We left Brisbane on the 20th May flying Jetstar via Darwin. That day was the first day of the great wind and rains of May 2009. Our flight to Darwin was 2 hours late leaving Brisbane, but this was ok as the 4 hour stopover in Darwin became a 2 hour stopover. The wind and rain were terrible and we had to board the plane from the tarmac, not from an airbridge. The wind was so strong that Jetstar were unable to load any food onto the plane as the lift-thingy they use would have toppled over. We were all advised to buy any food or drink we needed for the 4 hour flight before we boarded. Meanwhile, I am thinking, about having to take off in this weather……..
Well after another 30 minutes in the take-off queue, all the while watching the wind gusts which were definitely crosswinds across the tarmac, I held my breathe until the seat belt sign went off. It was a little rough but ok. The rest of the flight to Darwin and then onto Denpasar was fine and we landed on time.
We were in row 8 and were lucky in that there were a lot of families with kids in front of us, so when we exited the plane and walked to the immigration hall (a very long walk as we landed at the far end gate) we ended up in front of everyone just by walking at a normal pace. We timed it, from the time we left the plane to the time the taxi driver was opening his boot to put our 2 carry on bags in (we didn’t check luggage) was 10 minutes. Can’t get much better than that, and that included handing in our Swine Flu forms and walking through the thermal scanner in addition to the normal formalities.
We checked into Villa Puri Ayu in Sanur (a 1 bedroom garden apartment) and took off down the street to surprise our Balinese Daughter. Purely by chance, we had received an SMS from her at 4.00am that morning (after she finished work) telling us some news about our grand daughter (she can now stand up, 10 months old). I replied to that SMS while we were sitting in the airport saying that we were still trying to get back to Bali before January, that we missed them all and wished we were in Bali. Well you can imagine the screams and giggles when we walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder at 10.30 that night.
A very pleasant surprise the next morning at breakfast…..Puri Ayu now provide a buffet breakfast. It’s not a huge range but plenty of choice for most people. Nasi Goreng, Mei Goreng, Capcay, pancakes, bacon, sausages, potato wedges, fruit, juices, toast, croissants, coffee, tea, milk and an egg station. A great addition and well received by all we spoke to. Later in the week 2 couples from Sydney booked in to stay for a month. They have been coming to Bali for 15 years and always stayed at Puri Santrian. They were extremely happy with their change to Puri Ayu and will be returning every year from now on. They were really enjoying the smaller resort facilities and friendliness as opposed to the larger resort they were used to. Not to mention the money saving at about a third of the price.
That first afternoon we had an appointment to meet up with Ron, the owner of Sanur Beach Villas. Hubby and I walked down to his small resort, each carrying a bag of Bintangs, as you do. Ron greeted us warmly and took us to the “tree of knowledge” where we met a few of his guests and some other expats. A fairly usual sample of “tree of knowledge” devotees. I was very impressed with Sanur Beach Villas. The rooms are a good size, with outdoor bathrooms, terrazzo bathtubs, huge beds, TV, Fridge, A/C and spotlessly clean. There aren’t many rooms, it’s a small property and all the rooms surround the large pool and “tree of knowledge”. I keep using the term “value for money” and it is. It is excellent value for money. I would recommend this property to anyone looking for a great relaxed holiday and especially if you want to meet some wonderful, good humoured people while you are there. Hubby and Ron got on so well, I was becoming a little concerned that the 2 of them were planning to run away together…..within minutes they were feeding off each other with jokes and playing straight man to the other’s comedy. Handcuffs seemed to be the theme of the afternoon…….the mind boggles.
Many bintangs later, Ron had some business to attend to so hubby and I walked to Kesumas (with 2 of Ron’s guests and our new friends). Ron came down to join us later. Kesumas was packed. I am seriously considering not recommending this place again and keeping it as my little secret. LOL. The food was great, again, the prices hadn’t gone up at all. I just hope I can always get a table when I want one now that the secret is out.
A nice quiet walk along the beach back to our hotel, ended Hubby and my evening perfectly, even if all Hubby could talk about was his new BFF, Ron………..
