Before we move on to our next day, we have to tell you about our regular visitor. Anyone who has stayed at Sri Ratu or read about it may know about Magg's Ginger/White tomcat. She took to him while she was there and we were adopted as suitable substitutes until her return.
When he first appeared in our courtyard, looking
resplendent in his lovely new collar, Cracker remarked to Rae that this must be Magg's bloody old tomcat. As you would all no doubt know, 4yr old boys love to repeat such things when they hear them, so each time the Tom appeared for breakfast Billy would yell out "That BLOODY OLD TOMCATS BACK" then proceed to share his brekky with him and give him a pat.
To add to this, when we were on our tour around the Island, Billy spotted a dog whose colour leaned towards ginger. The thin coat gave it a somewhat stripy/mottled appearance causing Billy to turn to Cracker and say " Look Dad, it's a Bloody Old Tomcat Dog ".
The magnificent meal at Glory Restaurant was the first thing on both our minds this morning. Glory 2, Cracker and Rae 0, I demand a rematch.
Rae had arranged to go into Denpasar with Si Badak and Sunshine this morning but had to cancel due to her inability to take large steps(bloody pepper steak).
It was decided to have a morning close to the bathroom and a large supply of drinking water. We sent the kids up the lane in search of Putu the "plait your, paint your, rub your, look after the kids for a minute girl". She wandered in with a larger than usual smile and proudly laid out her new tools of trade. It seems she had taken the very good amount of money she had earned in helping Rae with the kids , and wisely invested in a beauticians case, nail files, nail polishes and such like off a higher quality than she could normally afford. She then spent the morning Bali-fying fingers and toes.
The immodium kicked in around lunchtime and Rae was free again. The shopping Gene took over and Cracker and the kids dutifuly followed, fitted and carried. We rambled our way down Rum Jungle Rd., bartering, buying and bintangulating, eventually finding our way to the Bali Cyber Cafe. Here we at long last met Harry
Hack-a-Round, the Proprietor of this fine establishment and part time Bali Rally Hostage. To any one who doesn't know about the Bali Rally, go to the archives and search Bali Rally 2001, it was a lot of fun. Had a beautiful light lunch at Bali Cyber, fruit salad and milkshakes for the children, Chefs Salad for Rae and Spicy cold chicken salad for Cracker. All top class fare with wonderful service to boot.
Worked our way back down jln. Legian eventually finding ourselves at Sri Kasuma Hotel (next to Paddy's) Our neighbour Ken was staying there and the kids wanted to see him one more time before he went home. Sat and chatted until 8.30 while the kids swam, this is a very relaxing little hotel. Rae ordered a Nasi Goreng which she soon declared "Best Ever", Cracker would love to agree but she wouldn't share.
Home to bed at 10, well, maybe just a quick nightcap, but open that bottle quietly, Si Badak may still be awake.
Another eager, early and refreshing start to the day saw the kids once again breakfasted by the Hotel Staff while Mum and Dad struggled to throw off the lethargy of a "we're in Bali we don't have to" attitude. When we were finally dragged kicking and screaming from our room, it was to the sight of some severely inflamed and well scratched Mozzie bites on Brittany(C4). Gave her a dose of Promethazine that Mum had brought from home and slipped on some small bandaids to prevent the scratching. Putu Trisna the "plait your, paint your, rub your, look after the kids for a minute girl" arrived soon after and patted the baby Cheyenne (C5) off to sleep. Great, said Mum and Dad, we'll duck off shopping, we won't be long, we haven't got much to buy. 3hrs and 450.000Rps at Toko Bintang later, we had purchased our 'Not Much' and Chontelle's(C5) birthday tomorrow was looking good. We arrived back at Sri Ratu and paid Putu another "fortune" in babysitting fees then used the change to wipe the smiles off the childrens faces. We decided to allow our well rested children a short swim and then ease them into a long evening.
Somewhere around 3.30pm, or who really cares?, we began a quiet crawl towards Sammi and Suzi's, as usual we chatted amiably with all of our good friends on Padma Utara and jln. Padma, all of whom were no longer sincere in their shouts of "transport, watches, you have program mate?" and were now all happy giving the children high fives and smiles. We were so comfortable in their change of attitude that it began to feel like we belonged. It's a sensation we have never really experienced in Bali before, in our world they say "familiarity breeds contempt" in Bali it seems to breed understanding and a small amount of friendship. They see us come, they see us go, but in a small way they miss each and every one of us. In another way they greet your replacement with a smile and a new fervour in their cries of "transport, watches, you have program mate?" We don't know all of their names, but we miss them greatly.
