Here's the second week of my hol journal. Just a reminder that it's long, wasn't written for the forum specifically and itsn't meant to offend. Happy to answer any questions.
Rumours last night was a little disappointing. Food was good, had a great 400g rump steak with fries and béarnaise sauce following by chocolate pud. The waitress was obviously being paid based on how quickly she could get you out though. It was seriously bizarre, as soon as you had put the last morsel into your mouth, your plate was whisked away from you and you were left stranded with fork in hand. Don’t think we’ll return this trip.
We were woken up this morning after J and N had popped to Grocer and Grind for take away coffees and the Bali Bakery for some yummy chocolate and almond croissants. Nice way to ease yourself into the day. Had a relaxing morning around the pool and met J and N at Aromas in Legian. Aromas is a vegetarian place, which J will only enter because they do a good juice and are in a good spot for people watching. We split up today. N and Jo went fashion shopping along the main drag and J and I went to Spa Bali opposite Aromas for a massage.
The problem here is that when you go into the spa together they assume that you want your massage together, which we didn’t really, but no big deal, we are almost twins (born on same day) so we get our kit off and our masseurs get going. I was just going to start to talk to J about the football when I thought that actually maybe silence in this scenario would be better, then I recalled that J and I had talked about this before. This situation reminded me of the scene in Crimson Tide when Gene Hackman and Denzil Washington are enjoying a cigar together on the bridge of the USS Alabama just prior to submerging. Gene Hackman turns to Denzil Washington and says ‘bravo, Hunter! You knew to be silent when others would have ruined the moment. Your stock just went up a notch.” Anyway the massage was pretty good I thought. It verged on agony which I didn’t mind but I felt pretty good afterward. J just shot out of there though and it later transpired that he had the worst massage ever. He nicknamed his masseuse ‘Industrial Annie’ and reckoned that she was just trying to pick a fight with him for an hour.
So we wandered down to a nearby bar to get J cooled down. It looked quite good from the street and we sat outside overlooking Jl Legian. Just before we left I popped inside for the loo and then realised that the place was a full on pole dancing joint named the double D bar. Fortunately embarrassment was averted as the action hadn’t started yet.
After a quick stop at a new burger bar in Dyana Pura (Jef Burgers, good homemade burgers only 40k) we had a swim and then decided to go for Mexican tonight at TJ’s. Blow, fully booked, so as a backup we went to Biku again for dinner this time. Had another great Indian meal and had saved a bit of space for their Mexican Chocolate cake. We again had a strange Bali service experience and just couldn’t get served for dessert and eventually gave up and thought we’d try dessert and coffee at Hu’s bar down the road. This is a really nice place with a big lawn and bean bags to lounge on and usually live music. Tonight though there was a wedding on. We could have stayed and listened to the speeches, but the short segment we heard was pretty boring and so we gave up on our evening and headed back. I guess that’s Bali for you, sometimes it works out really well, sometimes not. Tomorrow is another day!
We started off today with a walk along the beach for a half hour or so. It’s really interesting early in the morning with a few surfers, joggers, locals getting organised for the day and dog’s having fun. We followed this with breakfast at Ku De Ta, which for me wasn’t that impressive. Yes it’s a great view over the beach which was enjoyable but the coffee was dire and the breakfast only ok considering you are paying more than twice the amount charged elsewhere.
Didn’t do much after that. We called into Bali Zen for some new cushions to replace the ones Tango nibbled on when she was a pup. We went to the post office at Bintang supermarket, which after a lot of asking seems to be the only place in Bali I reckon to post something. The lady in front of us who appeared to be from Melbourne was in no hurry and wanted to compare the prices for express and normal mail on this package, then that package. “Mmm what should I do, mmm”, and on and on. Then she started to ask about the arrival of a package that had been sent to her from Melbourne. “As if the Bali post office is going to know”, I wanted to scream. I settled with a pleading stare at the post master general of Indonesia to get him to serve me holding up my four little postcards. Surprisingly he gave the Melbourne lady the cold shoulder and served me, much to her disgust as she still wanted to analyse the most effective postal route from Bali. We finally ducked into the Bintang Supermarket, picked up some groceries, found the bottle shop up the road to replace our dwindling supply of Triple Sec (for the Margys) and headed home.
