Oct 2012. Day 5 & 6: Battle of the Bath

Oct 2012. Day 5 & 6: Battle of the Bath

Had a lovely chat to the manager of Sayang Sanur Terrace House whilst waiting for my taxi to take me to Ubud.  He was very apologetic about the loss of power during the night and requested a good review on Agoda.  As I was happy with my stay, I will be obliging.

My drive up to Ubud was uneventful. We passed familiar villages & came through the Main Street, down past the bridge & did a sharp left onto a steep uphill road. My accommodation was a short distance along the road once it levelled out, on the left of the bend. A smooth check-in at Sri Ratih Cottages, though not nearly as swift as in Sanur.  No one can top a ‘drive-thru’!  Very friendly reception staff.  They were expecting two guests – maybe guests on their honeymoon (hahahaha!).

My room is on the ground floor, facing the pool (which is about 1/3 of the size of one in Sanur).  At the entrance is a terrace with a cushioned couch & a coffee table. Inside is an alcove with a buffet with coffee making facilities & water atop & a small bar fridge in a cutout beneath. There are two swans made of twisted bath towels taking pride of place on the large queen-sized bed in my room, facing each other so their head & neck form a heart.  Oh bless.  I have the honeymoon suite! Completely wasted on me.   The room is quite lovely with a lot of wood features & large polished marble tiles on the floor throughout.  Opposite the bed is a feature wall made of slate with a flat-screen TV suspended in the centre, above a long low wooden buffet almost running the width of the room. The door into the bathroom looks like a huge checkered chopping board.  And the bathroom is Humungous! (deserving of a capital H).  I think it is the same size as the bedroom. Floor to ceiling marble tiles, a big open cupboard/shelving up one end for clothes, etc., a huge double vanity, a massive free-standing bath & a big walk-in shower with a dinner plate size shower rose. The feature wall behind the bath is made of large grey stacked pebbles, with a white stone carving of flowers in the middle.  The top of the wall had a narrow glassless window.  Mosquito highway.  There are white pebbles along the floor between the bath and the wall.  The freestanding bath itself is huge too – made of stone. There are pots of white phalaenopsis orchids on the vanity & next to the bath – just stunning. And all for li’l ol’ me! Yeehah!

After unpacking, I decided to run a bath.  Great water pressure.   The bath is so long, I can’t recline as I can’t brace myself with my feet because they don’t reach the end.  Even with my neck pillow, I can’t recline comfortably without risking drowning.  The bath is too high for me to lean my arms along the edge comfortably. You know I really didn’t think this through. I used bubble bath, making the bath slippery & I’ve got a bung knee.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster.  How am I going to get out? There are no rails or handles.  I’ve let the water out, yet I am still flailing around like a turtle on its back.  Can’t get out! Shit! I can’t get out! I am now praying that I don’t have to ask for help as I keep slipping back to where I started.  I’d have to move hotels, move out of Ubud, move out of Bali, fly home in shame.  I wonder if anyone else has been stuck in the bath? Maybe they have a rescue policy? Oh God, kill me now. Now I’m being dive-bombed by some bloodthirsty predatory mosquitoes that have taken advantage of the screenless opening above the wall while I am at my most vulnerable.  I finally manage to roll onto my stomach & pull my good knee under me so I am high enough to do a push up to get out.  It took several attempts and was not dignified but was successful. I think it took me 15-20 minutes.

There are a lot of mosquitoes in Ubud.  I am being eaten alive.  I am taking Vitamin B1 and using a home-made essential oil spray which mostly kept the mozzies in Sanur at bay.  Not so their ravenous country cousins.  I’ve several bites & will have to go down to the supermarket and get some heavy-duty repellent before I end up looking like I have the pox.  Their bites are so itchy too.  In fact I probably already look like I have the pox.  I have come out in an itchy rash across my back in past two days,  It is driving me nuts because I can’t reach to scratch & I want to claw it to down to the bone.  I don’t know if it’s an allergy or ant bites or what.  I am also burnt across there as well. I just know that I am seriously considering rubbing myself up against a cactus if I come across one! I could happily dive into a bath full of calamine lotion & not emerge again until next Tuesday. Well, maybe not a bath.

The hotel is having some renovations done, so to compensate for the inconvenience of the occasional hammering they are offering guests complimentary afternoon tea.  So I rock up to the restaurant, choosing the lounge chairs and tables on the step down decking by the large ornamental pond.  There are koi of varying colours & sizes swimming around. In fact it is a bit like a grotto – lush foliage and a tinkling waterfall in the background. There is one huge fish that just breached like a whale! Jumped right out of the water! Fascinating.  Afternoon tea came. Oh-oh. Balinese pancakes. Filled with palm sugar & coconut with syrup over the top.  I love these, but I shouldn’t eat these. I should politely decline – maybe say I’m allergic to coconut.  Show them my back rash as proof.  Look what coconut does to me! See? OMG my body is disobeying my mind & no words are coming out, instead my traitorous hands are spooning the pancake into my mouth! No, it’s too late! Oh, it’s soooo good.  And now I’ve tasted it I can’t stop.  A little piece of me has just died and gone to gastronomical heaven. Gone in 60 seconds. I may as well just rub them straight onto my arse, ‘cos that’s where they’ll end up!

