21 August 2009


Okay, it's almost a month since I posted anything and probably many have given up on visiting my blog.

Well, I had some problems with blogpost and then I was busy with work and home. Finally, a short holiday to Bali, with Stephen, added to the delay in updating here.

Anyway, after being away for nearly a month, I'm back!

I'm going to share some thoughts about my Balimoon (think Bali and Honeymoon). I'm sure you got it.

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This holiday was last minute. We probably paid more than we should have but I guess that's the price to pay when we have commitments.

We paid about RM1200 for two airtickets, to and fro. Personally, I thought it was a great deal until I heard that if you book during their sales, the very same tickets can go for just RM80 per person. However, the travel dates have to be determined way in advance and we don't have that luxury yet. No worries, though.

Our hotel cost us USD115 per night which we booked online. It's pricey since we were there during the peak season. Low season prices can be gotten at about USD65 or thereabout. The Jayakarta Bali was recommended to us and we believe that it is value for money because of the great location, sufficient security and good service. There are three swimming pools and the beach is just a stone's throw away.The sand on the beach is fine and loose. Looks like silver dust sprinkled evenly through and it sparkles under the sun.
Just a short walk out of the hotel and you have shops, salons, restaurants, bars, tattoo shops, laundry, tour agents, car/bike rentals etc. Anything you would need, is just minutes away. The famous Legain Street is a 20 minute walk and all along the way, are shops galore. Shopaholics can get cured here!
Of course, with all the walking, who would not want to give in to the temptation of a foot reflexology. Stephen insisted I have a full-body massage. I didn't argue. :) So I allowed a stranger to massage me from the tip of my toe to the top of my head. It was bliss. Really, it was terribly delicious in every sense of the word. This was followed by a facial and pedicure and ended with a manicure. What did this cost? Rp190000 which comes to just about USD19.00. A simple body massage will cost only USD6.00. The place is clean, the workers are soft-spoken. Will I go back there again? YES.
This was, by far, the best holiday I've ever taken. Perhaps it's because I had the right company. We didn't have anyone to worry about except each other. Stephen is a great bodyguard. He's a wonderful companion to shop with. He'll bargain till we get the best price, he'll carry all the bags and he'll wait patiently for me to browse any shop that I want. I think my shopping addiction is cured. Well, at least for now!
The Balinese people are not what I had imagined them to be. I found them hard-working and attentive. They do everything cheerfully and go all out to help make your stay as pleasant as can be.

On the way to Ubud, I notice that the roads are really narrow but, happily, many are one way although the motorbikes go against traffic. I notice that everyone toots the horn but no one takes offence. Everyone is relaxed and calm and there's no ugly stare or finger up in the air if someone honks. You can rent a bike or car for the day. There are some really big bikes there. Most people walk. Dress is extremely casual. Just shorts or sarongs and tops.
I think it's safe to walk alone because I've seen young girls, skimpily dressed and walking around even at nights. The men don't leer or gawk at the women with their bikini tops and plunging necklines. Many women walk around with just a sarong and a bikini top. Me, not so modern lah. I just wore some exercise top and shorts. Men go around bare bodied.

We took a Sunset Dinner Cruise on our third night. We took this cruise which picks up from hotel, drive to the harbour, board the cruise ship, watch the sunset, buffet dinner, show, music and dancing (if you want). Pick up at 4.30 pm and ends at about 8.45 pm. We paid Rp 800000 (USD80.00) for two of us. They give you a welcome drink, serve canapes and there is an international buffet spread.
It gets bright very early in the morning. Stephen wakes up at about 5 am and I stay in bed till about 6.30 am. He says I snore and it wakes him up. Hey, I'm tired from the walking about all day. We usually walk in the mornings and throughout the day. Heck! Who wouldn't be tired?

Stephen and I fell in love with Bali. The people, the sights, the sounds and the smells all left an indelible mark on us.

Things are going to get mushy now. (Hint! Leave now if you can't stand it).

From the start of the trip, the one factor that made it all so memorable was the fact that I had Stephen to share it with. As many of you know, we live in two different countries and although we see each other on most weekends, it's always short though sweet. When I am in Singapore, it's business as usual with visits to family or just catching up with him and all that's happening there.

