So here we are home and our much anticipated holiday is over, so I thought I would give you a bit of a run-down through until our last day. I have already told you of our stay in Ubud and you know how much we loved Alam Shanti.
It really was a great start to our holiday, before moving on to our next location, Bayshore at Candidasa. Despite having a favourite room, we chose a different one this time. It had a better view of the ocean and across to Nusa Peneeda.
After unpacking, we spent some time hanging our Christmas lights in behind the glass doors of our room…looked great. Then Mr Soo, along with a couple of staff, hung another set in the entrance area to these bungalows/villas. They are still there and are being turned on each night. We will leave them behind, along with pool noodles, boogie boards and surfboard we brought up to use.
Christmas and New Year saw a busy time at Bayshore – almost a full house and many family groups and friends chose to stay. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch on the 25th and then a great New Year buffet, complete with a lightshow of fireworks and lightning off to the east.
Each day seems to have brought rain, either light showers or some best described as torrential. Thunderstorms have also rolled through on most days…some have lasted an hour or so and others have been far off. For us it has been a very different time in Bali, as we have not seen so much rain at this time of year. As I have said before, we figure we have been lucky in the past to have seen such perfect weather at this time of year on the previous 6 or so December trips.
We have still done quite a bit of swimming, both in the ocean and the pool as the rain breaks have often been long enough for those who want to tan or just get out in the sunshine. Mr Soo has also been catching a wave now and then on the little surfboard…nothing big enough to allow a stand-up surf though.
On one day, we decided to go for a sail/motor with Made the boat man. He arrived early and we set off to visit the islands just off the shore here in CD….Rick Stein had them as a backdrop in his cooking show credits. They are great to get close-up to and I would love to be there in October when they have the special temple celebrations on the larger of the islands.
Mr Soo spent some time snorkeling and found it to be very good…he commented on the strong currents, but was told by Made that we had in fact come on a day when they were no-where near as strong as usual.
Off we went to the white sand beach, passing the new shrimp facility on the way. From out to sea, it looked like a swish new resort….on closer inspection, no it’s definitely not a resort.
Around the point we motored and soon we were on the beach and being greeted by the warung owners who are somehow assigned to us….it was the warung with the blue brollies – named Sunshine. After a beer and coke, we had a swim. It is such a lovely beach. We then enjoyed some charcoal cooked sates. With the wind picking up and the sea somewhat rougher than our outward journey, we hugged the coast back home. We noticed lots of terracing has been done along the cliff tops and I was interested to hear that corn and peanuts are grown here. Amazing being able to grow crops so close to the sea.
Brad, (Bayshore’s owner) had asked guests to join him for a Rastafel (spelling?) dinner that night….wow, it was sensational. It’s the first time we have had one and I hope we can do so again – we had around 12 different dishes and then dessert.
And as I have mentioned in another response on a post, the fireworks have been going pretty full-on since we arrived in Bali before Christmas and they continued on well into the new year. On NYE we watched as locals let off the fireworks and they all seem to want to do so whilst holding onto them….few seem to take on board how dangerous these darn things are.
During one of the following days, we had a visit from Penny (the DE from Albany, Western Australia) and her husband…what a lovely couple they are and so great of them to come and visit with us.
The next day, Mr Soo went off to a cooking school held at the Palms Resort. First was a visit to the markets at Amlapura…all good fun and interesting sights ands smells. They then returned and went on to make 5 main course dishes, including a fish curry and a great and simple cucumber and carrot salad which proved to be a winner. This was followed up by Black Rice Pudding which was served with a scoop of ice-cream, when they later sat down and ate their lunch.
On the subject of food…I thought I should add our latest addition to our ‘Bali speak’ menu – Crab Suset served with hanoy and cream and Frans Toast which can also be served with hanoy or jam and banana…never got to order the Crab Suset, but enjoyed the Frans Toast a couple of times with honey, I mean hanoy.
Last night Brad asked if we were keen to eat in, as they had bought a Mahi Mahi off a local fisherman (I am talking a lot about food aren’t I) and were cooking it that night. Around ten of us enjoyed a superb meal of fillets dusted in flour and parmesan and lightly fried, served with green beans and salad….just the best. We also enjoyed the company over our meal…Brad, a few local expats joined us, a couple from Melbourne staying at Bayshore and also a couple from Leeds, who are occasional TA readers and writers – a nice night.
Next day, we went to the Sukawati markets hoping to see glassware and crockery, but knowing I really couldn’t buy too much more or our weight allowance was going to be seriously challenged. Think we did our best shopping on the outskirts of the towns and in Candidasa, rather than in the markets. We were after things which weren’t necessarily what you find in the market shops anyway. It was also much easier to just stop along the roads, than walk through some of the markets –I find it all too hot and close. Bought some beautiful glass platters, wine glasses and I guess you would call them, sushi plates and yes, I think we may be pushing the weight limits! Went looking for a Balinese Rotan and also an ‘offerings box’, but didn’t find what I was after. I knew I would eventually up in Amlapura a few days later.
Must make mention of one village we drove through on the way to Klungkung - name escapes me…spelling would defeat me. On either side of the street and every 3 metres or so, were long ceremonial bamboo poles with those wonderful plaited/woven tails and each had a woven, domed offering basket, along with either a yellow or white umbrella sitting on top…..how pretty those streets looked.
