Saturday, November 30, 2013

a grey tooth

it has been such a bleak day that the sun is totally manipulated by those ugly clouds and rain.
it has been grey and wet and nothing gets dry....yes, i mean the washing.
i have just hung today's washing on the lines, and there is hardly any place left to hang another extra piece. none of yesterday's washing can be collected yet.

i guess the bleakness in weather is similar to what i am feeling, specifically my tooth condition. gosh.....everyone hates toothache right? do you hate dentist also???
i think have been so many times to my dentist just this month that the dental assistants there might think i have a crush on their dentist. unfortunately, he is a male. so they can be suspicious. if my calculation is right, i have been there thrice.

yesterday i was so so so ready to have one of my teeth (a pre-molar) extracted that i psyched myself for few days to face the fact. yes, i was scared lah.

last week,the dentist had told me to get an x-ray on the problem tooth which i did. and from the x-ray, some problem, or rot is detected in the middle of the tooth. there was a black patch seen.....and he told me that even a root canal could not save the tooth. so he told me i had to get it extracted. the thing was, he did not tell me when i was to extract that tooth.

as i had been having lingering pain on the tooth these few days, i thought i might better have it extracted before my trip to hanoi next week so i won't have to suffer when i am there.

hence, i went to the dentist yesterday afternoon to get the job done, once and for all. the whole morning the tooth was the only thing on my mind and everyone had been giving me moral support and their courage for me to stay strong.
but when i told the dentist that i wanted to have the tooth extracted....he told me 'no need'. gosh.....i was quite dumbfounded to tell the truth. i mean i had been scaring myself for nothing?!!!
he told me that my tooth could still service me for another year or two and the problem was still not that the sense that it had not attacked my root yet. so i could still keep the tooth. then what about the pain i asked.
he said that it could be due to heatiness of the body that made everything sensitive. so for now, i can breathe a sigh of relief.....a HUGE one!

i was not that worried about the pain of pulling out a tooth, it was more of the gap that would be there later. will it be very visible when i open my mouth??? ugly!!!

in the end, he gave me some painkillers and antibiotic....only to be taken when the pain is killing me or making me lose sleep.....they are to make me go to hanoi without a worry, my travel i don't worry when i am in hanoi.
and he told me to brush my teeth properly. i had to get an interdental toothbrush to brush a cache between two teeth too since floss is already way too fine for the gap. am praying hard that all my teeth will be ok and have to constantly remind myself to be careful when super hard stuff!

ok enough about my tooth.

my sister had finally flown back to melbourne after spending three weeks back here. it had been non-stop eating and shopping for her everytime we went of course she has put on weight.

local delicacies were the priorities....just like that bowl of assam laksa above.

and shopping....gosh....i want to faint.....

everytime we went to the mall, we only came back when the shutters were closing. hard to believe to hear that i actually felt nauseous at the mall eh? it was exactly how i so tiring ah. i walked till my legs wanted to fall apart and the whole body felt numb. only my sister did not lose her energy level and seemed to get more energised the more clothes she saw. she was doing her shopping for the whole of 2014 maybe.

i am going to have a proper rest tomorrow and start packing. weather forecast for hanoi is looking good so far. so let's hope i have a better trip than bali.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

goodbye bali

am already home for 2 days now. just couldn't find the energy to sit down to write since the flu which started on the last day in bali followed me home and i am having fits of sneezes now and have been blowing my nose non-stop.

anyway, the last 2 days in bali was spent just sitting in the villa, reading and watching movie. kind of relaxation.

remember what i wrote about our dolphin chasing trip in lovina in the previous post? we returned from the trip all exhausted and dizzy and decided to cancel the driver for the day.

we went looking for brunch instead and found a cafe, similar to those one can find in melbourne in terms of interior and menu, in a place called 'revolver'.
just a look at this place and makes you think you are in melbourne right?
that's a latte for you.

poached egg which was not runny and making me kinda pissed since that cup of coffee only looked good but did not taste like how it should be. sigh. let down. the coffee had no aroma and was quite tasteless. in fact, it was slightly bitter and left a sour after taste.

