Thursday, 29 April 2010

Day 3

Barong Dance at Batu Bulan

Our plan was to go to Kintamani first thing in the morning. But according to Gede, we should catch a Barong dance at Batu Bulan on the way to Kintamani. We weren’t sure if we should go at first, because KF had seen someone comment in the forums on the ‘fake-looking’ dancing at Batu might have been the Kechak dance, because I thoroughly enjoyed the Barong dance.

The Barong dance portrays a mixture of myth and history, about Barong(good) and Rangda(evil). I really enjoyed the play even though I am usually scared of such things. And it was quite difficult to hear what was being said because we were all the way at the back. Anyway it probably wouldn't have helped that much even if we were in the front, because they were speaking Balinese or Indonesian, and I didn't much understand them even when I could hear them. Thankfully we were each given a piece of paper when we entered which tells us the different scenes in the play and gives a little summary of what happens.

I asked Gede about the dance, because I remember him saying that in Barong dance, the dancers go into a trance, but not so for the Kechak dance. So I was asking him which dancers were in a trance, because we couldn’t see anyone who seemed like they were in any sort of trance (even though they were all a bit scary at first). He said that the men at the end of it were in a trance, and that the ‘keris’ that they were using to try to pierce their abdomens were real ones, not fake plastic ones which was what I thought they

Shopping at Sukawati

So the next stop, was…Sukawati! We were looking forward to this so much(I was!), but by this time we realized that we had totally under-budgeted our trip and were running out of Rupiahs! So with a heavy heart I told myself to have a proper look at the things and control myself from spending too much there.

When we arrived, there was a flock of vendors waiting for us to get out of our car and convince us that we needed a hat, sunglass, batik, keychains, blablabla.

We walked into the market, and found lots of little keychain penises hanging everywhere. By this point, I realised that this is very very very common in Bali. I do not get the point of something like that as a keychain. To me, there is no aesthetic value to it, or any other value either! Feng gets excited and mentions again that she would love to buy some. Haha!

We keep looking for the sarong that we saw the day before at GWK, but to no avail. *I feel like going back in time and smacking my head now, because only on the last day did we find out that the sarong we were looking for were just normal sarongs with a little clincher added to it. We thought it came together with the sarong! Could have easily gotten a simple sarong anywhere cheap and buy the clincher separately. Argh!!*.
We went upstairs where there were bags. I was planning to buy bags, so that was my stop. I saw 2 which I liked, and started bargaining. She offered 250,000Rp for the 2 bags, I finally got them for 92,000Rp! Hehehe. Feng and KF didn’t get anything though.

Mount Batur and Lake Batur, Kintamani

On then to Kintamani to see Mount Batur(the volcano). When we arrived at Kintamani, Gede warned us that there will again be many vendors swarming us, and that if we weren’t planning on buying anything from them, it was best to just completely ignore them. Otherwise, if the others see that we show even the slightest of interest, they would come swarming around us as well and there would be no point of escape. Ok I added the last bit in, about no point of escape =P. But you get the idea, right?

So we got down, and started taking pictures. Thankfully, the swarming didn’t come too bad! I’m sure it would have been 10x worse if we had white skin, so..yeah. Sometimes being Asian is not all bad. LOL. The view, I have to admit, wasn’t the best. It was drizzling and overcast. No good pictures of it at all. Sad.. 

Gede asked us if we would like to have lunch at Kintamani. As we had already seen from the forum(notice how much we learnt from the forums – or, another way to put it, how much we depended on them) that the buffets there were super expensive, not tasty, and totally not worth it, we decided to only have our lunch when we got down. It was already about 2pm when we got down, and I was famished!

Pura Tirta Empul, Tampak Siring

We proceeded to a place called Tampak Siring, where there was another temple – Pura Tirta Empul. “Pura” means temple by the way(I think), not the same as in Malay where it means ‘pretend’. It was raining quite heavily when we got there, and we had to use umbrellas to walk around. Pura Tirta Empul was quite beautiful. It really reminded me of Nepal, where they have lots of public baths and where people would go there to pray and bathe in the sacred water. It was the same here.

