23 October 2011


Sleeping in while staying in Bali is simply un-possible, so if you do not function well at 6:30 a.m., Bali may not be the place for you. By 6:30, the sun is bright in the sky, the birds are loudly calling out to everyone on the island and the rooster that crows all day and all night seems to have a new lease on life.

By 7, the villa staff is making their way in to sweep up the leaves and flowers that have fallen from the trees overnight. They are putting the poolside lounge area back together and prepping the kitchen for breakfast.

The first night in Bali, none of us slept well. I kept thinking about bugs and the possibility of having someone break into the villa. Plus, I could not figure out how to turn off the two bedside lamps so I just left them on. After a couple hours I ended up ripping the plugs out of the walls. The bugs were loud, the birds were loud. It just wasn’t a good night.

But the next day proved to be good; the outdoor yoga session was a necessary way to relax and feel rested after a somewhat rough night.

The next night we went to bed a bit earlier but we were still wide awake at 6:30. Lucinda and Liana took a bike tour in a city called Ubud in the center of the island. They had a great time learning about the land, local practices and experiencing some new foods.

I decided to see Bali on horseback, so I headed to a local horse farm and saddled up. I was under the impression that this would be a tour through rice fields and on beaches, so I was quite excited to embark on a two-hour adventure. Instead, a German-born woman around my age who moved to Bali two months prior and a local boy who did not speak English accompanied me on a ride up the beach.

There was no explanation of the land or where we were; we did not venture out of town. The girl did not know that I signed up for a two-hour tour so our trip was a little over 45 minutes.

It was certainly a great ride – don’t get me wrong – it just wasn’t the cultural experience I desired. I did get some photos of the area and the black ash beaches.

Not having been outside the U.S. or anywhere near a volcano, I had not seen ash beaches before. The picture below shows the color of my feet and sandals against ground that looks hard but is in fact sand.

The rest of the day was quite relaxing. I spent a lot of time at the pool and then grabbed some lunch at Echo beach. I decided to walk back to the villa so I was able to again take in the countryside.

When Lucinda and Liana arrived back at the villa, we spent a little more time at the pool before we received spa services. Four Balinese women arrived at our villa and set up shop poolside, where we received traditional Balinese massages, a hot stone massage and a Balinese facial.

Photo admittedly stolen from Lucinda - I take no credit

We felt a little awkward in the beginning when we found out that we would be nearly naked outside without the traditional sheet covering our lady parts. But we soon focused on the massages and cleared our minds as the sun set above us. The massage was amazing. I had two women working on me at the same time and, when one finished, another woman came over to begin my facial.

The villa staff cooked us an amazing dinner consisting of grilled fish, grilled boneless chicken, Balinese fried rice and stir fried vegetables. We filled our bellies and then headed off on a flashlight adventure to get some dessert at the Echo Beach restaurant.

In the morning, we were awoken a little earlier, not by birds but by an island storm. I found the rain peaceful and welcomed it. After a relaxing morning, we packed up and ventured off to the airport about an hour south. The drive gave us an opportunity to see the island during the day; the sun had set by the time we landed.

Bali is much different from Singapore, at least from what I witnessed. Even in the populous areas, there were no solid structures, no office buildings, no grand malls. There were divided highways that were no more than streets with grass in the middle; no exit signs lined the highways. There were stop lights in town but I only saw one in the rural areas.

Huts, homes, temples and small buildings stand up against the streets. There are no sidewalks, not a lot of grass, no frills at all. No big signs, no designer retailers, no fancy cars. It is a nice getaway and a great way to experience a new way of life.

This trip I spent time with friends and did girly things. Next time I plan to return with my husband and see more of the island. I would love to take a trip to the lake, see the volcanoes and head south to the peninsula to see different beaches, swim with dolphins and paddle board. Here’s to more fantastic adventures while spending some time here in Singapore. 

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