I woke before my alarm as usual, but it is light outside already. I can hear that the day has started for the staff – the sweep of a broom on the path collecting the leaves & frangipani fallen from the previous day. It takes me a few minutes to remember that it is my birthday today. I have birthday messages on Facebook.
I have to get ready at a decent hour as I’m being collected at 8:45am to go to Aroma Spa Retreat. I decided that I’ll get completely ready rather than come back to my room after breakfast. A quick shower, clothed in a sundress & hair in a high ponytail, I’m ready. No point washing my hair if I’m getting a massage. I descend Kosiosko & make my way to the hotel restaurant. Good mornings exchanged with some gardeners. I say hello to the turtles. It’s busy for breakfast. It doesn’t take me long to satisfy my hunger.
I walk over to reception, prepared to wait there for 15 minutes as it is only 8:30, but my transport has just pulled up. Hello, are you looking for me? Yes. In the van I’m offered a bottle of water & a cold face towel, both of which I decline. The Spa is part of a large hotel – the Prama Sanur Beach Hotel in south Sanur. It’s huge! Down the driveway, we pass a double tennis court & a badminton court before we wind our way down to the beach.
The spa reception is a single-walled building lined with shelves full of products. There is a huge laminated Trip Advisor award on the wall behind the desk. I’m greeted & given a consent form to sign. I mentioned that I have sore knees on it. A masseuse is introduced – her name is Fitri. Interesting – it is also the name of the cosmetic dentist
I’m seeing in Denpasar. What a coincidence. I am taken to the next building – there is a row of reclining seats with rooms behind them. In one of the rooms is a pair of massage tables & a floor to ceiling glass window & door, draped with a dark turquoise heavy organza curtain tied back to one side. I’m led through the door to another room with a sitting area, a big free-standing bath, a separate shower room & separate toilet either side. There is a small garden in the shower & toilet with a white birdcage suspended over it. I’m asked to remove all my clothing & jewellery & place everything in a lidded box on the sideboard. There are black paper undies (joy!) & a belted kimono to wear. The undies aren’t a great fit but adequate coverage. The kimono is huge. I can’t remove my stud earrings or my chain necklace with my new nails. Fitri helps. She picks up my box of belongings & we go back outside to the reclining chairs.
My feet and lower legs are bathed, scrubbed with salt, dried off and a shiatsu massage given. It’s heavenly. From my chair I can see reception, 2 massage pavilions draped with organza a-la Arabian nights, a pool with sun loungers & the beach. The boardwalk has a steady stream of pedestrians. The beach is lined with colourfully painted catamarans. As I relax back in my chair, Fitri is in the zone, swaying as she massages. There are a few sparrows on the thatched roof of reception. One of them has made a nest inside the thatching. I’m guessing a female. I think the other 5 sparrows are male suitors. She’s giving them a bollocking, shooing them off. It’s amusing to watch. I take a sip of my ginger tea. It’s very strong.
After my foot massage, we go back into the rooms for my ‘brushing’, Fitri bringing in my box. I start off face down, with my feet elevated on little platforms. The brush is soft and the small strokes rhythmical. It’s called Ayurvedic exfoliating body brushing. Take my dead skin cells please. To describe it as divine, sublime, heavenly does not do it justice. I could stay here all day.
After the flip side of me is done, it’s time for my massage. This girl has thumbs of steel. I had no idea I was sore in so many spots. A couple of times I had to ask for her to go softer. When on my back, bolsters were added under my knees for comfort. Overall, it was great.
Next I’m to have a quick shower then a 20 minute soak in a milk & honey bath. Red & pink flower petals are also added. I adore baths & this is my first since my holiday started. Lovely.
After my time is called, I dry off, don a new pair of paper knickers & my kimono and back to the massage table for my facial. We have a bandeau failure during the treatment – it doesn’t want to stay done up. I must have a big head! Yoghurt & honey is massaged onto my face, removed, another yoghurt based preparation is steamed onto my face for a few minutes, then removed. A cucumber astringent applied then a clay mask. While the clay mask dries, I’m given another feet & lower leg massage – this one using Chinese acupressure. My mask is removed, a cream applied. Lovely. I pray I do t have a pimple outbreak.
Now it’s time for me to get dressed. Assistance is required to apply my chain necklace.
Then we go outside to a very comfortable reclining chair in front of a basin & my hair is washed & finger blow dried. It smells of strawberry confectionery now. I drink a glass of water, then I’m done. What an indulgent way to spend the morning. I bought an exfoliating brush at reception. Happy Birthday to me!
Rather than return to my hotel, I declined transport & instead walked to the beach & turned left along at the boardwalk. Passed the rest of the Prama hotel – huge, not my cup of tea. I’m in familiar territory now. I stayed at Villa Puri Ayu a few years ago which is up the lane. There is a kite-surfing place here & I pause my stroll briefly to watch the parachute kites take to the wind with their human attached with string.
I choose to eat at Bobby’s, hoping the food is still good. I take a table at the front for a front row view of the beach & sea. It is a bit windy, but not uncomfortably so. I order Nasi Goreng (again? you say) & garlic bread. Their garlic bread used to be to die for. At least I think it was Bobby’s. There are 3 beachfront cafés here. And I was wrong. My garlic bread is 2 pieces of white sliced sandwich loaf, barely coloured with a hint of garlic butter. There are quite a few spotted doves on the sand perfectly willing to help me eat it. And a young Bali dog with the saddest eyes helped too. I know, I know, but the eyes got to me. My Nasi Goreng was very nice & of generous proportions. As I ate, I watched the kite surfers fly across the water, some of them leaping out a few metres with stronger gusts. I’m assuming it was intentional. After lunch, I cut through the side of Bobby’s into the lane, declining offers to look in their shops. The corner of the lane & the Main Street have changed in all directions. The bar with the little tour booth was gone. He was a cheeky boy who manned that booth. A new restaurant is on the other corner & the ?pub that used to be across the road is gone completely. They did a good pie there. I was able to hail a taxi easily & return to my hotel.
As they still do most of their paperwork by hand, it shouldn’t surprise me that the hotel hasn’t acknowledged my birthday. I myself don’t want to acknowledge I’m on the wrong side of 50 now anyway! In my room I read & write for a while & research where to go for dinner. I’m going to go to Art Cafè again for a chicken Kiev & fruit spritzer.
As I leave the hotel, I am hailed by one of the hotel drivers. I haven’t seen him since I got here. He wishes me Happy Birthday & offers to take me to the airport on Friday night, which I accept. I walk up to the Main Street, shake my head at the ever hopeful offers of transport from the touts. I wonder if they make a decent living?
At Art Cafè I’m their first patron, but not for long. Service is attentive & the food is still good. I’m having a strawberry & mint spritzer. I don’t need the jug of sugar syrup, it’s is sweet enough for me. Very refreshing. I have prawn & sweet corn fritters to start. Then I have chicken Kiev with mashed potato & green beans, which is yummy. And I have a dessert – Nougat Parfait. Mmmmm. Delish! I didn’t want to risk the chocolate lava cake in case my gut reacted.
Back at my hotel, I stop at the base of Kosiosko for a brief chat with a senior. Another senior hasn’t been well & a doctor called. I hope he’s ok – he’s wheelie’s hubby. Upstairs I finish writing my antics of yesterday. The wind picks up. I think I’ll rotate my towels around & go out to the balcony. Eek! The door is unlocked! The houseboy must have left it unlocked, because I haven’t been out there today. I make a mental note to check the lock from now on. I dutifully rotate my towels, lock the door & retire for the night. Not a bad way to spend your birthday if you are on your own, hey!
Caio for now,