I woke early and headed down to the lobby to use the public wifi to write my blog. No lovely sunrises just a deserted lobby!!!! By the time I finished it was close to time for breakfast and still the lobby was quiet, it felt weird as it was after 7.00 by this time and I hadn’t seen one other guest. Maybe people sleep in a lot in Kuta, maybe the hotel is quiet, I’m not sure.
We went down for the buffet breakfast. I had read very mixed reviews on the breakfast. I have to say we found it more than adequate. It was basic as far as buffet breakfasts go but there was a reasonable variety. Eggs, bacon and crepes cooked to order, fruit, yogurt, cereal, toast and pastries. I certainly don’t expect anymore than that for breakfast, especially when it is included in the room price.
Bali Garden is I guess what I expected. It is a little dated and tired in places. The rooms seem to have been done up but you can tell it is getting very old. The corners in the bathrooms, the backs of the doors, the air conditioning all show the signs of age that paint has tried to hide.
The rooms are fairly spacious and really it has everything most hotels have and so far the staff seem friendly and helpful.
The pools don’t seem overly crowded and there are plenty of lounge chairs at the pool.
Once everyone was up we ventured into the street to shop, there are now 15 of us and that includes 11 kids aged 10 ~21, yes we still call them all kids!!!! This can mean it takes a while to get ready and get going but with the promise of shopping they were fairly quick and eager to start the day.
There is an enormous amount of shopping choices around the hotel and we spent almost 3 hours in one street. Many things were purchased from caps and tshirts to mimco bags and sports bags to wood carvings and sunglasses. I know there was much more but I have lost track.
We ended up stopping for an early lunch at about 12.00 in the same street. We ate at Bali Bull, Jl. Baking Sari No.52.
The gentleman who ran the restaurant was just lovely. He never stopped smiling and was so happy when James asked if he could fit a table for 15. We were the only ones in the restaurant, probably luckily as it took about 1 1/2 to get and eat all our meals I think.
The kids were at first horrified and then amused as they watched a rat coming and going, taking rice from the offerings that were on the wall!!!!!
With one cook and the man at the front they slowly but surely got all our meals ready. They were tasty and fresh. The restaurant is large and airy with usable toilets.
The cost for lunch including quite a few Bintangs (I lost track as we sat there for so long) and other drinks was just on 1,000,000 for 15 people!!!
When we paid the bill and left he thanked us sincerely for eating in his restaurant and asked us to return anytime. He told us he will be there tomorrow!!!
The chicken satay two of us had for lunch, really tasty and served beautifully. I think it was 55,000.
As we sat in the restaurant it really struck us how quiet it seems to be around the streets. The traffic is busy but there just doesn’t seem to be many people walking around. Certainly not as many as we expected. Hardly any even walked past the whole time we sat in the restaurant.
Most of the shop owners were saying how quiet it had been. I don’t know if this is just a tactic to get you to feel sorry for them or the truth but it is not as busy as I expected it to be.
After our rather lengthy lunch we came back to the hotel and spent a few hours around the pool.
I enjoyed it much more than the day before. I think I am adjusting again to sharing!!!!😉😉
I know it looks like there is no one to share it with. We mainly swam in the main pool which was busier, this one was a bit hot in the full sun and I just captured a lucky angel as there were people in the pool!,
The service around the pool was friendly and efficient.
The plan was to meet back at the boardwalk at 5.00 and walk down the path and find a place to sit and enjoy a couple of drinks and the sunset.
We got through the beach sellers fairly easily, avoiding eye contact helps. It is challenging though when all you want to do is walk through and they are determined to sell you something. I do understand, this is their lively hood, their businesses, but I can’t say I enjoy their approach or some of their attitudes. So many times today walking on the beach path and in other shops along the streets the sellers would seethe kids had a bag or hat or something that they had bought so try and sell them the exact same things.
Come on one more.
You bought one buy one from me too.
What did you pay, I sell you one cheaper.
On and on it goes.
They don’t seem to understand that we don’t always want multiples of the same thing, just because we bought it once doesn’t mean we will but it again, in fact we would be more likely to buy different things.
Fairly quickly we found one of the ‘beach bars’ to sit at. It was run by Ketut, as I am sure many are. He raced around to get 15 chairs positioned and ready for us.
We had a lovely hour or so sitting there with the sunset, chatting, laughing and enjoying a few drinks. Chatting to Ketut, who said it is getting better but still very quiet since the volcano, was also lovely.
The only negative was the persistence of the wondering sellers.
There was a steady stream selling a wide range of things. Fruit, tasser guns, tshirts, massages, manicures, kites, fireworks, bows and arrows, cigarettes.......the list is endless really.
The make up lady did very well out of the girls! They were happy with their purchases but only time will tell what the quality will be like. It was like a little Mary Kay party on the beach!