J and N picked up some spring rolls from JP’s and we relaxed around the pool. We were all keen to try out the newest and coolest (apparently) bar in Bali, the Rock Bar at Jimbaran tonight, so as the storm clouds brewed we got ready and jumped in a cab for the first time since we got here. The rain held off surprisingly but boy was it a hot, steamy and still night. I was dying a slow death to be honest and was trying desperately to look like I wasn’t drowning in a pool of my own sweat. Even J’s new and ultra cool Zegna sunnies didn’t help. The bar was amazing though. It has only been open a few months. It was build by a hotel that sits on the top of a cliff, they managed to position the bar on top of the rocks that are scattered along the bottom of the cliffs, so the waves pound into the rocks below and around you. It really is the most amazing sight from above. To get down there you take a little Vernacular railway car down the cliff face. We got there just on opening in order to get a good spot and we timed it pretty well another ten minutes and we might have missed out. Mind you we did take a bit of time to pinpoint the best seating area amongst the rocks and opted for a big lounger area above the bar. The drinks were good, the snacks tasty and J even managed a flaming cocktail without singing his eyebrows, although it sounded like his throat had suffered a bit.
Didn’t rush out today, eventually making it to Grocer and Grind for a coffee and half an hour checking up on our work emails. It is a bit of a pain having to do this but we are hoping that it will help us retain our sanity when we get home. Mobile phone etiquette is obviously yet to reach Bali. When the American lady next to us started to make a phone call – on speaker phone – we had to move!
Jo wanted to take me back to show me some stuff she had seen in the Seminyak shops, so I dutifully took her around on the bike and she picked up a nice outfit from the first shop we went into where we also rather spookily met Bubbles Devere – I kid you not an exact match but with an Aussie accent. I can cope with this kind of shopping I think, it’s at least shopping with a purpose rather than the aimless wandering around for hours and hours on end.
We caught up with J and N at Café Moka. I had a lovely Beef Lasagne. J wasn’t so sure about the Spring Rolls though. J had just returned from a manicure and pedicure at Spa Bali. I’d managed to convince him to also get flowers on his toes, I just need to get photographic evidence now for posterity.
We managed to pick up another shrink wrapped parcel of laundry and get back to the villa on our bike balancing all our packages. N then served us huge cocktails around the pool which nearly had us passed out and J and I watched a movie while the afternoon rain pelted down.
We rode down into Kuta tonight and did a bit of shopping, or really just wandering to have a little look at the shops before and after mexican at TJ’s. I thought the food was really good, N not so sure abut her Fajitas. The tables are so close together here it might even be more squishy than Ciao Italia and that’s saying something.
Last night we were woken by a cat wandering around the kitchen bench scoffing on our bread. Cats, I just don’t see the point to them! I’ve also yet to mention the ‘can rattler’. Our villa appears to be adjacent to a rice paddy and the problem with rice growing seems to be that the birds enjoy eating it too. So the rice paddy farmer sets up elaborate scarecrows and bird shooing devices. We believe that our local farmer’s bird shooing devices are cans filled with nails that he rattles, presumably by pulling on a cable of some kind. It’s become a familiar sound as it starts ‘rattling’ around dawn. I must be getting used to though as it’s no longer waking me up.
After breakfast at the Corner Store today we popped down to Padma Street to have a look. We’d not really made it to this area before so it was quite interesting and we picked up a few more purchases and completed some successful haggling ... “good for me, good for you, boss!” It’s hot and sunny today, so much so that I was convinced to start on the Bintangs at 11am. We had lunch at Warung Asia on Double Six which is famous for good, cheap Thai food and it didn’t fail to impress again.
Just like clockwork the clouds rolled in and the lightning and thunder started around 3pm while we were chilling around the pool. The rain didn’t really eventuate until we were walking home from dinner though, but it helped to cool us off. It’s seems to be just as hot in the evening as during the day. I can’t work it out.
