Bagusbabe's Reflections

Day 9: Hot Hotels

You know I don’t really want to leave Bumi Ayu Bungalows. I wish I wasn’t shy & started to talk to people earlier. Now that I have been more sociable, it’s time to leave! I am definitely going to make this my go-to hotel when I come to Bali next. Hang on a minute, scrap that. It’s horrible, ghastly, hideous, you’d hate it. It must not get too popular.

I had the crappiest sleep because of the rage the seniors held during the night. That doof doof music is really hard to take.

I’ve reserved a mouldy broken down lounger next to my usual spot, beside the manky green pool.

So now it’s off for that nasty miserly breakfast in the restaurant. I pass a gardener watering the shrivelled up dying foliage. He looks right through me. Just like the rest of the staff here – stand offish & rude! 
I get a small table, not one I’ve sat at before. This chair is different to the others, a bit snug. If I stood up the chair would come with me. Dilemma. I have to stand up to swap chairs. Suck in & push down & I’ve been released without trauma or noisy side effects. I’ve never seen that chair before – someone put it there on purpose. The waiter comes over after I’ve been waiting for 10 hours & throws the menu at me. He comes back after another 10 hours to take my order. I ordered scrambled eggs, but was told pick something else, they’ve run out of eggs, bacon & sausage. I chose croissants but get toast. Burnt toast. They never get it right here. Waiter flips me the bird when I have the audacity to complain. Talk to the hand. My fruit platter is a whole pineapple & a knife, dropped on the table with a knock yourself out. 
I check the turtle pond on my way out & they’ve gone. They were being starved to death so they ran away under the cover of darkness last night.
I have to go to reception to pay my bill & its unmanned. 10 hours later a female staff member with a Gudang Garam hanging out the side of her mouth, comes out to demand what the hell I want, blowing a cloud of clove smoke in my face. To pay my bill please. She goes out the back & there’s some rustling & swearing & back she comes with a thick Manila folder. She looks inside & says that I owe 120 million rupiah. What??? You heard me. I ask to see the individual receipts. She pushes over the Manila folder, rolling her eyes & more smoke wafts into my face. There are meal receipt in there with different room numbers on them. When I point that out she says no one is perfect & bursts into tears in front of me. Look what I have to work with, she wails! I can’t take it anymore & she storms off, jumps on a nearby motorbike, revs it & roars off, running over the top of an escaping turtle who’d almost made it out to the main road. She skids sideways into a drum of petrol that was lying on the side of the unmade pot-holed road & it explodes with a mighty bang, incinerating everything in its path for a two metre radius. A piece of burning motorbike or turtle flew high into the air, landing on the thatched roof of reception, which immediately catches fire. Because the garden has been so neglected & overgrown it becomes tinder to the fire which races from room to room burning everything in its path. And the hotel burns to the ground in about 10 minutes flat. It’s gone, finished, kaput. Just a memory. Still wanna stay here? Just don’t book in there & take my room, ok?
*yawn* So I didn’t sleep that well. I had a weird dream. And I’m so itchy! I’ve got all these little bumps where I’ve got sunburn. I don’t know if it’s a reaction to something I ate, if I’ve been bitten by a million ants or if I’ve got dermatitis due to photo sensitivity.  Dr Google isn’t sure either. My sleep was a bit disturbed with me trying to claw my skin to the bone. Unfortunately my Advantin cream didn’t make it onto the list. I did wake with the birds this morning & I didn’t linger in bed as is my wont this morning. Today I’m off to Ubud.

