Bagusbabe's Reflections

Day 9: Stressing Stones

Slept ok last night. Another hot day is coming according to the weather. Good. Another pool day. As I was getting ready for breakfast we lost power. It came back on for a few minutes, went off again & repeated the cycle during the time it took to look respectable for breakfast. The hotel is building a shelter of some kind at the back of the car park to house some metal cabinets – possibly their power switchboard? I’ve no idea. Possibly the reason for electricity interruptus.

These new guests are early birds! All the smaller tables are taken, so I opt for a four seater. Same breakfast except I add a small banana pancake to my plate. Mmmm!
As it was yesterday, the fan on the support beam is on & sending a cool breeze my way once a revolution. Good morning said to the security guard on my exit from the restaurant. He is supervising the work site so too busy to sweep his hands to the hotel entrance.

I’m not going to the pool this morning. I have an appointment at Koa Spa for a hot stone massage at 10am. No point showering before I go only to come back an oil slick. I dress with care, ensuring decent knickers are worn. Hair up in a high pony tail. I organised for more laundry to be done. It was so cheap, I chose to have same day service for an extra 50%. I sat on my patio to write. The houseboys are busy cleaning in groups of 4, one room at a time. They are taking some furniture up the stairs with much hilarity as they try not to drop it. More laughter & giggles followed when they realised I’d been watching them. Time passes quickly when I’m writing & its 9:45 already. I gather up my things, drop my dirty clothes off at reception & head out to the street. I check which side of the road has the most shade. My side at present. Some of the shops along my route are already open, a few bars & restaurants closed. A few drivers offer me their services. No thanks. A bend in the road shifted the shade – the other side of the road offered more so I cross the road. I’m on time for my appointment.

I check in with reception & my masseur is a different person again. She too is a bit older. M3 takes me outside & up the stairs into the spa area. It’s cool & smells of lemongrass. I’m shown to curtain no. 4 & strip down to my undies. Face down on the table I await my treatment. M3 comes back, straddles the back of my legs without sitting on me & starts massaging my back firmly into the table. This style is different to the Balinese style which starts at the feet & works upward. A few strands of escaped hair are pushed upwards & my neck chain rearranged. This massage is more painful than I was expecting. Then M3 disappears without telling me. I hear the clink of pebbles or rocks against metal outside the curtain. Then she returns & I can hear her rustling in the bowl. Next thing I have 2 burning hot stones rubbed onto my back. Argh! Too hot? Yes. She takes them off. Puts them back on. Too hot? Yes! Still too hot. I don’t know what she did with the stones but they felt no better. The next time she added them she kept them moving, which was ok until she stopped & left them on my shoulders. I lifted my shoulder blade so one slid off me. Too hot? Yes! What gave it away? She picked the stone up & put it back. Then rustling in the metal bowl for more instruments of torture. This time they were tolerable – just, but felt uncomfortable when left on my spine. This went on until I had 6-8 stones stiiting on my back & shoulders, one in each outer axilla & one in each palm. So hot. I’m not enjoying this. She covers my back with a sarong & started on my legs.

Some parts of the hands only massage was good, the rest painful. Still the stones were too bloody hot. And how is it remotely restful hearing the clattering of stones on metal every few minutes during a massage? It’s discordant. To me it only made me more tense as I new the overheated stones were coming. Too hot? Yes! Not that you are paying a speck of attention. Surely she must be able to tell I’m not at all relaxed. God, please let it be over. Nope. Time to roll over onto my back & get tortured on even more sensitive skin! I don’t know why I didn’t just stay stop using the stones altogether. I should have. I was hating every minute of this and wanted it over.

After my 90 minutes of stress was over, I got dressed & went straight to the bathroom to check if I had any burns. Fortunately not. My hair was a disaster. I combed in down flat & added my hat for good measure. I felt a little nauseous. So I can tick that off as an experience never to be repeated. Was it supposed to be that rough or was my masseur less skilled or having a bad day? After drinking half of my tepid cup of water, I went back down to pay. I didn’t book in for another massage as was my original intention. What if I got her again? Time to try somewhere else. Let me out of here!

I retrieved my thongs from the front door & returned to the street. I’d planned to go to the beach for lunch again, but I felt drained & didn’t feel up to the walk. Instead, I crossed the road & went into the Majestic Marigold Cafè, which I recognised as being the former Ducks Nutz. It has been revamped & has new owners, I believe. I took a table near the front entrance. A couple of minutes later a group of 4 known to the waiter came in, sat themselves down & received service before me. Great start. I was given a menu shortly after & chose the chicken parmigiana with home cut chips & salad. When it came, it was lovely. The crumb on the chicken was gorgeous & the chicken itself perfectly cooked. I felt somewhat revived. I was happy to see no service tax tacked onto the end of my bill. I didn’t linger.

I walked back to the hotel in the midday sun. Well, near enough. It was very hot today. The AC in my room beckoned for a little lie down. I read for a couple of hours before going for an afternoon swim. The pool was busy, but I still managed to get a lounge but it was only half shaded. The surrounding tiles were very hot. More hot stones? Noooo! The water in the pool was perfect. I grabbed a pool noodle & floated off into a reverie. The pool was partly shaded on the opposite side than in the morning. Makes sense, as we orbit the sun. Der! After floating for half an hour I got out & read, reclining on my lounge with knees bent so my feet weren’t in the sun.