We had dinner locally at Chandi tonight. We had tried this place on a previous trip for lunch and had been impressed by the organic food. It’s a nice place, kind of in between Ultimo and Ku De Ta price wise. I had the crispy duck, as did J for main which was heavenly and around $14. For the quality of the food and the restaurant ambience you can’t beat it I think. A meal like this in Perth would cost a small fortune. We got there early, had Lychee Martinis at the bar – which are our new find for this trip. Vodka, Lychee liquer, lychee juice and a couple of lychees in the glass, yum. - We also had 3 courses tonight as we wanted to linger to listen to the club singer that was on tonight. (I’m thinking of Vic Reeves on Shooting Stars, if you know what I mean – Iraanooo!). His name was Jim and he was an African American, likely from Louisiana we reckon (imagine one of those guys that sings before the hearse at New Orleans funerals and you would be pretty close). He perched himself on the bar in order to best show off his package (J and I reckoned this comprised of a couple of pairs of football socks!) and then proceeded to knock out his first club tune - “hide the salami”. Jo is starting to worry about where this is heading but he quickly reverted to some better tunes and he did have a great voice and an ultra cool style, so all is forgiven, Jim is a star.
Stoke are playing Chelsea tonight in the FA cup! I need to keep this in mind through the day to make sure that I can stay up till 2am – which is very late for me.
After a corner store breakfast we have a little look at some of the villas we’ve noticed around jl Oberoi, just in case we can spot somewhere good for our next trip. It’s then time for a pedicure. J has been walking around with flowers on his toes for a few days now and I kind of feel responsible as it was at my suggestion. So I have a pedicure with flowers on the big toes and then a manicure with Jo, which is a bit of a joke if you’ve seen my nails recently. My manicurist thought my ‘little’ nails were very stylish! – she must have gone to charm school. She did manage to fit flowers on my thumbs though, but these may have to go by the time we get back to Perth I think.
After lunch we rode back to the Bali Mall Galleria as Jo wanted to go back to get shoes from Charles and Keith. We are getting more confident finding our way around now and so followed our instinct and cut across town no problem. I picked up some donuts from J.co while I was there. I stuck to the plain and passed over the cheese, tomato and smoked chicken donuts. Can you imagine how gross that would be?
Tonight we had cocktails at Chandi followed by pizza and pasta at Trattoria. Trattoria was ok, a little bit in the Rumours style of lets turn this table around as quickly as possible, but the food was tasty. Even the complimentary Bruscheta at the start and Limonchello at the end wasn’t bad, although I think the later was lemon flavoured rocket fuel.
We came home, everyone went to bed and I gamely tried to stay awake for the midnight kick off. I had a swim, read my book, started to watch Mission Impossible 3, kept dozing off and jolting awake, but just about managed it. The ride to Dyana Pura woke me up fully and J and I sat at the bar at Breezes along with an odd collective of other poms to watch the match. It started of pretty well, but Smelsea scored after 30 mins and from there it was always going to be a struggle. We lost 2-0, but still we got to the 6th round of the FA cup which I think was a first for the club. As our motto says: “Be proud, be loyal, be Stoke.” This is starting to become a little easier, finally.
Back to Grocer and Grind today and likely for the last time. It’s nice and the food is good but the clientele are getting too much to bear. This time it was another American who seemed to feel that it was appropriate to be on a video conference call over her laptop speaker system while everyone else is trying to enjoy their breakfast. Of course like all others from the ‘land of the loud’, she had a booming ‘look a me’ voice. America’s contribution to the civilised world – McDonalds, Obesity and bad manners.
I’ll get off my horse now! Maybe its just the expat yanks that think they own the place that are so annoying. We are heading back to Spa Bali again today. The two girls who did our manicures yesterday were so nice we have booked ourselves in for a massage, body scrub and flowerbath. I’m sounding like a real pansy now I know. It was very nice and we came out feeling very fresh, a feeling which quickly disappeared by the time we had rode through the traffic into Kuta. Some final shopping this afternoon for a few pressies and such. – at least I hope that’s it for the shopping, we even had to go to Matahari’s to buy another carry-on bag in the vain hope that we can avoid excess baggage at check-in on Wednesday.