Off to breakfast, quick check on the turtles – all present & accounted for. I get a small table, not one I’ve sat at before. This chair is different to the others, a bit snug. If I stood up the chair might come with me & I’d look like a turtle carrying his shell on his back. No difficulty swapping chairs. Phew! Sometimes my imagination can get away from me! 
Yummy breakfast eaten. I go over to sign my meal docket & they can’t find it. Disappeared! Not to worry, my breakfast is included, so I don’t have to pay for it.
Over at reception I pay my bill with a minimum of fuss. Well just a tiny bit. The credit card machine at the desk wouldn’t work so I had to use the one out the back. No biggy. I check that I can stay until noon. Yes, no problem.
Back at my room I change into my bathers & go out to the pool. The sun is out & only the far side of the pool is in shade. I climb in & start my exercises. A few frangipani have fallen into the pool, so I scoop them out & toss them into the garden. While I was swimming, the houseboy called out to me to ask if I was leaving today? Yes. Already? Yes I’m going to Ubud for a couple of days. Ahhhh, Ubud! He says. Have a good trip. Thank you! Thank you for staying at Bumi Ayu! Awww!
I stayed in the pool for a long time & was eventually joined by wheelie’s husband. We chatted for ages – I was a wrinkled prune by the time I got out. I lay on the lounger until 11 then went in to shower, change & pack.  All
accomplished within 40 minutes. 
I rang for a porter & said my farewells to the seniors still at the pool. Nice bunch. Wheelie’s hubby reminded me that he had booked a good driver for me for 1pm & told me what he was wearing so I could pick him out. At reception I asked if I could leave my bags for an hour? No problem. I walk out into the carpark & spot my driver. I go up
& introduce myself, agree on a price & said I’ll be back in an hour, at 1pm.
I walked the short distance up
the correct road to Lilla Warung, daring them to give me an average meal again. I ordered pineapple juice & chicken lalapan – spicy fried chicken with water spinach, rice & sambal. It was very nice & well cooked, I’m pleased to report. I declined dessert – yes I know, but time was getting on. 
Back in the carpark, my driver popped my luggage in the back of his people mover & opened the door of the front seat for me.
My seat belt was cutting off the circulation in my neck, so I had to hang on to it. He must have thought I was a nervous passenger. My driver apologised for his English, which was actually quite good. We discussed Bumi Ayu, the seniors, places of interest that I had already seen. Realising I’d seen most of the sights, several more than once he didn’t try to push his services on me. He did offer to take me to the airport on Thursday, which I accepted after some light-hearted bargaining. He was a good driver & had a good sense of humour. Either that or he flukes laughing at the right time when I’m telling my stories. I think I gained his admiration with my tale of driving from Ubud to Lovina over the mountains years ago before they widened the road. I’m not game to drive anywhere now.
I watched the scenery change as we drove. We came across a set of traffic lights in the middle of nowhere, it seemed. We sat in the traffic for quite a while. The traffic light had a number countdown overhead – red light countdown was 90 seconds, the green a mere 15.  No wonder there was a queue to get through. We were driving past the occasional rice fields now. I marvelled at the yellow frangipani everywhere, in big clusters like rhododendrons,  covering single trees, reminding me a bit of wattle when viewed from a distance. I don’t recognise anything until
we pass the turn off to Nyuh Kuning, almost in Ubud proper. So much has changed. 
As expected, our progress along Monkey Forest Rd was slow. In a way it was fortunate as it gave us both time to look for my hotel. Google maps had it in two different spots. Really helpful Google. My eagle-eyed driver was the first to spot the sign, but where was the hotel? He pulled over on the right side of the road, which isn’t really allowed & hopped out to find the hotel. We were parked in front of a surf shop that was recessed from the footpath, with temporary walls outside made of black plastic to protect the racks of clothes out the front on sale. He was gone a couple of minutes & I watched with interest & trepidation as vehicles drove past my side mighty closely. He came back saying he’d found it. There is no driveway into it. He had to come around to my side of the vehicle to let me out because the traffic was unforgiving. Luggage hoisted out of the back, he led me down the outer side of the black plastic divider to an opening in the wall behind a glassed ATM booth. Once through the opening it immediately dog-legged into a long corridor, paved & hung with brightly coloured glass lantern lights like ones you’d buy in Ishka. At the end was sunlight. It opened out onto a small courtyard filled with motorbikes – like 20 of them.  A few steps guarded by statues either side led to the hotel entrance. Such as it were. Reception was a small  bale to the left with a single desk & 2 chairs either side & to the front was a small restaurant with a path leading away to the distance down the left side. 
