Bali Bali Bali: Day 1

May 28, 2012 :: Posted by - simplyjen :: Category - Uncategorized

IMG_1008I arrived to Bali late Friday night after 36 hours of travel and virtually zero of sleep. Thankfully, the hotel had sent a driver to collect me from the airport (apparently this is common as there was a sea of dozens of drivers with signs waiting at baggage claim) and I walked the butterfly-dotted sidewalk to the car to be taken the short trip from the airport to The Amala in Seminyak…Where I passed out.

Here’s a video tour of my ‘room’ that I made quickly the next morning, looking a bit haggard and jet lagged, but…

After ordering a complimentary room service breakfast of whole wheat toast, ginger and mint marinated fruit salad, coffee and a ginger, papaya, apple and orange juice Booster drink, I was preparing for a day out exploring Seminyak when there was a knock at my door and I was surprised by the staff at The Amala surprising me with a cake and Happy Birthday serenade.

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Then I set out to explore Seminyak, a city that prior to my trip I was disappointed I booked because I’d heard that unlike the more rustic arts and culture city of Ubud, an hour away, Semniyak was higher-end and more ‘like St. Tropez.’ I hadn’t made it more than a few blocks when my worries subsided and I realized that although it may not have as much of a village feel as Ubud, and primarily populated with shops, spas and restaurants, it was Definitely Not St. Tropez! This is the corner down the street from my tucked away villa:

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And, you best watch your step on the shop-lined sidewalks – or you may just fall in!

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I didn’t come to Bali with the intention to shop (I never ‘intend to,’ but…) window shopping my way around town I found myself wanting to purchase every sundress I saw in the windows and ‘the bag I was looking for’ in every other shop. Liking something more with each passing store, I decided to hold off until later in my trip before committing to any purchases.

Among the boutiques were several outdoor markets, almost like Canal Street in NYC, but unlike on Canal St, here they have a penchant for selling penises! I found these prominently displayed at a few shops:

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Another common sighting is stray dogs, more so in other towns (more on them later), but my first sighting was this dog eating an ‘offering to the Gods.’ Hindu Balinese (about 80% of Bali’s population) put these offerings of rice, banana peels, flowers (and whatever else is available) outside their homes, business, in their cars and wherever else as thanks before each meal and several other time during the day. They also tend to leave them there indefinitely so that they become large piles of trash everywhere – much to the happiness of dogs that patrol the streets for the scraps of food.

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I also walked into one of several salons I passed debating getting the haircut and annual highlights I hadn’t had time to get at home, but decided to hold off until I could give this whim more thought as well.

Instead, I took a break for lunch at Cafe Seminyak where I read up on my Lonely Planet Bali before walking to the highly recommended spa Jari Menjari. They were booked, so at the suggestion of my friend Jo Piazza, I eased my now very tired feet with a Chill Out reflexology massage at Chill, conveniently next door to my hotel before returning to my room to clean up and watch sunset from the beach at Ku De Ta, one of two go-to beach bars in a hotel on the island.

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I’d been warned that you don’t come to Bali for beautiful beaches and must admit I found it a bit drab, but was nice to check it out before returning to my beautiful room to start on some writing. I felt a little bit lame staying in and writing on my birthday rather than staying at Ku De Ta for cocktails, but this part of Bali is primarily couples, and I chose to do what I’d enjoy over what I ’should’ do. I had a lovely evening, so think I made the right choice.

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