Is this the real Bali?
Trip Start Jan 01, 2009
38Trip End Jun 30, 2009
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Where I stayed
Bali had never been in our top 10 list of places to travel too, (too much like an Australian Hawaii?) but it seemed to fit the requirements for us at this time and hey, it wouldn't be too tough
We spent the first 3 days sorting ourselves out in a villa with a private pool in Seminyak. Seminyak is billed as the quieter, more up market end of the famous stretch of Kuta beach. Kuta, we learned, is an Aussie playground – surfing, nightclubs, budget accommodation, motorcycle congested roads, souvenir shops and a long stretch of surf pounded beach unsuitable – even dangerous – for swimming. While it must have once had its charm, it did not appeal to us. But the villa was relaxing, we had a taste of some decent food and we got our bearings, deciding where we were to venture to next. While I was surfing the internet for off the beaten track budget homestays in East Bali, Andy was off on a scooter, risking his and my firstborn son’s life on the South Bali roads checking out deals in the Nusa Dua area (a stretch of 5* resorts on a peninsula decidedly lacking in any meaningful relationship to the 'real’ Bali but bountiful in generic luxury)
The resort was absolute decadence. Wonderful rooms, the hotel grounds were impressive with swimming lagoons meandering about the entire site, and the most gracious staff we have ever encountered (even by Bali standards and that is saying a lot!). The one downside was that while we scored a deal with the rooms, the food and drink was on us and the prices were astronomical ($12 US dollars for a cocktail). So, the ironic thing was we had Sporks (combo spoons, knives, forks for use in our budget accommodations – but never needed them) and now, when we are staying in the nicest place of all, we put them to use along with some little plastic bowls we bought so we could eat breakfast in our room. This plan, along with some local Bintang beer purchased at the grocery store, and some fabulous noodle and rice dish lunches for $2 at the nearby public beach warungs (little food stands) kept us in budget. We did have a few very good meals – one at a seafood restaurant by Jimbaran Bay, a major surfing beach on the west side of the island and another at Bambu Bali, a well known Indonesian restaurant in Nusa Dua. (but to be honest, my favourite was the noodles from the warung on the beach).
OK, so what of Bali culture have we been exposed to in this – so far - sterile introduction? One thing that is immediately noticeable is the Balinese ritual of offerings. When we arrived at the airport and needed to change some money, I glanced down to the floor by the window at what looked like a small pile of rubbish – some type of leaf, rice, a ritz cracker and a few flowers all tossed together
Our next stop is Nusa Lembongan Island.