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Monday, November 24, 2014

Bali vacation - day 5

23 November 2014

Last day in Bali! Aaaaaaaaaaa! I was trying not to get the depression get to me. So I cheered myself up with the thought that my parents had really enjoyed the holiday, and also the fact that it had finally happened! 

Three generations in the pool!

The morning was spent chilling in the pool, listening to Bali radio and just chatting. Our flight was in the evening, so the plan for the day was just to go out for some last-minute shopping (Dad wanted another sculpture!) and lunch nearby. It was too hot and I was sure the walk would be torture so we decided to take a cab. I went to the security guard in the morning and asked him if we could flag a taxi on the road or needed to call one. He asked me what time we needed it and I told him roughly 11 am. He said he would call the taxi for us. 

We were ready to leave at about 10 am. We asked the security guard to call a taxi and we were amazed because as soon as he'd put the phone down, the taxi rolled in! This was wayyyy faster than even Singapore! So we asked the taxi driver how on earth that had happened. He then told us that our security guard had already booked a taxi for 11 am, and the taxi had happened to be an hour early (!). When the driver got the call saying we needed it immediately, he just drove in from his waiting area! Good thing we checked, otherwise I'd have been raving to anyone who cared to listen, about how efficient Bali's taxi service was!

It's interesting how their taxi service works. If you book a taxi, there is a booking fee of 30,000. If your ride is short and your meter shows a value of less than 30,000 you only pay what the meter shows. Our destination was nearly and we paid only 150,000! Okay, that has got to be the cheapest taxi ride of my life. On a booked taxi, no less. If it was a driver in Singapore, he'd have grumbled and grumbled at the short ride, but the Balinese don't seem to grumble at all. They always have a smile on their faces and they always seem grateful for whatever they get. Amazing. 

Ready for the day!

We went to Hardy's, a huge supermarket with an entire floor dedicated to souvenirs. Dad, inspired by the Kecak dance, was still on the lookout for a wooden sculpture depicting Ram and Sita dancing, and I figured we might find something there. We did, but it looked plasticky and yet cost 500,000 rupiah. We also realised that the same things we saw in roadside shops had been marked up a few times at Hardy's. 

Okay, somebody tell me what's the deal with these? We found them literally everywhere, in all sizes and colours. What the...?! And who buys them and more importantly, why??

My little elf poses in the Christmas section of Hardy's.

So we came out empty-handed (literally, because just like Mustafa, they confiscate your bags before entry into Hardy's. And also give you a sticker to put on yourself). 

We walked around trying to find a nice lunch place and Viv spotted Smorgas cafe, which had Mexican, Thai, and Indian cuisine among others. We had been craving all three cuisines, so we were thrilled with the find. We settled for quesadillas, tomato soup, Thai green curry and Indian curry sets. 

The Thai green curry set

The Indian sets even came with cute little buaturas! They didn't look or taste like bhaturas, but they were yummy. 


Another interesting thing about this cafe was that they served their drinks with straws made of glass. 

After lunch, we took another taxi to go down to the road to the shops there. Surprise surprise, Dad actually found exactly the kind of sculpture he wanted! The lady quoted me 600,000 but I managed to bring it down to 420,000. Between the exchange rate and the bargaining, I must have been totally confused because I asked Viv to pass me 42. He, not knowing what I was buying, gave me 42,000 rupiah. He also realised that we were low on rupiahs so he went to exchange some money. The lady pointed out my mistake and I went back to find Viv who had just come out of the money exchange counter. The poor guy had to go back to exchange more money. I asked him if the guy asked him how come he was back again so soon. The guy didn't but Viv said he was going to say, "Yeah, I took the money and stepped out and my wife spent it immediately." Sheesh. 

Anyway, it ended well because Dad was thrilled with the sculpture. We had finally completed our shopping and were ready to return. Another quick taxi ride and we reached our villa to finish packing. 

Dad's sculpture

I made a final round of our villa and pool, feeling really sad. Xena even said bye bye to the pool where she had spent so much time splashing around. Soon, it was about 3:30 pm and our driver was there. It was no surprise that it was a different guy again! Anyway, we reached the airport in half an hour, which Xena spent napping (she had missed her afternoon nap). But as soon as we reached, she was a very much awake and jumpy again. 

Xena poses at the airport. 


The airport looked very different from what we'd encountered when we'd landed. It looked bigger, brighter, cleaner and more efficient. 

Xena goes on a joyride!

We grabbed some snacks and were finally in the plane. Xena, who was hungry and sleep-deprived, was so cranky she drove us mad. Honestly, she'd behaved better in 20-hour flights than she did in this 3-hour flight. Of course, we couldn't blame her because she was sleep-deprived and hungry, but she refused to eat the food we ordered on the flight for her. It was very distressing actually. Finally, somehow Viv managed to put her to sleep. Phew. 

By the way, Xena's meal was $16 and Viv immediately turned to me and said her food cost 160,000! I laughed because I was thinking of the exact same thing! I think it will take us a while to get back to the Singapore dollar mode. 

A couple of hours later, we landed at Singapore's Changi airport. My depression was somewhat mitigated by this amazing sight of the ships in the sea. 

You know how when you wait for something for years, and spend a lot of time on the planning and logistics, and then when it does happen, suddenly everything feels very anti-climactic? I was worried that it would happen with the Bali trip, but what happened was far from it. It was a wonderful, memorable vacation, and what made me the happiest was how Mom and Dad wouldn't stop talking about it. Can't wait to go on another vacation with them. In fact, I told Viv we should go somewhere with both sets of parents! How fab would that be?

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3 Comments:

  • Hi Saayesha,

    Awesome trip! :)

    Any chance you can share the plan?

    We are also dying to visit bali!

    Regards,
    Nik

    By Blogger nikunj chauhan, at 7:43 AM  

  • Lovely pictures..Bali looks like an awesome place!

    By Blogger Yamini, at 1:41 PM  

  • It was indeed a memorable and wonderful vacation. You know I have published a post titled 'Bali Yatra' in my blog Á Banker's Garden' (www.bankersgarden.blogspot.com).

    By Blogger The Gardener, at 10:56 AM  

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