Oct 2010. Day 11 to 13: Big Day Out

Oct 2010. Day 11 to 13: Big Day Out

I had a big day planned.  Not big for the average Joe but when you are doing nothing, and have to do something, it’s big.  Morning routine as usual, plus a quick pool check – can’t help myself.  I saw tapeworm girl again at breakfast.  She is still here.  Turns out those weren’t her kids in the pool the other day, unless she has done something sinister to them because they are gone & she is still here.  Still skinny as after a week. B*tch!

I walked up the lane, saying good morning to the usual suspects.  Tour guide guy has finally given up on me and just says hello.  Transport guy has not given up on me, despite seeing me hail taxis on a regular basis.  Ever hopeful.  Sorry mate. I hail the next taxi that comes along. As an aside, I do not favour any taxi company in particular, just choose the first that comes along.  During this trip all of them have had the meter on without me asking.  A few drivers have mistakenly assumed I just arrived on the back of the last turnip truck & try to wheedle my plans, marriage status and length of stay to tout for business or more, but I can play the game & spin a yarn of BS with the best of them. Sorry no cigar.  So I am off to Discovery Plaza to pick up my new glasses.  My taxi driver has a phobia about second gear – as in rarely uses it, so I was near whiplashed the closer we got to Kuta as we bunny hopped in the slow traffic.  

At Discovery Plaza I discover that my glasses are not ready, despite giving them an extra day. I expressed my displeasure.  The staff asked if I could come back in an hour.  So off I go to wander around the shops.  Joy.  At the risk of losing a few readers, I must confess that by some freak of nature I am missing the shopping gene.  I hate shopping.  I love having nice things, I love a bargain, but I hate having to hunt them down. I loathe wandering around & around, looking, looking, picking things up, putting them down again.  It’s mind-numbing.  I have a list, I go straight to the store that I know can fulfil my needs, buy what I want & I’m out of there. So sending me off in a shopping mall to kill an hour is a mild form of torture for me.  So I have an hour to kill.  I spot a DVD shop, grab a few more DVDs, go to the counter to pay – well, would have paid if I had enough money.  Apologies, off to the money changer & back in the queue to pay.  Less than15 minutes have passed. Is that all?  Drag myself around Centro & tried to think of something I might like to buy.  Went to pick up a purse in the handbag section but it was whisked away before I could lay a hand on it, opened & it’s features demonstrated by an avid shop assistant.  New arrival, only Rp875,000 she says.  Are you kidding me?  Another 15 mins have lapsed. I’m so bored.  Stop at a cafe for a drink, and we play the invisible game again.  When I am finally noticed, I have a vanilla milkshake. Task completed, now off to queue for the loo. I walked past a massage man with a scary-looking electric massaging implement.  Massage, ma’am? You look tired! Thanks for that.  I’d made a little extra effort this morning & blow- dried my hair straight and was wearing a little make-up.  I thought I was looking the best I had for 2 weeks. Apparently not! Ego nicely deflated. Thanks. At last my hour is up, & I go back to the Optik – not ready yet ma’am, my friend has gone to get from Kuta Square – 3 mins.  More like 20 mins, but finally they arrive, get fitted & I’m outta there.

I hail a taxi just up the road from Discovery as there was quite a queue waiting (don’t judge me).  Couldn’t be bothered queuing & being annoyed by time-share touts.  We head off to Jl 66, as I have a jewellery shop I want to visit.  Slow progress in the traffic, but finally get there. I bought 3 beaded necklaces – in & out in 10 minutes – would have been 5 mins if I could have found someone to serve me.  Over the road to Warung Murah for lunch.  I remembered it from when I stayed at Kumala Pantai years ago.  I didn’t fancy their Indonesian buffet, so I had sate ayam.  I forgot to ask for spicy peanut sauce & got the mild tourist version.  As I was sitting there, I was highly entertained by the two-way traffic trying to squeeze past each other without skittling the motorbikes parked outside the restaurant.  There are some very skilled drivers out there.

After lunch I meandered up the street, looking for another jewellery shop recommended, but when found it, it was more or less the same as the first shop I went to.  I did find a little silver jewellery shop that uses shells in their work.  I purchased a pendant & 2 pairs of earrings – very happy with them and the price. By the time I exited the shop I was dripping. So hot!  I hate shopping. Did I mention that? I had yet to walk to Bintang supermarket.  

Found my bubblewrap in Bintang’s after walking there & also bought a couple of limes to squeeze into my coke back at the hotel.  Mission accomplished.  I hailed a taxi, held up the traffic which went down well & off we went back to Sanur.  My taxi driver was delighted to get a big fare. Foul traffic conditions in Seminyak.  Reminded me why I don’t stay down here. Just crossing the road is suicide.