There was a lady there who really caught my attention. It was really starting to pour at the time, and she was still kneeling there, praying very piously, totally unfazed and unaffected by the big drops of rain pouring down and soaking her through. I could see her murmuring with her eyes closed, in her own world, worshipping her God. I remember thinking to myself “I wonder what she is praying for.”
It seemed almost as if she really needed something, or that she was very very grateful for something her God has granted her. She looked really beautiful at that moment, even though her hair was stuck to her head, and her clothes were drenched. I don’t know this lady, but I felt that she has what we call, inner beauty. 

Bebek Bengil Diner, Ubud

We then travelled down to Ubud. It was quite a distance, and we passed by many paddy fields. One of them was Tegalalang, where Gede stopped and let us go down to take some pictures. It was drizzling at the time, and we quickly snapped some pictures. We were there for such a very short time, but I will forever remember the beauty of Tegalalang terraced paddy fields

Since we didn’t have lunch, we had our meal at Bebek Bengil restaurant, Ubud. It’s a famous restaurant which we had also read about in the forums. We had read that it was totally worth it, but for some reason (I think it was to do with us running out of cash) we had decided earlier that we want to pass it up for our next visit to Bali. But Gede insisted, he said that anyone who comes to Bali MUST try the bebek bengil and babi guling. So we changed our minds and went for bebek bengil.
*Bebek bengil means 'dirty duck'. But there's a story to it, and it has nothing to do with us eating unclean/unwashed duck meat. Hehe.*

We ordered 3 dishes. One was, of course, the bebek bengil. It was roasted to perfection. I never liked duck. NEVER EVER. Its dry, rough, and there’s no nice sauce to go with it. But bebek bengil has changed my mind about duck meat forever.

The skin was roasted till it was super crispy, and the meat was sooo tender!!! Just thinking about it now makes me
The 2nd dish was also duck, but I can’t really remember the name of it. It had sauce on it, and it was absolutely delicious too.
And the 3rd dish was nasi campur, which was basically like nasi lemak. I didn't think it was special. 

It was 3.15pm when we finished, and our massage/spa was booked for 5pm. We had already allocated time to look for a hotel. Gede said he asked him friend, and apparently there was a cheap but nice hotel on Monkey Forest road. So there we went, to Graha Ubud hotel. It was empty. More or less. But I liked the feel of it anyway. The man there took us to look at Room 1, and it was nice, but there was 1 bed which was situated farrr away from the other 2. And the toilet was very very dim, but huge! I didn’t really like the toilet to be honest. But anyway, we took it.

After leaving our luggage in the room, we start driving to the massage place. On the way, we pass by Ibu Oka babi guling up the street, but there was no time to stop, and there was probably no more babi for us anyway. Sad!! This is a very very famous place for babi guling!

Sang Spa, Ubud

We then arrive at the street the massage centre is on – and it’s a small alley that gets smaller and smaller. Sang Spa was well hidden almost at the end of the road. Gede used his phone to call the massage centre and ask where it was. Finally we found it, number 29.

We go in, and were served little cups of tea. Gede arranged with the receptionist to send us back to the hotel after our spa. He then arranged to come pick us up at the hotel at 10am the next morning, enough time for us to have breakfast and a little walk to the Ubud Market.

Then, we were escorted into the massage room. We requested to have a room for the 3 of us. There were 3 beds, I was asked to go to the middle one. Feng went to the toilet. KF and I were asked to remove our clothings – much to our horror!! I knew there had to be something for us to use to cover ourselves up, but there were no sarongs in sight! So we looked around, and finally I saw the sarongs laid so beautifully on the beds, as if they were a part of the bed linen. So KF and I agree to the policy of “I don’t look at you, you don’t look at me” and take off our clothes. Feng then comes in and proceeds to do the same, and KF and I make sure to look away. Hahaha.

Our masseuses then came in, and asked us to lie facedown on the beds – naked. Another horror! How are we supposed to do that?? It would mean a few seconds between us taking off our sarongs and climbing unto the bed and lying facedown and the masseuse finally covering us up with the sarongs! But there was no choice. We kept giggling and giggling, and kept our eyes to ourselves as we did what we had to do.

Then started the massage. I was supposed to feel so relaxed and I expected to fall asleep. But no, I was too fascinated with the beautiful colours of the flowers in the bowl beneath my bed and the yellow frangipani candle in the middle of the red and pink petals.

