Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
163Trip End May 02, 2013
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We felt the heat immediately. It was 28 degrees but closer to 40 with the humidity. After paying for pricey visas and stamps in our passports we exchanged some money at a bad rate and walked out into the barrage of touts offering transport all over the island of Bali. Having done our research we politely declined and made our way off the airport grounds to find a metered taxi. The ride costed one third to half of what the airport taxis wanted.
Our friendly driver had to stop and ask then call for directions to our hotel in Seminyak
After settling in and a quick dip in the pool for Jason we headed into town to exchange more money and buy juice, fruit and a big Bintang beer. The people seemed very friendly and gentle but with boutique western-style shops intermixed with souvenir clothing stands and no street food to be found, the place seemed to lack an identity. Then we took a stroll on the beach. It was long and wide but firmly packed save for a thin strip closer to the road so we didn't stop to stretch out. As we walked further north it became less crowded. The waves were moderate so many novice and more experienced surfers tested the waters despite several red flags indicating that swimming was prohibited.
We cut back inland to search for our pickup point for the following day. The maze of serpentine roads and alleys were hard to navigate while dodging typical Asian traffic but Sylvia eventually found the right place while Jason paused for his first haircut since Chiang Mai. They had to wake the young hairstylist from his afternoon nap for the $4 job
After completing the circuitous route back to our place we went for another walk to watch the sunset on the beach. The glowing orange globe reflected beautifully over the ocean-drenched sand as it descended.
We found a decent 'choose your own adventure' restaurant for dinner where you picked from a selection of items to fill your plate. It all went down well but we craved something more authentic and ghetto. A restful sleep was just what we needed after having very little the night before.
Over a wholesome 'American breakfast' the following morning we met a very nice older Australian couple from Noosa. We chatted about travelling and they generously offered to look after us when we passed through their area in a few weeks time. Sylvia spent the rest of the morning catching up on the computer while Jason swam, emailed and blogged at the pool.
We checked out at noon and walked with all our bags through the stifling heat to the pickup hotel and waited for our ride. Sylvia shopped while Jason people-watched from the shade of the lobby restaurant
Villa Kailasha was incredible. The layout, decor, surrounding scenery and welcoming staff combined for a very relaxing yet luxurious environment. Al and Po arrived a little late so we had a drink and some appetizers while waiting for the soon-to-be bride and groom.
When they pulled in Po was feeling unwell from the rough ride, but that didn't last long. We caught up, had another drink and soon enough we were all in the infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
That night we supped in the main dining area. The delicious spread included duck spring rolls, chicken satay, Indonesian fried shredded chicken and lobster followed by fried bananas and pandang crepes, just to name a few. A bottle of red wine was a nice addition.
The big day started early with Po taking Sylvia through the motions during a grueling yoga session in the cabana room up some stairs beside the pool while Al swam, Jason watched and Steve slept
Wedding preparations were minimal as the happy couple preferred it that way. The afternoon heat came on heavy. A brief but beautiful Buddhist ceremony took place and all of us took part. There were plenty of smiles and a few tears of joy as Alan and Po waltzed into wedlock amid cheers and a flurry of flower petals.
Following the official proceedings we, but especially Al and Po, had lots of fun posing for the photographers by the pool, on the lawn, stairs and scooter, in the lounge and rice fields and finally on the beach at sunset. A very fine seafood barbecue dinner was served that evening with succulent mud crab, king prawns and red snapper. We all sipped some Australian tawny after dessert. Al and Po had done very well for themselves on their big day and looked happy and relaxed with their wedding bands on.
The three boys had an early tee off time at Nirwana Golf Club and the girls rose with them to enjoy the spa. We said "see you later" to Sylvia and Po, the female caddies hopped on the back of our carts and we rode down to the first hole
The Greg Norman designed course was a fair challenge for our unrefined games and the oceanside holes dazzled our senses. Sylvia and Po met us on the signature seventh hole so we paused for a few photos and let a single play through. The caddies really helped as the heat and humidity took their toll. The groom scored best that day, but we all went home happy.
After breakfast, Sylvia and Po explored the resort grounds, then walked to the spa where they enjoyed Shiatsu massages. Sylvia relished the 'girl time' to catch up with Po and thus, lost track of time. When they failed to show up for lunch, Jason caught a golf cart ride to the spa and found them shopping.
On the way back we visited the Tanah Lot temple that could also be seen from the golf course's seventh hole. It was built on a rocky outcropping surrounded by water at high tide but accessible during lows. The sight was pretty crowded and we were all too hot, tired or craving the pool to fully absorb the majesty of the place
The afternoon centred on the pool, then we enjoyed a lighter dinner. Later that evening, Steve left for his home in Hong Kong. The remaining four retired early at the end of a long hot day.
Jason got up before sunrise to watch the final day of the US Open, but it was still early in the round so he went back to bed. Po stuck to her usual yoga routine. Sylvia slept in. Alan and Jason met at the big screen to watch the golf tournament come to a close with Webb Simpson the victor as Furyk faded on the final few holes. The rest of the day was spent in and around the pool learning new dives, strokes and turns off the end wall.
The next day we picked up where we left off and enjoyed a full day by the pool. The chef really came through again with luscious pork ribs at lunchtime.
Our final day on the island began with more of the same. We ordered surprise massages for the newlyweds and ourselves in the afternoon. After dinner the driver loaded our bags in the van and shuttled us off to the airport. Having already drained our local money supply we were forced to exchange more Aussie dollars to pay the surprise 150,000 rupiah per person departure tax.
After a relaxing retreat catching up and sharing special moments with friends we knew it would be tough to get back on the road again, but at least our batteries were recharged.