afternoon...wohoo...the whole day on the sofa, drowning in the humid and heat, finishing a book i had brought along. bliss.

that pool did not attract me as water had already got into the nostril the day before and my nose was already uncomfortable. there was still water stuck in it. haiz....

anyway, dinner was just a walk away from our villa. too lazy to go searching high and low. just walked a bit and saw one we were ok with, and went in.

no surprise for the drink ordered.....the draught is waaaay better than bottled one. go for this if you are given the choice ok. it is stronger in taste and has more kick.

local dish...nasi campur with grilled prawns.

tom yam soup. bad choice....
chicken tikka masala with naan....also another bad choice.....and all the bad choices were mine. since i was feeling slightly groggy because of my nose, i decided to choose things i was familiar with instead. my taste bud was not interested at being adventurous to try other stuff. hence the two dishes. whatever, i still finished them.

desserts....not mine lah. had no mood to eat anymore.
i didn't know what they call this in indonesian, but malaysian will be familiar with this.

banana fritter and vanilla ice-cream. the banana was not ripe enough.

all in all it was a good dinner lah regardless of my bad choices because the rest loved their nasi campurs.

summary of bali trip:

i did not like it. sorry that i had a pre-conceived idea of what bali should be from my trip 10 years ago. the bali now is totally a traffic maze.

yes, the temples by the sea were all amazing,  but that was it once you get there. there was nothing scenic along the way as you would be choking through narrowly crowded roads just to get there. and when you got there, there would be hundreds of tourists there as well.

ubud was slightly better but the cars and people were still many. all i wished for was peace and quiet, and unfortunately, i could only get it when i was in my resort and villa. i was thankful to an indonesian friend who suggested some wonderful places for me to go in ubud, that way, i did manage to see a little bit more of ubud that was not mentioned by many. maybe staying in a guest lodge for a week in just one place would be a better choice. then my idea of exploration will be just to places within walking distance?

sadly, everything in bali was over-commercialized already. it has lost its rustic charm. the time spent on the road, i did not enjoy that a bit. being transferred from one place to another just to make sure that you don't miss the famous attractions was no fun. haiz.....maybe i should just stay put in one hotel and enjoy the hotel amenities. no exploration? no way!

but i discovered pan pacific nirwana bali resort to be quite a perfect escape and place to stay and one will get to see temples without going far too. it is near tanah lot and i am sure one could walk to the temples from the hotel. the hotel has an amazing golf course.....i saw it from tanah lot temple myself....yes, it was that near. miss world 2013 was held there. the rooms are not that expensive. room with breakfast with a view of the golf course is going for usd$132 at its website. not bad right?
they also have shuttle buses going to seminyak and kuta.  but of course, that would mean meals at the hotel. i wonder if there are any local warungs near the hotel area.....i saw some small villages. but would you dare to eat at these places?

well, lower your expectation when you go to  bali ya.  then you won't be disappointed. if i were to go to bali again, i don't think i will be temple hopping. i will just enjoy the sea and tranquility the resort has to offer.

Friday, November 22, 2013

dolphin chasing in lovina

the idea of seeing dolphins in the wild sounds pretty attractive right?

well, add in 5 hours of journey to and fro and half of it on winding steep hilly roads, waking up at 3 a.m. to be picked up at your place.....then does that still attract you??

it was more like chasing dolphins that watching them anyway. i wouldn't do it the second time even if i am paid. once is enough....and thank god, i saw them....the dolphins i mean.

i bought a deal which i saw in groupon months ago and the designated driver from that tour company was right on the dot. however, we were not. haha...i set the alarm to ring at 2.30 in the morning, however i did not change the a.m. to p.m. hence, my clock did not ring. i only woke up when i heard the knock of the driver on the door right on the dot, at 3a.m. but it only took us 10 mins...not more than that, to get ready.

then the journey in the mini bus began...urghh.......scary! the road was empty of traffic of course since it was so early....but when it got to the hilly and winding made me really want to vomit. luckily i had not have anything in the tummy. i am sure i would have vomitted.