Back to my room.  The padded couch on my patio is comfy, with another phalaenopsis orchid on the coffee table – this one white with a pink centre.  The table is a great height for computering, so computering I go.  The wifi is quick and more reliable, so I FB, email and surf.  I also post some photos of my room for some FB envy so the poor schlubs at home know what they are missing! Sometimes I am evil.

And darkness descends.  Not because I’m evil but because the sun went down.  I decide to eat in, as many reviewers have said the food the restaurant is good.  And it is.  I had mahi-mahi fish on a homemade potato thing with a creamy sauce.  It was delicious.  Piously I declined dessert but felt a craving for dairy so ordered a vanilla milkshake.  If I died now it would be as a happy woman.  This glass of decadence has cream piped on the top.  It is ice-cold, thick and vanillery.  Yum.

Off to recline on my bed.  The mattress is good but I still have difficulty sleeping on it. I woke up a couple of times again.  Destined never to have a good nights sleep it seems. 

 I actually woke before dawn & lay in and read of awhile.  I just finished the Kathy Reichs e-book I had been saving for my holiday.  I had guessed the plot the minute I read the first clue but it was still an enjoyable way to pass the time.  I have a little stand that can prop up my iPhone so I can read more easily during meals.  Gone are the days of trying to juggle a paperback novel under the pathetic glow of a tea-light candle at dinner!

And now I am being haunted by Balinese pancakes.  I was given one at breakfast, after ordering my scrambled eggs & bacon. Yum. Gone in a flash.  Did not even attempt to decline. And more proper bacon – two days in a row!  Be still my heart.  A hearty breakfast was partaken next to the fish pond grotto.  Back to my room for some more lazing around.  Evicted for a time by the houseboys to clean.  No further towel creations.  In fact I have been towel rationed from two down to one.  The little army of cleaners made short work of getting the room back to how it should be.

My hotel is on Jl Camphuan 1 – the road that goes to Penestanan.  It is very steep and not that wide.  I don’t fancy walking down it so have posted on BTF (Bali Travel Forum) requesting info on alternate ways do get down the hill aside from becoming a hood ornament of a passing car or repelling down.  I decide to go for a walk turning left out of the hotel instead of right.  There are a few shops lining the street, a few galleries, cafes and accommodation and it is very quiet.  The road starts to go downhill & after rounding a bend, it looks like it winds downward quite steeply.  I change tacks and retrace my steps.  It’s lunchtime and I’m hungry (what a shock, you say!).  I stop in at a restaurant and disturb the waitress from her near slumber.  I am the only customer.  I order mie goreng ayam and a pineapple juice.  Lovely smells are wafting over me from the kitchen.  The mie goreng is very very nice & I enjoy every mouthful.  Note to self, come back here again.  I don’t recall the name of the restaurant.  I think it started with B? I’ll jot it down next visit.

Back to my hotel.  Not quite the easy stroll I was expecting.  There are some blind bends in the road that does not cater for pedestrians, so my hearing is tuned for the sound of oncoming traffic and I am watching the ground, casing for areas I can leap to in an emergency.  I don’t like surprises.

I got transport into Ubud for dinner – reception rang for a driver.  I went to one of my favs – Café Des Artiste in Jl Bisma.  No booking, but I have arrived early enough that it shouldn’t matter.  And it didn’t.  A welcome drink of warm OJ with grenadine.  Ugh!  I decide on a glass of wine – their special of the week is an unwooded Chardy.  Twice the price of Hatten’s dry white & not nearly as nice.  Another lesson learned.  I went all out with my menu selection because the food is so delicious.  And by this time I was hungry again.  I had patè with their own home-made strawberry jam to start.  That combo had the potential to be hideous but I’m happy to report when I am wrong.  Yummy.  For main I had their renowned Chicken Cordon Bleu, of which the waitress did not appreciate my correct pronunciation and presented me with chicken ‘Gordon blue’ with sides of garlic mash & sautéed veggies.  Mmmmmm. Say no more it was heavenly.  Very happy camper when I am well fed.  Starting to dread the scales when I get home.  It is ravenous work doing nothing!

I walked down to the main street and had no problems finding a driver for my return trip. It is my one gripe about transport in Ubud – there are no taxis, just a multitude of private drivers with minivans. You have to barter for a reasonable fare before accepting the ride. And then hope they are not axe murderers preying on women travelling solo. I have never had trouble with the drivers, but that lingering caution stays with me nonetheless.  Going up that steep incline made me doubly glad I hadn’t hoofed it. 

Back in my room I relaxed with a recently purchased DVD – Breaking Dawn part 1. Still on team Edward.  Will top Kristen Stewart if I ever see her – or give her a chin-ectomy. She’s soooo dreary.  How could she cheat on such a cutie? It wasn’t late when I retired to bed properly, but as I am always up early, the promise of more sleep is tempting me.

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