Bali September 2006
"Days 1 to 5 in Singapore stopover"
Day 1 to Day 5
Left Australia on 9/9/2006 and arrived at Changi airport on 10/9/2006 at about 7.30am. Got off plane and out of airport in about 10 minutes as there were no other flies at this time. Tour East were waiting to pick us up in a lovely newish Mercedes (Most cars in Singapore are newish and well looked after). First impressions are thar Singapore is a very clean city and well set out with beautiful parks. Arrived at Furama City Centre and were checked into our room by about 7.30am.
Spacious room, clean and great views of the city. Gym and pool were also located on our floor and we gave both good use whilst we were there. We would happily use this hotel if we are in Singapore again.
Was lucky enough to have a friend who is Chinese Malay visiting Singapore and we were taken out for lunch. Went to the food court in Peoples Park Centre and had local hawker type food, Peking Duck, crispy pork, rice, wonton soup and a serve of tofu soup with vegies and big chunks of tofu in it. All very nice and remarkably cheap S$3.00 per serve. Funny isn't it we are 6000kms from home and lunching with a work mate from Melbourne......
That night we walked through Chinatown Temple St, Sago St, South Bridge Rd, Maxwell Rd, looked at lots of hawker food stalls and also lots of colourful odds and ends.Then off along Riverside walk to the river and had an Indian dinner at a place called The Curry house, great meal but at S$62-00 we won't be doing this every night. The best thing about this evening is just walking and looking at all the sights. Singapore, particularly Chinatown and the river precinct look great at night.
Hotel buffet breakfast was included in our tariff and it was great with a mix of asian and western foods on offer. Made sure we had a full stomach each day courtesy of Furama.
Utilised the hop on/hop off bus quite a lot, for S$3-00 you can ride all day and get on and off at various points. Points of particular interest for us were Chinatown, botanical gardens, Orchard Road, Little India, Arab 1/4, and riverfront areas. Also used the the MRT and found this to be a very efficient and cheap mode of transport.
We went to botanical gardens and saw the magnificent orchid garden, this was an oasis of peace in such a busy city, Orchard Road was fun for a while, but I am not so much into shopping at the prices in Singapore, Raffles Hotel was worth a look at an era of bygone majesty and way out of our price range. We did lots of walking and saw many lovely temples, so many I cannot possibly name them all (look in Lonely Planet guide). Went to Lau Pa Sat Hawkers market for local sates one night, this was great but once again very expensive and really set up for tourists. I also went to Sentosa one day, it was okay but I don't believe it is a must see. I really think the best things we did were just walking and looking as it is such an easy city to stroll around. Chinatown was great to just wander around and it was so colourful with all the decorations for the mooncake festival.
Highlights of Singapore for me were the cleanliness of the city, many parks, botanical gardens and the food.
Downs were the cost of everything and the unfriendliness of the people. It is not a welcoming place like Thailand or Bali, you don't see all the smiling faces that these places have to offer.
I am glad we went to Singapore and have many happy memories.
"Days 1 to 3 finally in Bali again"
Arrived in Bali 9.30pm on Friday night. Arrive at Bali Mystique by 10.30pm, only one slight problem the room we are shown is not ready, much shock and "Oh miss Caron what has happened" quite funny really cos' how the heck would I know what happened!!!!!
We are put into room 104 for the night. Noise from The Living Room is pretty loud and we learn later that the nightclub section will be finished by the end of the month. This will be a great relief for geusts who come in October, but not much good for us. Mind you we are both so tired (and happy to be back in Bali) that we could sleep through anything so are not too bothered by it all.
Moved to 105 the next day which is much better than 1st room. Bali Mystique still has all of it's charm in the bungalows, but they are a little tired. Pleased to hear that the bungalows are all getting a bit of a spruce up soon. Most of the energy has gone into the apartments, which are absolutely lovely and soon the bungalows will get some TLC too. The gardens and staff are still as charming as always and Bali Mystique is still a gem of a place to stay, for a price of AU$25.00 per person with a cooked brekky you couldn't ask for better.
Day 2 up for a swim and then brekky, and a hello to all of the staff who I haven't seen for 12 months. It is one of the things I love about Bali, going back each year and catching up with friends we have made. Dayu, our lovely Balinese friend who works at Bali Mystique is pregnant and still working with only a week or so to go. Norman insists later in the week that she stays home and gets some rest, he tells her she is welcome to come to the hotel and see her friends and chat, but no more work. He is a lovely guy who looks after his wonderful staff.
Our highlight today is a visit to the school to meet up with our new sponsored child. Read below for detailed report.
