Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Bali 2015: Days 18 and 19

My sister and I were up early on Monday as I’d booked Pak Wayan to take us to Seminyak (yes, again). We were ready by 9.30 but by the time we’d said goodbye to our grandmother and some other relatives who were leaving straight after the wedding, it was closer to 10.30 by the time we left.

We decided to go to Jalan Seminyak this time instead of Jalan Laksmana. We walked for a little while, tried on some shoes in Kat Sweet (a shoe shop we’d been to in 2012 – the shoes are the same!), and then decided to go to Warung Made for lunch. It was noon by this time and we were hungry! We ordered chicken satays, spring rolls and mie goreng.

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It was so good. The spring rolls were just average but the the other two dishes were yum.

We walked around a little longer but then I had to leave as I had another appointment with Jim in Umalas (I still think he’s amazing). While I was at my appointment, my sister had a massage at Kaiana Spa, in the same complex as Warung Made. When I got back to Seminyak, she was in a shop buying gifts and I ended up buying an incense holder and enough incense sticks to last me six months!

It was about 4.30pm by this time and we were feeling peckish again. We decided we couldn’t leave Seminyak and not go to our favourite place, Trattoria. We shared the beef carpaccio and a pizza David (mozzarella, mushrooms, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil-infused olive oil). Oh. My. God. I could have eaten that pizza twice.

We got back to the Sofitel at about 7pm and had to get ready as we were having dinner with Harry at 7.30. After much debating we ended up going to Bali Nikmat in Kuta – one of my favourites. We were back at the hotel by 11pm.

On Tuesday morning, my sister left for the airport at about 11.30am. I had lunch with my parents before they left for the airport a little while later. I had until 9pm to entertain myself. I was able to get a late checkout at 6pm (but had to pay for it). I decided to go back to the Ritz-Carlton to do the perfume workshop. I got there at around 2pm and was seated in front of dozens of little bottles.

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The lady explained base notes, middle notes and top notes to me and I then got to choosing the scents I liked. My eventual choices were: base notes – Oriental, Chypre, Smoky and Massoia; middle notes – Ylang-ylang, Champaka, Tuberose and Frangipani; and top notes – Herbaceous, Aquatic and Bergamot.

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I then got to play around with creating a perfume – I made three different samples, and then had to decide whether I preferred a light perfume or something a bit heavier. When I’d decided, they made me a bottle of perfume and packaged it for me.

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They also kept my perfume on file so that if I ever want to reorder it, they’ll know what to create.

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The lady told me I shouldn’t open the perfume for three weeks, to give the molecules time to settle.

After I was finished, I tried to find Harry (he works at the Ritz-Carlton) but it took ages to get hold of him, and by the time I managed he was just going into a meeting. In the 10 minutes that I waited in the lobby of the hotel trying to call him, I was bitten at least eight times on my lower legs by mosquitoes!

I got back to the Sofitel and finished off my packing, convinced that my suitcase weighed more than my luggage allowance of 30 kg. I checked out of my room at 6pm and went to sit with my aunt and uncle in their room.

I left for the airport at around 9pm. Luckily there was no traffic and I was there in about 20 minutes. I checked in – my bag weighed exactly 30 kg! And then I had time to kill and didn’t really know what to do with myself. So I went to the bookshop and browsed, and then decided to get some food at Last Wave – a restaurant/bar near the departure gates.

And finally it was time to board. I hoped the flight would be as empty as the one I flew in on, but no such luck. I couldn’t believe my holiday was already over and I was heading home to Dubai! I had an amazing time though – and Bali, I’ll be back 🙂

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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Bali 2015: Days 15 to 17 (and a fairy tale wedding)

When I found out my cousin had decided to have her wedding in Bali, I decided to go a few days earlier and have some time to myself. I was on a yoga retreat for a week and then moved to the Sofitel in Nusa Dua for the wedding. So, I’d been in Bali for two weeks by the time the wedding started…

It was a fairy tale wedding, quite literally. The invitations, parties, do not disturb signs and even key holders all had a fairy tale theme to them!

