January 2019
  • Day5

    Last days

    January 28, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ 🌧 31 °C

    We really struck the best weather. The forecast for Bali when we left Melbourne was for rain and lightning. How far from reality. Each day has been above 30 degrees. The sun is fierce. The humidity is draining. Our holidays normally involve lots of walking or biking. This one involved quite a few strolls to the beach or pool.

    Mondays breakfast was on the beachfront watching interesting people. There are still an abundance of Russians here. We had at least 30 mins entertainment watch a women asking repeated strangers to take a series of posed bikini shots searching for the perfect Insta gram shot. So much work for one shot including changing bikinis halfway through. I was exhausted for her. The Aussies will be heading home to school we suspect.

    We walked along the beachfront and discovered The Grand Hyatt hotel. It's by far the largest around here with manicured gardens and groomed sand on the beach. From there we walked onto the island that has blow-holes. Considering it was near low tide we still had a few explosions of foam.
    Security is everywhere along the beaches. Even our bags are checked each time we visit the local mall. The thoroughness of these checks is not high but at least there's a presence. We leave our day bag on our beach chairs without any trouble. Balinese people are very respectful overall. Always bowing to us. The Kuta sellers aren't quite like that but they do not dare touch us to entice us into their shops.

    Afternoons are at the beach were a constant. Book, swim, drink, book, swim, drink. Then back to the pool for a final swim, book etc. we normally are quite busy on our holidays but this time the heat, humidity, and atmosphere has slowed us down. No complaints at all though.
    Our last dinner was at the Spanish styled restaurant at the resort. Food was nice but the drinks were ridiculously priced so we kept away from alcohol.

    Our last day was a midday checkout for a 9.30pm flight. This is where the resort stands out. We have access to everything at the resort except our room. There's a departure lounge where we can shower and relax. We are of course following the tried and true routine of beach life.....book, swim, drink..... A large brunch of Indonesian food at the mall. The mosquitoes made the best of us this time. They were vicious. Then our last full Balinese massage before we leave this island.

    Trip to airport uneventful and the Premier Lounge at airport seemed fine. The reviews about this lounge were terrible so we weren't sure what to expect. A 6 hr flight back to Melbourne then a freshen-up at home before we head straight in to work. It's going to be a long day but this trip away has been a blast.

    Highlights to note. Bali is great if you stay away from the people in Kuta area. The locals are quiet and respectful but they do really also want you to spend your money.
    Beware of the prices on items. Most restaurants quote the gross cost then add GST and service charge at the end. GST is 11% and service charge is anything from 10-17%. Look at the fine print on menus. The prices look reasonable until the add ons occur. Wine is a crazy price here.
    Oh.....and if you really need a soy latte daily then I suggest going somewhere else!
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  • Day4

    Day 3

    January 27, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Another warm humid day with no rain. We took a taxi to Kuta town area as there were a few items we wanted. Namely shirts and shoes. Last time we were in Bali we found the department store called Matahari. The selection is large and there are prices on the items. This saves the trouble of trying to haggle prices with street sellers. We easily spent 1.5 hrs in airconditioned comfort with only the respectful attention of the shop assistants. The street sellers outside are a direct contrast. They have all sorts of methods to extract your money. This years major attraction is timeshare resorts. The seller approaches you with a free "scratchy" card then once you have it in your hand it's all on. One guy would not leave me alone walking with me for over 100 metres. I cannot count how many times I told him that I wasn't interested. Then what really annoyed me is that he attempted to guilt me into the sale ( oops....it's not a sale cos it's free!). He said that if I don't attend that he won't get paid. That comment got me mad. He left....

    Most other sellers block the footpaths enticing us into their shops. The Australian presence there is high so we are presumed as Aussies. I turned down a massage and the woman countered back at me saying "c'mon maate " in such a well rehearsed Aussie accent. I started laughing. It was such a good impression but coming from the mouth of a petite Balinese woman was so funny.We did finally buy some items from a street seller. We didn't get a bargain but was also ok with that as the lady got a sale to feed her family and we got what we wanted.

    Julie has had a problem with access to a soy latte. Yes, spot the Melbourne girl. If there was soy milk it was sweetened which is just not right. My lack of compassion probably didn't help overly. Julie is looking forward to her morning coffee on Wednesday morning when we return.So after a few hours we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the safety of our sanitised resort. Taxis are cheap but get the metered ones from a reputable company. We chose the light blue taxis with a picture of a bird on the door. And I tracked him on GPS as he drove us home.