That night we are invited by Norman to join him and some friends to enjoy drinks on the terrace of the new 4th floor penthouse at Bali Mystique apartments. We watch the sunset and enjoy drinks, food and great company with some old friends and some new ones we meet tonight. Lots of interesting and varied conversation with people who are holidaying in Bali, others who building villas at Canggu and others who operate businesses in Bali. What a fabulous 1st day in Bali.
A big sleep in is required after a very late and heavy night.
Later we both head off on the bike to a Balinese friend and her daughter, she has a new shop in one of the small lanes near Villa Kubu and Villa Lalu, where she sells all sorts of odds and ends.
Back to hotel for some lunch, a swim and then a massage in the room RP60,000. Dinner at Bali Mystique restaurant with another Balinese friend who has just returned from Australia.
A day of shopping today for us both. I am off in search of Martha Tillar products and go to Supernova and find what I am after. I am really pleased with these products, both price and the job they do. The stuff I got this time is a new product called Botu-Like anti wrinkle overnight treatment and it is great stuff. RP290,000 for 2 jars. gary goes to Denpasar to get Nkia phone stuff, Wayan Kilts and a blender for a Balinese friend as a wedding gift. He has success with everything, Phillips blender RP300,000, Wayan Kilit puppets 6 for RP120,000, hands free kit, leather case and car charger for phone RP125,000.
Massage at small salon near Legian Village hotel for what Gary considers best massage (she even walks on his back!) RP60,000 for one hour of heaven.....
A bit of a problem, the matter of a small prang on the bike, luckily no one was hurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dinner Sate Bali in JL Oberoi opposite Samaya Suites. Great food here if a little on the dearer side, Lemongrass seafood entree, mixed sates, Chicken in cardamon/coconut curry sauce, nasi puti, nasi kuning and nasi mera and drinks RP185,000.
"Days 4 & 5 Bali"
More shopping, books from Bintang supermarket as I am quite addicted to reading about Bali, picked up 2 good ones, Niksala and Sekali (spiritual side of Bali), and Indonesian Spice (a novel) RP209,000 for both. Also picked up some fabulous footspa products, lemongrass and peppermint spray, scrub and lotion for RP30,000 each.
I went to CHILL for relexology 1 hour for RP90,000. This was great, except for the pain I endured. It must be doing me good (no pain no gain!!)
Went to Divine Diva and got 2 lovely pairs of pants and a top can't remember how much, but a bit dearer than I usually pay, but still way cheaper than back home for great stuff. Picked up 6 bracelets to use as napkin rings, starting price RP30,000 each and I got all 6 for RP50,000, very pleased with this.
Dinner at Le Tebu, JL Petitenget, drinks, Pepper crab, Butterfish, choc desert (can't remember name but superb, sponge on outside with melting chocolate centre) and coffee RP185,000.
Hired a car for the day to go to Ubud RP400,000. The price of transport has risen a lot since last year this includes cost of taksi's. Went to Celuk to see silversmith and got some fabulous new jewellery, then off to see Ibu Robin Lim with donations. Disappointed to find she is in Italy and we can't catch up this time (next time must send email first!!) Clinic is still going well and is run on volunteers only. This is a charity worth learning about and assisting with if you can.
Lunch at the fabulous Indus, and meal is great as usual. Indonesian Tapas plate for 2, famous lime pie, mocha chiffon pie, drinks and coffee RP189,000. Also stopped off to view Anoms Cottages, what a great place, next time we are in Ubud this is where we will stay. It is a little oasis just up the road from Indus with superb views of the valley and lovely accomodation. It was recommended by several others and it is a great little find. Very quiet, no kids and no AC, just how we like it.....
Stopped of at R2buy in Kerobokan and got all sorts of stuff, only spent RP1,021,000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a great place this is. This is where we will come to furnish our new home in Bali. Dinner at bali Mystique Gnocchi, slow roast pork and coffee, then off to bed.
"Days 6 & 7 Bali"
Today I went to Jari Menari (Dancing fingers) for a massage. I had the musical bowl for 90 minutes. What a wonderful massage it was, the staff here are very professional, the surrounds lovely and zen like and it was one of the best massages I have had, I especially loved the vibrations going through my body. Well worth the price of RP200,000.
Gary went off on the bike to his jewellery making experience, he did this for a couple of days and made some exquisite jewellery, one lovely silver and lapis pendant, which I think will be framed and hung on the wall at home, the second piece is a surprise I will tell you about later.
