Finally on the plane after hours of waiting in my still somewhat damp clothes. Wearing denim to lighten the load in the suitcase. I was allowed 30 kilos today, plus 7 kilos hand luggage. Hand luggage just scraped in by 0.01 and case was 24 kilos, so one kilo over for my next flight. Do you think wrapping your suitcase in clingfilm to avoid being accused of smuggling drugs together with a new lock adds a kilo in weight, maybe not, even though there was a lot of it. But no restriction on hand luggage weight on the next one back to the US. So hopefully still on target to be within the 23 kilos.
So two in the morning and the first thing they do is serve breakfast, you would think they would let us sleep first and serve breakfast before we land, but no. There were only two of us in our three seats which was good. Seat belt sign was on most of the way, but it wasn’t too bumpy. I was desperate at one point to go to the loo, I hadn’t really thought about seat belt sign, but it was stopping me from trying to sleep, so I went. Of course the minute I sat down it started throwing me all over the place, I had to hang on for dear life, so I definitely found out why you shouldn’t go to the loo when the seat belt sign is on, I had a good five minutes of wondering if I would ever be able to get out of there, really scary. When I finally came out there Steward said a bit bumpy? Yes I said with a rueful smile.
The girl sitting with me was on her way back to the U.K. after visiting friends in Perth where she had lived for some time. Like many other people she asked me why I was flying to Bali via Kuala Lumpur instead of flying direct, which would have taken half the time. Good question, I think I should ask my travel agent, maybe it is something to do with buying a round the world ticket, who knows.
We were a little late leaving but landed on time and it wasn’t far to the next gate, through security, no bags to pick up as they were checked right through. Once on the plane I was sitting quite near the back this time, and could see them loading the luggage. I could also see the plane I had just got off. A luggage trailer came and they started loading some of the luggage on it and then someone came along with a clipboard and started to question what they were doing. They retrieved one of the cases they had put on and the trailer drove off. Another trailer came and was sent on his way too. I think they even searched the luggage loaders who were in the plane when they got off. You know when you have that feeling that you luggage isn’t going to arrive with you, I just knew it. It was the way the whole operation seemed very chaotic. Having gone through the pain on a short trip to St Louis last year, where my luggage was still in London and it took three days for it to arrive, I have made sure I always have my valuables with me, and one or two essentials. But I didn’t think I could be that unlucky again, so no change of clothes, other than a pair of bikini bottoms I had bought for myself in the sale for ten dollars, in the hope that I have lost enough weight to be able to wear them with a bikini top I have. Don’t laugh!
Anyway it wasn’t a very long second leg, but long enough given I now hadn’t really slept and had been on the go for over 24 hours. We landed and I was last in the queue for the ladies, then I think I was last in the huge queue for passport control. I found the baggage carousel and was having a look around it when I was approached by two young Malaysian air ladies. They asked me if my name was on this list, the list had quite a few names on it and right at the bottom there I was. They explained that my luggage was still in Malaysia. My response was, I knew it, I just knew this was going to happen. They pointed me in the direction of the queue to report missing baggage, yes another queue. I had to wait about ten of fifteen minutes here as well. The good news was they said it would be on the next flight out and they expected it to land at 4pm it was about 12:30 by now. They promised to deliver it to my hotel. Fair enough. So I was waived through customs, I needn’t have bothered with the cling film! I wasn’t going to get searched after all. I did take some photographs from the plane, we seemed to go over island after island so I can’t tell you where they are.
I was being picked up by some sort of taxi service, I was hoping that they would be there unlike Fiji where there was no show. You know when you walk through the door into arrivals and there are usually a handful of people holding up names. Well there was a sea of names, that’s the only way I can describe it. I went past the first lot desperately searching for a Faben, it was at least three deep, couldn’t see one, then I went past a pillar and there was another sea, no not there either. Then finally in the third lot right at the very end in the second row, there I was Mrs Faben. That’s me I pointed and the man said to go around and he would meet me at the other side, which is exactly what happened. His first question was where is your luggage, KL I replied, oh no, I wondered if there was a problem because it’s taken you a long time to get through. Do we need to wait or do something, no I said it’s ok. They are going to send it to the hotel. So he took me to where all the cars were waiting, oh boy, wait here he said whilst he went into the middle of it all to indicate for the car to come forward. So I had a driver and a guide. Very nice too, nice big black car, very comfortable. The drive will take about an hour or an hour and a half he said, Ok, I had been warned that the traffic was terrible, I am sure that those of you who have travelled in Indonesia know exactly what I am going to say now. There were so many scooters and my driver was mainly driving right down the middle of the road on the white line, making a third lane. Dodging between cars and scooters and dogs, yes dogs. I decided the best thing I could do was look out of the window and try not to wince too much when I happened to glance at what was going on in the driving department. My guide was really nice, we were laughing at some of the fully laden bikes, some had four people on them and lots of people with no helmets. Mainly children with no helmets to be honest. Anyway he was telling me about all the temples and how if you built a house you had to build a temple and go and pray there every day, but only for five minutes. All the shops full of carvings in stone and wood for the temples. He explained that people are farmers growing rice but their main occupation was an artist. Some of the stuff looked like it had been there for years covered in moss, it’s hard to believe they sell it at all to be honest. Then you look at every building and and they do all have temples and ornate carvings and stonework everywhere, so clearly they do.
