SHANE PINNEGAR – WRITER
DESPATCHES FROM BALI – December 2019
Having barely seen each other for six weeks, we were desperate to reconnect and share some properly quality time on this vacation… which, incidentally, in case you haven’t caught references to it on previous chats, is Lady Boomboom’s pre-birthday trip. Her ACTUAL 50th isn’t until 26 January, but she starts her new job in Kalgoorlie on the 7th, so couldn’t take a week off that soon after diving in – thus, we brought it forward.
Another bit of info keen observers may have caught elsewhere: a routine checkup last week caught a small lump in a sensitive area, and far too many phone calls later, she had two options: come back from Bali 2 days early, or wait til late January (yep, around her birthday) to have it sorted. So we stumped up the extra bucks to change those flights, and changed the outgoing flight to a day earlier to ensure we still had six nights away.
Anyway, digressions now done with, we landed Thursday early evening and found our Kuta hotel, Vira, discovered we were a mere four minutes walk from ole mate Kezza so joined her for birthday drinks, broke her (sorry Kez) then grabbed some room service and slept like rocks.
Friday began like a movie. After a satisfying breakfast of nasi goreng we found a money changer offering the best rate we had seen, and changed $2600 Aussie dollars into over 26 million rupiah. I counted enough notes that I should add “bank teller skills” to my resume. The money was ALL there. Having watched more than enough movies about grifters, we watched the guy and his offsider like hawks, searching for any and every sleight of hand or scam. When the transaction was complete, I went to place the money in our bag and a local walked past and made some comment, distracting both of us for no more than a second or so. When we got to the hotel, EXACTLY seven million rupiah was missing. That’s AUD$700.
So we resolved to not be upset about it, but I felt the need to confront the guy. Not physically – I’m a lover, not a fighter (MJ voice, of course), and not angrily – I’m far more zen than I used to be. But I recalled an instance some thirty years ago when a young girl changing money at the hotel I stayed at would always short change me one 10K note, held in her hand under the counter, and I would count my money and say “ahem, you’re short 10K” and she would bring her hand up with the note and a cute smile as if to say “good for you, you pass the test.” I felt I needed to try, despite Boomboom worrying they’d get physical.
So we returned – it was only a six or so minute walk from the hotel – and I looked the guy in the eye and calmly – a wry smile on my face – said, “I don’t know how you did it, but I know you did it. Seven million…” and held my hand out. Guilty A.F., he looked panicky and ummed and ahhed and blustered, but instantly I knew I was right. He had it. So I pressed on, still staring him down. “I know you took it, I want it back.” He carried on the charade – “are you serious? Maybe you got confused? Maybe someone took it on the way to your hotel?” I just glowered at him. He offered to give me back my money in exchange for his money. “Sure, I said – but I will have to go back to get it from the hotel.” In absolute admittance of guilt he then suggested that I take my money back with me, then return with his. “No way,” I said, “I don’t want you to think I am a thief. I don’t steal – not like you have stolen from me! What I will do though, is wait for the moon to come up tonight and cast a voodoo spell on you for stealing from me!!!” I thought it was a nice touch, and I don’t get the chance to play ‘action hero’ very often!
So, the guy looks at me nervously and says, “Seven million… are you sure?” I nodded. “You know I am.” Without another word, he counted seven million rupiah out onto his bench and held his hands back. I took the money, and we walked away, Lady Boomboom a little nervous that we’d be followed and knifed in the back. We grabbed the first cab we saw and went to the Hard Rock Hotel for a cocktail, shaking with the adrenalin. I’ve seen enough movies to know that in Hollywood’s hands a knife fight was very possible indeed!!! But all’s well that ends well. Our server at the Hard Rock even told us a cool story about meeting Tommy Lee there, who tipped him US$100!
Then we moved on to the place we originally booked for the holiday. They didn’t have availability for that one extra added on night, but when we finally arrived at KISS VILLAS (after a fun ride with a young taxi driver with a fun taste in music – BoRap, The Gambler, Dolly & Kenny, Take Me Home Country Roads and more – we were exactly as impressed with our digs as we’d hoped we would be. More expensive than I think we have ever paid for accommodation, it was important Boomboom get treated to a Very. Special. Experience. for her pre-birthday hol! You only turn fiddy once, right, and in response to QEII’s ‘annus horribilus,’ I’m calling this Trulie’s ‘annus bloodygoodus.’