    Back out to the beach for a swim, drink, and book read amongst the all the Russian guests.The afternoon heat really slows us down from discovering places as is our usual routine when traveling. Dinner was out of the resort to the local shops for authentic Indonesian food. I tried the local spirit called Arak. It tasted a bit like a fragrant kerosine. Maybe it was! The look on Julie's face when she tried it said it all. I missed a pic of that. Upon reading more about this liquor I discovered that a lot of tourists have died drinking this stuff. The locals tend to add methanol to make more money. I'm still alive but I do smell a bit like a Boeing 737!
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  • Day3

    Day 2

    January 26, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    After the eventful birthday we slowed down a little. The humidity, heat, and time zone all take their toll and after all, we are here to relax. First up was a swim in the pool. No breakfast required as we were still full from the night before. We then walked into the local shops(5 mins) and wandered around. Had brunch. The heat of the day really got to us so we headed back to the resort and relaxed on the beach with a couple of swims in the sea which has the temperature of luke warm bath water. This is where we stayed for almost 3 hours reading and resting. A cocktail did arrive later on.
    Did a large walk along the beachfronts track looking at all the neighbouring resorts. Club Med is by far the biggest. As it's low season none of the resorts looked overly busy.
    Our resort has had an influx of Russian tourists. We are more used to Asian dialect so the Russian language is quite foreign to us. We are also used to keeping left on pathways in Australia and NZ. The tourists here not only keep right but a lot of them just will not give any room to pass by. We have ended up off the path as others just don't care. We are passing in single file. Maybe we were just brought up understanding courtesy.

    Dinner was at Pirate Bay which is a very funky tree house family restaurant. They have built three levels into the trees. We had a lovely dinner once we had slathered on the insect repellent, the one downside of life in the tropics. We had intended to have a swim before bed but it was closed for cleaning. So after a few minutes watching the lightning over the sea we headed back to our cool room and an early night is planned.
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  • Day3

    Bali

    January 26, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☁️ 0 °C

    We left Melbourne directly from work in 38 degrees to head to the airport. Normally a tropical holiday includes an increase in temperature compared to home but in this case we dropped about 13 degrees between starting point and destination.

    The 6 hour flight took us across the red centre of Australia. It's immense size is really misleading until you fly across for hours seeing the ground continue in its barren state forever. We remarked that hopefully we soon will attempt to drive this continent and really experience its amazing landscape. We saw the enormous Lake Eyre which is completely dry at this time of year and stretches out for miles. There was also the Marree Man( look it up for its history). Landed in Denpasar at 8.30 pm in rain but warm and a 25 min ride into our hotel where we collapsed into bed. Bali is 3 hours later than Melbourne so was a big day. The room aircon is efficient. In fact it was 16 degrees and much too cold for us so that was turned off immediately. I'm yet to work out how to warm it to a suitable temperature.

    After a really good sleep we both woke early to Julie's special day. Breakfast after a walk to familiarise ourselves with the resort. Melia Bali has over 400 rooms and set in 4 ha of spectacular gardens. There are probably twice as many staff on duty as guests at any one time. We have so many greetings everywhere. The staff are fully engaged and attentive to their guests. Breakfast brought a lovely surprise when the waitresses brought out a birthday cake for Julie and sang in English and their native tongue. Really sweet.

    We then wandered down the beach and started searching for a shopping area we had been told about. We finally stumbled on it but realised later that we had walked a long way to find shops that were actually within 400 metres of our resort. We treated ourselves to a Balinese massage so an hour of strong hands found our tender bits.
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  • Day3

    Day one extended

    January 26, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    After a lovely relaxing afternoon swimming and reading all my beautiful birthday messages we got ready for dinner. I had booked a special dinner on the beach at the next door resort as it turned out. As we walked into the resort we passed a gazebo all set up with a romantic table set for two.

    Regan joked and said is that for you? Well it turned out it was! It was too windy to be on the beach so we had been set up in the garden with a view of the beach. We had a beautiful three course dinner with lovely wine including a bottle of Bali sparkling which was surprisingly delicious.

    The waiter service was spectacular, so friendly and attentive. I think we had 4 staff checking on us, topping up our glasses and taking away anything we had finished. I was lucky enough to receive another birthday cake with more singing. There were several attempts to try and keep the candle alive but we gave up after the 4th attempt.

    We had a wander along the beach back to our hotel room and did enjoy walking back into a cool hotel room. I really had the most amazing day and felt so loved. First plan for today is a Pilates class in the garden. Work off some of the birthday cakes.
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