We got a nice surprise today, with Norman upgrading us to a georgeous 2 BR apartment. It is a very nice apartment, nearly as nice a sunset suite but without the views. The views from the large terrace are down over the bungalows, pool area and gardens.
Dinner is at Warung Sobat, no wonder it gets rave reviews from those who can find it. Most tables were reserved so it may be an idea to give them a call before you just venture down there for dinner. It is tucked away down on the road to Batubelig beach and. We took our Balinese friends there for dinner and got there on the bikes (a bit more scary riding in the dark, but still a bit of fun). Dinner was lovely, appetisers, seafood mains of garlic prawn and seafood basket, mie goreng, nasi goreng, complimentary fruit salad desert and drinks all for 4 of us for RP125,000. Great meal and we will return here again.
Gave Siti the blender that Gary had purchased in Denpasar as a wedding gift. She plans to use it in her new shop to make juices to sell, but first of all it was going home for her to have a play with it. After this sat and had drinks in Bali Mystique restarant to say goodbye to friends we made. This is one of the things I just love about Bali Mystique, it is a bit like a family of us, we all keep going back and often meet up again. So hello to all of you we have met up with, John and Gaye, Rob & Rob, Bruce & Kevin etc etc....see you all next year or the year after..
Gary is back at jewellery class/experience making and repairing more stuff. Me, welll I am at a bit of a loose end and have been putting something off for my friend Andie back home. Today I have the very sad task of going to Raja's to enquire about Wayan who was a good friend of Peter and Andie's. I have no idea how to tackle this as they had never got to know his real name, just said man who wears baseball cap backwards and had a daughter aged one year. So up the stairs I go and explain my mission to a lovely young man. He tells me Wayan was a victim of the last bomb, I feel the tears well in my eyes and have no idea what to say next. He goes on to tell me that the family are okay and that Wayan was cremated in August. I walk away with a heavy sadness in my heart and say a prayer for all of the lovely people of Bali that this will NEVER happen again. I have such sadness mixed with anger in me today..
I walk back along JL Legian wondering what to do now. Catch a cab back to hotel and sit and mediatate for a while.
I feel disrespectful if I enjoy myself at the moment so just take some time to sit and be alone with my thoughts.
Our special friend Heru arrives for dinner. Heru is our friend that came to Australia to marry and it didn't work out so he is now back in Bali and will soon try and get a working visa back here.
We went to La Lucciolas for something special for Heru. As usual the meal was superb, Calamari, Prawn snapper pie, seafood stew, Rocket & parmesan sald, rosemary baby potatoes, and a desert sampler to share (assorted minature deserts) and coffee, RP638,000. What a great meal we had, with the view of the sunset, the company and the great food and service it was worth every cent/rupiah...
"Our 1st wedding anniversary in Bali"
Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary to us !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Went to Denpasar Ramayana. We need more luggage as per usual we bought too much stuff........I am sure you all know the feeling, but I have a husband who wants keep the luggage to a minimum so we usually end up buying more. Easy place to shop and so cheap.
Gary has another massgae with Putri, he reckons she is best massage in Bali. It is only RP50,000 and she is located in the back of the little supermarket next to Legian Village Hotel.
Traffic today is horrific, due to Kuta Carnival, we gave up on JL Legian and got driver to negotiate back streets, then he gets onto Sunset and drives like he is in Italian Grand Prix, my God he turned into crazy man...... "Plan Plan" slow slow, did not make any difference to him. I must say I was glad to get out of that cab...
Walked along JL Laksmana to look at all the new shops in this area. There are some really nice shops here with a great variety of goods, especially more elegant stuff than run of mill Bali stuff. Had a look at Perlu Silver, with some nice stuff that is run by some guys we met at hotel. Worth a look if you are after something differnet.
Back to hotel for a freshen up before the grand anniversary dinner.
Go down to dinner with Norman being the perfect host with pre dinner cocktails and some interesting company. Finally we are are ready for dinner and we are taken to our table.......WOW what a beautiful effort....table is decorated with candles and flowers, it all looks beautiful and there is even a bottle of french champagne in the wine chiller.
We both sit and drink a toast to one year of marriage, and Gary passes a small red jewellers box to me, and says this is some thing from me for our anniversary...... I open the box and there is the most perfect gold ring in there, it is made to to sit right beside my wedding ring. I get tears in my eyes from this loving gesture, it was so romantic. He had taken my wedding ring along to jewellery class on the pretex of getting it polished to get exact sizing of new ring. Gary had made this ring himself from start to finish, I was impressed and so was his teacher and everyone who we showed the piece to.