Arrived once more at the Forum Bar to large smiles from our amiable hosts. The kids ran on the beach and paddled in the waves only stopping now and then to drag beach vendors to Mum. Eventually Mum settled on talking to Kaylee, a friend of Sammi and Suzi's, which kept other vendors at bay. Now here at the beach is where you learn to harden your heart. Well meaning beach vendors will slyly hand a child some chips or quail eggs or lollies which a child will run up excitedly and tell you "look what that man GAVE me" You then have the option of telling your child no, take it back, and receiving the "look" from your child, followed by an even more sorrowful version of the "look" from the beach vendor, or simply pay up and keep the world from spinning off it's axis.
Another great night at the Forum Bar, and away we went. We joined Si Badak, Sunshine and their old mate Arthur in a wander to Puri Bali Indah, Chinese and Seafood Restaurant. Now this place would have to be our greatest Chinese food experience in almost two decades of travelling to Bali, it is situated immediately outside the Legian Beach Hotel on jln. Melasti. For some reason after many stays at LBH and Mandira, we have not bothered to walk in. We seem to have had a thing about not going to the first restaurant you see, silly us. Upon entering we found this restaurant to be packed with Chinese and Japanese patrons, a sure sign of good Asian food. We were not disappointed. The menu was well varied including a great deal we would never see here in a Chinese Restaurant in Australia.
After dinner those in their middle years took those in their younger years and left those in their older years to finish chewing their food properly. We wandered off to the Bali Rock Cafe. The Kids were keen for a dance, Mum and Dad were keen for a dance and Tony and his Band were keen to provide their tunes. Tony from Bali Rock kept reminding the crowd of the GCCC Fundraiser that was coming up in the following week and the reception was enthusiastic. Sue and all the girls were there having arrived over the last few days, and party practice was in full swing.
About 10.30pm we decided to call it a night and headed off down Garlic Lane with Sue and the girls quietly staggering along with us. The ladies made the brave decision to hit Hulu's Cafe and we made the braver decision to carry on. Walking past Joni Bar we had to extract a few porkies from the staff close to the street to tell our children that the pool, was closed. We don't like lying to our children but we just pictured our Bank Manager and that made it easy. The kids are doing great, we are very proud and they constantly remind us of why we love spending so much time with them.
Spoilt, spoilt, Bloody Spoilt!
Happy 7th Birthday Chontelle!
Talk about taking advantage of Mum and Dads good nature. Chontelle got everything she wanted, everything she needed and a pile more because we could afford it in Bali. The cake we needed for her Party at 11am did not look like arriving until the hotel staff member,in charge of organising it, started at 3pm. A slight misunderstanding but a serious problem when you're turning 7. Sunshine and the Badak to the Rescue! With their intimate knowledge of what, where and why NOW, in Bali, Cracker suddenly found himself racing to Alfa Supermarket, along with the encouragement of the Badak. "It's alright! We shall have a cake and we shall have it decorated! You'll see!" Thirty minutes later, a beautiful cake with the inscription "Happy 7th Birthday Chontelle" was on it's way to Sri Ratu. Surprise, surprise, the original and intended cake turned up ten minutes after. Kiddy Heaven! The remains of the first cake were eagerly shared amongst the staff at Sri Ratu, the second cake came with us to dinner. On the way out to dinner we rang Chontelle's Grandparents so they could speak to her for her Birthday. 8 minutes to one set of G/Parents and 7 minutes to the other set, cost us $70.00, would've been cheaper to fly her home. One Granddad said that we should've reversed charges, always easy at the end of the conversation.
On to Joni Bar, great Spaghetti Bog, Chicken in a Basket and Pizza. Met a great couple from Melbourne. Simone and Dan, staying at Joni's. A very interesting couple, Hindu Religion and First-timers to Bali. They usually go to India on Pilgrimmage but decided to try Bali for economic/tourism/religious reasons, plus Dan loves to Surf, and this didn't hurt. They joined us for a second and more public Birthday Cake for Chontelle and the staff at Jonis very happily took the rest of this cake.
