June 2014. Day 1: I Have Arrived

June 2014. Day 1: I Have Arrived

Here I am on the Island of the Gods again. Whoop, whoop! I’m so excited to be here. I feel like I am a different person – I’ve changed so much in the past 18 months. Time to re-prioritise, reflect, re-organise, relax and any other appropriate word starting with R.

My decision to come to Bali again was made 4 weeks ago. I’m not a long term planner.  Which has bitten me in the arse a bit because there’s not much in the way of summer clothes in the shops at the moment.  Loving a bargain, I bought a new pair of bathers (swimsuit) on eBay which arrived the day before I flew out. Naturally, they didn’t fit. So I made a mercy dash to a swimwear shop 40 mins drive away & tried on at least 20 pairs of bathers. Trouble is, I don’t know what size I am now.  My old bathers swim on me and are plus-sized. I had great pleasure trying them on over the weekend & admiring how huge they were now. And slight panic had set in because my new bathers haven’t yet arrived.  So I am in a cubicle in the swimwear shop, literally sweating like a pig as I peel a second skin on & off my body.  Guys, women HATE shopping for bathers.  Its torture.  We are stripped down to the bare minimum, hoping for enough decent coverage whilst trying to exploit our figures.  We do not want to see gut overhang, back fat rolls or underarm bulge.  I pulled them up the front of my thighs, wishing I could afford liposuction & a nip-tuck. Knee overhang & thigh sag. Joy.  It’s my own fault.  I’ve been eating crap for weeks.  Most of the bathers I try on fit everywhere except the bust.  I settle on 2 separate pieces. Black boy-leg bottoms & a patterned ruched halter-neck tankini top with moulded bra cups.  Its a bit retro, which I love. I checked out every mirror angle to make sure bits of me weren’t oozing inappropriately out of the sides. I nearly had palpitations at the counter.  I parted with an enormous amount of money for the privilege of owning well-fitted swimwear. I better be admired by the pool for this investment!

I’m flying with Virgin Australia. I have been nervously checking that my flight was still a goer for 2 days due to the inconsiderate eruption of a volcano a few islands away that has spewed ash into the heavens & played havoc with flight schedules over the weekend.  Fortunately, my flight was not affected.  I fly out at 9 am, so I need to be at the airport by 7 am.

After my bathers mercy dash, dropping off the dogs to the pet sitter, setting up an automatic feeder for the fish, its time to pack.  For some reason its all too hard.  I had a little lie-down & downloaded the latest Game of Thrones episode. Sidebar – if Tyrion dies this season I’m not watching anymore! Got up & did a little more.  Stopped again.  Procrastinating again. Facebooking. A friend said why bother ironing, they’ll only get creased en route. Iron at the other end. Pure genius! Its 1:30 am.  I give up & go to bed.  Up again at 4:45 am, shower & finish packing. On the road by 5:30am. Wow, so much traffic on the freeway. And it started to rain. I’m so tired too. Not a great combo.  Arrive in good time at the airport, happy I upgraded my longterm parking to the closer undercover carpark.  I find the check-in counter for Virgin.  There is no queue! Nada. I am immediately called to a counter & checked in. Suitcase weighs in at 14.5kg (mental fist-pump).  I’m allowed 23kg. I am offered a seat with extra legroom. Hello, I’m 160cm. Really?  I gracefully decline & ask for the seat assignment I chose online. A window seat.

Queing up at the departure lounge I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the woman who had spent 15 mins queing in the wrong line.  She didn’t confuse economy with business class. No, she confused airlines. She was flying Jetstar.  I guess the sign saying Virgin & the different gate number on her boarding pass wern’t a big enough clues for this poor lost soul! The plane is small – one aisle & three seats either side. I’m used to the airbus. There is one free seat on the plane. It’s between me & the lady in the aisle seat. Score!  I’m so tired I drift off before take off.  There’s a Garuda flight leaving for Bali 5mins before us. The race is on. We’re off! I whiled away some of the time watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

We’ve left 30 mins late but still arrive on time.  We have metal steps down to the tarmac & a couple of buses to take us to the terminal.  We stop directly in front of a Garuda plane, with a corridor suctioned to its side.  The inside of the terminal has changed. New carpet & fittings. I queue up to pay for my Visa. I paid in Australian & got change in rupiah.  Queue up to go through immigration & then another luggage scan before allowed out. There is a crowd of hotel employees holding up name signs behind a fence. I spot my name, misspelt, & identify myself to the driver.  There’s no obvious exit through the fence. I have to walk through a duty-free shop to find the exit – quite odd.  I meet my driver Wayan face to face & we wheel my luggage to the car park & I wait for him to collect the car.  As we exit the airport I can admire the architecture of the new building. The 2 level car par park has hanging plants on the outside – green vines & bouganvillia of various colours. Very pretty.  The road has changed too – it’s not long before we are on Sunset Rd heading for Seminyak.

The hotel is about 1/2 km down a small road off the main drag.  We pull up in front of a monumental staircase which leads to the foyer.  My knees groan as I inch up the steep incline.  Reception is a series of desks and chairs in a row. I am guided to a chair and check in.  The bellboy with my cases gallops ahead of me.  My room is miles away from reception. It is on the first floor on a corner, so I am just above the outdoor bar with a view of the pool & the restaurant in the building opposite.  The room is lovely. There’s a large window between the bathroom & main room, so having a long soak will be very pleasurable.  A welcome bowl of fruit is on the bedside table.  I’m knackered & drop to the bed.  OMG I’ve died and landed on a cloud in heaven.  Massive soft pillows engulf me as I snuggle with the amenities folder.  Tonight is a special night in the restaurant – a Balinese buffet & traditional dancing.  I’m so going to that.  I can’t be bothered unpacking yet. Time for a little nanna nap.  More snuggling & I’m out for the count.

A two hour nap & I feel a little better, unpack & get ready for dinner. The restaurant overlooks the pool & looks & smells inviting.  I am greeted by a waiter who seats me then I’m up checking out the buffet.  A large man dressed in black, the maitre’d I assume, insists on describing every dish and putting a little of each on my plate.  I decline the suckling pig – yuk.  I accept many dishes I recognise from long ago stays at Hotel Tjampuhan in Ubud.  There is soup too – a chicken broth with a vegetable I don’t recognise.  It tastes gingery & is delicious.  Carved watermelon decorates the dessert bar – there are tropical fruits, sesame seed covered balls which are filled with sweetened potato (surprisingly delish), banana fritters, jackfruit fritters & rolled pancakes filled with palm sugar & coconut. Mmmmm.

The young couple on the next table start chatting to me. They’re Bali virgins from Tassie. One of the Balinese male dancers wearing a mask starts playing up to the patrons & stops at the couple’s table for a photo op, giving a thumbs up.  After dinner I seek out the gym.  The amenities folder said it’s on the 5th floor.  I jump into a lift & the 5th floor button says gym & wellness centre.  I wander around the 5th floor to no avail, so pop into the spa centre to ask where the gym is. I was advised that of course its on the ground floor.  I find it in darkness but note where it is for the morning.  I’m off to bed.  It’s 10:30 pm Melb time & despite my Nanna nap earlier, I’m pooped. Well fed, but tired just the same.

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