it was like going up and down cameron highlands... but triple the time and length. i had to practically close my eyes, avoid looking in front and occupy my mind with something else except the road. man, i was practically breaking out in cold sweat!!

imagine my relief when i reached the beach. waited a while, then boats started coming....
sort of like basic catamarans.

we started off at about 6a.m. and the sun had already risen from the other side of the island.

when we were about more than 1km out at sea, more boats started ocming to join was like a party out there man.

but thank god....we saw what we came to see. i would have cursed and cursed if i did not see any after the horrendous journey.

i think it was the only pod of dolphins we saw and they appreared here and there and then here and there again. so basically all the boats were like chasing them and following them whenever they surfaced.

once you hear the engine of a boat revved up, you would know that the skipper had seen the dolphins resurface and then everyone's engine would vroom towards that direction. it was quite pathetic actually.
these were only 1/4 of the boats out there chasing the dolphins.

so we left after about an hour on the sea....and then it was journey back. the driver asked us if we wanted to go some other places....all answered with a strong 'no'. haha....everyone was too tired and thinking about the journey just put everything off.

again, i tried my best to squeeze my eyes and catch some sleep. luckily i got it. phew! what a relief.

then back at the villa at 11a.m. time to relax and make whatever that had been making me dizzy and turning in the head to stay steady.

so would anyone else want to go dolphin watching? up to you.....oh but don't get it from groupon. you can arrange for cheaper rides here when you get to bali. waaaay cheaper.

day 4 in south bali

there was a change of plan for this day. we were supposed to go back north according to the itinerary given by the driver....but since we were sick of the ride in the car from ubud all the way down to seminyak...i drew up my own plans.

and one of our travel companions fell sick with stomach upset, hence only my sister and i went out in the hired car.

we decided to head south instead.
first stop- tanah lot temple compound. well, there are a few temples here, so i will just keep this brief and leave out the names...not that i remember them.

this is the one with the hole.....which is photographed often in postcards.

then this is another one on the left side which is bigger.

you can actually walk down to the rocks and cross to the temple right at the tip but it was high tide when i went. in fact, i was there right before noon to be exact and the sun was high in the sky. don't ask me about catching sunset there which many people would do. was not my thing. why did i want to push and push with the crowd and get stuck in the jam heading to the area too? i was ok following my own time.

see what i said about the tide? but it was cool having the sea water brushing against your feet on a warm day. made it more authentic.

it was lunch time and i requested for baby guling.
we got it from a local warung (shop) and they just gathered all the things on the plate for us. you get an appetising soup rich in spices and a plate of everything from pork and vege. gosh, the pork was really good....and those pig skin...grilled and fried....heavenly! that was my best meal in my entire stay and the cheapest of course. burp! i finished all the rice!

after meal, it was to the beach.....
nusa enclosed area where all cars have to go through inspections and security checks before proceeding. there is a large group of hotels here and club med is here as well.
this reminds me of the area i stayed in while in fiji last year.

one of the stretch of beaches at this part of bali.

the driver told me to go to look for a blow hole at the end of the off my sister and i went searching.
it led us to this paved path.

and this is the blow hole. can you see the water gushing and slapping into the gap between the two big rock formations? that is the blow hole. the water can be so strong that it had hit down the railings put on top of the observation pathway above it.

this view is taken while standing at the place where the railings had fallen. the other photo above was taken from the round observation deck you see in this picture.
many locals joined us in checking out the blow hole.
it was quite magnificent so it was worth the walk in the sun.

this extended holder here on the is to hold surfboard. it is very common around here.

after one beach, it is off to another beach- padang-padang.

this stretch of beach was not that big and some people go here to surf.

we had to walk down 120 steps to get to the beach. trust me...i counted as every step was taking its toll on my knee. gosh.

another stretch of the will get out from the opening near the trees once you finish your last step.
we didn't stay long here....every place was sunny and there was no it was up 120 steps again to the last destination of the day.

uluwatu temple.
i see more monkeys here than anything about the temple.
anyway, visitors are always cautioned about their belongings getting into the hands of the monkeys before entering the compound because these monkeys are really territorial and fierce. their favourites? sunglasses and slippers.