When he comes to Malaysia, we relax and we have my side of the family to meet up with.

However, when we left Malaysia for Bali, it really was a lovely feeling to not worry about anyone, at least for a while. With no obligatory duties to perform, we only had to see to our own needs. There's something wonderful in that feeling. I'm not knocking those with young kids. There's unspeakable joy in having your children with you and making memories with them. We've had that too with other holidays together with Jared. Going off, on our own, we felt a freedom to just revel in the luxury of each other's company. We felt sad leaving Jared behind for just maybe 10 seconds. The moment we got in line to check-in, the excitement just took over and we got into "holiday" mode easily.

After four days and three nights in Bali, we realised that it wasn't enough. There were so many more places to see and food to enjoy. We both knew that we would make the trip again.

Did we leave with a heavy heart? Not really. We were sad but we were together. We know better than to look back when we can look forward with the knowledge that returning to Malaysia wouldn't mean despair and desolation. Malaysia means Jared and the comforts of home. And home is where the heart is.

Click here for a fantastic post and great pictures on Bali (4 parts) by Antares!


Antares said...

You and Stephen are a pure delight to count as friends, even though we've only met once, briefly, in Penang. So pleased you both had a jolly time in Bali which holds very precious memories for me. Only been there twice myself - once, for 5 weeks, in 1981 and more recently, for 5 days, in September 2007. I did a series of 4 blogposts about it (you might find my acccount more meaningful now that you've had a small taste!)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Darling Antares, You say just about the loveliest stuff about us. It's always a "feel good" moment to read what you write. I am so looking forward to seeing you again. Stephen and I talk about going to Magick River very often and surely, we will get around to doing it. :)

The link you gave is to the original blog. So I'll look for it in the mirror blog. I'm sure it'l be as interesting as you are.

Gigantic hug for you.

Mel & Sham said...

Aaaawww you lovebirds, you!

Ain't nothing like making memories! I hope Sham & I will never stop doing just that... and soon with baby in tow!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Mel: I think the same of you and Sham. I've followed your blog for awhile and I can see the love. I see it in the attention given to the little details by both of you. Your child is going to be so blessed with parents who love each other. No better gift to your child than that, my dearest Mel! :)

Anonymous said...

So glad you enjoyed yourself. And wonderful wasnt it? with just steph and you? You should make this into a once or twice a year getaway thing. It is the best thing in life when you can go away with a loved one and just enjoy everything new that you see. Growing old and just staying at home watching tv and the kids or grandkids are things of the past now.
If I had the money....I would find time to go away once a year to somewhere new, cheap, relax and enjoy myself. After all we deserve it. Right?

Patricia said...

I so enjoyed reading this, and I'm so happy for you that you guys had a great time. And, there's no 'of course we did' about it: so many people go away on holiday and have a miserable time, and come back exhausted, and need to rest up from the holiday!

I think the reason wasn't so much Bali, as it was you, for Stephen; and Stephen, for you. It's as simple as that :)

When I reached the end of your post, I understood why I so love you: It's the way you take life as it comes, and make it marvelous!


I read Antares's account of his sojourn in Bali longgggg ago. I told him he has an amazing voice, and should consider publishing it, if he hasn't already.

Crankster said...

Looks like you've had fun! :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

young-at-heart: We truly had a great time. Until today, we are still talking about Bali. We plan to go again as soon as an opportunity presents itself. Thanks so much for your comment!

Pat: You double my happiness with what you write. I hadn't really analysed it along those lines and now that you brought it up, I'm feeling even more grateful that Stephen and I had a great time there.

Your comment went straight to my head and my heart.

How not to love you lah?

Antares really captured the essence of Bali with what he wrote and the pictures he took.

I hope that the next time I go to Bali, I'll be able to do a better job with my camera. This time, we were just playing "silly tourists" taking pictures of ourselves. hahaha

Yennyways, hugsssssssssss for you!

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Crankster: Can you tell? :)

zewt said...

Will be there this dec, my first time. Hopefully it will be a good trip :)

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Zewt: We loved it. I think if you are with the one you love, anywhere is B(a)liss!