So, we started facedown, with the massage beginning at our legs. Then it moved up to our backs. Then we were asked to turn our to face upwards. That was alright too, as we were quickly covered again with our sarongs and our eyes were covered with clothes. The massage continued on our legs. But then it came. The moment where the masseuse suddenly pulled on the sarong covering my chest and it suddenly feels so cool and bare and totally exposed! Man was I thankful that the other 2’s eyes were closed!!

I kept silent, knowing that the same thing was about to happen to KF and Feng. Sure enough, I hear a loud giggle from Feng’s side. Her sarong has been pulled. And infectiously, it spreads to KF. I try for a few seconds to remain professional and serious, but I failed. I joined in the giggling, and think to myself “This is so embarrassing! We’re acting like a bunch of schoolgirls, when we – look at us – we’re hardly school girls, in fact, farrrr from it!”

The massage continued, and the most eventful part would have to be when KF had finished her traditional massage and Feng and I had to jump into the tub for our flower bath. I went in first. The problem wasn’t with the bath. I’m sure both Feng and I could fit into it. The problem was…there wasn’t enough water! My chest wasn’t even covered when I sat upright in it. And it wasn’t big enough to lie down in! So what could I do??

Then Feng came in. And we shared a bath - no clothes on. I said aloud “Who would have ever known when I met the both of you, that one day, we would have to see each other naked and share a bath together”.
An unforgettable experience.

After we finish, the owner of the spa drove us back to our hotel. We decided to go for dinner first before going back – saves the effort of walking out again.

So we stumble across a little hidden place, which was upstairs. We looked at the menu, and the prices were cheap enough for our almost empty pockets. Under the stairs, there was a drawing of 2 pigs at it. I can’t remember the name of the place, but this is how I will look it up the next time I am there. So up we went. It was a quaint little place, everyone else there were guai lous. We were the only Asians there.

Feng ordered spaghetti and avocado juice, and this detail is important. I ordered some sort of chicken fillet and I can’t remember what KF ordered. We snap some photos while waiting for our food – it was special because we were sitting cross-legged on the floor instead of a chair!

We ate our dinner, and started walking back home/hotel.
Ka Fui was having a headache, so we went to a small little convenience store opposite our hotel to get some Panadol for her.
I spotted something really special there – bottled Starbucks ready to go! I wish we had that here in Malaysia. 

Feng wanted to continue walking around somemore, but KF and I were tired and I felt so greasy after all that massage oil involved in the spa that I just wanted to go back to the hotel and shower then sleep.

After some time, Feng comes back safe and sound and we all have a shower before we're all drifting away into dreamland.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bali Day 2 : Double compliments!

Ok, back to our Bali trip, Day 2!

Gede came to pick us up at 9am. We were late, because we came down late for breakfast and had to wait some time for the food to come. We told him that we wanted to go to Nusa Dua, just to relax on the beach. He said that, no one goes to Nusa Dua “just to relax on the beach”. Nusa Dua is for water sports, and that’s an accepted fact. I didn’t know what to do, so I just thought we could go there and decide if we wanted to do anything.

So off we went. He asked what sort of activities we wanted to do..and I said I might want to go paragliding. He said there’s no paragliding in Bali, but there’s parasailing. And I think to myself, what's the difference?? =P Totally shows my ignorance in all things sports-related. =.= So we went a place which offers parasailing and scuba diving. Gede said we don’t need to know how to swim in order to go diving (Feng and I are not so good at swimming =P ), but we need to be able to swim to go snorkeling..which was another thing I didn’t know, because snorkeling and scuba diving were,again, one and the same to me. =D

We suddenly decided to go for scuba diving after some persuasion. A friend of mine actually asked me only a week before this whether I want to go to Sabah for diving. I was thinking, no way. I'm so afraid of water, and even worse, DEEP water. But when in Bali, I just thought to myself "I've come all this way to Bali, how often am I going to get this chance? Oh why not". And that was that. The winds weren’t strong enough for parasailing that day anyway. So Rp. 400,000 (which is around RM150) for each of us for the diving, and 50,000 more for the pictures and video. (which turned out like CRAP for me..I can’t believe how HIDEOUS I LOOK WITH THE GOGGLES ON!!I'm TOTALLY NOT EXEGGERATING! ASK FENG.)