Big smiles in welcome. Whilst I fill in my registration, a cold towel & welcome drink are given to me. Mmm, watermelon juice. Will I pay now? Sure. They have about 5 different credit card machines with short cords. The first one died once I put in my PIN number. The second wouldn’t work at all. She got the 3rd one working which was accepted but realised she’d left off a 0! The next try didn’t work, nor the next. Finally the correct amount was accepted. The receptionist was very apologetic & said she’d pay me back in cash for the first sum charged. That’s fine. I filled out my breakfast request form & the porter came & took my bags & me to my room.
The property is quite narrow. On the other side of the restaurant is a small patio with 2 groups of easy chairs & tables overlooking the pool.  On the far side of the pool is 5 pool loungers under 3 patio umbrellas & directly behind is a high wall. The path runs down the other side of the pool with about a metre of garden either side. The rooms are in a single 2 storey building. Mine is upstairs. I can only take the steps one foot followed by the other on the same step, so my progress is slow. To the right of the top of the stairs is a railed walkway with the rooms to the right. I can see into the bungalows next door & the ones at the end look close enough to just get a leg over the rails. Past the bungalows are a few rice paddies edged with restaurants along Monkey Forest Rd – one of which is the Three Monkeys, sister restaurant to the one in Sanur. I’m shown into my room. It looks nice, same amenities as Bumi Ayu but not as big. The bathroom is compact with a shower over the bath (dare I…??).  I unpack and lie down for a bit. I’m hot. Reception rings – I left my credit card in their machine. They’ll hold it for me. Ok, thanks. I explore the balcony – 2 chairs, a table & a towel rack. The view is of an empty paddock, surrounded by buildings. They’ve built this hotel back to front! 
I sit out there for a while, there’s a cool breeze. Lots of birds chirping away & the distant rumble of traffic. Coming back inside I realise that it’s cooler outside than it is inside. I stand under the A/C which is set on a chilly 16 C & it’s not cold just blowing air. 
I ring reception & ask someone to come and look it. A young man arrives within 5 minutes & after testing the remote, agrees that the A/C isn’t working properly & will call someone to fix it. That’s ok with me. The phone rings – it’s reception, sorry they can’t fix it until tomorrow. It’s too hot & if I leave the balcony doors open the mozzies will make a meal of me. I can’t stay in the room then, I report.  I’m happy to take a ground floor room I hint. They agree to move me – 2 doors further along. So I repack everything except what’s on the hangers – I’ll carry them coat hangers & all to my new room. A porter arrives and takes my bags, I take my clothes. The new room is exactly the same except the bed doesn’t creak as much. The A/C works. I’m happy.
A knock at the door – receptionist with my credit card. Thank you! It’s nearly dinner time & I’m hungry. I can’t be bothered going too far to eat so I walk to the Three Monkeys for dinner. I’m shown to a table with a couch for 2 in front of a koi pond. There are lanterns hanging from a tree in the pond. One table further along is the beginning of a row of tables under patio umbrellas lining the edge of the rice paddies. Very pretty. 
I order a summer berry granita & Saté Lillit, served with shredded spicy chicken, fern tip salad, rice & sambal. The Saté sticks were stalks of lemongrass with grilled minced fish wrapped around the ends. It was very nice. For dessert I had the apple, berry & ginger crumble which was also very nice. I’d read a few recent trip advisor reviews complaining about the service, but I have no complaints. They were timely, attentive & friendly. 
It was only a short walk back to the hotel, through the tunnel, down the path & up the stairs. I’m pooped. I lay down amongst my abundance of soft pillows & write my blog. My bed is quite comfy, so here’s hoping I can get a good kip tonight.

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