Called it a night at 8.30pm, we laughed and decided we were sooks, but we knew it had to be done. We walked quietly to Loji on Padma Utara, a short distance away, and stocked up on essentials such as water, nibblies and oh yes, Mansion House Gin and lemon, once more. (Rae really drinks too much of this) (Yeah Cracker, pull the other one) Managed to hail a green cab to take us home, 350meters, but a long walk with sleeping kids and large water bottles, not to mention a Bourbon Limp. This fella wanted 10,000 Rp to cover this short distance, Cracker convinced him to do it for free, and he'd give him 5,000 Rp. if he smiled all the way! A bargain for all of us really, he loved the money and he loved to smile.
Another glorious day in Paradise comes to an end. So far this only represents half of our trip, we hope you're enjoying it as much as we are. Ahead of us are some slow day's, and some fun filled days, not to mention our report on the GCCC Fundraiser.
We have now been here in Bali for 2 weeks and it has dawned on us that at this stage we would normally be packing to go back home. Instead of packing we're still partying, 10 DAYS TO GO!
Arose in our usual hurried manner and had another leisurely breakfast in our Bungalow. About 10.30am we headed out to look for an activity to keep the children happy for the day. We very soon found ourselves wandering into the Padma Hotel, which is close to the Sri Ratu, to say hello to some people we had met up the street. As we wander around this Huuuuggee Hotel we realise why places like this no longer appeal. When we eventually arrive at the pool, there seems to be about 500 people sitting around it. A quick search does not turn up any of our friends, so we grab a table between the pool and the bar and order lunch and drinks. The kids immediately decide that the pool is where they are headed, an event for which their mother is as usual, prepared. Lunch was very nice indeed, but at these prices it should be. Longneck Bintangs at 32000 Rp, Chicken nuggets good value at 30000 Rp a serve and dinner plate size Pizzas at 55000 Rp each. The pizzas are the one thing that have always intrigued us in Bali, most meals are large portions for a small price and great value compared to home. Yet for the price of 2 small pizzas in Bali, you can get 3 large pizzas home delivered with garlic bread, cool drink and icecream back in Oz. After lunch we jumped in the pool with the kids for a quick dip and a chat to a few hotel residents. One of the kids does a great Bombie near Mum who consequently gets a mouthful of pool water. She then remarks "This must be a salt water pool" to which the A...hole she married replies "Any pool that has a thousand people a day Pee in it, will taste a bit SALTY" YUUUUKKKKK!!!!
Another quick beer and then drag the kids out of the Padma pool, no sign of our friends, but a good couple of hours. After another lovely stroll up jln.Padma and jln. Legian the kids began to show the classic signs of tiredness, MUUM, MUUUUMM, MMMUUUUUUMMMM.... WHAT?!...(Silence).....MUUUM, you know the rest. Time for a snooze.
Cracker settles in on the Daybed in the courtyard once more with the kids, Mum goes shopping at Loji for the usual supplies and upon her return a decision is made to have a night in. Tomb Raider and Sword Fish were our VCD entertainment for the evening, after the kids had fallen asleep watching Dinosaur. Our particular choice of movies was probably not palatable for 7 and unders. Had a couple of beautiful Chicken Steaks from the Sri Ratu's Restaurant delivered to the bungalow. We then made a valiant effort to wash the taste out of our mouth with Dr. Ketuts Mansion House Medicine.
Dr. Ketut must be an anaesthetist as we remember nothing further until morning.
First thing in the morning the Kingsy Family arrive for a visit with their four kids and have a wander around the Sri Ratu. After a bit of a chat and the kids getting to know each other, the Kingsy family head off shopping and Rae heads for a long awaited manicure/pedicure. The Putri Bali, newly opened next door to Sri Ratu is where she is headed. 50,000Rp for 2.5 hrs of pure heaven. It's very rare that Rae gets the opportunity to sit still for a whole cup of coffee, let alone 2.5hrs of pampering. After one hour and only the manicure side of it done, she begins to fidget thinking, "this is not natural, where are the children pulling at my skirt" How will she get through the pedicure? After relaxing once more and thoroughly enjoying the pedicure, the mood is broken by a frazzled Cracker "THIS is not natural, a bloke looking after 5 kids this long" I wanna go back to work!
Fortunately the Putri Bali is only 40mts from the Sri Ratu pool, the tag was made and Rae is back in the Ring. Cracker heads straight for Putri Bali for a massage, awestruck at how that marvellous woman copes with the little darlings so easily. After a great massage, which is about 1hr for 30000Rp, Cracker joins the family back at the pool for a lazy afternoon.