The diving centre was full of guy instructors, and one of them kept chatting me up! I thought he was just being friendly (I was starting to think that everyone in Bali was JUST friendly, unlike in Malaysia, and that no one wanted anything from me just by talking to me and telling myself to trust people better) but it turned out that he WAS indeed flirting with me. =.=|| erm.. He started by saying I was pretty. Then he said I had a very very nice body *cue hourglass shaping with hands*. Then he asked me if I was single. And said I should come to Bali again for my honeymoon. Funny guy.

Diving was SCARY. Like I said, I'm afraid of deep water, so..honestly, I wasn't expecting to enjoy myself. Just to experience it and get over my fear of diving so that I would dare to do it again next time and maybe enjoy it then. Funny thinking right? Yes I know. And, I got bitten by a fish!! We were each given a piece of bread to feed the fishes while down there, so I was happily attracting fishies to me, when this one fish confused my arm with bread, and proceeded to start biting at me!! I was like "Hello!! DO I LOOK LIKE BREAD TO YOU?? WHICH PART OF ME RESEMBLES A PIECE OF BREAD, MAY I KNOW??" Obviously my left arm does, since it didn't just bite once and realised its huge mistake, but continue pecking away joyously at my arm until I got so mad I flung it off and scolded it in my mind "I don't want to feed YOU, you little evil fish! Go away from me!! I hate you!! You're punished. You're not getting no bread from me, little brother. Now SHOO OFF!" I still remember how it looks. (Don't you think I'll forget you, you little confused fish. I'm gonna get back at you if I have the chance. Eat you up. Hah! *evil* ) And it wasn't just pecking by the way, it DID bite, and left sharp teeth marks on my arm!!

After diving, we then got changed, had lunch at the diving centre while viewing our diving photos and videos which were UGLY (Well, actually, only I was ugly in them. Feng and KF looked beautiful) and which cost Rp. 50,000 and proceeded to GWK. There was a great big statue of Wisnu there, and of Garuda(his mode of transport). Nothing too interesting at GWK, all I remember is that it was HOT HOT HOT!!! More or less showered myself in sunblock while I was there.

Oh yes, I took a picture of Feng there, and she looked so slim, because I ‘cut’ off her arms from the picture, and she agreed that she does look really slim in it. I said “So you need to hire me as your official photographer at your wedding next time! I'll make you look slim in every single wedding photo” and she said “Ya ya..and then if the picture come out not nice, I will throw it back to you and say “KIM! What kind of picture is this? You dunno how to take izzit!”” Hahaha!

Oh and at the souvenir shop, we saw a sarong which was really beautiful on the mannequin, but decided not to get it there but instead at Sukawati which we have been looking forward to.

We then proceeded to Pantai Padang-Padang where there were lotsss of guai lous. There were 2 girls there who were tanning topless and proud of it. It was funny because there was a little baby boy (I’d say he was only 2/3 years old) playing just right next to where they were lying face up. =P Ka Fui even tried to take pictures of the topless girls. Succeeded, but not very clear. LOL!

Next was Dreamland beach. The waves were HUGEEEE there, and there were people trying to surf. A few tour buses arrived about the same time as us, carrying loads of high school kids. No topless girls this time =) We were standing really far from the water, but managed to get our shorts wet, that's how huge the waves were.

Then it was time to go to Jimbaran Bay in time to catch the sunset. We got to Jimbaran quite quickly, but couldn’t find the Lia Café which we were planning to go to. It was well known in the forums to be one of the cheapest and value-for-money places at Jimbaran Bay. We’d seen so many comments online about drivers who would recommend/force you to go to a certain restaurant so that they will receive a commission. Its understandable why they would do that – the whole street is FILLED with seafood restaurants and nothing else! We went up and down the whole stretch looking for Lia Café, and even got down to walk through a marketplace at the end of the road to search for it. No results. So in the end, because we had no idea which restaurant to choose, we chose a place called Bumbu Bali just for the fact that we’ve(Feng and I) been to a place with the same name in Puchong. LOL!

