Bali: a Tropical Paradise
Trip Start May 03, 2010
40Trip End Oct 18, 2011
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I had to get up at 3am to make it to the airport for my 6am flight, and I unbelievably made it there on time. After a four hour flight, I arrived in Bali, where a gentleman from Furama was waiting outside the airport for me (after much confusion on the phone I was unable to explain that I am Miriam's sister, Kate, so the sign for me read "Miriam." No problem.) and we embarked on a 45 minute drive north to Ubud. Bali is a predominantly Hindu society, and as we drove we passed by lots of Indonesian people, the men dressed in white and the women dresed in brightly colored lace tops with long skirts, walking to temple for some Hindu celebration
Furama is a beautiful resort with about 40 private villas. The walkways are carefully paved with dark, uneven stone and the landscaping is full of bright green tropical plants. Sculptures of frogs and mermaids lined the paths and pools and some had red flowers tucked in their ears. Even the steps up to the restaurant and down to the bar from the lobby had flowers resting in the center of each one. The details were clearly very carefully thought out and all of them made you feel like you were really in a tropical paradise.
Our private villa had a beautiful courtyard, with grass sprouting up between the stone walkway, a small pool, two lounge chairs, a day bed and a patio with a small dining table and chaise. I quickly determined that there was no need to do anything but enjoy our villa for the rest of the day until Miriam arrived. I ordered room service for lunch, after which I took a dip in the pool and then passed out on the day bed for a nap. Miriam arrived at 3am and I went with the driver from the resort to pick her up.
My sister, brave soul that she is, survived a 24 hour airplane ride with a head cold. She had just fallen sick right before she left, so she was suffering pretty much the whole trip. But she was a trooper and we still went out every day for sightseeing. The first day, after a long morning and early afternoon session of resting at the villa, we headed out to Ubud to just wander around and explore
The Royal Palace was surprisingly unremarkable, and we only went in far enough to discover that there was no restroom for me to use. So we walked back out and decided to have lunch at the place the Australians recommended. Miriam, who is vegetarian, almost decided to order the succulent pig, as appealing as that sounded, but then backed out. So I ordered it and she had a bite. It was actually pretty good. From there we wandered up and down more streets, stopped to get her a seafood salad, and then headed back to meet the shuttle. Miriam passed out early that night so I amused myself until bedtime.
The next day we headed to Monkey Forest, which is a small nature preserve and sacred sanctuary run by long tailed grey macaques monkeys
Anyway, that night we saw a traditional Indonesian dance performance about the story of Rama and Sita. It was a very nice performace but at two hours, it was a little too long. A group of musicians lined the stage, playing music on some kind of xylophone instrument. It was a lot of clangy and bongy sounds which I wouldn't excatly call pleasant but it was cool to see
At that point, we found out that our friend, Richa, who was supposed to be on her way from San Francisco to come meet us, was not allowed to board her flight because her passport was within 6 months of expiration. Apparently, Indonesia is very strict about this and will literally make you turn around and go home if you don't have more than 6 months before you passport expires. We were so bummed to find out that she wasn't coming, since we were looking forward to celebrating the New Year with her in Nusa Dua. But she spent all day at the passport office, got it renewed and was on her way to Bali the next day. Happy to have a friend join us, we got packed up, said goodbye to Furama and made our way down to the Sheraton Laguna in Nusa Dua.
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