While staying at Puri Ayu, we quite often spend our evenings talking with the staff. One night we were joined by a lady called Trudy Mentink (yes, for those of you who know me personally, she has the same first name as me……). She is also a regular to Bali and Puri Ayu. The fact that our first names are the same (and for me that is not common at all) we struck up a quick friendship. I found out later from the villa staff (not from Trudy herself) that this wonderful lady has started a charity to help Balinese Children especially physically and mentally disabled children with health and dental care. She was so unassuming and never once even mentioned her organisation that I made a promise to myself to find out more. She even employs the wife of one the villa staff (and he donates his time on his 1 day off a week) as a dental assistant and is teaching her this worthwhile profession in the meantime. The web site is: www.balibundar.org/Engels/start%20engels.htm for anyone interested in finding out more.
Saturday afternoon saw us eagerly awaiting the arrival of our daughter Ary, and 7 year old grandson, Putu. Putu speaks very little English and we speak very little Balinese but he asked if he could spend the night with us, on his own, without his mother, while she was at work. We were all a little nervous. Ary fully expected that she would sleep on a mat on the floor of our apartment for the night. Yeah, as if…… No one sleeps on a mat on my floor…..ever (unless of course they are one of a big group of a son’s drunken friends who somehow find themselves back at our house to sleep it off after I am already asleep for the night) . Anyway, after much debate and almost pleading on her part, Ary, finally agreed to accept the room that we had booked for her for the night. Putu had no such dilemma when it came to staying in a “villa” as he called it. Apparently on Monday at school he was the envy of the other kids. LOL. He “swam” if you can call swimming, walking around the outside of the kids pool of the smaller, empty pool. Hubby did get him eventually to let go of the edge but we couldn’t get him to swim in the larger pool with all the “other “ people. We took him to buy some DVD’s and he proved to be a fussy movie critic. We took him to dinner at the restaurant where his mother works, while sitting at the table, his eyes did not stop. He was taking everything in. Unbeknownst to us, he was even watching us use a knife and fork and at breakfast the next morning completely surprised his mother when he picked up a knife with his fork and used both like a pro. We had to take his leftovers from dinner back with us and he made his mother come back to our apartment to get them out of the fridge (along with a fork from our drawer, which he told her where to find) and he ate the leftovers at 2.00am in his mother’s room after she finished work. It was an amazing night for us, as we have grown up single sons, and Putus complete trust of us was totally bewildering. He also learned how to use our laptop and mouse. It took all of about 3 minutes for him to work out both the game and the mouse. Sleep, when it came, took about 2 seconds flat between Hubby and I, with a cartoon on the TV and the laptop on his lap. He then proceeded to gradually push Hubby to the last 2 inches of the bed until I had to pick him up and move him back to the middle of the bed.
The next day we took them to Carrefour, neither had ever been there before, to buy a present for Made (grand daughter). Putu loved the inclinators, they made his day. The “gift” that Ary picked for Made was a pack of 20 (which I switched for a 40 pack) disposable nappies, and a box of bottle formula (which I doubled). I was totally shocked to see the price of the baby formula. I worked out that 4 weeks supply (and she only has it when Ary is working) worked out to almost a quarter of Ary’s monthly wage. Most of the formulas worked out to be about the same price as we pay here in Australia for the same thing.
We picked up a chocolate mousse cake from Bali Bakery as it was Hubby’s 50th the next day and then gave Putu the choice of McDonald’s or KFC. He picked McDonalds but when we got there he chose the fried chicken and rice pack…………Hubby and I were the only ones to choose burgers…….OK. We bought Maccas for Papa and the rest of the family and then headed up to the village.
Village life was busy this Sunday as it was harvest time in the rice fields. I obediently took photos of the labourers who asked for their photo to be taken. Must now get them printed off and take them next time…..
Despite being asked not to, we were served an array of fritters, local biscuits and gado gado and Ary, we found out later, got into trouble from her mother in law because we didn’t eat enough…….we were full on Maccas……….
The birthday cake was served with great pomp and ceremony, Putu being master of ceremonies and lighting the candles (he was confused when Hubby told him to stop at 6 candles). He then sang Happy Birthday (his mum had taught him) while the family clapped along in both English and Balinese.
Goodness, this is turning into a Noodles epic, without the witty humour……..
To Be continued………..