Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bali Memories And Friendship Bonds

Left to Right: Jen, Clarissa, Cynthia, Ivy, Philo, Tanya* and Gloria
Today's post is inspired by a warm chapter of friendship; one that blossomed during those budding school years and continues to grow, brimming with a lifetime of journeys and memories. This isn't my story, though it's a kind of bond i look forward to with the special ones in my life.

You know what they say about how it's better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times, that's exactly how it feels when you hear how these ladies have been setting out on trips together every chance they get. Kudos to them, leading on with their friendship goals so effortlessly and respectable enough to teach any generation a thing or two about what a lasting friendship looks like.

So without further ado, here's Gloria's telling of the tale with the girls on their adventurous trip to Bali. 

I've always wanted to visit Bali and was happy to do this one with my school friends.

We flew Malindo, an airline that I'd never heard about! (The others very wisely, took out heavy travel insurance, except me. I did a sasta online one). But the aircraft was new, spacious and surprisingly great. The hostesses wore lacy white tops with a long skirt, very pretty, very feminine and as we learnt later, very traditional.

Bali is one of the 17000 islands that make up the archipelago of Indonesia and is most popular with tourists.

Most roads are narrow 2-lane affairs but driving is disciplined and drivers are patient and not noisy like us in Mumbai, honking even at red signals!

Our guide, Sutapa, told us that in Bali, buildings could not be higher than a coconut tree - approx 17 mtrs. So that explained lack of high rises. But we were not complaining! The greenery was abundant, lush and somewhat similar to Goa, but aesthetically, much more clean and pretty.

Getting used to the Indonesian Rupiah was a total riot though! Prices are in thousands, hundred thousands (lakhs) and millions! Felt like lakhpathis while paying the Rupiahs! Unfortunately, 1 lakh Rupiahs equals approx Rs. 560/-. However, you could bargain like crazy in the smaller shops.

We stayed at the Risata Bali Resort & Spa in South Kuta, 1 km from the airport. Had a free evening the day we arrived, 14th, so we headed for a massage, which is a must do in Bali. It was unexpectedly relaxing but a bit embarrassing, for a first-timer like me! We were required to strip, wear only a disposable panty and were then pounded, kneaded, pulled and pressed to the nth degree for almost an hour. It ended with a body mask and flower bath. Quite an unforgettable experience, eh Iv?

15th - did a tour to Celuk, and saw the silver and; gold workshops. The showroom had some fab pieces on sale.
Had a buffet lunch at Sari restaurant which afforded super views of Mt. Batur volcano and lake.
Saw traditional paintings being done at Ubud and viewed the many paintings which were casually displayed in large halls. Nothing casual about their prices, though.
Visited the Tampaksiring Holy Water Spring temple where the fish were really fat! Back at the hotel, some lounged by the pool while the others had a dip before heading to Jimbaran for a seafood dinner that was Ivy's birthday treat. Dinner on the beach was another great experience. Got back to the hotel and brought in Ivy's birthday with tiramisu cake and Irish Bailey, (sponsored by Cy and Iv, respectively).

16th - The banana boat ride at Tanjung Benoa, was fun as was the glass bottom boat
ride to Turtle island where we held turtles, a python, an iguana, and even a toucan. A couple of owls and bats obligingly tolerated us, as we took photos.
Had a marvellous lunch with cocktails and Bintang - the local beer.
When we returned to the hotel in the evening, a live band was playing and some of the guests were belting out American Pie. We joined them and had an enjoyable sing-song. Tanya requested the band guys to sing Happy Birthday to Ivy, so it was quite a chorus with the firangs also joining in lustily. As we all trooped back to the room for a nightcap, Iv was quite surprised to see a little cake kept in the frig for her, from the hotel. So naturally, we had to sing and cut the cake again!

17th - strolled the streets in the morning and purchased a few souvenirs. Evening was the Bounty Dinner cruise which had live music, traditional Balinese and modern dances. As there were other tourists from India, they played/sang a couple of Hindi songs. Lots of legs were shaken!

18th - free day so we caught up with some more shopping, some did a second spa session, some headed for the beach and since we discovered a RC church nearby, two of us 'holy janes' attended mass which was in Indonesian. Later the vodka-finishing session before dinner and the gift-finishing session after was good fun.

19th - we headed back home happy to have enjoyed ourselves and sad that it was over.

Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, satays are tasty, cheap and easily available all over the place. You get them with beef, chicken or seafood. Nasi Goreng is served with some sago papads, kimchi salad and a fried egg. Most dishes came with sticky rice, sambal, sweet soya sauce and an onion salad which when mixed with the rice was yummy. The fresh fruit juices too were amazing. There were other cuisines available including good old McDonald's, Burger King, even Bread Talk, but I really enjoyed my fried rice n noodles and didn't get tired of eating it. Tried babi gulang (pork spare ribs), which was a bit gamey, but tasty.

There are innumerable branded  goods for shopholics in malls, and plenty of street shopping if you want cheaper stuff. But the most amusing were the wooden penis bottle openers that were shamelessly displayed all over the place! Got a bit of a shock to see it the first time in a Govt. shop.

Getting back to Mumbai was fraught with anxiety on account of the flood situation. Our flight was circling for almost 35 mins before landing, 45 mins late. So you can imagine the rush as fights were landing tapa-tup. But walking out of the airport without waiting in the serpentine queues and without any baggage check, was the final icing on the cake, thanks to Cynthia.


*FYI, far left and second from right are two very special people in my life, my dearest hubby's mum and his lil sis who tagged along.


  1. Those kind of bottle openers are common all over. I have seen them in Athens and Lisbon!
    Great post on the place.

    1. Hey, that's interesting to know! Thanks, will pass on the compliment to Glo! :)

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