Bali Day By Day

Aug 15 – Had breakfast at the resort (which i had to pay for) and it didn’t quite meet my very expecting standards so I suggested she have her first breakfast (and I have my second) elsewhere. We went to a place recommended by the Culture Trip and the Lonely Planet called the Loft which was also next to an authorised Moet Changer who gave me EIGHT MILLION Rupees in exchange for $600. I never was a millionaire before – and never may be again – so I enjoyed being handed this amount. We both had an Acai bowl for breakfast at the Loft, which tasted too good to be healthy, and then explored the shops around town. The quality of the products in Bali were definitely of a higher standard than Cambodia but considerably much more expensive (which is expected as Indonesia is the second wealthiest country in the region after Thailand, whereas Cambodia is the 22nd). After a bit of window shopping, we just sat in a trendy beachfront restaurant called La Brisa where I sipped on the juice of a whole coconut and we watched the surfers catch waves. The rest of the afternoon I laid in the sun reading my kindle and we finished the day with a dinner in a healthy Bali restaurant.

Aug 16 – I started my day with a delicious breakfast at the beach (poached eggs, smashed avocado and gated beetroot on sourdough bread). We made our way to Munduk Moding at noon and were very much looking forward to two nights in what was awarded as the hotel with the best infinity pool in Asia. When we arrived it was quite misty and cloudy, so we couldn’t appreciate the magic of the infinity pool nor the views just yet, but we made our way directly to the jacuzzi while we waited for our room to be ready, had a walk around the grounds to explore the coffee plantation, enjoyed Kopi Luwak (“Civet Coffee”) for free as part of our afternoon tea, had dinner and then watched a movie in the evening. The walk around the plantation (or the coffee) may have taken its toll on Clare as she was tired come nightfall.

Aug 17 – No Clouds and blue skies = Lots of photos on the infinity pool first thing in the morning… even before coffee and breakfast… I KNOW RIGHT?!?! 🙂 After lots of photos, lying in the sun and doing a few laps, we had breakfast and did the 10:30 coffee plantation tour which ended in coffee tasting. The walk knocked Clare out so she spent the rest of the afternoon resting until our 6:45 massage. I, on the other hand, had some lunch and did something forgettable before our massage. We had a massage, dinner which included some tears from my darling dearest because she wasn’t feeling any better and was feeling a bit low, and an early retirement.

Aug 18 – Again, No clouds and blue skies! I headed down to the pool to enjoy a few laps, where Clare shortly followed and we topped up on our infinity pool photos. We squeezed in as much pool time and jacuzzi time before we had to leave at 12 noon and then took a taxi to Pumpkin Villa in Ubud. We had lunch in a healthy restaurant next to our villa called UNAME and then went into the downtown area to explore the Market and the local scene. We were picked up by a lovely driver called Sila who took us to his local village where we saw his daughter dance the traditional Bali dance as part of a ceremony. Dinner at UNAME. I had the pork belly which was the best pork belly I’ve had in ages. There was a fat American about the size of Fat Bastard who sat near us who ordered the same and seemed to disagree as he told the restaurant manager at great length.

Aug 19 – Pottery making in the beginning. Lunch at UNAME. Pod chocolate factory tour where we got to learn about the whole process of making chocolates as well as making our own. Dinner in a terribly overpriced restaurant next to our Villa.

Aug 20 – Full day Ubud Tour.  Started at Tegenungan Waterfall, went to a wood carving shop at the village of Kemenuh, then to the Elephant Cave, then the Tirta Empul Temple at Tampaksiring (where there was Holy Water from a natural Spring) and finally the Ceking Rice Terrace in the village of Tegalalang. Clare was dead tired at the end of all this. Chocolates at home from our trip to Pod the day before and then dinner in a healthy restaurant in the center of town.