We arrived at the hotel in what seemed to be no time at all, given he said possibly an hour and a half. Although we had moved out of the city of Denpasar and passed through the country before reaching Ubud it did seem as though it was just one continuous place. No end and no beginning, so I was taken by surprise when we pulled into the entrance of the hotel. As I got out of the car there seemed to be about six people waiting to greet me. Heads bowed, hands in praying position, I felt a bit overwhelmed to be honest. I was guided almost to reception and got registered. I was staying for seven days, but had booked it in two parts, I had booked a spa stay to start with and then a five day stay once I had decided what I was going to do in Bali. Needless to say they only had the booking for the spa stay, but I told him and he adjusted everything. Or so I thought. I was given a towel to refresh myself with and then a drink of rice wine all whilst I was checking in. The phone rang and it was for me. A man from the spa said I needed to get down there that afternoon for a treatment which was going to take 90 minutes or so. I had a small panic about no clean clothes and told him my suitcase hadn’t arrived, he said what time do you want to come, so I opted for four o clock. He also told me I need to be in reception at 8am in the morning to go for a guided walk for an hour or an hour and a half.
I was taken to my room, feeling a bit spaced out by now, I had a bit of time just to chill before I went for my massage. The room was absolutely beautiful, and I had a lovely balcony with amazing view of the grounds, lily pond and pool. Ubud is up in the mountains. The grounds were laid out in terraces, and were really quite stunning. I felt really really happy to be here in this beautiful and blissful environment. I remembered my bikini bottoms and decided they would do for going to the spa with my tshirt and bra and I had my flip flops with me too in my carry on rucksack.
A bit of a rest and I was on my way down the steps. There were a lot of steps, some a bit uneven, some with handrails, small paths between the sets. I remember thinking that I was going to have to be really careful wearing these in flip flops, a couple of times I almost caught the toe end. I made it to the pool and then further down following the signs, to the spa and into this cavern, to be met by the man I had spoken to on the phone. I was too early. Come back in 15 minutes so I went back to the pool and then back again at four. I was led further into the spa, and eventually into a an area where I met the lady who was going to do the massage. There was a little sofa and a table and although it seemed as though we were in a cave, the front was open to the bottom of the valley where there was a steam of brown water running through quite noisily. I had been able to hear it from my balcony. There were stone carvings everywhere in the gardens and pool and spa area of toads and monkeys. She showed me a mortar and pestle and it had some ingredients in it, ginger, black pepper, rice to name some of them, I did mean to write the list of them down. We both spent time grinding the ingredients into a paste taking it in turns and then she added some hot water whilst I mixed and ground. We left it then and went into the room, which had a wall at either side, a curtain on the side we entered and was open to the sound and view of the stream on the fourth side. The room had a massage table and a bath. She gave me a wonderful massage, and then spread the mixture on my body, she must have added some other ingredients because it now covered my whole body and the amount that was there before would never have done that. That was allowed to stay on my body for a while and she ran a bath with the water running through a bag of herbs. Then into the bath for a nice soak. Then she washed all the mud off me and and covered me in soap and washed that off and finally put some body lotion on me. Considering I was pretty exhausted when I arrived this massage made me feel so much better, I checked later it was a detox massage.
About half way through when I was lying face down on the table the noise of the water had changed and I asked if it was raining, she said, yes it rains everyday now. I did know I would be here in the rainy season, but that was some rain. When I was ready to go, she gave me a towel to put over my head in order to get up to my room. The water was falling down the stairs like a very fast flowing waterfall. I must admit to thinking I was going to have to be even more careful in this. Having reached the shelter of my room t shirt completely soaked, I settled down for a bit of relaxation.
A little later when the rain had eased a little I made a dash to reception to check on the possible arrival of my case, no news but they would let me know as soon as it arrived. I thanked them and decided room service was the only real option tonight and early to bed, hopefully after my case had arrived. Finally the call came through about 9pm to say it had arrived and they were sending it over. A knock on the door and this young man was standing there with my 24 kilos on his shoulder, yes his shoulder, I can barely pull the thing and have had golfers elbow ever since I left home, which is aggravated every time I pull this case, even though I think it’s been rested and is feeling better.
Off to bed as I need to be in reception at eight am to go trekking, should I take my poles, need to go for an early breakfast.
