15th Oct - 23rd Oct 2014
The cold Bintang in the fridge, the hot shower to wash our way our sand ridden bodies and the cool aircon in bed was lush. After a good sleep we woke up in the hot morning sunshine to see our lovely villa with private pool. We all went down the road for breakfast, with me ordering a toastie, and receiving just that- not even a ickle bit of greenery. Then we spent the rest of the day splashing about in our pool and drinking Bintang. We were both so relieved yesterday was over and now here we were, catching up with Shaun and Jodie, and hearing all their travel tales in exchange for ours.
After meeting our cleaners and asking if they could do our laundry for us at a cheap rate (as all the local laundrettes were charging per item- not cheap if you have as much dirty washing as us), we decided to go watch the sun set, however the walk to the beach took longer than we anticipated and just got there as it went down, not to worry- we just headed for dinner at a nice place near Seminyak beach.
Back to our private villas and we dipped our feet in the pool while sharing more travelling stories and sipping on more Bintang.
The next morning we headed to the beach, where the boys wanted to try out surfing, so we stopped at many shops along the way to find a rash vest. Got the beach and the boys took to the surf even getting up on their first wave, whilst me and Jodie relaxed, reading our books. I am still on the Vietnamese book but I need to hurry up as I want to start reading 'Eat, Pray, Love' as its iconic in Bali as part of it was written here. For lunch we hopped and skipped up the sand (the sand was burning) to a beach bar, having a craving for pasta, I found some Arribiata and it was yummy! The boys joined us after surfing and showing us their injuries- rashes along their arms from rubbing against the big foam boards. And we all lay and watched the sunset infront of us, with a cool Bintang, just purchased from the guys with big cool boxes. After a tiring day for the boys, we decided to grab a takeaway pizza and head back to our villas.
Day 3 of 5 and we decided we liked it a lot here and as me and Shan are not in a rush, and Shaun and Jodie have until the 25th free, we would ask to stay on for an extra 2 days. And also we would travel to Ubud in the centre of Bali for 3 nights after. After all that travelling we all feel like its a normal summer holiday break. Me and Shan are so glad that we could meet Shaun and Jodie, as before we all left we said it would be nice to meet up.
Today we lay at the pool and messed around, timing our length underwater again. At night we took a 10 minute taxi into Kuta, Shaun's brother has been before and recommended the sky garden, which is an all you can eat bbq. So for £2.50 we stuffed our faces and it was very nice. The boys found a tour stall and booked to go on a motor cross tour tomorrow, we all thought the guy serving looked like Lionel Richies love child (not Khloe Kardashian). We also came across a memorial for the victims of the 2002 Bali Bombings, where suicide bombers attacked two night clubs simultaneously, it was sad to read some of the posters that were tied up saying about those that had died. After we headed to a bar and had a tower of Bintang!
The boys set off early the next morning for their full day trip. They got picked up and drove one and half hr out of Seminyak, got kitted out and hopped on a Kawasaki 250. They wheeled about the beach which was great fun, (Shaun does trials as a hobby in Guernsey so had more experience than Shan), then they drove an hour on the busy roads to have a local lunch and Bintang, an hour back on the roads with people cutting them up and darting around them. Then they went back on the beach which was more fun than the roads. Shannon is too lazy to describe it all to me so it might be a bit vague.
Whilst they were away, me and Jodie went to a spa on the next road to us called 'Villa Kuba Spa' (confusing as our villa is called Villa Kubu). We both chose the one hour Balinese full body massage, we were greeted with a fruit juice then took through to our double room, we had our feet cleaned then told to strip off and put on some lovely black hospital pants, we climbed under the sheets, the music came on and the girls started dry rubbing us, we both thought we would be left in pain, but they soon got the oils out and gave a nice firm but smooth massage, I didn't want it to end. It did end though, we paid the £10, plus as usual like food we paid a lot in tax, we relaxed with a herbal tea then back to our villa to chill out, sunbathing and updating our blogs. Check Jodie's blog out at http://www.alaperchoine.com We thought the boys would come back and spoil our tranquil state with them being hyped up after their day out, but they were both knackered and blistered when they got back.