Arrived back at the hotel exhausted.  I hate shopping, just in case you missed that!  Unpacked my purchases & lay on the bed in the AC to wind down.  Had a coke & went for my limes.  I hadn’t thought this through. What am I going to cut them with? – no knife. To go to the restaurant would entail getting dressed again. I can’t be bothered.  So I sort of sawed & stabbed the lime with my scissors. Not an attractive outcome, but served its purpose.

I was debating whether I would go up to Ducks Nutz for a drink.  I did in the end.  I rocked up there at about 4:30 pm.  I was greeted by Gayle & Billy & pull up a chair.  BloodyRon immediately knew who I was & took pity on me. He kept me entertained for the next hour & a half.  Thanks Ron. He told me that more people than I thought had been reading my posts & enjoying them.  I was shocked, because I am not doing or writing anything remotely exciting! Anyway, I confess I did have a bit of an ego happening by the time I left to hunt for dinner.

I decided to try The Village restaurant, as it was my 2nd last night, time to spoil myself.  It looked very nice from the outside. I opted to eat inside in the AC – gorgeous red wood floors & a huge wine room.  I settled on a Pina Colada & the mixed seafood platter.  While I was waiting, I was given some bread, accompanied by a dish of ?minced sundried tomatoes. Yummy.  When my meal arrived, there were 7 small unidentifiable lumps of something in batter on a mound of torn lettuce – not generous in the least for Rp95,000.  The lumps turned out to be 3 small prawns, 2 small pieces of fish & 2 small pieces of squid.  Honestly, we are talking entrée proportions here. As I tried to saw through the squid (way overcooked) a small caterpillar-type insect crawled out of the lettuce & along the edge of my plate.  I had already eaten the fish & prawns, abandoned the squid as a lost cause & decided I didn’t really fancy eating the lettuce from then on.  I politely showed the waitress the livestock circumnavigating the edge of my plate & demonstrated the toughness of the squid.  She apologised & offered something else from the menu.  I chose the tomato soup with garlic bread – that’s hard to bugger up. No it’s not! The soup was full of large chunks of whole tomatoes & bits of carrot & celery thrown in for good measure.  A bit like an incomplete minestrone.  Tasted ok, but not my thing.  And the garlic bread? A handful of homemade garlic croutons on the top. Bugger. I decided my meal was a dead loss & I’d be leaving hungry, called for the bill & was not charged for my soup.  Would have preferred not to have to pay for the seafood, but left it at that.

I left The Village disappointed & hungry, so again went on the hunt for food. Popped into the Wicked Parrot & decided on a coke & mie goreng ayam. Whilst waiting for the food, my brain & stomach finally synched & I realised I was no longer hungry.  My 1st mouthful of coke went down the front of my dress – black, fortunately. My meal arrived and no joke, it was enormous! What the hell is going on? The universe is having a laugh at me. Oh, I know why this is happening. The universe is giving me a slap because I got too big for my boots @ the Nutz. Get over yourself !- slap. Think you can start a blog? – slap! Your own FB page? – slap! Write a book?- slap, slap, slap! Back to the real world, woman! – slap!  I tried my best but hardly made a dint in the mountain of food, listening to the band sing Irish songs.  Nice harmony & flute.

Feeling somewhat battered, but not bruised I hailed a taxi. I noticed that both Coriander & Cafe Jepun were full as we drove by & not suffering because of my review! I would have got a slap for that too! Got the taxi driver to drop me off at the Trophy Bar. I walked down the lane instead of being driven as punishment for my gluttony. I stayed up late – girls night in. Romantic chick flicks & a good cry is what I need.  I want to be tired enough to sleep on the plane tomorrow night.  The night sky lit up with lightening & thunder rolled.  I prayed to whichever Goddess will listen that the thunderstorms be over by the time I fly out tonight.  

As I type this, a crash of thunder sounds.  Oh, hardy ha ha – very funny.  The universe is in a sarcastic humour this morning.

I hit the ground running since I got home. It’s now 1.30 am and I need to get some sleep. Busy day today. Hairdressers – hair now shorter, coloured and shiny straight. Yes! 

Time was on wings on my last day. It flew so fast that before I knew it the morning was gone and I hadn’t done anything! The manager came to my door at 11:30 to ask what time I would be leaving. 6 pm I said. She looked surprised, then thanked me for staying with them.  At 12:30 I get a phone call from reception. What time are you leaving, asks a man’s voice? 6 pm. We will have to charge you another 1/2 day for the room. Yes, I understand. I guess the 3 emails confirming this over the last 3 months weren’t clear enough.  Oh well, it would be my only complaint and a small one at that.  I have loved staying at Villa Puri Ayu, despite the rodent Olympics in my plunge pool.