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On Friday morning there were a couple of pujas (prayers) followed by lunch. After lunch we relaxed in our room for a while and then eventually had to get ready for the dinner.

The first night was a costume party where we had to go dressed as a fictional character. I’d ordered a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ set from the USA, but by the time I left for Bali it still hadn’t arrived (and a month later, it still hasn’t). It would have been perfect – with long black gloves, tiara, cigarette holder, pearl necklace… but it would have also been perfect if the damn thing had arrived. Instead I wore a pink dress with butterflies on it (there actually is a Hans Christian Andersen story called ‘The Butterfly’, who knew?) but was amazed at the lengths other wedding guests had gone to. The bride and her fiance were Guinevere and Lancelot, there was a Storm Trooper, there was a V (from ‘V for Vendetta’), there were a couple of Maleficents, a Queen of Hearts, a few Tinkerbells, a Zorro and so many others. My dad said he saw someone in ‘just his hotel dressing gown’ but when I spotted the same person later on, I realised he was supposed to be Luke Skywalker. There was a Snow White, and a couple of Cruella de Vils too.

The entrance to the venue was stunning – it was like an enchanted forest. There were even little speakers in the trees with birds singing!

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Once dinner had been served, it was ‘Shots O’Clock’ every half an hour…

We left just before 3am, but I believe the party went on until breakfast was served.

On Saturday afternoon, there was pool party at Nikki Beach.

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We didn’t stay too long though.

On Saturday night was the sangeet. The way the hall was decorated was incredible. I have never seen anything like it before. It had an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, and you even had to go through a maze to get into the ballroom.

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There were women on stilts with trays of shots, and there were even people dressed as pawns moving around the chessboard – and they joined in with the dancing later on in the night. It was basically like a very large zumba class, but a lot more fun! (Sorry, the sound quality in the video is terrible.)

I was back in my room before 3am, but again the party went on all night.

We were woken up at about 11am on Sunday as we had to attend another puja. I thought I could have a nap after that, but we were told that the bride couldn’t be on her own until the wedding at 4.30pm and that we had to be ready by 2.30pm to collect the groom and bring him to her. It was going to a be long day. So, my sister and I were ready by 2.30pm, but of course nobody else was. We eventually went to collect the groom and his friends and family, and they did the baraat (groom’s wedding procession) to where the bride was waiting. Luckily it had stopped raining, but they moved the wedding ceremony indoors just in case.

The ceremony seemed to go on forever. The bride’s family and the groom’s family had each brought their own priest, so they both were trying to conduct the ceremony.

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People were coming and going, getting tea and snacks, and I don’t think anyone would have noticed if I’d slipped out, but I was needed towards the end of the ceremony to shower the couple with rose petals as they walked around the fire.

That evening was the wedding reception. Once again, the ballroom had been completely transformed.

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I was really struggling with my dress though. I’d bought it over the summer when I was in London and thought I’d lose some weight before wearing it at the wedding, and I had, but it was SO tight. I put it on while I was getting ready, then realised that I couldn’t sit down to put my shoes on. So I took it off again, put my shoes on and then put the dress back on. I then realised that I wouldn’t be able to lift it up if I needed the loo and would have to take the whole thing off again! Good Lord. I decided that if I did need the loo later on, I’d just go back to my room and change before coming back to the reception…

Luckily, it didn’t get to that stage. My sister and I left when our parents did, as we intended to be up early the next morning to go into Seminyak.

So, congratulations to the beautiful bride and groom – and here’s hoping their marriage is every bit the fairy tale as their wedding was!

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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Bali 2015: Days 10 to 14

I was up early on Sunday. I’d missed the swing yoga class but decided to go to the gym anyway. On my way back to my room I stopped in the restaurant, Kwee Zeen, for breakfast. I have to say I hate the name of the restaurant! I just wanted some eggs so I didn’t go for the whole buffet breakfast. I was seated next to some screaming children and the restaurant felt like a zoo. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. I had my book but couldn’t focus on it and left as soon as I’d eaten.