Dear Made was so patient with my lengthy ‘wish list’, which also included a stone Ganesh. I found a great little one made in a reclining position…I loved it and loved a weathered one even more, which I could have got for half the price. Australian Customs would not have loved it as much I did, especially the build-up of moss on it, so I sadly had to go with the new one, but know that it won’t take long in the Kimberley Wet and the addition of a glass of milk, to have it looking like the mossy one!
It was amazing how we drove through torrential rain and then to arrive back in Candidasa to a dry day…I can certainly appreciate the vagaries of Balinese weather. Did I tell you we moved rooms to one which is upstairs and has a big private terrace which overlooks the sea? It was like moving to a new resort, without the hassle of getting transport, losing a few hours travelling and having to check-in and check-out. We loved our new room and watched yet another amazing ‘light show storm’ roll in later that night.
Next day, we were having a ‘plonky’ sort of day, when suddenly Brad is knocking at the door and saying’ ‘you have visitors’. What a surprise. There was Mooloolaba Sue and her husband Mark. We had a lovely visit with them, showing them over Bayshore and then having lunch together. They then set-off for the white sandy beach. I know they would have enjoyed it.
That night we booked a table at Joglo ( a newish restaurant in CD). It’s a very pretty place, with one of those gardens that makes you feel special to be seated in it….water lilies, grasses, many flowers, candles, fairy lights and good food and drink to go with it all.
Next day, with Mr Soo off on a fishing expedition with another guest, I headed over to breakfast at a very civilized 8.30am…..3 hours later I left the restaurant – I’ve never had a ‘long breakfast’ before – not all eating, but talking with two other ladies staying at Bayshore. Isn’t it nice to be able to do things like that on holiday? Mr Soo arrived back a few hours later with a nice catch, which was later cooked up for us for dinner (by the restaurant staff) along with calamari rings and a great salad. Very good.
Our second last, full day in Bali, sees us off to Amlapura, and then back to Jasri to enjoy dinner cooked by Kadek (Made, our driver’s wife) in an rexpats’ home they look after when he is away. We drove through to Amlapura and bought a few provisions at Hardy’s. Made also found me an ‘offering box’ and presented to me as a gift. He is such a nice man. We then drove back down to Jasri and checked the beach…no surf. We decided to have a drink and a bite to eat at a local Australian owned villa complex, which advertised its restaurant – Villa Matanai -. all very nice, Being close to Made’s home village he knew almost everyone he saw or passed on the road. He came back from a walk across the road, with a very striking looking man, who he introduced to us as a holy man. He sat and shared a drink with us. I felt rather special in doing so.
After a short stay we headed off to join Kadek at the home which has been build in the middle of the rice field, only a few minutes from the beach. It has three separate buildings - kitchen, bathroom and bedroom in a traditional domed thatch house, over an eating pavilion. All of this is in one of the prettiest, small gardens we have seen. Many fruit trees, palms, flowering shrubs and pots. Made said that the owner doesn’t like solid fences, so they have build one of those living fences of hibiscus and cross members…I think they are just the best.
Whilst Kadek cooked away and refused any help, we sat in the pavilion chatting and were joined by Made’s parents (what a handsome couple they are and looking wonderful in traditional batik clothing) and also a number of cousins and nephews. Dinner as expected, was wonderful – calamari, prawns done two ways, chicken, rice, different sauces, green vegetables and various vegetable or fruit accompaniments, followed by fresh fruit and washed down with Palm wine (by some), beer or soft drinks.
There was much laughter (especially at our attempts to master the language and pronunciations correctly) and conversation. Everyone thought Mr Soo’s cd purchase was pretty hilarious – he had bought what he thought was Santana and despite all the labeling saying as much, it turned out to be some country and western group. I think it pretty funny sitting in the middle of a rice field in Bali and listening to country and western music….it’s another one of those nights that we will long remember.
Our last full day in Bali dawns bright and clear. Today will be one of those, where we spend time doing those last minute purchases for those you want to give a little taste of Bali to. Mostly it will be spent savoring everything we can before we head home. Not sure when Bali will see us again. But tonight seven of us are off to Le48 Zen for our last dinner in Candidasa. It was lovely to spend the last night with Brad, Satya (Bayshore's manager) and a number of regulars who stay. We had a nice night together and said our goodbyes when we returned for the night.
Brad and Satya insisted that they would be up to say goodbye, despite us saying not to. 7am is an early start, but true to their word they joined us whilst we waited for Made, Kadek and Putu to drive down to the airport. We said our goodbyes and gave Brad and Satya big hugs...they truly looked after us so well.
How sad it was and how hard it was to drive down to the airport chatting along the way with Made, kadek and Putu and knowing we were off home and unsure of when we may return. They truly feel like our Bali family and when we finally had to say our final goodbyes, I could not help but cry.
So here it is 9.30pm and we have been back home since around 5pm this evening. I would like to say a huge thank you to Made, Kadek, Putu and to Brad and Satya at Bayshore. Thank you also to Bali for the soft light, your wonderful smiles, the new things we learn and see each trip, for fireflies, flowers, food and your kind and thoughtful ways. We hope to return again soon.
Thanks also to the wonderful staff in each hotel we have stayed and to all those we met along the way...Balinese and travellers alike It has been very special.
Best wishes to all who are lucky enough to be traveling to Bali and especially for the very first time.