I was hungry for lunch.  Ate under the leafy canopy of Donald’s restaurant on the beach. And yes, the chair sank in the sand again. I had lumpia with peanut sauce which was quite nice and garlic bread which was delish.  I was very tempted to have another serve of garlic bread, it was so nice. Planes were flying in low to land.  Soon mine will be taking off, returning me to the reality that is my life. Hard to believe I’m leaving soon. I sat there after I’d finished my meal, the ice long since melted in my coke with lime and the watery puddle around the glass was expanding by the minute. Funny the things you notice that are usually beneath your notice. I’m going home soon so soaking up every experience like a camel storing water for the dry months ahead. Memories for later on. Yes, a camera is equally handy in this situation. The sun was sparkling on the surface of the sea.  The sea itself was calm, breakers in the distance crashing onto the reef, but a gentle whoosh can be heard if you listen for it as ripples make it into shore. A lone yacht drifts past, a red sail billowing with its trapped breeze. The same breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees above my head, lifted the ends my hair so they drifted intermittently into my face and mouth, blew my crumpled serviette from the table in a graceful spiral dance to the sand at my feet. So peaceful …. Hold that thought!

Ouch! The same feet that tiny ants were snacking on, little buggers. They hurt, and their tiny bites itch like crazy. Rudely dragged from my reverie, I couldn’t help noticing that uneven ring of dirty speckled brown around my ankles as I scratched – the last stubborn remnants of my fake tan. Lesson learnt, people. No fake tan next time. Note made to self, to be lodged in subconscious so if the thought crosses my mind again it is to be stomped upon. Lily legs be damned. You folks will just have to suffer.

Back in my room I had a little nanna nap. Memory making is tiring work you know. I blinked and suddenly it was time to pack. I kid you not, I had enough bubblewrap to give a king size bedspread a run for it’s money.  I could probably wrap the whole bed in it and still have some left over. I used about a metre of it, wrapping absolutely everything that might break, gave a metre or so to the ladies in the room opposite and still had oodles left.  

I didn’t think I’d bought much this trip, but my suitcase was bulging. I weighed it with my weighing thingy (the one with lbs and kg) and it went past a full revolution, so I knew it was over 22kgs. (Weighed in @ 26.9kgs at the airport, which is outrageous!) I’ve hardly bought anything except DVDs, 2 bottles of Bali Moon and some spa products. 10 kg worth? Luckily I had a 30kg limit.  Even so, I still couldn’t fit in my cuddle buddy (cushion) so had to lug that around under my arm like a teddybear. Managed to fit my laptop in my cabin bag using brute force and left all at reception while I went on the hunt for food for dinner. 

I decided on Caesar’s again because it’s close by and I enjoyed my last meal there. There was a table free on ‘maiden’s row’ with my name on it.  One more Cosmic Colada for the road. Indulging myself and to use up my remaining Rp, Miss Piggy had an entree of smoked salmon and melon salad, which was fab. Love a good smoked salmon and this one was good. Highly recommended. My main course was the same as last visit but I couldn’t finish it all. Oink.

Hailed a taxi, returned to the hotel, heaved my obese luggage into the boot (actually the taxi driver did the heaving. I hope he has a good chiropractor!) and we drove to the airport nose up.  Very busy, lots of traffic and suicidal motorbike riders. So many risks taken just to get a few cars in front. Sheer stupidity. Can’t believe the queue of cars waiting to get into Bali Galleria.  It’s 8:30 pm at night!

No dramas going through luggage X-ray.  Maybe the officials don’t like Bali Moon liqueurs? In the short queue for star class. An airport fellow called me over to his counter and when he realised I was bound for Melbourne and not Sydney he told me off for getting in the wrong queue. Isn’t this the queue for star class? Yes. You called me over, didn’t you? Yes. (I looked at the signage above his desk, which was turned off). I can’t see anything that would indicate to me that this is the queue to Sydney. It was busy before – the Melbourne check-in is over there (indicating the next counter). I can put you through to Melbourne. Yes you can, but don’t send my luggage to Sydney please.  I double-checked that my allocated seat was the one I booked, which fortunately it was. He also wrote an invitation for 2 people for the premier lounge, which I didn’t realise until I got there. I must have frazzled him. I have a look that with one raised eyebrow turns my brother into a quivering confessing mess! I must have used it on the check-in counter guy. A helpful porter carried my cabin bag up the stairs and later, down for me. Another man stowed it in the overhead locker on the plane for me and yet another lifted it down on landing. See girls, men have some uses! Hehe!