I went to the concierge to find out about renting a car and driver, but in the end decided to use the driver who had brought me to the Sofitel the day before. His rate was much more reasonable and he seemed like a decent guy.

I did a bit of work and then went to Nikki Beach, which is at the Sofitel itself. It was before noon when I got there so it was quite empty. I didn’t sit right inside the restaurant, but out on the beach.

I ordered some coconut water and started to read.

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And then it started to rain. Thankfully, it was just a light drizzle, nothing like the day before, so I stayed under my umbrella and continued reading. It cleared up pretty quickly but I could see the clouds heading over to Kuta and Seminyak. There was such a distinct line between the grey clouds and the blue sky!

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I had a massage that afternoon at 4pm – the hotel were offering 50% off massages between 1 and 4pm so I booked a 90-minute massage! I was feeling really lazy after that so I went back to my room and got into bed. I ordered room service that evening and passed out.

I was up early on Monday morning and went to the 7am floating/swing yoga class at the gym.

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I had a pretty busy day ahead of me, with two appointments – one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so I hired the car and driver for the day. Pak Wayan picked me up at 9.15am and I left for my 10.30 appointment near Seminyak. I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to get there and I got there shortly after 10. The lady I was seeing was busy with her client to I told her I’d come back in a little while. The driver took me to get a fresh juice (I hadn’t had breakfast) and by the time we did that and braved the traffic again, I was on time.

The lady I was seeing was called Dafne and she works with flower essences to heal people. The leaders at the Bali Goddess Retreat highly recommended her and one of the girls had been to see her last week but was fully booked after that. Dafne was a lovely woman from Chile – I couldn’t tell how old she was, but she’s been in Bali for many years. So what does she do? We made small talk for a little while as she prepared her work space, organising boxes of flower essences, and then she closed her eyes and took out a crystal which was on a chain. She circled it over her head several times and then explained she was getting in touch with my spirit guides. She then told me to do whatever I wanted while she carried on (I had my book). She continued swinging the crystal over each box one at a time, pulling out various bottles of essences and putting them on one side. By the time she had finished, she had put aside nine bottles.

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She explained what each one represented and how they would help various aspects of my life. I hadn’t told her anything about me before she’d started but when she told me about all the things I was experiencing or needed, she was on the money. She then took out a little bottle with a dropper, filled half of it with vodka (I had been wondering why there was an open bottle of vodka on the table at 10.30am!) and then proceeded to put drops of each of the essences into the bottle. She told me that I was doing well on my journey as some people need as many as twenty to thirty different essences the first time they go see her, and I only needed nine. When she was done, she blessed the bottle and gave it to me. She told me to take a few drops right then, so I did. She told me to take four drops four times a day to start with and then see how I feel as time goes on.

After I left Dafne’s, I had a few hours to kill so I went to Seminyak Square, had an early lunch at Bali Bakery and then walked around for a while.

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I then went to Galleria Mall – I really didn’t know what else to do with myself for two hours. I looked at the bookshop and organised SIM cards for my parents and sister who would be arriving the next day. I then headed to my appointment with Jim in Umalas.

The other three girls on the yoga retreat had all been to Jim and they all said it should be compulsory to see him for anyone visiting the island. So I was curious to see what he was about. I got there on time (one hour in traffic!) and we talked for about 20 minutes – he told me what he did, that he pinpoints areas of pain/tension in the body and links them to emotional situations from the past and present. I knew this was going to hurt – physically and emotionally. I’d made a list beforehand of all the areas on my body that hurt – toes, soles of my feet, knees, left inner thigh, left shoulder, nosebleeds from my left nostril – because I was bound to forget something when he asked. We talked about a few things, some very personal, and then he told me to get undressed and lie on the massage table. I had no idea how much it would hurt when he pressed various pressure points and when he told me what each one was connected to emotionally, it all made sense. When he pressed my right ankle, I almost kicked him. My left hip – Jesus. He said our bodies are like hard drives – you think you’ve erased all the old files and emptied the wastepaper basket, but there’s still a trace of something left behind. He told me that because I was so sensitive to my environment I should protect my chakras when I’m around negative people/situations by putting my tongue on the roof of my mouth – this would close off my throat chakra and the others below it. I’m sure that will come in useful! When he was finished, I felt so much… lighter. And I felt happier than I’d felt in a long time. I asked him how often people go to him and he said he sees some people once a week and others he never sees again. I’d definitely see him again if I had the time!