I have nothing against any local trying to make a living, I have to say and I hope it doesn’t come across as just whinging, I wish they understood that no means no. We learnt that the only way to get them to leave was to completely ignore there requests. Even a polite “no thank you” was an invitation to them.
I get a little annoyed with the comments like:
“You are on holiday so you have money so buy from me.”
“You have big family, you must have money to spend.”
Or when they notice you have a tshirts or bag exactly like they are selling so they say “you must like it so you can buy another one, just one more.”
Yes we are fortunate and have a certain amount of money just to be able to travel but everyone has different circumstances and some people save very hard for a holiday even to Bali, some don’t have a lot to spend on shopping, some are on a fairly tight budget, like all our kids will be soon. After the amount they all spent shopping yesterday their money probably isn’t going to last the distance😉
Please I understand they are just trying to make a living and feed their own families but these approaches make it more uncomfortable than pleasant and I just can’t help thinking that I am not the only one who actually buys very little because I hate the pressure and the emotional tactics.
Let me look, allow me to say no and I am far more likely to buy from you.
They also have no awareness if someone is getting uncomfortable with their approach. Lexi, my 10 year old gets anxious, she also hates physical touch especially from strangers. You can tell immediately when she is uncomfortable, she doesn’t hide to very well. At times she has been in tears and trying to get away and they still follow her or insist on her buying just one (or 10) anklets before she leaves.
She too would have spent much more money if given just a little space.
I know, I know, that is just Bali. I explain that to Lexi and you do get used to it I just don’t know that I will ever get used to having to be rude or ignore people to get any peace from them.
There may be things on their table or in their bags that I would actually be interested in buying but more often than not I just don’t even look.
But all in all we enjoyed our time at the beach in Ketut’s little bar.
8 of our 11 kids. All the girls.
Manicures on the beach.
Not just bintangs, ice creams as well.
After sunset we walked down to Poppies 1 to have some dinner. We settled on Tree House Cafe. It looked nice, had a variety of meals and was reasonably priced. They quickly got a table together for 15.
The service was friendly and efficient. The beers were cold and the juices very cheap, 16,000. It was a cool and comfortable place to sit which wasn’t too cramped.
The food started to come out fairly quickly, much quicker than lunch, but it was very staggered coming out. That is alright though, with a group our size that always happens. The first person is well and truly finished their meal by the time the last few get their meals.
The nasi goreng was really big and a very large serve. The other meals varied between yummy and alright.
We were shocked at the bill. For my family of 6, including drinks which was a few waters, a juice, a milkshake, 2 large bintangs and 3 or 4 small ones and 6 meals was 395,000, that is about AUD6.30 each!!!
The bill for the others was a similar price per head.
After dinner we were ready for bed and the kids were ready for more shopping. 10 of them set off down poppies 1 and the 4 adults and Lexi headed back to the hotel. More accurately I think we were over shopping and they were Ken to shop some more even though that is all they had done all day!!!
On the way back to the hotel we went to a ticket seller on the street who we had spoken to the night before and really liked, he was helpful but not pushy, to ask about tickets to Waterbom. He was cheaper than I could get online and we liked him so we came back to the hotel to get enough money and went back to get the tickets from him. It was 420,000 for adults and 300,000 for 10 or under. Not a huge saving but a bit and we were happy to support him.
It felt so strange handing him over 6,000,000 in cash, it felt like so much money!!!!
By the time we got back we were surprised to see the kids back. They had more bags of shopping, which we weren’t surprised by!!! They think the shopping was better in poppies but they couldn’t handle the pressure there and said sellers got very rude and made them quite uncomfortable. They were also offered viagra twice and they think drugs once and that was enough for them to head straight back to the hotel.
On our way back the hotel we were followed a short way by three small girls, very little and I am guessing no more than 4 years old, with cups held in outstretched hands asking for money. For anyone who knows is it a good idea to give them money? We were so torn, they can’t help but touch your heart and giving a little won’t hurt it’s but we don’t know anything about these children, are they genuine, would we be helping or making things worse. Would we be supporting a small child and her family to eat that day or would we be enslaving that child to that life? I am asking very genuinely.
It is interesting traveling with kids who now consider themselves adults. This is the first time for us and I struggle a bit with the stepping back and allowing them to make their own decisions and mistakes. I still slip into mother roll automatically and they want more independence.
I have found the more I insist on giving information the less they take it, yet if I step back a little and allow them the amount of freedom they want, within reason, they then come to me with their questions and ask for help.
Learning to parent young adults isn’t an easy transition for me but that is a topic for another day and a different blog.
Bed for us here in Kuta is a lot later than up in Bondelum but still early by Kuta standards. I think we were all in bed by 11.00. We will met this morning at 8.45 for a day at Waterbom.
So there you have yesterday a very didn’t experience to the start of our holiday. Definitely a less reflective experience, far more touristy, much more money spent throughout the day.
We are having fun though, the kids are loving it. So much to see and do and experience.