November 5th - After a busy afternoon shopping we caught a shuttle bus to the airport at about 3pm for our 5.35pm flight to Denpasar Bali. We were very excited!! The flight lasted 6 hours and we hired a tv terminal to share for the journey so we had something to do. You didn't get entertainment included in the flight. We watched Mama Mia..which Neil loved!! We arrived at about 9pm and waited at the airport for a couple of hours until chris and Dave's flight got in. while we were waiting there was lots of people hassling us to get in their taxi but they all seemed very friendly when we said no.
After meeting them we found a taxi and walked over and put our bags in it. The driver then realised that he had locked the keys in the boot! We waited for someone with a spare set and then made our way to the hotel. Straight away you could notice how mad the roads were with everyone beeping their horns and driving all over the roads. It was fun! We got to the hotel and it was amazing...so not what we're used to with a massive reception with elaborate statues and lots of flowers. we were taken to our rooms which was a definite luxury for us as we're used to sharing with lots of people on bunk beds. After dropping our stuff of we then all had a drink from the mini bar and had a catch up. It was great to see Chris and Dave after 6 months.
November 6th - Breakfast was from 6.30am - 10am so we met at 9am to go to breakfast. There was so much food it was an unbelievable choice and Neil loves a buffet! We tucked in and then had an explore as we didn't see much last night as it was late. The grounds were amazing and had 2 big pools plus a swim up bar. Neil and Dave took advantage of that at what became 'bintang o' clock' (12pm). Bintang was the beer that they both drank all holiday. The hotel was on the beach so we walked down the beach to see what was around. There were lots of people with little shops begging you to come in and buy their t-shirts and souvenirs. Also so many women wanting to give you a massage, and there were lots of people having one done by the beach too as they were cheap at a fiver.
We stopped off in a bar and had our first drinks of the holiday. After a walk around we laid back by the pool and chilled out before going to get ready for our tea that night. At about 7pm it was absolutely chucking it down and thunder and lightening so we waited until about 9pm for it to stop and went down by the beach and found a restaurant that brought a soaking table in from the rain for us and we had a lovely meal. After the meal we went to a giant chess table in the hotel grounds and taught Emma chess. We then went back to our rooms.
November 7th - After a great night sleep we went to breakfast and then went for a walk down the beach again but the other direction. Neil bartered for a hat for Dave and this became a regular occurence of the trip.
We loved bartering! Along the beach there were lots of little shops and also a temple at the end of the strip. Everywhere you went there were offerings made to their gods, the hindu religion was fascinating they were in front of every shop, restaurant, on tills at supermarkets, taxi's etc. It was a leaf basket filled with flowers, rice or whatever they wanted to offer. It was pretty to see them all. After our walk we went back to the hotel and chilled out by the pool, Emma also went for a work out in the gym but got too hot as there was no air con and it was in the 90's! That night we ate at a swish restaurant and it only came to 56 pounds for the 4 of us plus lots of drinks...so cheap it was brill! After our meal dave realised he'd forgotten his money so Neil had to run back to the hotel to get his credi card.
November 8th - After breakfast we got a courtesy bus to Kuta which is the main tourist area in Bali. We hated it!! It was full of McDonalds etc and was so busy..we only stayed a couple of hours and went back to our quieter Sanur. We then chilled out by the beach and played frisby in the pool and of course visited the swim up bar. That night we had another fantastic meal. Every morning we ate lots and didn't have lunch (as still full up!) so we really appreciated our tea at the end of each day.
November 9th - We had our breakfast at the different restaurant today at the hotel.
There are 2 that do the breakfast and 3 restaurants altogether. Lots of people were all inclusive and used these on a night. We were so glad we weren't all inclusive as you don't get to explore and appreciate the local foods as much. We never ate at the hotel restaurants. After breakfast we walked along the high street and had a look into the Hyatt Hotel which was very nice but our pool was better! We then went to the supermarket 'Hardy's' which was massive, and got some water, beer etc for in our rooms and then went opposite to a bar for a drink and a snack (as Emma and Neil didn't eat enough breakfast!). Neil and dave tried a local brew 'Storm' which they loved and decided that they had to try every variety before we headed back to the hotel.