I went back to the hotel after that (which took another hour) and really fancied a cup of tea.

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I did a bit of work and went to the restaurant for dinner. I was working till after 1am and slept really badly.

On Tuesday my alarm went off at 6am and I thought about cancelling the floating yoga class and sleeping in. I felt like I hadn’t slept at all. But I dragged myself out of bed and went anyway. I couldn’t face breakfast in the restaurant again so I ordered room service. I don’t know what I was thinking but I ordered an American breakfast – which was far too much for me to eat. In the end, I didn’t even touch the cereal or the croissants, just the omelette – and the coffee was delicious.

I did some work in the lobby bar, overlooking the lush greenery while my room was being cleaned.

That afternoon, my parents, sister and grandmother all arrived together. A little while later, some cousins and their mum arrived. The relaxing part of my trip was definitely over as everyone had started arriving for my cousin’s wedding. That evening, we all went to Bumbu Bali in Nusa Dua for dinner. I was tired as I’d slept badly the night before, everyone else was jetlagged and hungry. We ordered loads of food – satays, ribs, prawns. It was an early night for everyone.

The next day my sister and I were up early. I’d asked Pak Wayan to pick us up at 9.30am and take us to Seminyak. I wanted to leave early to avoid the traffic – and we were there by 10.15 or so. We went to Sisterfields for breakfast. I ordered a juice and the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon – it was delicious!

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My sister had the brioche French toast and said that was amazing too.

We walked around Seminyak Village and Seminyak Square and to Indigo Kids, where I bought this T-shirt for one of my nephews:

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We then went to the other end of Jalan Laksmana and walked back down to the Seminyak Square end. I picked up a dress, two handbags, two pairs of Havaianas… I think that was it? After walking around Seminyak for a while we went to Galleria Mall, but that was just a waste of time.

We were both peckish on the way home and got stuck in terrible traffic. We stopped at McDonald’s for a quick bite and in the end it took us almost two hours to get back to the hotel. The roundabout at the airport had been closed (no idea why), and the traffic on the toll road was out of control!

That evening a few of my cousins wanted to go out for dinner and suggested a couple of places in Seminyak, but there was no way I was heading back there again. In the end, my sister, cousin and I had dinner at Kwee Zeen (ugh) and then met up with the others in the Lobby Bar – it turned out that they didn’t go out either in the end. I sat with them until about 11pm and then went to my room.

On Thursday, my parents, sister and grandmother were going to Discovery Mall in Kuta while I stayed behind to do some work. That evening there was an ‘early bird’ dinner at Bejana at the Ritz-Carlton. It’s a huge property which has only been open a few months, but it was pretty quiet. On the way to the restaurant, we passed a Perfume Workshop where you could make your own perfume.

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It wasn’t a late night as we knew the next three days would be hectic with the wedding and family, etc.

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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Dubai 2015: Week 45

I woke up on Sunday feeling really tired. I decided to skip the gym and do some work instead. Later that afternoon I went to the Fairmont at the Palm to hang out with my friends who were leaving the following day. I’d met them on Thursday and Saturday but wanted to see them before they left. I got there at around 5pm – they were at the pool with their kids. I hadn’t intended to swim at all, but sat on one of the sunbeds watching the beautiful sunset! Once they were out of the pool, the husband took the kids up to get them ready for dinner and/or bed while the wife and I went to one of the pool bars for a glass of wine. After we’d had a drink, he came back down while she went up to get ready – so I managed alone time with both of them! I left the hotel at about 8pm, expecting terrible traffic on the way home but it only took me half an hour to get home. I have to add that on my way there and on my way back I had two different cab drivers, and both drove so fast I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to my destination…

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete and spent the rest of the day working.