like this shot here......quite solitary on top of the rock with the sea as the background.

evidence that monkeys love sunglasses or glasses. we saw one 'snatch' right in front of our very own eyes. yes, the monkey chewed the sunglass while the owner whinged at its action. it took quite a while with some help from strangers here and there and peanuts here and there to get the monkey to surrender the sunglass back to its owner. but i wonder if she will put on the sunglass again with all the bite marks.

now squint your eyes....that is the temple on the cliff.
i think this place is not worth visiting.....long ride...and nothing much to see. just my personal opinion ok.

went back to the villa.....had some time in the pool.....quite a few laps actually....then it was dinner.

we walked along the road...and i saw chandi....someone suggested that to me...and i think this was our most expensive meal by far. it was fine dining indonesian food. the place was crowded came dinner time.

my cocktail....a let down. it was more like drinking ginger drink....and the glass. gosh.....can't they find a better one?? and such a wide straw.

seafood on the appetiser that one of us ordered. that plate made me go crazy with the succulent prawns and squid and scallop!!! ooh!! i wished they were all mine!!!! the grill here seemed good from all the plates i saw the waiter and waitresses bring to the tables around us.

my sister and i had duck betutu meal that came with salted duck egg, cracker, salad, skewered duck meat and a whole roasted duck. crazy!! i was sooooo stuffed!!! it wasn't bad at all.

however the dessert was a let down. the lemon tart was not good at all and nobody wanted to have the second bite. so i was the one with the task of finishing it.....which i did not do. was that bad. the round red thingy was sorbet.

decided to go to a pub next to get some live music.
 vodka for me...but just one lah. too tired to stay out.

and that was day 4.
 i already have a tan.

mi villa...if only...

as promised...some clearer photos of the villa i am staying at here in seminyak.
this is the main street in seminyak called oberoi street. and it is really a wonder to find villas, lots of them in this area right behind the rows of shops here.

if kuta is popular with hotels and resorts, then when you think of villa in a happening place, it will be seminyak. if you bother turning into those smaller lanes along oberoi street along your stroll, you will be spoilt for choice choosing villas that choose your budget.

and getting a villa is not that expensive in my case. we are only paying rm125 per person per night here in a 2-bedroom villa.
this is the living area. it does get a bit more humid at this time of the year. even worse than malaysia. this area is not air-conditioned. there is only one ceiling fan and another on the floor. at the back, is the kitchen counter and the dining area. behind the dining area, there is a toilet and behind the kitchen area, there is another room storing extras you need for the villa such as towels.
on the right, which is not seen in the picture, is the audio system....and it is loud. sony system and samsung tv. we had a blast playing mamma mia on the first night and singing along to all the songs as there were subtitles.

this is the pool. next to the pool, on the right, is another bedroom....with adjoined bathroom.

this is the bedroom next to the living area and it has doors leading out to the garden.

the adjoined bathroom.
so all in all, you have 1 toilet and 2 bathrooms in the villa and 2 bedrooms.
man, if you are not fussy, this villa can fit in 10 people easily.....well, just bring your sleeping bags. even the sofa can sleep two comfortably.

in the morning, we had the villa staff coming in to make us breakfast and coffee. but the coffee was bad lah.....

why bother leaving to go out when one has such luxury and tranquility??
in fact, that is what i am doing now at 2 in the afternoon on a friday. my sis and another gal had gone out to look for a massage. another of my friend is taking a nap after taking dip in the pool.
i am here uploading things on the blog and reading at the same time. the loading part is quite long. the wifi connection here is slower than the one in ubud.

what a life.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

3rd day in to seminyak

i am watching mamma mia while writing please forgive me if there is any typo mistake or mingled up words and stuff. the songs are too addictive not to sing along and we have a good sound system and the whole living room all to ourselves after all, what is the point of renting a villa and not rock and roll here while we can?? hmmh....that means we are not spending anytime exploring the night life here eh? tough luck...maybe tomorrow night.

