel to arrange a car to collect me at 3pm but by 3.20pm there was no sign of the driver. And it had started pouring with rain – I’ve never heard thunder so loud! I called the hotel, they put me through to the transport department and I eventually got the mobile number for the driver who was totally lost (even though I’d send directions in Indonesian with the villa phone number to the hotel). Two minutes after speaking to him, a car pulled into the gang (lane). Finally! After much struggling with the umbrellas and the torrential rain and the luggage, I got into the car. ‘So, where are you going?’ the driver asked. That was weird. ‘To the Sofitel in Nusa Dua,’ I told him. ‘You booked the Uber?’ Erm. No, I didn’t. So, it turned out that a ‘Mr Nick’ had booked the Uber and was in Seminyak Square. So why the hell the car came to our villa I don’t know. A minute later, another car pulled into the gang and it was the car from the hotel. So we transferred the luggage (still in the pouring rain) from one car to the other and I was finally on my way to Nusa Dua.

The traffic in Bali is horrendous. I thought that once the underpass near Dijon Cafe had opened, the traffic would lessen considerably. If anything, it’s even worse now. And the fact that a part of Jalan Sunset Road has been reduced to one lane in each direction doesn’t help the situation. I eventually got to the Sofitel at about 4.30pm – thankfully the driver took the toll road over the water so we avoided some traffic. The driver had been hired by the hotel and gave me his business card in case I needed a car during my stay.

I checked in and went to my room.

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The rooms are spacious but the closet space is limited. There are only two drawers next to the wardrobe and my sister would be arriving in a few days so I had to make some space for her things too. I had a feeling this room was going to be very messy very soon! I unpacked my things and wedged my suitcase in between the sofa and the mini bar. I then called the spa to see if they could fit me in for a massage that evening.

According to the spa menu in the room, I could wear the gown in the bathroom to the spa so I did that, but then discovered I had to walk through either the crowded restaurant or the crowded lobby to get to the spa! I had a Balinese massage for one hour and stopped to check out the gym next door. I told them I’d join them for the 7am floating yoga class the next morning. From what the guy was saying I guessed that floating yoga is the same as swing yoga.

I had dinner in the Kwee Zeen restaurant that evening (and I’ve only just realised it’s pronounced ‘cuisine’). I ordered the pad thai with prawns and some water and went back to my room.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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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!

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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And two boys put on a very entertaining skit.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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There were some interestingly dressed women there…

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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.

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