We sat down at a table one row from the last, and I remembered thinking – this was the site of the 2nd bombing in Bali, in 2005. And I also remember thinking – who knows, tonight there might be another bomb, the 3rd Bali bombing..and I had no regrets. I wasn’t afraid. I couldn’t have felt happier being where I was, with who I was with. Not because I was in the most beautiful place in the world.. I know there are many more places out there which were more beautiful. Not because I was with my loved ones, my family weren’t there with me. But because I knew that I have no regrets in my life. Especially in the past few months, I have tried so many new things, I’ve cherished every single waking moment of my life, I've tried to avoid doing things I would regret, and I have no regrets even if I had to leave this life at that very moment.

I took so many pictures, every single one turned out so beautiful that I had to stop myself from focusing so much on taking pictures but instead sit back and relax, to enjoy the view, and atmosphere, and life itself. We ordered a seafood platter to be shared among the 3 of us. There was lobster, fish, squid, clams. I tried Cola Susu for the first time – it was something I’ve heard that they had in Indonesia but just suddenly remembered and wanted to try it. It was great, I love it! Basically it was Cola with evaporated/condensed(I’ve never known the difference between the 2,again) milk. Feng and KF had Teh botol, which was normal tea served in a bottle, just like how Coke was served in a bottle. Another special thing only in Indonesia. I liked it too. If you are ever in Indonesia, I strongly recommend you try these 2 drinks!

We drove back to Kuta, tired after a long long day in the sun.

When we got back to the hotel, we all had a shower, and Feng and I decided to go for a foot massage nearby, just to try it out. We walked out thinking that we would have found one just on the same street as our hotel, but there were none. We ended up at one on Legian Street, quite a distance away but not too far.

My masseuse was Melissa, and Feng’s was a 20-year-old girl with a tooth ache. Melissa was a Catholic(rare in Bali, and Feng’s masseuse was a Hindu. When we first started the massage, I could see they kept talking and looking at me, and so I asked what they were talking about. And then came the 2nd compliment of the day – they said I was very beautiful! And they said that from my looks and how I spoke to my friends, they could see that I was a very kind and good person. I wanted to kiss and hug them, I've never been complimented so much in my whole life, and here I was, complimented again for the 2nd time in a DAY! Hahaha, I joked with Feng and KF that I should move to Bali, where my beauty and kindness is appreciated. Unlike in Malaysia. Lol, only joking.

Feng commented that maybe the Balinese's definition of 'beauty' is still quite traditional..and we all knew what she meant, because well...people used to prefer 'bigger' girls, it meant they were more 'hou sang yong' or productive.

*I know you're reading this Feng, and I want you to know I don't like you!! Blekk!!* hahaha!

After the massage, we walked back to the hotel, and decided to take another way because it was raining. It was then my turn to be offered ‘the service’. Hahaha! One of the men offering transport along the roads suddenly came up close to me and whispered in my ear “Mahu gigolo?”. I just ignored him and walked on, since I wasn’t too shocked about it after Ka Fui’s ‘experience’ the night before. Hehe.

Getting back to the hotel, I was dead tired but wanted to read my book. So I did. And then went to sleep. But I didn’t sleep so well this time. I don’t know why.

*pictures to be added to this post another day. its bedtime. woohoo! =)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Pure nervousness..

Note: *You don't need to read this post. Its just another wall of words, which seems to be what I'm good at - boring people to death. Unless you're really bored of course, then by all means go ahead. Please don't say I didn't warn you, and don't complain about my walls of words*

I have a secret right now..
But it isn't really a secret - I just need to wait for the right time to tell people about it.
I'm just waiting for the confirmations, before I say anything.
But I really just need to pour out how I feel at the moment.

I'm really really nervous. I feel like I'm on the edge of my seat while watching a horror movie.
This has got to be the bravest thing i have EVER done in my life.

I don't know if any of you have ever had the feeling where you suddenly want to do something. You get an ambition. No, ambition isn't just for kids. Its not just that time when you were seven and you decided you wanted to be a doctor. Or a vet. Lawyer. Teacher. Engineer.

Every time we suddenly feel like doing something, we build up our little ambitions. We think "I'd like to do that some day". How often does that 'some day' actually come by? Did you ever actually do anything about your little ambitions? Did you even want it that much in the first place? If you did want it that much, is there something stopping you from making a move to get closer to your ambition?

