Bali - Excitement Edition

After months of jobbing, interning, working, studying, examing, essaying, and just general stressful terribleness, it was time.

Time to get Madonna's "Holiday" stuck in your head. 

Because what else are you going to sing in the customs queue when you're ON HOLIDAYYY!!

We're finally travelling again, properly - with planes and passports and exotic lands. 

And by exotic lands, I mean 10 days at Seminyak on the island of Bali, Indonesia. 

At our own villa with our own private pool.

Life is hard. 

You know the drill. More pictures, few words. Make blog good.

(Side note: you better appreciate this shiz because these pictures took like 30 hours to upload - turns out Bali wifi is lolfi)

But first, as always, let me introduce you to my five travelling companions - from left to right: Jono, Bowd, Gale, Liv and Josh. Josh is with Bowd and Liv is with Jono and Gale and I are each one half of an excellent non-awkward fifth wheel. 

Hurrah! Friends! 

To the good stuff - 

Mmmm, villa. Featuring the world's biggest bathroom.

Mmmmm, villa. 


Excitement in action. Plus gin. 

Coffee table.

So we exchanged some cash, which was an exercise in unleashing one's inner cash cow. One Australian dollar is over 10,000 Indonesian rupiah, which means that the numbers become quite insane. 

Exchange officer: Here is three million each.
Gale and I: HEYYYYYYY!

Effectively making the encounter the closest we shall ever come to being actual millionaires. 

Make it rain. 

We asked some Indonesian locals how these figures actually work - because if a cheap dinner is in the millions, what happens when things actually get serious? I'm sure there's a million-dollar mansion somewhere in Indonesia someone wants to buy, and we saw a Porche or two, so what? Billions? Quadrillions? Pentillions? Sextillions? There are already too many bloody zeros on my notes, bills and labels thank you v much. 

Apparently past millions they just have this thing called "M" or "jt" which stands for the word for "million" juta...
which is...more confusing than before. Thanks, Indonesia! No Porche for me :(
Much of the Balinese population is Hindu, and the streets are littered with these little baskets filled with flowers, incense and food like rice and watermelon, called canang sari. There are so many because tradition dictates they're offered three times a day, kind of a gesture of thanks and give back some of what the gods have given them.

We are in Villa Jepun, nested amongst a few others like it, and at the end of this really lovely walkway of which I shall undoubtedly take way too many pictures.

Out on the road. We try not to step on them, but it's hard. 

Getting directions from the villa security.

Even the Balinese are all into the World Cup.

We walk down this road to get to one of Seminyak's main streets. 

The Balinese people are exceptionally lovely. 

Main street!
It's a really strange, surprisingly narrow street, while our own street is barely more than a cobbled back lane way. This is one of Bali's main tourist places - Seminyak itself is known for its shopping and food, more on the high-end side of things, while nearby Kuta is known for its clubs and where less savoury things tend to happen. Mother told me to stay away from there. 

One side of this main road is more shop-y, the other very food-y. I always try to find the road less travelled, and the kind of places not wholly grossly capitalised and touristy, but on our first night here we figured there was some merit in indulging in the kind of entertainment and dinner designed specifically for fat western white people. 

Our very own laneway! 
We chose a direction. 

ye olde feet shot.
Besides food and an array or pretty yet overpriced dresses, Seminyak has some art/furniture type deals as well. Balinese art/furniture is a mysteriously popular addition to Australian households. 

I sound very cynical BUT let me explain you a thing - Bali for Australians is a cheap getaway, especially for Western Australians where it's basically a quick weekend trip. We met a Perth woman who said they an get a 4-day all inclusive long weekend deal for $250. And I remember my family came here when I was little (and we lived in Perth) because it was cheaper to come here for two weeks than to stay in Broome for 5 days. 

 So a certain amount of cynicism is necessary, plus the fact that I am always astonished when white people we walk past are not Australians (usually from Nordic countries...) and it's like you came all this way and you came to Bali??! 

I guess it boils down to the fact that it is a solid, exotic and lovely holiday destination, if extremely touristy. But that's the kind of thing that suits a lot of people. And I can't complain I guess, Miss Private-Villa-and-Pool. 

Holla Cafe Zucchini. I also enjoy these road signs that are just exclamation marks. Like instead of conveying a specific message like, 'Slow Down', 'Give Way' or 'Maybe Cutting Off That Taxi With 5mm Of Space Isn't A Great Idea', it's just a general 'AHHHHH!' kind of sign. Coincidentally, that's generally what the voice in my head is reduced to when being driven around. Road lanes tend to be guidelines, more than actual rules. 

Hurrah group selfie! (Note: I have wet boob from wet swimmers under my dress. I don't sweat in weird areas, promise)

A random worksite - I felt this image kind of encapsulated the strange and oddly discomforting juxtaposition between east/west, rich/poor going around here. As you saw above, the lane way we walked up to get to this street had the entrances of clearly very beautiful and luxurious villas, but also the homes of some locals, who clearly lived infinitely more simply, right next door. I find it discomforting. Not going to ruin my day, but hmm. More on that later.

Fully embracing the racial divide, we had a drink at a champagne bar right in the middle of the tourist strip. 

If you like Pina Coladas... 

Also tapas, because holiday dining requires you to take meals like a Hobbit. 

By then night had fallen (well and truly by about 6.30pm which I found strange? But remember we're very near the equator - there are barely seasons, and sunset is more or less the same year-round). 

There is a ridiculously tiny amount of path to fit everyone on. 

Some interesting shops. 

Also a bizarre amount of Italian restaurants along here. I'm not sure how I feel about this. But it's okay bc this guy waved and was lovely. 

A more traditional type place to keep in mind... 

Surprise fancy chemist. 

Lanes what lanes. 


Still in decision-making mode: decided on a place we passed before. 

At Ginger Moon, an ambient, well-recommended place for hungry tourists, with interestingly-constructed and delicious Asian fare.

Sauces ahoy.

Chicken salad - but on rolled up rice noodles, plus basil and tomato; a bizarre east meets west type of thing. Also: duck dumplings, Balinese chicken, vegetable chip nachos and babi guling (suckling pig) pizza. 

Weird things happen when your currency suffers ridiculous inflation such as MILLION DOLLAR BILLS. 

This is all very amusing, but with this shit (same as in China) you get the paradoxical effect of being stingy while on holiday because it sounds like you're spending so much even though it's like $2.50, and being stingy when you get home because the thing is now $20.50 and not $2.50. 

Stocked up on some snacks - there are certain members of our group who are the kinds of people to whom the idea of not eating between meals is actually horrific. 

As a marketer, checking out grocery stores in other countries is always interesting. 

Fresh area consists mainly of garlic and frozen chestnuts. 

And strange fruit. 

Uhhhhhhh. Speaking of bizarre east/west mélanges...

Gale got stuck singing along to the in-store radio, much to Liv's bemused amusement. 

And then - can I get a BLACK OUT!!!

20 more seconds and we all would've made it through but then everything died...the entire street. Very dramatic. 

I knew there was a good reason to bring my smart phone anyway. 

Had to walk back the long way because someone's generator decided to engulf our entire road in thick black smoke. (The concept of proper petrol that's not dodgy-looking oil in plastic bottles sold on the side of the road isn't really a thing here either). 

A true test of friendship is how you can entertain each other with no technology to do so....luckily, we're good. 

Woop woop!

Voilà our first day in Bali... we all went to bed at like 10.30, because the concept of getting 8+ hours of sleep was one too good to pass up #grannies. 

As always, until next time... 

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