That night we had another fantastic meal and then went back to Chris and Dave's room for a couple of drinks before going to bed.
November 10th - We had breakfast early today as we were going on an all day trip. We had booked a taxi the day before from one of the bar tenders at the restaurant, which was his other job. It was a fab day and our treat for Chris and Dave. We started by going to watch a traditional hindu barong dance which lasted about half hour. The costumes were so decorative and it was very interesting. From here we went to a textile shop which had lots of women outside the shop weaving or painting in so much detail on rolls of material. We got shown round but didn't buy anything. The next stop was a jewellry place, every small village seems to have its own speciality so we were in a silver village! We saw women making the silver jewellry but was expensive to buy even though Emma and Chris were both tempted.
The next village was a wood carving village so we stopped and looked around and chris and dave bought a fisherman carving which they were very pleased with their bartering skills and this was their momento of the trip. We visited a painting village next where there were hundreds of paintings everywhere, we went to a shop where a very friendly guy showed us around (everyone is so friendly here its unbelievable), but again we bought nothing. The taxi then took us to a temple which was fascinating, we all had to put sarongs on to cover our legs out of respect then we walked in. There was a fountain with holy water where we splashed our faces as it was meant to cleanse our soul and also to make a wish which we all did. The temple itself was underground and had statues of 2 of their gods surrounded by offerings.
Our taxi driver came with us to show us around. Everywhere was so ornate it was unbelievable. We then drove upwards for lunch (but we didn't eat as it was a bit expensive) to a lookout to the highest volcano, where we had a drink and talked to the waitress who was very friendly and told us about her family etc. It was amazing to hear how hard she works for such little money, we all felt a bit guilty really. We then headed back home which took a couple of hours through many rice fields where you could see lots of people working in the intense heat. That night we went to a jazz bar and had some food and listened to some good music.
November 11th - We had a lazy day today as yesterday was so hectic! Drinking started at 'bintang o'clock' for the men while Emma and Chris lazed by the beach.
We also went to a cookery class where they cooked a very wierd dessert of rice flour cakes (boiled) with a coconut custard sauce...we tried it but didn't realy like it! Emma tried the gym again as she's been missing it from England but came out looking like a beetroot again! Another great meal that night and drinks in chris and daves room with a game of cards. We had learnt a game called 'Golf' which we taught them. Neil won.
November 12th - After breakfast we caught a taxi to Denpasar to see the local market but it was a hindu festival celebrating the full moon today so most stalls were shut. We walked through the indoor market and a lot of people were preparing their offerings so we felt a bit out of place and rude so we caught a cab back to the hotel.
We saw lots of people on bikes wearing white which must have been the appropriate colour of the ceremony. There are so may bikes in Bali its unbelievable and you see whole families on them too. you could get the parents and kids on the same one, and the adults were always the only ones wearing helmets which seemed strange. Early evening we caught a taxi to Jimbaran
which is famous for its seafood and sunsets. We sat to have a drink and waited for the sunset at 6pm, but unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so not that clear but it was still an amazing setting as we were sat at a table on the beach. The food didn't look as good as what we thought so we just drank and then had a corn on the cob from a stall on the beach! We then got a taxi back to Sanur in the heaviest rain storm yet and went to a nearby restaurant where when we finished a lady made Chris and I birds out of reeds as a gift.
November 13th - Another chilled out day by the beach and pool. Such a hard life! The weather was lovely everyday, and was good as it was sometimes cloudy on an afternoon so it wasn't too hot for us. We got a taxi to a recommended restaurant that night, but later found out we could have walked in 5 minutes! We didn't go either as it looked too western so went somewhere else and had another great meal. Neil and dave had the local brew again 'Storm' instead of their usual Bintang.
November 14th - We had breakfast at 7am as we had hired a driver for the day for a trip that Dave had researched and organised. The taxi for the whole day was 25 pounds! He came to pick us up at 8am and we set off. After getting a bit lost our first stop was an elephant sanctuary.