For dinner we headed just across the main road to a place we had walked past called 'The Dusty Cafe' however we took a wrong turn and had to walk for a while before doing a full circle and finding the place. We had brushetta to start, which was amazing as it also had avocados and feta cheese on top. I had more pasta and we all eventually had chocolate cake for dessert. Then all back to our villa for a beer nightcap.
Day 4 was another relaxing pool day, well I can't exactly say relaxing, we spent most of the time fooling around, putting all the garden furniture inside the pool and making it an underwater bar it was hilarious, I hope the photos show how much fun was had!
At night we went back to the Sky Garden for another £2.50 buffet, this time as it was Sunday it was a roast. Kuta is surprisingly not as busy and hectic as I had read about or imagined, we were finding it hard to locate a good bar, the streets just seemed to be full of surf shops or clothing stores and tat stalls not any good bars to sit and have a Bintang or two. We seen a bar with Happy Hour, sounded good, but it was only on cocktails and it had to be two of the same cocktails, Jodie and Shannon had a tropical vodka cocktail served in a big plastic beaker complete with sticker of a teddy bear. Me and Shaun had a strawberry mojito, it had 'real' strawberries floating in it and was horrible when you sucked it up through the straw.
We then came across what resembled an off licence with stools made from old beer crates, so we got some local beer we hadn't seen before called 'Bali Hai' but it wasn't the best (that's why we hadn't seen it before). We played card games and had more drinks, with me and Jodie trying Raspberry and Apple Bite smirnoff ice's. Another pomegranate magnum ice lolly, another haggle for a taxi and then back to have our usual before bed.
Last day in Seminyak and we headed back to the beach. The boys went surfing again but the waves weren't as good.
Shannon gave in to the sunglasses man who kept walking past and bought sunglasses the exact same as he's got from Oakley which cost a bit, these look the same for a fraction of the price. I also gave in- to the lady selling sarongs- I knocked her down to half the price and now have a lovely purple sarong which I will also use as a scarf.
At night we thought we would go to the cinema but the times weren't good so we found Hard Rock Cafe (!!!) and had dinner there. Shan convinced Shaun to have the nachos, and I also went crazy and picked fajitas again. Jodie had the signature burger which was massive. All washed down with another tower of Bintang. Time to head home, haggled for a taxi again, as they all have meters but like to turn them off and charge whatever they like. We all sat down in first taxi, he said it wasn't meter so we all got out, after a few failed attempts we got in another, he started driving before asking how much we paid to get here, then we realised he wasn't on meter, he then waved his arms at the doors and chucked us out- yes we had to get out! Cheek! Eventually got a nice metered taxi and were on our way back. As you can guess... it was beers then bed.
In the morning we packed up and waited for the mini bus our cleaner booked for us to take us to Ubud, although it turned out to be a normal car, but it would only be an hour and half to Ubud so it was fine. We seen the rice paddies and countryside as we passed by and I read my book. (Now thankfully caught up and I'm on Eat, Pray, Love. Although I bet the Indonesian part is at the end). We arrived on our street Monkey Forest Street, and found 'Pertiwi Resort and Spa'. The grounds of the resort were well manicured and pretty, but our adjoined rooms smelled of damp and outside on our wooden roof had mould. Later we would complain and finally be moved to the other end of the massive resort to a new build, the room was clean and looked and smelled much better. Reception had a Trip Advisor certificate (like everywhere else, we don't know if it's real or just printed off), so when looking to move Shannon said we would give a good review if moved, the reply was that everyone said the same. Bad room- bad review. Good room- good review. Seems he's heard it all before.