After my yoga class on Tuesday morning, I settled down to a full day of work. I would usually have gone to the supermarket for the weekly shop but I was so fed up of getting a cab there and back. Kaleem, our driver, was back at work the next day so I decided I’d wait one more day.

I was ready to leave the house at 9am on Wednesday morning, but when we got to the car it wouldn’t start. After sitting in the car park for two months, the battery had died! Kaleem called one of his friends and they tried to get the battery started using jumper cables but that didn’t work either. At 9.40, Ajay (the cook) and I decided to cab it to the supermarket. I was supposed to have a session with Pete at 11am and I didn’t think I’d be back in time. He was fine about me cancelling so late and said he could do the following day instead. As we’d gone to the supermarket so early, we didn’t encounter as much traffic as we normally would have and by 10.40 we were on our way home. I went to the gym anyway and then settled down to some work.

After my Thursday session with Pete, I worked the rest of the day. That night, I went to see Texas in concert at the Dubai Tennis Stadium. I’d seen them live in January 2014 at the Irish Village (but had taken a break from blogging then). The venue this time was larger and there were seats. We could sit anywhere we wanted so we got some drinks and made ourselves comfortable.

The concert was brilliant – Sharleen Spiteri’s voice is still incredible, even after twenty-five years. They opened with ‘I Don’t Want a Lover’. This was followed by ‘Halo’, ‘When We Are Together’ and ‘In Our Lifetime’. She sang a couple of songs from their latest album which I didn’t know – ‘The Conversation’ and ‘Detroit City’. Then back to their old stuff: ‘In Demand’, ‘Summer Son’, ‘Black Eyed Boy’. They finished with ‘Say What You Want’ and said goodnight.

What I like about her is that she chats to the audience a lot! Their first encore was a cover of an Al Green song.

What an amazing vocal range she has! They then performed ‘Inner Smile’ which is my favourite song of theirs. Unfortunately as I was recording it, the camera on my phone froze and I lost the entire recording. So… here’s the one from last year.

I thought that would be their last song, but they did a cover version of Elvis’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ after that. It was after 11pm when they finished and I was home by 11.30pm, which was nice. I ended up working until 2am and went to bed.

I was home all day on Friday, mostly working. That evening Dad and I went to Mercato for dinner. We thought we’d try somewhere different and ended up at a Jordanian restaurant called Azkadenya on the first floor. We ordered one hummus and one fatoush to start with.

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The starters were really good – the salad was fresh and the hummus was creamy. Dad ordered a shish taouk for his main course and I had the lamb cubes. Both were very good but the portions were big – we could have shared one dish between us.

After dinner we still had some time to kill before the movie so we went to the Chocolate Bar for a coffee (for him) and hot chocolate (for me).

At 8.30 my cousin and her parents joined us and we went to see the new James Bond movie, Spectre, together. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I enjoyed it. I think I’d have enjoyed watching anything that involved Daniel Craig running around for two hours!

On Saturday evening, Dad and I went to a wedding reception at the Four Seasons. We got there at around 9pm, which was a bit early even though the card said 8.30pm. Cocktails were on the lawn and by 10pm there were a lot more people there, and people I hadn’t seen in a while. Honestly, I was surprised to have been invited as it’s not a group I usually socialise with, but I’m glad I went. I caught up with friends who had flown in from various places and I also drank a hell of a lot of champagne. I got home at around 3am…

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

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Dubai 2015: Week 8

What began as a quiet(ish) week ended up quite the opposite! After my session with Trevor on Sunday, I was home the rest of the day.

On Monday afternoon I went to the Dubai Mall – I was thinking about getting a foundation (I don’t wear much makeup) and had heard that Sephora had some skin-matching machine/app that would find you the perfect foundation. I thought I’d give it a try. I walked into Sephora – and I walked straight out. It was like the makeup equivalent of Top Shop – crowded, loud pumping music and inattentive sales staff. No, thank you.