The restaurant was set out in three areas, and likewise there were two lounges, arranged in such a way that you had views over the surroundings and no windows where you faced out. Breakfast was a good variety everything you could want really, and I was in reception to meet my guide at five to eight. There was supposed to be another party as well, but they didn’t turn up and were not contactable on the phone. So just me and the man, we were taken out to the country about ten minutes drive away and then we walked back into Ubud from there. There were a few little artists workshops and shops on the way and houses, signs for houses to let everywhere. Mainly there were Paddy fields and beautiful views. He asked me if I was tired and I said no not at all and told me I was very fit, it was supposed to be a slow ramble I think and we did it in just under an hour. There were many people on the path in both directions, and we got held up at one point because some young people were filming some sort of pop video. We just arrived at the tail end of it so it didn’t impact us too much.
Back at the hotel I went to the spa to sort out what else was on the agenda for the day, he said I got a free lunch and afternoon team, and a leg and foot massage and use of the whirlpools, sauna and steam rooms which were all just in front of the reception area. So I booked my leg and foot massage for 3pm and had some pool time, and then went upstairs for my lunch. Have you got a voucher, no, the man in the Spa said just to tell you it was included in my Spa package. So it was a special menu, three courses and I must say very enjoyable. More pool time and back to the spa for leg and foot massage. It was at this point that I realised I needed to get a pedicure because my toenails were too long and hurting when she was working on them, tomorrow’s priority. I was going to use the other facilities after that but it was busy so said I would come back later. In the end I didn’t bother. I went for my afternoon tea which turned out to be tea and cake, not the full afternoon tea menu which was on a board in the lounge area, perhaps as well after a breakfast and three course lunch. It was definitely not going to be necessary for me to have dinner that night.
The next day I did some research to find a recommended beauty salon for a pedicure. I found one that had good reviews and set off down the main road. It is a busy little town and there are pavements on all the main streets but there are one of two big holes in some places, you have to keep your eyes peeled all the time, makes window shopping and taking in your surroundings quite difficult. I found the place quite easily and went in, yes they could do it straight away, brilliant. She was very good, I had a bit of red area on one of my toes that had been there for a long time and was quite painful when touched, and she is the only person who has recognised the issue and actually worked on it until it was resolved, so I was extremely pleased with the outcome. Back to the hotel, reception called me to ask when I was checking out. I’m not I am here for another five days. Oh yes I see, but we have you in another room. oh no, thinking that wasn’t going to be acceptable, especially as I had told the first receptionist, then she decided it was ok I could stay where I was, thank goodness. Then they delivered a bowl of fruit to me, and then they rang to say there was a voucher for me at the desk for a free dinner. It was all go.
I went down to the pool and spent a peaceful afternoon down there, eventually making my way back and going to the restaurant for dinner. The voucher meant it was a fixed price menu, but very nice and three courses again. The good thing was it wasn’t too much, ordinarily I can’t eat three courses these days, in fact two is a real push, and I have got a little fed up with being served huge main courses that I can’t eat whilst I have been travelling, but portion sizes here were just right.
The rainy season was well and truly settled in, I read that it’s always worse in the mountains. I was spending my time at the pool, or in the lounge or our for short walks or in my room. One day I decided to go and look for a yoga mat, because I was starting to do a bit of exercise and needed a mat. It was only raining a little when I set off and I had my rain jacket. I took it off after a while, but then the heavens opened. I eventually found the shop I was looking for, having walked miles out of my way in the first instance, and got my mat, the woman said, aren’t you going to wait for the rain to stop? I said I don’t think there is much point I am already soaked to the skin.
Trying to get myself into some sort of routine was quite difficult after all the travelling around. I got some writing done, but I was actually glad of the respite, I have really been on the go for four months, so I stopped feeling guilty about doing nothing, and just got on with doing nothing. I started reading more, which I haven’t really done for a long time. I brought one paperback with me and it took me until Perth to finish it. I gave it to two women in a shop at the station, because I didn’t want to carry it around any more. I measured myself one day and discovered I had lost another inch and a half off my hips and half an inch off my waist making a total of 17 and three quarter inches off my vital statistics since I left home. So even though I haven’t been on a diet, just eating less and walking as much as possible, the weight is still coming off. I do then tell myself, you still have a long way to go, but then I remind myself that I have time now and I will get there. I know I haven’t done the excercising I wanted to do whilst I have been away, but yoga will start soon, and when I get home I will make sure that I am going to classes and walking all the time.
The days passed and I just settled into life and was happy with my surroundings and suddenly it was time to pack my bag and move on. My next port of call is for 21 days in Sanur which is a quiet seaside resort north east of Denpasar. An Airbnb with the promise of a beach not far away and yoga too in the same vicinity.
Packing my case, the day before I noticed that things were a little damp, the room smelled a bit damp too, definitely the right time to be moving on the rainy season was taking its toll on the room. The last night there was the most awful deluge and thunderstorm, it was three am before it calmed down, and I was finally able to fall asleep.
I tried to put my new lock on my suitcase and I couldn’t get it to lock, so thought I better leave that until I got to my next destination and sort it out then. All checked out, my transport arrived to take me to my next destination. See you in Sanur. But leaving you with some more photos of the hotel and pool and my walk around Unbud on a rainy day. Also a couple of photographs of the nice chap I had hanging from my baconly roof, I think he must be a fertility symbol, too late for me though 🤣🤣.