I suddenly got an ambition 2 weeks ago. I have to admit, its not really a new ambition. I've been wanting to do this since quite a few years ago. But I was in university, and it would have been next to impossible to fulfill this little ambition of mine. So as life went on, I forgot about it. I carried on with life as normal after university, comfortable with the routine that was slowly building up along with my career. And my ambition never again occurred to me until 2 weeks ago. So when this tiny feeling came again, I was shocked that I ever even forgot about it! It meant so much to me before, and I just conveniently chucked the whole idea away for years!

It just dawned upon me that NOW, I could do it. I have what I need to be able to do it. But Doubt came in, along with Logic and Responsibility. My faith in myself started wavering. At the same time, I kept piecing together all that I needed to fulfill my dream. And the puzzle completed itself. There is nothing stopping me, except fear - fear of venturing into unknown areas, and fear of being judged by others because it is SO unconventional.

Now is my chance. Now is the time where I don't have that much responsibility laden upon me yet, so that I can "Just do it" when I "want to do it". I'm finally taking the step. I'm scared. I think I've swept quite a fair bit of 'dreams' under the carpet just because it was either just too inconvenient, or so out of the norm that I think its silly, or needed more than what I have to be able do it. This time is nothing different. It IS still very very very out of the norm. I still think that its silly, but I want to do it. I want to do it so badly, so I'll do it. I'm scared, but something tells me to Be brave. I know that if I don't do it now, I'll regret for the rest of my life. I'm not trying to exaggerate here. I have to do it NOW.

Once I tell you what it is, you'll probably start thinking I'm out of my mind. Highly probable. And you'll want to ask me why it means so much to me to do it right now. But don't. Because I can't answer you. I've asked myself this. I can't answer myself either. Gut feeling, maybe? I don't know...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Day 1: Arrival at Denpasar and Sunset Viewing at Tanah Lot

Boarding the plane at LCCT, Kuala Lumpur

10.15am: We arrived at the gate to our plane and were told by a man, “You’re late”. To which I replied in shock, “Late??But I thought the plane is only taking off at 10.55am??” and he said “10.55? No, look at the boarding time,*points to my boarding pass*, its 10.15am!” to which I replied by showing him my watch, which showed ..10.16am. And he still had the guts to say to me “Look!*points to his OWN watch* 10.18am, you’re one of the last passengers to board the plane..”. And I felt like....I wanted to cause some injury to him. Haha.

10.30am: We are comfortable Italicseated in the plane. More and more people are boarding the plane now.

(Last passengers? Yeah right!).

10.55am: We depart. I sit on the left, separated from Feng and Ka Fui who are on the right aisle. I turn on my mp3 player and read my book. I can rarely fall asleep while travelling, especially on short flights.

Arrive at Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali

1.45pm: We arrive in Denpasar, Bali. I look at my watch and am clueless whether it is the right time zone. “Is it the same time zone over here?” I ask. To which Feng replied “ I think its an hour later here”. And I’m left feeling worried that the driver I arranged for would have either already been waiting for an hour, or we’ll be stranded at the airport for an hour before he arrives.

2.15pm: We’re out of the airport and customs. It is only a small airport, and the moment we stepped out of the sliding doors, we were greeted by some eager (others not so eager) faces and cards with names written on them. I even thought to myself “This is so exciting!”. I’ve been in and out of airports dozens of times and always felt a tinge of jealousy for the people who arrive in a foreign landand are immediately familiarly greeted with their name on a card, even if the card was held by a total stranger. It was like they had plans, they knew what to do next..or at least the cab driver was there to guide them. So this time, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to find my own name written on a card. I looked around, we all looked around…nope. No name on card. No familiar face. Still wondering if we have the right time on our watches.

2.20pm: We’re starting to get worried. Did that Pak Herman just seem so friendly on the phone but in actual fact he was just planning to leave us stranded there at the airport to fare for ourselves the next 5 days?? I try calling his mobile. For some reason, my phone is barred. Great. I try again. Barred. Last resort, I texted him informing him that we have arrived. At this point, I was just hoping that he WAS going to be late by an hour. Rather than never appearing.