We headed out for lunch which was okay, I had pizza- I knew I'd be taking a gamble, it was like a biscuit base, but the toppings were okay. We then headed to the end of our road to visit the sacred forest monkey sanctuary, we paid £1.50 each to get in and then bought a bunch of banana's for a £1. There were monkeys everywhere, running about the ground, swinging from trees and scavenging for food. In fact they had too much food, there was sweet potatoes everywhere and then people like us had bought bananas, so the monkeys would come, grab a banana got to peel it and get bored. Shannon had a naughty one who tried to pounce on him. We wandered around, also admiring the ancient temples.
For dinner we headed to an Indian restaurant down the (bumpy, exposed drains, hilly) street. We all ordered a combo meal, a curry, nann, poppadoms and got happy hour on beers. Headed back to the resort as Shaun and Jodie were off on a volcano tour early in the morning. We decided not to go with them, as our experience of Bromo was still too recent, and we went through hell to get there and back so did not want a nice easy tour, otherwise we should have just done that one.
Me and Shan headed for breakfast moments before it ended, it was okay- normal bland stuff, then we headed to one of the two swimming pools, and sunbathed and had a swim in the infinity pool.
Shaun and Jodie arrived back and we all headed for lunch. We sat next to the kitchen- it was dimly lit with black grease marks staining the walls, and we could see our food being cooked, it was a little off putting. Then we headed up the street to a frozen yoghurt shop, where we filled our tubs with various ice creams and then the choice of 40 toppings. It was yummy- we'll be back.
At night headed to a restaurant down the street called Three Monkeys- and we were sat facing a rice paddy which was cool, the food was nice and also we had lovely desserts. Afterwards we headed to the supermarket and picked up some Bintang and Radler. I haven't mentioned Radler before because I don't like it, but the others love it. It's Bintang with lemon juice. Later we would find out its only 2% compared to Bintangs 4.7%. No wonder I was always steaming hehe. We took our beers and relaxed in the gardens of the resort and played card games, and I taught everyone how to play rummy- just like Papa taught me.
We had thought of doing white water rafting whilst we were here, everyone was excited, apart from scaredy pants Pam. But thankfully I got my wish and the idea fizzled out. I will have to try it in NZ but least I know the safety standards will be higher there.
So for our last day as a foursome we lazed by the pool then headed back to Frozen Yogi and enjoyed more yumminess, as well as going for a foot massage. we all, bar Shannon, had a wooden object pressed forcefully into our feet multiple times, and all in the art of massage they say, we were more sore coming out than going in! But somewhere amongst the pain, it was also rather relaxing.
At night we went to the 3rd best attraction in Ubud (after an art gallery and the monkeys). It was a traditional 'Kecak Fire and Trance Dance', which was a special dance and the story was told by a choir of more than 100 men, who sat in a circle singing, swaying and standing. We understood the story to be about a women getting married, it was really about a man who had magical powers to turn into a deer to seduce the prince's wife (plus more but I can't be bothered to explain) it was a really interesting performance though.
Afterwards we walked back down our street to a restaurant we had been eyeing up, dinner was nice, the desserts didn't look up to much so we went back to three monkeys but they were closing. So one last pomegranate magnum and back to our balcony with more beers.
Then it was over, it was bedtime and in the morning we would be saying goodbye to Shaun and Jodie. We all got a private taxi for 250,000 around £13, we got dropped off at the airport and Shaun and Jodie carried on to Kuta to laze about as their flight was in the evening (they are off to KL for a few days then to Sydney to start their working holiday visas). We said our farewells and good lucks to each other and off we went to get our 1 hr 25 minute flight onboard an ATR72 to Labauanbajo in Flores.
We had a really great time with Shaun and Jodie, it was like we were on holiday and indeed it was lovely to have a break from all the travelling. It was great to swap travelling stories and hear each others plans. They intend to come to New Zealand after Oz so it would be great if we could all meet up then, but also me and Shan have decided we will visit them in Sydney at some point too.
...Now time to get back into all this travelling malarkey...