Since then it’s been swims and spas and lounging in bed and on day beds. We had a massage today. We’ll have another Monday. Splurged out on a beautiful dinner last night which literally cost a quarter or less what it would have at home – AUD$12.50. Balinese barbecue dinner tonight (so I should slow down on the Bintangs)…
We have sun, music (of course I loaded up on all her favourite tunes, and plenty of mine too), a great location, and plenty of time to let the stresses of the year (well, the last 13 years, really – this is THE turning point for us) wash off us and let us find a new, happier place for ourselves. The shit in our life will always be there and always be shit, but we’re resolved to move in one direction only from this point forwards: ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!
DESPATCHES FROM BALI #2
This isn’t a story full of adventure and excitement – we’ve done that other times, this trip was always about relaxing, pampering, rebooting, purging the accumulated abuse of the past decade-plus. In that department we are truly excelling – good riddance to bad juju!
Daily massages (Balinese and hot stone so far, Swedish today), lots of swimming and lounging in the pool, eating, drinking, shagging, napping, listening to cool tunes – but not a lot worthy of imparting that would make riveting reading!
So let’s have a chat about food – both plentiful and often remarkably cheap here. Balinese cuisine is punctuated by vibrant, fresh, clean flavours – it’s just delightful. I was looking for a cooking class to learn a little more, but the couple I contacted said they would most likely be too basic for my chef experience and I’d be better off buying a cookbook – mission for today!
Check the photo of The Butcher’s Club Double Happiness burger. It’s mental. Two burgers worth of fillings, in between two cheese toasties as buns!!! Aditiya, our waiter, told us there was also a hidden menu TRIPLE Happiness burger as well. But that’s just effing silly! As an aside, he also told us that his name in Sanskrit means the sun – literally the Sun God Surya – as he felt sympatico with the stylised sun tattoo on TJ’s shoulder.
And that’s all we’ve got for you today. Stay cool (we hear it’s hot back home), stay groovy and rock on…
DESPATCHES FROM BALI #3
More massages! More swimming!! Way more eating and drinking!!! Now with added shopping, visits to cool little bars (TEXAZ, Seminyak, for the win – tasty food, ice cold Bintang and fun laughs with the lovely staff), and even visits from Slippery Bob, our sqwerl-in-residence!!!!
Do we REALLY have to go home so soon?!?!?!?!?
DESPATCHES FROM BALI #4
We just had a sensational meal at Jemme, here in Seminyak. Sublime scallop au gratin and duck pancakes followed by exquisite lobster thermidor and then a dessert tasting plate for two. We’re so stuffed, but want to go back and do it all again tomorrow. Divine – probably the best restaurant meal we’ve had since Heston’s in Melbourne in March!
Thankyou so much to the ever-wonderful Susie for the recommendation <3
DESPATCHES FROM BALI #5
I don’t mean to brag, but we’ve been squiffy twice today. THAT’s impressive!
Mega lunch, nice giggly walk home, swim, read book, nap, spa, read book in spa, nap in the spa while reading book, more drinking, takeaway food from Honeybees and gawdamm it’s lovely, and now we’re flopping about supping on a lovely red wine.
What a bloody lovely holiday we’ve had. This venue has been truly everything we had hoped it would be – luxurious, idyllic, the staff have been unflaggingly friendly and helpful and attentive. Couldn’t ask for more, really.
I’d go on, but Lady Boomboom wants another wine! OH – there was a Hindu festival of sorts today, the end of some holiday, if I understand correctly. Love the colours of the offerings on the shrine and the attentiveness with which they present them. We heard them singing and bell ringing as part of the ceremony and it was beautiful. And thanks again for the excellent massages, girls!
See my previous post re Sunday catchup plans – last chance before we become Kalgoorlie-ites!
Hic. Bye now. Giggle.