The premier lounge was not the haven I was hoping for.  Sure, the fittings were nice and the chairs comfy. The lounge sounded like a creche! A very vocal young 3yo boy and a baby made themselves heard. Please be on the Sydney flight became my mantra for the next 15 minutes until the Sydney flight was called. Woohoo! They left.  Felt a fleeting twinge of guilt for the other Sydney passengers, soon outweighed by my own relief. Don’t get me wrong, I love small children – just from a distance, and preferably asleep. But on a plane?  We are all trapped with a crying/yelling/screaming child together with no escape. Phenergan should be compulsory. Small children can ruin a flight for everyone.

I helped myself to a coke, but was feeling a touch seedy so downed another Travelan, which did the trick. One of the downsides of solo travel is that there is no one to mind your stuff for loo trips, so you have to lug the lot around with you and risk losing your seat to boot.  Stomach more settled, fortunately.  I’d packed some leggings and a 3/4 length t-shirt to wear under my dress for the flight so changed into those.  Came back into the lounge, significantly quieter.  Another couple with a young baby were sitting close by. This child was very well behaved. He was asleep. gotta love Phenergan.

They are calling my flight.  Gate 8. Not gate 1, near the lounge. No, we have to walk the length of the airport for our departure.  Another X-ray of our luggage (overkill?) and a hand-search of both my person and my bags.  Had a combo lock on my cabin bag with my computer in it.  Held up the line while I hunted down my glasses (new, by the way and very stylish!) so I could see the numbers to unlock it.  Had a seat for about 5 minutes before the front seats were called to board.  I had to elbow my way through the eager economy patrons crowding around the checkpoint.

Damn, I have company for the flight home.  Actually the chap was very nice and offered to move across the aisle after takeoff so we both had more room.  A glass of champagne? OK.  Some chocolate, cookies, nuts? OK. Would I like to be woken for breakfast? OK. We were 15 minutes late taking off.  Goodbye Bali, I waved (in my mind) as we kangaroo hopped down the runway. Hello Bali Airport People, some runway pothole filling wouldn’t go astray! Teeth jarring! The twinkling lights of the resorts along the coast were soon replaced by lone fishing boat lights dotted about the darkness I knew to be ocean as the plane banked until I could no longer see Bali. Bye!

As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, the row in front lowered their seat into my lap. And there it stayed. All the way home.  Have you ever tried to get out of your seat to go to the loo when the seats in front of you are fully lowered? There is no grace whatsoever in the manoeuvre.  I almost gave myself an armrest enema and came close to landing in the lap of the man who had kindly (and wisely) moved across the aisle. I was grateful I had donned my leggings.  I might have accidentally kneed the back of the seat in front, shaken the seat (twice) and grabbed a hold of some hair to steady my balance. Oops! 

I hate flying.  I’m not scared of crashing or anything. I hate being forced to sit in one position for hours on end until my coccyx has burrowed out of my butt and is now drilling for oil in the seat. Or having to use a space smaller than a broom cupboard to pee in. Or forced to breathe in obnoxious and noxious bodily smells. Not my thing. I love travelling, except for the actual travelling part. It’s literally a pain in the coccyx.

I turned on my iPhone, plugged in my earphones and drifted off to Deva Premal chanting.  I managed maybe 2 hours of sleep in total.  Breakfast came – spinach quiche, an anaemic sausage, sliced potato and baked beans (really? is that wise on a Bali flight?).  I ate the bread roll and the baked beans (I am a wild thing) with an apple juice.  Another 40 minutes and we were landing, 15 minutes ahead of schedule. It looked a bit foggy outside.  An icy blast hit as soon as we were released off the plane.  Our arrival gate was at the far end of the airport, of course.  A Singapore Airlines flight was spewing passengers out at the same time.  Quick! Short legs were pumping!  Customs were penning us in like cattle.  Tempted to moo or bleat, but thought they might send me off for a cavity search. It didn’t take long to get through customs.  My luggage was already going for a ride on the carousel. I missed spotting my bag the first rotation, got a hernia on the next one as I retrieved it. I had declared my dozen packets of Mr P chilli coated peanuts.  I was waved through to the exit without them being sighted.  I must not look like a drug mule today. How reassuring.  So I am in the arrival lounge 15 minutes after getting off the plane – a record for me.  It is bloody freezing. 

I am at Mum’s picking up my dogs 45 minutes later. Two hysterical toy poodles are doing backflips at the front window as I pull up the drive. Hello boys. Have you been good? One is doing half back-flip spins, the other is a canine pogo stick. They are happy to see me.  Mum is happy to see me to give them back. We are off home to unpack, do the washing, pay the bills, go grocery shopping, back to the world of mundane living. And put the heater on. It’s bloody freezing! *sigh*

Until next time ……

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