Here we got the chance of riding an elephant which was fantastic. We went on one called Jimmy who was a man and Chris and Dave went on Happy who was a lady. They were massive! The men who came on with us were so funny and obviously loved the elephants and had a great relationship with them, we walked for 30 mins including through water then we got the chance of feeding them which was cool. It was surprisingly comfy riding on them and relaxing. We took lots of photos and the guy also took a picture of Jimmy's willy (!!)..which Neil was particularly amazed at!! After the elephants we went to a temple on a lake which was fascinating and then to some thermal pools, but we didn't go in. From here we drove through where our driver grew up and we stopped off at his mam's house.
His mam was so kind and gave us tea and fruit from the hindu ceremony she had just been too. She was so poor but kept bringing out more fruit including a 'stinky fruit' which smelt so much we really didn't want to try it but felt we had to. It was vile! We couldn't believe they were eating it it smelt so horrible. After staying for about 30 mins we headed back home via a black sand beach which took about 3 hours and then got ready to go out for our tea. After our tea we played cards again and had a couple of drinks in the room.
November 15th - We had a day on the beach chilling out today. The weather again was lovely but hard to stay out in the sun as so hot so we spent lots of time in the sea and pool. That night we went to a chinese restaurant whyich was an amazing setting on water with lots of laterns.
The meal was really good and we were all stuffed as there was lots of food! It was a bit more expensive because of where it was but still cheap. Emma had wanted to wear her dress since we left the UK as she had brought it with her so she wore it that night. We then walked back to our hotel and to bed.
November 16th - We got up to have breakfast then headed to the beach to go on the jet skis. neil and Emma on one and Chris and dave on another. The sea was so calm it was fab as you could go dead fast! We stayed on for 15 minutes which seemed to go so quick. For the rest of the day Neil and Dave sat at the beach bar and swim up bar, played table tennis and the girls chilled out occasionally going to see them for a drink! We caught a taxi that night to another recommended restaurant but unfortunately it was closed but we went to one closeby which was really good.
After the meal we went back and played Golf again and Emma won.
November 17th - We had our usual excellent breakfast and then went to the pool and also had a look around the shops near by. After bartering for a taxi (Neil was now an expert) we caught a taxi at about 4.30pm to go to Uluwatu which was a temple on top of a cliff which was the biggest and most famous in Bali. At the temple we walked up into a circular stage area where we watched a fire dance. On the way up we passed lots of monkeys which were quite vicious and one stole a mans pair of glasses! We quickly walked passed them holding onto our stuff! The dance lasted about an hour and was really good and the costumes were dead good.
At the end a man dressed up as a monkey was surrounded by fire which he later kicked all over the stage to put out which looked really good...but we were glad we weren't in the front row! After the dance it was dark and we drove to Nusa Dua
which is where all the rich people stayed. We just wanted to have a look to see what it was like and it was strange as it was like a gated village full of massive hotels and expensive shops...not the real Bali. We drove on to an amazing restaurant for our tea. The taxi driver waited outside while we ate and the food which was the best yet. The restaurant was very busy so obviously it was well known and was also a cooking school as well.
After an excellent feed we went back to our hotel.
November 18th - We had a chill out day again today by the beach and by the bar not doing anything. We also went to look around the little shops in the afternoon and Neil and Dave both bought Bintang tshirts as they drunk so much of it and to remind them of their holiday. They got a good price after doing lots of bartering in nearly all the shops by the hotel! That night we decided that we had to try their speciality 'Suckling Pig'. We had ordered it the day before and were looking forward to it but unfortunately it was the worst meal of the holiday! It didn't taste that good and the sheeps stomach on the side was disgusting. Neil ate none of his as he was feeling poorly and only Dave managed to eat it all! We had to try it though.
We went back to the room to play cards after eating and for a couple of drinks.
November 19th - Neil was still poorly..a case of Bali belly unfortunately so he had no breakfast but everyone else had their last breakfast buffet and then we went by the beach for a couple of hours. We were going to go on a boat trip but Neil was too bad. At 2pm we checked out of our room and then went to the pool for a couple of hours before going for a shower and getting ready to go. We went for some food before we got a taxi to the airport at 7.45pm for our 10.10pm flight. We said our good-bye's to Chris and Dave at the hotel as they were leaving a couple of hours after us. We had had a fantastic 2 weeks of luxury and now it was back to backpacking.