Before long I was partially dry & hot again. This time I wore my thongs (foot thongs) to the water’s edge & hopped in with a noodle. More floating & drifting. Divine. A couple of girls in the pool said hello – fellow Aussies. We chatted for a while, comparing experiences. They had been to the Bali Zoo that morning for breakfast with the orangutans. I asked for more information. They’d enjoyed it. As I haven’t been anywhere this trip & did nothing last year either, I thought it was high time to get out there & do something. It sounded a lot less dangerous than the Segway tour down the south end of the beach I was contemplating doing. It looks like fun, but you need good balance. Maybe in an alternate reality…sigh!

It was getting close to dinner time. I went back to my room, had a quick shower & popped on a sundress. I decided to spoil myself just for a change – like this whole trip hasn’t been self-indulgent! Haha! I’m off to Soul in a Bowl. And if sticky chicken isn’t on the menu, heads will roll! Ooooh, that rhymed! I hailed a taxi in front of the driver touts hanging around the footpath & my spite was rewarded with a taxi driver that had the worst BO ever. OMG! Son of a camel! Put a window down please someone! How long can I hold my breath? I gave directions between clenched teeth, so no smell could accidentally slip in and take the back entrance up my nose. I did not want to inhale. Sweet Mary & Joseph & all the biblical saints, do not drive like an elderly Volvo driver with a peaked cap, man! I surreptitiously leaned my face into the crook of my elbow and took a deep breath of my perfume, fortunately sprayed on myself just before I left. Just drop me off at the corner. He pulls over & I hand him 20,000Rp whilst opening the door simultaneously & jumping out to gulp life-saving oxygen back into my lungs. Man oh man, he stunk!

I crossed the road when safe to do so, after waiting for the trail of cars that had accumulated behind us to pass. Soul in a Bowl is one of my favourite restaurants. I hope it lives up to my high expectations. I’m led inside to a table for two along the side wall, where a padded bench seat stretches from the back wall to the window dividing the two eating areas. A friendly waiter brings me a menu, & while I was perusing The entrees, he brought over the specials board. I ran my eyes down it quicker than he could recite it. Oh no! No sticky chicken! I asked him I’d they stopped making it? No, it’s on the dinner menu now. Phew! I’m going to have the pâté with the sourdough crostini to start & the sticky chicken for main. As the waiter took my order, I asked if I could have the breast rather than the thigh. He didn’t understand me. I asked if he could show me the chicken. He brought out a marinating thigh with a drumstick. No breast? Just this. You want this? Yes, I’ll still have it but I won’t enjoy it as much. He puts my order in & brings my Diet Coke with a complimentary plate of homemade beetroot chips with yellow lentil dip. I hate beetroot. These chips were amazing. Loved them. A few minutes later the waiter comes back excited, holding a plate with a marinating chicken breast & wing. Is this what you wanted. Yes please!

My pâté arrived in a different configuration than last year. For starters, it was in a small glass jar, topped with chopped walnuts. It was flanked by two rows either side with black – yes black! thinly sliced toasted bread. Sliced apple was arranged on the other side, with a small pile of leafy greens with slightly shrivelled black things I later learned were grapes, because I asked. The pâté was yummy & the blackness had no bearing on the taste of the bread. As I still had a third of the jar left, I started spreading it on the remaining beetroot chips. Pure genius!

The restaurant was filling up. A long table for eight Brits were seated to my right & a plump pair of semi senior Dutch or Germans were seated to my left. My sticky chicken arrived, atop a mound of coconut rice (yum) & snake beans and was totally scrumdiddlyumptious. It was very spicy. Every mouthful was a joy. The couple on my right ordered the prawn pasta special. I found the smell of it wafting over to my table every now & then a bit pungent. I think they inhaled it without chewing because it was gone in a flash. They did not talk. Serious eating going down! There was serious eating at my table too, but I was savouring mine whilst I read my trashy e-book on my phone.
I couldn’t finish my rice, nor could I fit in dessert. Full as a goog. I left the waiter a good tip. He’d been great.

Back out on the street, I tried to hail a taxi but they were occupied. Someone kept saying do you want a taxi? I thought it was another tout so ignored him until he finally got my attention & I saw the longest row of taxis in Sanur that ended just to my left. Doh! I walked over to the last taxi in the queue & got in. I gave him my hotel name. He tried to haggle for a price. I said turn on the meter please. You are the first taxi driver who hasn’t turned the meter on, you are a bad man! He laughed. We was a bit of lead foot driving me back. He didn’t smell either. I only gave him half the tip I usually give.

Good evening exchanged with the sweeping handed security guard & to reception as I passed through the entrance. The water feature had been turned off in the pool. It was oddly quiet. I blessed my AC as the cool air met me at the door to my room. People upstairs were dragging the chairs across the balcony tiles as I prepared for bed. I finished writing my blog, ready to be proofread & posted in the morning. I jotted down observations about my day so I’d remember them tomorrow. Then I remembered my laundry wasn’t back. I walked back up to reception, where it was waiting for me. The 50% surcharge for same day service had been crossed off. It cost me $4. I put my laundry away & then got ready for bed. I made a pyramid with my pillows & nestled in to sleep. I mourned my little camp pillow I use at home to rest between my knees when they’re sore. They were sore. I got up & rubbed some arnica cream on them. That noise started up again. It’s loud & annoying & I want to know what makes the noise! I roll over & choose to ignore it. ‘Night all.

Ciao for now,

Bagusbabe.

One thought on “Day 9: Stressing Stones

  1. Judith

    Working in your profession you’re so deserved of an R & R holiday. I’ve never had a massage, manicure, pedicure, and I’m not too sure I’m encouraged by some of your experiences; especially “hot rocks”, yikes. But appreciate your enjoyment. And we really need to know what is that noise at bedtime. I was thinking maybe it was a generator, or is there some renovations where there could be a portable light buzzing. We need to know, please ?

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