2.25/2.30pm: I make another tour around the arrival gate to see if I missed anyone with a card with my name written on it. No. No “Kimberly Low” written anywhere. There were a few confused and lost-looking uncles wandering around wearing sarongs and songket, though. I was that much away from going up to them one by one and asking if they were waiting for a Kimberly Low or if any of them was Pak Herman. I decide to wait a bit more before embarrassing myself. I needed time to prepare.

As I walked back to Ka Fui and Feng to break the news to them that we might have really been stranded for good, I notice a young man clad in a casual T-shirt holding a card with my name on it. To be perfectly honest, I even had the time to think “Why didn’t you wait at the arrival gate with my name on that card so everyone else can see that someone’s waiting for me? Now I've lost my chance.. sigh”. Lol, I can get really silly at times.

But that was just for a second. I instead went over to him and stupidly pointed at “Kimberly Low” card and pointed to myself. Brainless-for-a-moment me didn’t know what language to speak to him. Or maybe I did know I should start with Malay, but was at a loss for words because I was so happy to see someone here to pick us up. So anyway he says “Oh ok.”, acknowledging that he perfectly understood what I meant with my sign language and proceeds to help carry my luggage and Ka Fui’s.

I think I then asked him what his name was, to which he said “Gedir”(that’s what I heard anyway). He then walked a distance across the road and during that time I just couldn’t help wondering, “Have I been calling this young man Pak Cik(Uncle) Herman all this while?? Is Herman and Gedir one and the same???”. I told Ka Fui my worry, and she said that I shouldn’t worry. She’s seen his name on the forums, and apparently he was commendable. LoL. I was relieved. And the fact that I was relieved was really hilarious. Because as it turns out, Gede told us that there are loadssss of Gede's in Bali. Like, maybe its even more common than the name John in England. Haha!

We get into the car, a Toyota Innova. There are Innova’s everywhere in Bali. EVERYWHERE. Gedir asks us where we want to go. I said to Tanah Lot. Feng suggested going to find and check into a hotel first. I agree. And asked him to take us to Komala Indah on Kuta Beach. Turns out that…there are many Komala Indahs, and the one we want to go to is number 11. He doesn’t know the way there. We then suggested another place which we found in the forums, he's not sure of the way there either.

He asked us for a budget, I said RM60 per person per night. He phoned a friend who works in the tourism industry(as do the other 80% of Bali), and said he’ll bring us to a place. He asked if we have eaten lunch. I said no because I was hungry, I ate only a little at breakfast. But Ka Fui and Feng are not hungry. So I asked if he could fetch us somewhere to buy bread. He laughed, and we all laughed. What a ‘poor’ start to my holiday.

He asked why we didn’t book our hotel online. I said I thought it was cheaper to do a walk-in. He said no, unless you do it through a travel agent. If you do that, you get up to 30-40% discount. Oh well, we didn’t. Regrets are not going to be part of my holiday. =)

We arrive at the bakery. It’s a beautiful place, with quite a few Mat salleh tourists around. I buy the bread, and then go out. And looked at all the Innovas parked around. I had NO idea which was ours. Gedir sees my blurness and beeps his horn. I have trouble locating where the sound came from, but see his moving silhouette in one of the cars(the car has tinted windows so its hard to see in). We get in. Off we go. We stop at a set of traffic lights, and sit in silence waiting for the lights to change. Someone suddenly knocks on my window and speaks in a freaky voice. I jumped, and saw that it was a little girl begging for money. My nature was to just wish her to get away from the car, especially after giving me such a fright. Thinking back, I remember Gedir gently waving the little girl away. I feel sorry now that I reacted in such a way. I wish I could go back and show the little child more love.

3.00pm: We arrive at our hotel. Legian Village Hotel on Melasti Road. The price is reasonable and within our price range. We are brought up to see 2 rooms. The first one was nice. The second one had a very ‘hotel-ish’ smell. I don’t know how to describe it, but it just smells like a hotel and I don’t like it. I preffered the first room, but it has already been booked for the next day, (we were staying for 2 nights). So we settled for the second room.