Aug 21 – Breakfast. Tanning by the pool. Swim. Went with clare to the doctor where she gave blood and stool samples. Had the healthiest lunch EVER next to the doctors in a place called Sayuri… while we waited for Clare’s results from the doctor we walked towards the Ubud Central Market and bought a Rami and Sita wood carving statue (they are the Indonesian version of Romeo and Juliet). Clare got her results a few hours later and was told she was positive for bacteria found in her stool, so was given antibiotics and gastric regulators to take for the next 5 days. We took our free shuttle back to Pumpkin Villa where Clare stayed in the room to rest while I had a Nasi Goreng at UNAME and my third Aga White of the trip (my goto White Wine in Bali. It’s simple and quaffable, with enough acidity, lemon and tropical fruit flavour and minerality to make it interesting).

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Aug 22 – Early start to the day as our driver, Sila, picked us up at 7:00am to take us to Padang Bai port for our 9 o’clock fast ferry to Gili Meno by a company called Ekajaya. We arrived 30 minutes early, which still wasn’t enough time for us to get our boarding passes and return tickets as they were as disorganised as anything! Everyone’s return tickets didn’t arrive until about 5 minutes to the scheduled departure time, and it took them another 15-20 minutes cross checking them all and handing them out to the customers. So it wasn’t until 9:30/9:45 that we actually boarded our boat, and then another 2/2:30 hours to finally reach Gili Meno. We jumped on a horse drawn carriage to take us to Les Villas Ottalia where we stayed. Clare had a rest in the room while I had lunch. We relaxed in the Villa until 4pm and then made our way to Divine Divers dive center (only about a 10 min way from our Villa) where I took my refresher course with a very professional and passionate French Instructor. It’s amazing how much you forget, but it’s also amazing how quickly you pick it all back up. After I was done, we watched the sunset while I had a beer (Clare was on antibiotics so couldn’t have any alcohol) and then had dinner at the resort.

Aug 23 – DIVING DAY!!!!! First Dive = Turtle City and Second Dive = Halik. In between we went to the area where underwater statues were placed and tried (being the operative word) to appreciate them amongst a million other snorkelers. After my dives we watched the sunset again with a drink and then had dinner by the beach (I had a fresh Mahi Mahi on the BBQ). Finished the day with a drink underneath the stars. DIVE NOTES TO FOLLOW!

Aug 24 – Last day in Gili Meno. Clare and I started the day by walking to the beach front and swimming to the area with underwater statues that was laden with people the day before. There were only a couple of snorkelers out the day before but the current was strong, my goggles kept on fogging up and the visibility wasn’t as good as the day before so I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to… it was nice to appreciate the sculptures  bit more and admire the work of the artist without other swimmers mocking about. We went back to Les Villas Ottalia for breakfast and chilled before our 11:15 boat back to Padang Bai, Bali. The boat arrived late to pick us up (as expected) and didn’t really arrive in Padang Bai until 3pm – two hours later than advertised – but this was also as expected. =) We got a private taxi to our new Accommodation – The Chill house – where we planned to spend the next couple of days doing yoga, learning how to surf and eating healthy vegan food! =)

Aug 25 – First morning in the Chillhouse! I had a delicious Swiss Muesli with fruits and coconut yoghurt before my morning session of Hatha yoga! The class itself was filled with different poses held for a length of time (sun salutation, downward dog, etc) and constant reminders to keep the mind in tune with the body. When it finished I felt very energised and refreshed! What a great start to the day! I promised myself I would do this more often in London for the benefit of my mind and body. Clare, on the other hand, was not feeling so good. She didn’t each much of her breakfast and had another case of the runs. As we were meant to go surfing a couple of hours later and she was in no shape to join, floods of tears followed. Thankfully, for all parties involved, they left and soon as they arrived and she still came with me to watch and take some photos. I was given a MASSIVE surfboard made of foam (specific for beginners) and taken to a beginners section of the beach where the waves were tempered. After a bit of instruction, i was taken out and I managed to surf 3 WAVES! I was very happy with this…. especially because the currents were very strong (i had to paddle so much that my shoulders were sore) and some of the waves were particularly huge. So i took this as a major victory and clare and I headed back to the Chillhouse… where we passed the time before dinner by getting a massage, manicure & pedicure and ear cleaning! Vegan buffet dinner followed….