Now onto dinner, Chilli Crab with pawpaw salad as an appetiser (because Norman knew I wanted this and had missed out on this in Singapore) followed by a huge seafood platter on a plate 3 foot long with lobster, prawn, calamari, fish, salad, vegies, chips, beautiful decorations such as carrot flowers and tomato baskets, and various sauces. This was enought to feed far more than the 2 of us so we asked Norman to join us and still we couldn't finish it, so the rest went down to the staff, who all loved it too. Desert was coconut ice cream (Gary's request) but were so full there was no way we could even try it. This was a beautiful dinner and a wonderful gesture by Norman. Everyone that was involved were so proud and it was funny cos' one of then asked if it was my birthday the day before, I said no why do you ask and he said we have fish fingers for dinner as a surprise but I am not allowed to tell you. This is when I knew something big was planned for us.
This was the best awedding anniversary dinner we could have hoped for, and I can tell you we will be there for our 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc etc......
What a great day we have had, and a wonderful holiday too.
"Last Day in Bali"
Well today is our last day in our beloved Bali and I am feeling sad and definitely not ready to return home just yet. 2 weeks is not long enough for me.
Slept in after a very late night last night, Gary decided we should pack and we didn't get to bed till 2.30am !!!!!!!!!
Gary had one last swim and I took my time getting ready.
Drove to the airport at 11.00am for our 1.00pm flite to Singapore. Had a bit of drama on the way to the airport as the car started to make wierd noises and our driver realised temperature was way up in the red zone. Lots of Balinese chatter going on between our 2 drivers (one was new so other came with him). Car actually conked out at entrance to the airport and I was ready to get out and lug everything to departures !!!
Gary told them they must let the car cool down and then turn on engine when they added more water. Neither of them seemed to have much of a clue when it came to the engine of the car. ( we later found out that they called Norman and he came down and discvered a hose had broken, all was fixed and car is okay) Into the airport and did a bit of duty free shopping then off to Singapore.
5 hours at Changi, so I had some reflexology to pass the time. Time went quicker than we anticipated and soon we were on the last leg of our journey.
6.00am and we land in Melbourne.....
Some highlights of our trip were:
Our visit to see our sponsored children, thanks to Rotary.
Singapore Botanical gardens to see the orchids.
Our stay at Bali Mystique, especially the upgrade to the apartments and our anniversary dinner that Norman organised.
The lovely ring that my beautiful husband made for me as an anniversary gift.
Shopping in Bali (still the cheapest and the best, although I have no idea where it is all going to go now we have it all home)
Buying jewellery at wholesale prices thanks to my husbands silver business...I now have more jewellery than a girl will ever need in one lifetime.
Catching up with our Balinese friends and sharing times together again.
Catching up with friends we only see when we travel to Bali and stay at Mystique.
Massages as only the Balinese can do.
Discussions with expats' on opportunities available to us if we want to live in Bali (getting more and more tempting each year)
This was a great trip and made even more special as it was the celebration of one year since our Bali wedding last year. Now I am busy working out dates to travel again next year....
"School visit to see our 2 sponsored children"
Today we visited SD3 school in Sembongan.
We now have 2 children we sponsor, Putu (boy aged 10) and Tutti (girl aged nearly 10). This is always a highlight for us and today was even better as it was Saraswati day and all the kids were dressed in the best outfits for this occasion. We get to meet both Putu's parents and are invited back to their home, sadly we have to decline this time as time is pretty limited today. We have taken some gifts and give these to the kids, Putu is very taken with his new soccer ball. We also noticed that Putu's english is much better than last time and he is very proud that he can have a limited conversation with us in English. Gary converses in Bahasa, but I am not so good and appreciate the english conversation we have.
Putu has grown heaps since we saw him last time and this was first time of meeting Tutti. Both are lovely children.
We were lucky as it was Saraswati day when we went so all the children were dressed in their finest teple wear, what a lovely sight. It was the day of respect to god of knowledge and as such no study or books are to be read, but blessings placed on school books. the deity that represented this day is Ganesha, my favourite Hindu God.... I felt this was a very special day to visit a place of learning.
We had a tour of the school and saw the library and all of the great books that have been donated, also saw the room that has had the roof fixed, all up the school is a vast improvement on what we saw 2 years ago. It is wonderful to see the work that Rotary are doing, it is very heart warming. We also met Agus, he is a lovely young man man with a very warm heart, he is a very peaceful soul and it was an honour to meet him.
When we got back to hotel Norman from bali Mystique told me he had some goods to give the school, pencils, pens etc, so we are now not sure what to do. I think we will give him Agus's contact details so he can collect them, what do you think Noel???