Tanah Lot Temple

3.15pm: We depart for Tanah Lot. Upon arriving, Gedir tells us that he will be waiting for us in the parking lot and to give him a call once we’re done – he’ll come pick us up. Knowing from previously that I couldn’t call out from my phone, I asked Feng to get his number and try it. He gave us his name card – it was then that I found out that his name was Gede, not Gedir. I was still not sure about the pronunciation of it, still not sure about it now, but at least I know he has been answering every single time I called his name! Haha.

Anyway, Feng tried and it didn’t work as well. Gede had to move his car, but we hadn’t arranged how to meet! So we decided to walk round to the parking lot to see where he was going to park his car. We were greeted with rows and rows and rows and rows of Innovas, (silver, too!) and Ka Fui made a comment that she remembered only that the number plate of our car started with DK. Which was hilarious, because we looked around and EVERY SINGLE CAR’s number plate started with DK. *pengsan* (I still looked at all the number plates of cars we passed by during the whole trip conclusion is, every car in Bali has a number plate starting with DK). So we couldn’t find Gede, and there was nothing left to do but to get on with it and enter Tanah Lot.

There were shops all over as we approached the temple. And one really weird discovery was: they had all sorts of wooden carvings of…couples making love, and even MORE wooden carvings of…penises. Yes penises. We were so intrigued by them, (actually it was only Feng..KF and I didn’t care too much for them!) that we tried taking a picture..but the shopkeeper, sensing an opportunity for money, said “Rp 10,000 for photo!”. That was it, we walked on and the incident was out of KF and my minds, but Feng was still insisting that we get a picture later.(She did manage to get one later after sunset, haha!)

We walked around, there were so many people everywhere. It was only 4pm when we arrived, and according to Gede, the sun sets at 6.30pm this time of the year. So we had 2 and a half hours to burn. One incident that happened at Tanah Lot was when a guy(I’m guessing he was local) approached me and pointed to his camera. So I said OK, thinking that he wanted me to help take a picture of him and his friend..but it turned out that he wanted to take a picture with me! I quickly rejected as politely as I could, and left him speechless as to why I would reject him. I wonder till it a norm for Balinese to take pictures with total strangers? Am I weird for rejecting his request? *mind-boggling*

We took loads of pictures there and admired the sunset, which I enjoyed thoroughly. We striked poses and had a lot of fun at it. We saw 2 couples taking wedding photos there at the beach. KF and I were discussing whether we would want to do such a thing when our chance came. I don’t know. My turn seems to be getting further and further away from me.

Back to Kuta for dinner

7.00pm: After admiring the sunset, we walked back out, and there was Gede, walking out of the darkness (he was just standing beneath some I felt so thankful to see him. I had this feeling throughout the trip. To see a familiar face in a sea of strangers, even though I don’t know him very well, is wonderful.

We then proceeded to go to Poppies Lane to look for Bamboo Corner – another place we read about in the forums. It’s apparently cheap. Gede drove us down this street. After having walked through it several times throughout the trip, I wonder how we even fit the whole car in there on that first day! So after having found Bamboo Corner, Gede dropped us off and we said goodbye. But before that, Feng asked him to give us directions on how to walk back to our hotel. He said its really far, it would take 30 minutes to walk back – its better to take a taxi. But we knew we were gonna walk back. =P

We got to Bamboo Corner, but there were no empty seats. So we walked on and got to a restaurant which I can’t remember the name of, unfortunately. I’ll make sure I remember it the next time I go (notice how certain I am that I am going again I had something called something something Bumbu Pedas? Hahaha I can’t remember, but it was squid with spicy sauce and onions. I loved it.

After dinner, we walked along Poppies Lane and started discussing what we were going to do the next day. We planned to go to Nusa Dua to just relax on the beach, so Ka Fui who forgot to bring her swimming suit started to panic a little and was trying to decide whether she should get a swimming suit there. We walked from Poppies Lane to Kuta Square, and walked across that busy road so many times from one shop to another, looking for a suitable swimming suit for her. In the end she found the cheapest one in a shop called Beach Girl, or something like that? And also bought a pair of shorts, we helped her with the bargaining!!

11.30pm: And it did take half an hour to get back home, and all along the way there were people who approached us, offering us massages, taxis, and the most shocking: gigolo service! Anyway we got back, showered, and that was it for the first day. Sweet sweet sleep. .