Aug 26 – Second morning in the Chillhouse! Before our 8:30am Vinsaya Yoga session, I had coffee and a fruit smoothie with added protein  to get me ready for the class… in hindsight, no amount of fruits or coffee would prepare me for the class. Maybe a year of Yoga practice would. Vinsaya yoga was HARD. We had to go into positions that was a challenge both to our shoulders and joints and repeat them until we were broken down. We were told that if ever we were straining the body that we can simply go back into a child’s pose to rest, but Clare and I chose these moments sporadically or else we would have spent the whole class in them. My shoulders were also beat from the previous day of Hatha Yoga, Surfing and a massage…. The teacher kept on repeating, “How does this make you feel?” to which the words “old” or “in-pain” usually entered my mind. I was happy when the class was over and spent the new few hours resting before Clare’s 1pm surf session. Clare had the same teacher as me…. a man who gave you minimal tuition on how to paddle and stand and then took you out to the waves where he would push your board when a surf arrived to make it easier for you to ride it (which by the way, I was very happy with for my first surf lesson 🙂 ). She also faced strong currents and as her body was still recovering from both her illness and two consecutive days of yoga, her energy levels weren’t at its peak but still she managed to ride a couple of waves. Half an hour after Clare hit the water, we were making our way back to the Chillhouse (all roads lead to the chill house), where I had a haircut with an Italian stylist next to our hotel whom I thought was extremely good. Vegan buffet dinner followed again (i was growing tired of the Vegan dinner’s at the chill house)…

Aug 27 – Last morning in the Chillhouse… Hatha Flow Yoga again (YAYYYYYyyyyy!) We had the same teacher as yesterday and it was amazing how different she ran the class. Hatha Yoga is definitely the gateway into the world of yoga for me, as I enjoyed this class as much as I did enjoy Hatha through the other teacher. Definitely something to continue in London… another delicious breakfast of Swiss Muesli with coconut yoghurt and fruits before Clare and I made our way to Uluwatu to check into Boutique Residence next to a place called Sunday Beach Club. We only dropped off our bags and then headed straight to Uluwatu Temple to walk around and soak in the views and watch the Kecak fire dance. Watching the Kecak fire dance was an experience and half… I did my research beforehand and learned that it starts at 6:00pm but tickets go on sale at 5:00pm, to which you need to line up around 4:45pm to get any chance of getting a good seat. I think we started queuing at 4:20/4:30pm and already there was a long queue… So after queueing for about 30/40 minutes, we got our tickets and brisk walked to the amphitheatre. When we got in we secured – what we imagined to be – good seats and then waited an hour for it to start. The hour we spent waiting as almost as amusing as the show as we watched more and more people pile into a theatre that didn’t have enough seating capacity for the people coming in. Some people where told to sit in the floor, “behind” the stage area or anywhere that they could be squeezed in. It was like a circus. Apparently there were 70 Kecak performers meant to be on stage, and we could work out how they would physically fit on the stage. Anyway, once the show started, the 70 men came on stage where they chanted, sung and made different noises with their voices while they swayed and waved their hands in the air. During all this, a few performers did Balienese dancing to the story of Rami and Sita. I actually really enjoyed it!!!

Aug 28 – Walked to Sunday Beach Club – probably the nicest beach with white sands and crystal blue water – where we spend five hours laying in the sand, sun bathing, reading our Kindle books and having a very unsatisfying lunch (it was OK and considering we didn’t pay anything extra for the food as it was part of our 8000 Rupees. We walked back to our Boutique Villa where we were picked up and taken to the airport for our flight to Sri Lanka.

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