So I walked to Bobbi Brown – much better. Not crowded, no music (that I could hear) and someone who knew what she was talking about. In the end, I ditched the foundation idea and bought a tinted moisturiser. The reason I don’t wear foundation is that every month my skin is a different colour – I’m either tanned or not, and how many foundations can a person have, really??

I had a facial at Dermalogica after my little shopping expedition. They really are the best – and they have an offer on Mondays which is 25% off your treatment. I’d been using the same products for a while: Special Cleansing Gel and an SPF 15 moisturiser (which has since been discontinued and is only available as tinted moisturiser now – why?). I rarely bothered with toner (although I have it) or exfoliator (I have that too). After my facial, Judy suggested I try the UltraCalming Sensitised Skin Kit – my cheeks tend to be more sensitive – and I thought I’d give it a try. It’s only been a week but I’m amazed at the difference in my skin. The only thing that irks me (don’t you love that word?) is that the moisturiser doesn’t have an SPF. In this day and age, it should be mandatory for all moisturisers to have an SPF.

On Tuesday evening I went to Karma Kafe with a friend. It was ladies night so we got three tokens each for drinks – and 50% off our food bill in the lounge area. We used to go quite regularly but hadn’t been in a while. We had some edamame to start, and then we had the dim sum basket, rock shrimp tempura and spicy tuna rolls.

I had a piano lesson on Wednesday afternoon and then was home after that.

I knew the weekend was going to be hectic as I was attending a friend’s wedding at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I ended up getting slammed with work on Thursday so couldn’t attend the lunchtime functions on Friday (mehendi) or Saturday (wedding ceremony).

Thursday night was the engagement dinner at the poolside. I didn’t know a lot of people there – it was a very different crowd. I didn’t think it would be a late night but we ended up going to the after party in one of the suites and were there until 5am!

There was a sandstorm all day on Friday. They usually last an hour or two and then it starts to clear up – but not this one. It went on all day. On Friday night (sangeet), I was exhausted. I only stayed until 1.30 – I couldn’t wait to get home and get into my pajamas.

The sandstorm continued all day on Saturday too. I didn’t want to leave the house but I had to go and get my hair done at the Shangri-La next door for the reception. I didn’t think Saturday night would be late as Sunday is a working day here – but the wedding card said the reception started at 10pm. I got there at 11pm and was still ‘on time’. The newlyweds hadn’t made their entrance yet. They came in at about 11.30pm – and we didn’t eat until almost 1am. And once again, it was a 5am finish!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

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Bali: Week 4

What a hectic week!

My brother-in-law (N) and sister-in-law (T) started their diving certificate on Sunday. That afternoon my parents, brother (S), sister (A) and I went to Grocer & Grind for lunch. When N and T were done the five of us headed to the beach at Jimbaran Bay. We got some sunbeds and relaxed for a couple of hours. I bought a red and white sarong for $4 from one of the shops on the beach. It was a nice afternoon… On Sunday night we went back to Furama for dinner. The food keeps getting better and better and we ended up ordering four portions of the chicken with dried red chillis!

On Monday morning I went to the gym. N and T were diving, my mum and A were shopping in Seminyak so Dad, S and I ended up at Grocer & Grind again for lunch. I decided not to have the penne with salmon for a change and had the rosemary chicken salad. After lunch Dad took us to Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), a cultural park in Jimbaran, about 10 minutes away from our villa.

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The park is devoted to the Hindu God Vishnu and his mount, Garuda. When it is finished, the statue will be 150 metres high. At the moment, parts of it have been placed in temporary locations within the park.

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The statue of Vishnu is 23 metres high.

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The grounds are beautiful and the view is quite something!

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On our way out we managed to catch some of the Barong dance that had already started.

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There were many other statues dotted around the park.

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On our way out of the grounds, we saw ‘the hands of Vishnu’.