it had been raining since morning in ubud....before it was time for me to wake up and i think the rain followed me all the way to seminyak. horrible....really gloomy and wet and the journey in the car to seminyak was no fun. hated it. i hate car rides in bali!!!! and i hate the driver i have got!!!

i felt as if i had been brought for a ride....literally! damn it! the guy would be driving me to places nearby ubud tomorrow.....when he could have done it when i was still in ubud!!! what was the point of turning all the way back inland when i am near here in seminyak? why couldn't he have done it when i was still in ubud? it is as if he just wanted to waste my time in order to drive me around as many days as possible to earn my rupiah.  uuurrgghhh!!!

we are planning to have friday to ourselves and squeeze in the rest of places to visit for 2 days into 1 day. gosh, hope that will work.

anyway, for today....after checking out from ubud green, with no hassle at all, we headed to sukawati to visit the pasar seni.
i would have skipped this place.....what is the point of visiting sukawati when all you see are souvenir items a.k.a local goods when you have seen them all in ubud market??

one of the buildings of shops and stalls in sukawati market selling....well....bracelets, paintings, slippers, clothing items, etc. nothing that fancy me.....

but some of these paintings caught my friends's attention and they got two to hang in their houses. good for them as they were really cheap and ain't bad at all. thank god i don't have to look for things for the house. phew! that saves me a lot of money haha.

after sukawati we went hunting for food....well, kfc to be exact. funny right how we always look for something familiar when we are away?

well, the meal was settled somewhere near kuta and then it was to some monument.....bajra sandhi, in indonesian. it is a monument to commemorate balinese struggle for independence.

that is the building that was built like a hindu temple.

spiral staircase leading to an observation deck.
view of the monument from the top.

there was a diorama of chronological events that happened on the island from i think 200 years ago till their independence somewhere in the 50s.
one of the scenes behind the glass.

it was a quick tour for us....after having gone through the two circles to complete the story, and some compulsory pictures, it was off to kuta.

the driver wasn't of any help and did not give any constructive suggestions so we decided to go to kuta first before going to the villa in seminyak.

it was pouring in kuta...this is a photo of kuta square. we managed to do some shopping here and left kuta at 5 plus.

the traffic was horrible and it was bumper to bumper all the way to seminyak.

we had some minor problem looking for the villa we have booked as it was on a tiny side street along the main oberoi street.....but in the end we found it with some directions from the owner in his email and a phone call to the housekeeper when we were lost.

boy, how we love our villa!!!
this is the living area.....

and this is the 13m swimming pool.

well, i will be posting more photos of the villa tomorrow when the lighting is better. it was all dark and dim when we arrived. the photos would do no justice to the beautiful villa. no regret at all.

it is just less than 1 minute walk to the main oberoi street in seminyak where you can find boutiques and restaurants. and the beach is only few minutes walking distance away.....although we couldn't hear the sounds of waves...yet.

we were greeted by two friendly housekeepers....bless them for waiting for us and making fresh juices for us once we arrived.

my only complaint is the mosquitoes here. gosh, there are so many of them!! uwaaa!!!
well, have some ointment to rub on the skin and they do have bottles of mossie repellent here for us to use. hope the mossies will stay away from me when i sleep tonight. we do have mosquite nets around our bed.

after saying goodbye to the driver and the two housekeepers, it was out for food.

this was the path we had to take to go to the main road. you can see it is slightly flooded...but it was ok. no one was complaining.

we were looking for something warm and spicy .....tomyam......but couldn't find the thai restaurant we saw in the guilde book in the villa....hence we settled for meja.

meja.....a nice restaurant....the price is like kl lah huh.....rm30 for a plate of spaghetti.

mojitos and cappucino.


garlic-butter prawn.

local fried rice with caramelized grilled pork....the two pieces on the right lah. the pork was tender but the sauce was kinda sweet. ok lah.

ok...mamma mia has ended. it is time to call it a night.

sigh, has to face the driver that i hate so much tomorrow. let's hope the weather is kind to us and we get some nice views at the place we are going tomorrow. good night.