Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bali Adventures

Seven years ago when I was half way through my round the world year long adventure I decided I needed a holiday. It was a few months after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in South East Asia. My original plans had me going to the Malaysian island of Lankawi. Sadly this island had suffered some damage from the wave so I headed for Borneo instead. I wasn’t due in Singapore to fly to Sydney for another month, extra time to be spent in Asia. Where else to go, where else to see. Bali!

Okay I put my hands up I wasn’t too sure about Bali. I’d heard it was a beautiful island with culture, beaches, cheap food and market shopping. It was a little while after the first bomb attack in Kuta and six months before the second.  I was scared of another attack. My travel companion, the stubborn mule, said to suck it up & the country needed our dollars.

I spent three whole weeks drinking Bintang, lounging by an awesome pool, eating great local cuisine & befriending a local bar owner who drove us round the island on three day tour. I wasn’t a fan of the crazy street life. Constantly being harassed “braid your hair, manicure, massage okay!” You couldn’t walk down the streets without being pulled, pushed and often dragged into shops. Inside the safe compound of The Oasis resort was bliss.

Hence, probably why I never returned for seven years when it’s the holiday spot of choice for Perth residents, a mere 3.5 hour flight away on a cheap ass flight.

The opportunity arose this May for a trip back to the Island. I wasn’t too keen on this trip as we were headed back to Kuta. I’d promised myself next time I go to Bali I’d return to Ubud, much more my scene, yoga mecca in the mountains. I was being a brat. This trip was fully organised and paid for me. I just had to book the flights & turn up. The Man & I were to be sharing five days in a private villa with 20 of ‘his’ relatives.  Now can you see my double apprehension!?!

Long story short it was fine. Everyone had their own agenda’s & did their own thing. Yes there were clashes but as fate (or me being a stubborn mule) would have it everything worked out how I’d planned. Literally the five days we were there I had a solid tight agenda.  People joined me on my yoga/spa trip, we had a fun evening out at Bubba Gump, we trawled the shops of down town Kuta, I practiced Bikram & got to spend five whole hours in Ubud!

The first day was spent shopping or well walking into Kuta. I’m glad I did because it has changed a lot. There has been a lock down on hassling tourists. I actually found myself cheerfully returning “good mornings” & “g’day mate, howzit gawing.” “No thank you, not today” actually worked. Unless you actually did return the next day, then you'd have to find a new excuse to use.

I had a wonderful Auyervidic spa treatment at the Prana Spa in Seminyak that involved a full body massage, a foot spa and warm oil being dripped over my third eye. I think I transcended to another universe. At the half way point I was served the most amazing iced peppermint tea I've ever tasted. To fully get in the mood, myself & the mother out-law took a Sivanada yoga class before hand at the Prana yoga room. Not heated but boy were we dripping by the end. I got a great adjustment in a variation of Spinal Twist. The local instructor who trained in Kerla had great energy and was easy to follow. It was nice to try another form of yoga. I really felt it in my shoulders & upper arms the next day.

We did get some alone time away from the ‘family.’ Last time I was In Bali I visited the Elephant Safari Park in Taro. A sanctuary for rescued elephants nestled in the rain forest. We did the night safari tour this time which involved a tour of the park in the late afternoon with patting and feeding the elephants. So much fun being up close with such HUGE mammals. We took a twilight ride around the forest before watching a short ‘elephant show’ finishing with an awesome dinner under the stars. Well worth the hour and a half drive. I didn’t really look into it enough but there is a great lodge on the park now which would have been amazing to stay at.  Complete with ‘elephant chauffeur service’ where an elephant picks you up from your room at the specially designed gate on the raised veranda and rides you down to dinner! Next time!

Five days was nice but I actually wouldn’t have minded staying longer! We did however leave just as most of our villa companions were getting flu or Bali belly. I did return home and come down with a  stinking head cold, always happens when I actually chill out & let down my defenses. Definitely will go straight up to Ubud next trip – whole post dedicated to this coming soon…..   

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