It is 4.00am and I can’t sleep so as I sit on our veranda listening to the gentle crash of waves I thought why not write about our first day here in Bali.
I find it always feels a bit surreal when you are finally in a place that you thought about for a long time. When your much longed for holiday begins. That “we are finally here” feeling! And you know you are, you know you are there but another part of you thinks “is this real!”
It is one thing I wish I had done more of and could do more of.
If I won lotto the first thing I would do would be to book a holiday. A big holiday. To plan that dream trip. I love the planning, the anticipation and of course the holiday itself. There is nothing I don’t love!
Actually I lie. There is one thing I don’t love. There is in fact one thing I hate and that is packing but that is a whole other story. Something for another blog on a far deeper subject.
Back to this trip.
Back to Bali!!!
We arrived in Bali yesterday at about 11.30am. Our Jetstar flight, which was better than I anticipated, arrived on time.
We were greated by our driver and my husband and son who had arrived two days earlier and we where in the car and on our way by 12.40.
The airport was less confronting than I remember it being 7 years ago. No one tried to grab our bags and then insist on payment (although that did happen to my husband when he arrived and the driver stepped in very quickly). It wasn’t even that hot really!!
My youngest daughter hadn’t yet sensed the beauty of Bali and actually asked to go home before we even got to customs. Funnily enough my now 17 year old was the same when we were here 7 years ago although she made it to the car park before saying very seriously that she had had enough, she didn’t like the place and wanted to go straight home!!
Bali doesn’t enter everyone’s hearts instantly.
We were transferring straight to our villa, The Mahalani in Bondalem. The plan was to stop somewhere near Ubud for lunch but it was decided that we just wanted to get to the villa so we drove straight there.
Looking back on an experience often gives you better or more balanced perspective. There were times during the longer than expected drive that I really questioned my choice of villa or I guess more specifically the destination!! The drive was long, hot as the air conditioning in the van wasn’t great, and firstly very very busy (I know I know I did expect that but expecting it and experiencing it are two very different things) and for the second half very very very windy and steep!! It was a white knuckle drive for much of it. Again I expected this, I had been warned, but I don’t think you could really know how windy and narrow and steep the drive is until you experience it. Well Icertainly didn’t !!!!
And it just felt like it went on and on and on!!!!
Why didn’t we just stay somewhere closer? Why do I insist on going to these more unusual places. Thoughts like that did fill my head at times.
Guilt, which is a fairly common companion of mine, kicked in. This is my fault, I picked this villa, etc etc etc.
We drove through very traditional Balinese areas. I am guessing the Bali of many many years ago. We didn’t really see any toursists as we drove through little villages and rural areas.
The one thing I have to comment on is the rubbish on the sides of the road. It was quite shocking and a little heartbreaking to see the amount of rubbish strewn along the road sides. At times there where piles of rubbish that has just been dumped, often near rivers or water courses. Please understand I am not saying this as a negative Bali comment or reason not to visit but I was shocked that the problem was so obvious in these rural areas.
I hope something is done about the garbage problem here before Bali almost buries itself!!!! I don’t know if Bali is yet willing or even able to deal with the rubbish problem. Sure you can clean up, pay people even to pick up the rubbish, educate locals, impose fines, offer incentives. Many things could be done to encourage more responsible waste disposal but I think the problem runs deeper than that. What then? Where does the rubbish then go? I don’t think they have the resources or infrastructure to handle the waste. Then it got me thinking, does any country? Are we all in different ways putting our heads in the sand and Bali’s problem is just more visible?
I don‘t know the answer but I do know the problem is large and we will all regret lack of action eventually.
Anyway back to the drive just when I thought it was never going to end and we were driving down an impossibly narrow road (road is used very loosely as it really was no wider than a two way footpath) my 10 year old literally screamed “we are here!!!!”
She had spotted the 4 smiling faces in orange T-shirt’s. Our villa staff.
We stepped out of the van to such warm and heart felt greetings. Frangipanis were places behind our ears and refreshing orange and strawberry juice was shared. Smiles a plenty!!!
In those moments if you asked me about the drive I probably would have said “oh the drive, it was fine!!” It took 2 minutes to know it was worth it. 2 minutes to put it into a different perspective and change my attitude. 2 minutes to forget about the inadequacies of the car, the heat, the mountainous drive, the narrow roads and just breathe again!!!
As Kadekie, the gorgeous villa manager, showed me through the villas (The Mahalani is actually two 3 bedroom villas) I knew I had chosen the right place. The feeling in my heart and the smiles on my families faces told me that. As I was chatting to Kadekie (who had stayed past her knock off time to greet us) we heard the slash of the pool as my husband jumped in. The holiday had officially begun!!!!
The pool is beautiful. The beach can be seen over the fence. The villas spacious and very well appointed. The staff delightful!! Kadekie is a true delight to be around!! My kids are feeling a little guilty having ‘staff’ as they feel we should do the cleaning up etc. Now by ‘we’ they actually mean ‘me’ and I for one am going to enjoy the relaxing!!! I also think getting to know the staff will be a bonus. They are such happy souls
We wondered down to the Bondalem Beach Club (I think it is called) so my husband could have his mandatory Bintang for the day as he swears it is the best way to prevent Bali belly. It was less than a five minute walk and we watched the locals kids playing in the water as we wondered down, enjoying there laughter and chatter as we walked.
We were back to the villa for dinner at 6.00. We had no idea what to expect but it was a fabulous meal. Plentiful and a variety of meat, rice and vegetable dishes. My daughter said the chicken was the best she has ever had and there was a lovely soy noodle dish (sorry I have no idea what it actually is) that was lovely.
A cake was bought out after dinner for my daughters birthday, she turned 17 that day.
After dinner we unpacked and had a swim. It was a very early night for us all. I think we were all in bed by 9.00.
I didn’t sleep overly well but that is fine!! I feel rested and today is going to be a day of relaxing. My husband and I plan to go for a walk at 7.00. Breakfast is at 8.30 and three of us have massages booked at 10.00. Lexi has brought kites and balls and bubbles with her and hopes to play on the beach this afternoon with the local kids. We will see if she is brave enough as she does live with anxiety. It will be good for her if she gets to the point she can actually do it rather than talk about it but we will see.
Other than that today will be relaxing by the pool and maybe some snorkeling I think.
Being here certainly helps you slow down and look at things a little differently. Stepping out of your routine is so good for the soul and I will cherish the 6 days we have up in this quiet area of Bali. I look forward to connecting with myself and my family, with just being!!!
The sun is just starting to peak over the horizon. I wonder what the sunrises will be like in this part of the world.
So until tomorrow I hope you all have a great day, I know I will.
This was the sunrise. Taken from the villa garden with no filter. Prue beauty. Witnessing such natural beauty makes my heart sing. It may only last for minutes but it’s impact can last a lifetime or influence you for enterity if you take a moment to stop and feel it!!!!!