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I asked my brother to stand next to the hands to show how big the sculpture really is.

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That night we ended up at Trattoria for dinner (again) and Harry joined us. He must think we don’t go anywhere else!

On Tuesday, N, T and I went diving at Tulamben. It was an early start and a long day out. We’d told my parents we’d be too tired to do much when we got back so Dad arranged for a barbecue dinner at home. We got home at 7pm to find the villa staff in formal uniforms setting up a dining table by the pool. They had lined the pool with lanterns and there were floating candles in the pool. It was a lovely dinner and we all enjoyed it thoroughly.

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On Wednesay, A, N and I were up early as we were going white water rafting in Ubud. The others were going to join us after lunch for the visit to the Monkey Forest. It was another full day out and when we got back we decided to order pizzas from Dominoes and take it easy rather than going out.

Thursday was fairly quiet. I spent most of the afternoon working as I knew I wouldn’t get anything done over the next few days. That evening I was working on my bed when I felt the bed starting to shake. It was just for a few seconds and I wondered whether my nephew or someone was running around upstairs. It stopped for a second and then I felt the tremor again, but stronger the second time. It was an earthquake! It went on for a few seconds and I wondered what I would do if it got worse – should I stay where I was? Should I go find the others? I texted my sister to ask whether she felt it but she said she didn’t. Nobody else in the villa did apart from my mum. It was so weird! We found out soon after that there had been an earthquake in Lombok, about 250 km away.

That night we went to Kat’s Kitchen, the new branch on Jalan Uluwatu. The interior is very similar to the other branch but the restaurant was more than double the size of the original restaurant. The food was just as good as the other place: spring rolls, money bags, pandang prawn curry, green chicken curry, stir-fried chicken with basil. It was an early night and I ended up packing for Phuket and finishing off some work.

My flight on Friday was at 11.30am and S dropped me at the airport. It didn’t take long to check-in or go through passport control so I had lots of time to kill. Unfortunately Ngurah Rai Airport isn’t very interesting and there’s not much to do while waiting to board. We left on time and I luckily had an empty seat next to me.

We landed in Phuket just before 3pm – the view while descending was gorgeous. I could see clear blue water dotted with little islands. It made me wish I was staying longer than a weeked!

I was greeted by the wedding hospitality team when I passed through customs and put on a minibus with a couple from Dubai and their two young girls. My cousin had checked in to the JW Marriott a few days previously so I just had to collect a key from reception. I unpacked, got into my swimsuit and went straight to the pool to meet her and a couple of friends. At about 5pm we decided to get our hair done at a salon close to the hotel. It was in a place called Turtle Village and a shuttle left the hotel every 15 minutes.

Turtle Village isn’t much of a village. It’s more a hamlet, if anything. There’s a supermarket, a hairdresser, a couple of clothing shops, a coffee place. I suppose it’s somewhere to go to escape the hotel! As soon as we left the salon, I knew there was no way my hair would stay straight for long, especially as the dinner was outdoors on the beach! I thought Bali was humid, but Phuket was much, much worse. If I ever decide to get married, it’s going to have to be somewhere with 0% humidity.

The first evening was nice – dinner and drinks at the Blue Bar Beachfront. It was very hot and the vodkas were going down very quickly. A bit too quickly. I also had my first shot of Patron which was followed by more shots. A few of my friends from London were there, and three of my cousins with their husbands/wives. And then we moved indoors into the Blue Bar. It was a heavy night. I think I left at about 3.30am – the hotel is huge and I’d have been wandering around looking for my room if one of my cousins hadn’t escorted me back!

I woke up on Saturday with a splitting headache. I spent the afternoon at the pool with a couple of friends, had some lunch and then went to the villa where one of my friends was staying. It had its own pool with a view of the beach…

2012

That night was the sangeet – we didn’t get there until after 10.30pm. I didn’t think I’d last the night but after a few vodkas (and no shots) I was one of the last people to leave at 5.30am. It was a ridiculously late night!

I love my life.

To read more about Bali, click here.

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