Oct 2012. Day 1: Ready, Set, Go…

Oct 2012. Day 1: Ready, Set, Go…

Sri Ratih Cottages, Ubud

Since February, I have lost 20kgs.  That in itself is worthy of celebration.  I now go to a gym regularly and I have a personal trainer once a week.  Someone I have to look in the eye and confess to, get flogged by and tortured in penance for an hour a week.  I had the unfortunate experience of seeing myself do leg presses on a piece of gym equipment beside a wall-to-wall mirror.  Picture a red-faced sweaty bullfrog being concentinaed and you will understand my shock.  I am traumatised.

So I no longer fit into any of my clothes or shoes.  This only became really apparent when I had a shoe emergency a few hours before my god-daughter’s 18th birthday party two weeks ago.  I fitted into a gorgeous dress I bought about 10 years ago.  Yippee! I had to settle on most unsatisfactory casual shoes for the evening. Boo!

The next day it looked like a bomb had exploded in my house – one full of clothes.  Apparel was strewn across every available surface.  Tried on and discarded wherever it chose to land.  Nothing fits.  The following week I was consumed by a shopping frenzy haze.  New shoes, new clothes and underwear.  But wait, there’s more.  I bought a new samsonite 4 wheeler light-as-a feather suitcase.  With matching cabin bag.  At a 40% discount! Score!  I went on to buy a new Colorado handbag @ 25% off to match my luggage and the clothes I had decided to wear on the plane.  I was a shopping bargain fiend and quite proud of myself.  My other fist-pump moment was finding $25 USD & 100,000Rp in my travel document wallet, which I had completely forgotten about. Yessss! The universe loves me!

I ditched the idea of a fake tan.  Didn’t work for me last time. I looked like I had vitiligo.  Packed my hairdryer purely to tame the cowlick in my fringe.  Since going to the gym at godforsaken hours before work, I gave up blow-drying my hair straight due to time constrictions.  So I no longer care that it is curly & prone to frizz (shocking, I know!)

My my, Garuda has lifted its game.  I had heard it won the most improved airline, but the only way from the bottom is up, surely?  I was very impressed with the plane, the service and the entertainment onboard. Even the food was ok. I watched the Amazing Spiderman & Promethius (eww – crossed that one off the dvd list!).  Gone are the days of straining like a stork to see over the seat in front to watch the chunky tv that lowered from the middle bulkhead.

Some may have found it entertaining in the past to watch the cuddly lady ask for a seat belt extension as despite her best efforts holding her breath, she slowly oozed body parts underneath the armrest into the next seat.  Well, that didn’t happen on this trip! I no longer had to fear getting trapped in the plane’s toilet, requiring emergency in-flight extraction with undies around my ankles (which was a long time fear of mine).  I wonder if that’s in their flight manual?

Our aircrew didn’t have any English customs declaration forms.  Not much chop at Indonesian, I had a great idea – I’d look up my iPhone itranslation app. Bummer, need the internet. I know, I’ll use Nomads Indonesian app for the first time.   Oh dear.  I didn’t find anything that might help.  Note to self though, I did find a couple of very handy phrases in the travel safety section – ‘jangan tembak’ (Stop, don’t shoot!) and ‘narkoba itu bukan milik saya’ (Those drugs aren’t mine!).  You might want to jot those down just in case too.  

Back to the form – I already knew that ‘tidak’ means no, so I blithely ticked all the tidaks, hoping that none of them were double negatives & signed my name.

Going through immigration was fairly speedy and my luggage was dancing along the luggage carousel as I exited.  Great timing.  Oh, did I mention how much I love this new luggage of mine? Such a breeze to manoeuvre.  Sorry porters, you don’t get a look in.  Easy to heft onto the xray machine at customs too.  No problems with my half filled-in declaration form either.

It has been eons since I used the taxi counter so I do not recall being touted by a zillion taxi drivers on my way there.   They were like swarms of blue patterned bees trying to get my patronage.  As luck would have it I got an overzealous taxi driver courtesy of the taxi counter, who returned to his taxi in the car park so quickly, I was scared he was making off with my new luggage like a thief in the night, um day! I had to gallop just to keep him within sight!  And to add insult to injury, his air conditioning wasn’t working! I’m melting.  It’s not too bad when we were on the move, but lots of traffic and stop starting ensued.  I did surreptitiously put my seat belt on after the fifth lane change in 20 seconds, which became the pattern of his driving.  He did ask the usual – where am I from, did I have an itinerary and was disappointed to learn I plan on doing nothing with a capital N.  He skipped the more pertinent questions like did I have travel insurance or a will.

Arrived at my accommodation.  I now believe I hold the world record for the easiest & fastest check-in ever! Taxi paused next to reception, I rolled down the window, the manager requested my booking voucher (thankyou Agoda) and handed me my room key. Ten seconds tops!  I was driven down the lane to a small carpark where a staff member was waiting to take my bags. Universe-smiling-on-me-again.

My accommodation is very nice.  A narrow property down a laneway, 12 apartments, 6 up & 6 down.  I was in the middle up.  Lounge/dining room with a flat-screen TV & CD player, kitchenette with full-sized fridge, bathroom with wardrobe, room safe, washing machine & bath. Large bedroom with a long window seat and a balcony overlooking a lovely long pool.  I choose to ignore the huge crane and multi-storey building frame I can see over the treetops and the empty paddock loaded with rubble on the other side of the building.  Actually, so far there is very little building noise that can be heard over the hum of the air conditioners (did I mention there is two?).

I discovered that under the bedspread my large bed was in fact, two made up single mattresses on a queen/king base.  That puts paid to me sleeping in the middle of the bed as is my custom.  I considered asking for a room change, but I was already half unpacked and couldn’t be bothered. 

After a welcome shower, I strolled down the street to Hardy’s in search of a sim card.  On the 3rd floor of course!  I pause by every fan as I make my way up.  Another chore done.  Downstairs to the supermarket for a few supplies.  Bugger, I bought inserts for a mosquito zapper by mistake instead of the zapper itself.  And this was after I showed it to a staff member & asked if these will kill mosquitos in my room & was assured yes, for 15 days.  Well, technically she was correct.

I also needed some safety pins, as the straps on my long dress are a bit too long and a bit too short to tie in a knot.  Obviously the words safety pin isn’t in the shop assistant’s language.  It’s very difficult to find an alternative word for them. You might want to note that it doesn’t make it any easier to understand by saying the same thing just louder either.  I had to resort to drawing a picture when all else failed.  Found them.

I had an early dinner in a restaurant across the road.  Nasi Goreng special.  I’d been up since 5am & it was now 8.30 pm Aussie time.

Knackered, so I am for an early night.

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