J’s sister and family along with some friends are in Bali at the moment and they had called up to the villa this afternoon. They hadn’t brought their bathers, but when the kids all saw our pool, they couldn’t resist and improvised. We sent them away with some restaurant recommendations in Seminyak. We wanted to grab a pre-dinner cocktail tonight so we tanked up to try Hu’s, but again the grassed area was closed, because it had rained earlier (had it?) and there were two people in the entire restaurant. It’s dead and a bit boring so we give it up as a bad idea and ride up to try Sardine for a pre-dinner cocktail. It’s closed on Mondays! Great lets just go to dinner, thankfully we are not on a taxi meter. N had suggested Pearl early at breakfast so we rode down to double six and I even managed to sneak ahead of J and beat him somewhere for the one and only time this trip. This is a newish French restaurant tucked away off Double Six. The menu looked good and the prices although not cheap didn’t seem too bad if the food lived up to the rep. When the very French Chef came over to talk to us about the menu I started to get a little excited and I order the basil ravioli and the Magret De Canard as recommended. Jo had the Lamb Shanks. The food was amazing we thought and presented like a work of art. The chef even came out afterwards to see how we had liked the food. A sign of a very confident chef I reckon. We’d be back here in a flash and will put this high on our list for our next trip.
As we’d missed out on pre-dinner cocktails we went to Chandi to finish the evening off, with J having a chocolate milkshake again to remind himself of how good they are.
Jo and I checked out our emails at Corner Store this morning. We did a little scoot around for a few bits and pieces and then crashed back at the villa, so a pretty slow and relaxed day today. J and I had a wander down to the beach and did some body surfing while the sun set. The beach was very clean, much more so than I recall from last time. As always in Bali I always regret not spending more time just relaxing and enjoying this kind of time at the beach, but we can’t complain it’s been another good trip.
We went for pre-dinner cocktails at Sardine tonight. J and N had found this place earlier. It had a lovely outlook over rice paddy fields. The menu was very fishy as you would expect from the name. We’ll have to try this out next trip. It certainly looked worth a revisit.
We had a huge meal at Sarong, which has an unusual menu being a mix between Asian and Indian food. Jo and I tried out the Indian. The portions were huge and there was no chance we could finish it all off. The Rogan Josh and the Tandoori butter chicken were excellent as was the Martabak and Naan bread.
J and Jo both tried their dirty martini’s and we were ‘accidentally’ up-sold to cocktails made with premium Grey Goose Vodka. They were good apparently but at $25 a pop so they should be. It was a bit annoying that they did this without us realising but otherwise it was a great meal.
J and N were a little embarrassed with we pulled up back at the villas as Jo had taken it upon herself to half-undress me during the ride home – to cool me down of course - With my shirt billowing behind us the locals nearly mistook me for a reincarnated Buddha rushing by on a Honda Vario. No more dirty martini’s for you Jo!
Last day today. We fly home tonight and are being picked up at 7pm. We have a final breaky at Corner Store, pick up our laundry – it’s great to go home with a case full of clean clothes, then have final treatments at Spa bali. Jo gets a quick pedicure and manicure and I get a warm stone (hot rocks) massage. This was really good, they really work out all your knots and then massage you with the warm stones, which are quite hot when they first put them on but cool down quick enough. At one point it did seem that my chest hair was being singed, but surprisingly I’m not covered in red welts.
Lunch at Mozzarella on Padma street, which was not bad and gave us a final chance to enjoy Indonesian food for a while. We then head back to the villa but the power is out, so no fans, air con, pool pump (water doesn’t look that inviting without it running) etc. It’s seems so convenient that this would happen on the day they are trying to rush us out even though we had payed for a late checkout. So J and I checkout the trip box etc and when we have a look outside we do find what looks like a burntout junction box, so maybe it is legitimate. The ‘electricity expert’ eventually turns us with a pair of plyers and a huge roll of tape. Who needs fuses anyway?
We are all just now watching ‘parking wars’ on cable tv to try and pass that endless period of time while you are waiting for your transport to the airport to arrive.
We are already thinking about our return trip which is a good sign that the holiday went well. The bikes were a definite hit. We’ve found some great new restaurants to return to. We might just need to find a new villa as this one may well have burnt down by then.