Gosha is tonights aim for dinner. We have been here every other trip and had a great feed. We both order the Ribs as they have always been magnificent, not tonight though, they are prepared differently than we remember and are full of small bone fragments. Too dangerous for the kids to try. All the kids meals were excellent though and the service is superb. We had a chat to the Chef about the Ribs and he did not realise that his tenderising process caused this much of a problem. Always worth a chat to them. This is one of the few places I would ever give a second chance to. 17yrs in the same place and usually full, we'll forgive one bad dish.
After dinner we ambled our way down Jln Melasti and turned left at Legian Garden into Jln Todarktosee. Shopped, chatted and Selamat Malam-ed our way along until we came to the rear of Legian Arcade. Had a bit of a squiz in here but not much happening. Had a look through a vcd/cd shop but found they were mostly selling originals at very high prices, what fun is that? Through Legian Arcade and on to jln. Legian. Bloody busy in this part of the world as usual, so quickly turned into Poppies Lane2. This is something else about Bali that has always intrigued us. All around the world these days if something is commercially successful it is soon franchised, but Poppies Lane must be the only franchised STREET in the world. Anyway, strolling down Poppies Lane2 we found that it was just as busy as jln. Legian, only skinnier. Worked our way almost to the beach, purchased a few gold bangles along the way and generally soaked up the go go go pace this area is famous for. We then wandered back the full length of Poppies Lane2 to Bagus Pub. We had noticed it was full on first passing and thought it would be great for a beer. How wrong we were! The mostly young crowd sat watching a 'B' grade Action movie on the many T.V. sets throughout the Pub, with no real interaction or conversation evident through the establishment. One beer and we left them in what was obviously the local Lounge Room for those in Budget accomodation in this area. We headed to Bali Rock looking to party, but Jacqui (C2) decided to put on a street show equivalent to an All Blacks Haka at a World Cup Final. Once she had made it quite plain that she wanted to go to Paddy's and not Bali Rock (5yrs old, at Paddy's, can you imagine?) we then decided to head home.
Once back at Sri Ratu, Cracker gave the standard "Spoilt Child" speech. The kids gave him the standard "Get a new lecture" look and toddled off to bed.
Rae pushed her newly purchased copy of Pearl Harbour into the VCD. She said she needed a romance fix. Cracker says "Thanks for the vote of confidence". We then relaxed, chatted and sipped our way through an epic of ordinary proportions.
Dozing on the daybed with mozzie coils burning in the garden, we marvelled at just being in Bali, and experiencing these great days. If only it could go on forever. There's always tomorrow.
We hit Bali Aussie for brekky this morning and while we waded through a good feed we realised the lady at the next table was counting kids. When she got to five she looked up and laughed, saying "You must be Cracker and Rae", it was Treesa from the BTF. We had a great chin wag and they seem to be enjoying their first Bali holiday.
After Brekky we went for a bit of a wander with the plan of heading to Sanur to catch up with friends, ended up at Supa Nova instead. Rae shopped, Cracker carried, Kids played and the Staff oohed and aahed. At Supa Nova we found some great bargains, from babies clothes to little knick knacks for the older girls and this bloody horrible GUN for Billy. All we're gonna hear for the rest of this holiday is "RAT ATATATATATATAT, STOP! DROP YOUR GUN!" Four year old Law Enforcement Agent. The entire staff of the Sri Ratu was under arrest in the first hour of him getting back there.
After leaving Supa Nova we grabbed a Bluebird Taxi and just cruised through Tuban. We ended up pulling into the Rama Beach Cottages (Rama Baruna), a place where we had stayed once before, to check their rooms and prices. This is still a lovely Hotel, but as with most others, they price themselves out of the Larger Family market. We went to the desk to enquire about room rates, as we waited the lady was quoting $80US ++ to someone on the phone. When she finished that phonecall she looked straight at us and quoted $110US++ as if we hadn't just heard the previous quote. The rate was very quickly down to about $70US++ with the usual "What is your budget" question as they followed the laughing Cracker and Rae out to the carpark. When we explained the size of the house and the rate we were paying at the Sri Ratu, she turned and walked, without another word. Back into our waiting Taxi and Rae suddenly remembers her 2pm Massage Appointment. Now if there is one thing in Bali worth rushing for (apparently) its a relaxing massage. Back to the 'Putri Bali' and don't spare the horses Driver (But maybe dodge a few). The tag team came into play again, as Raes rubdown was followed by Crackers contemplative hour. A snooze and a swim after our massages, then onto party practice.
We've decided to have dinner at Bali Rock tonight and we've chucked in a doona for the kids to sleep on, if things get a bit late. We had a fantastic feed, burgers all round, washed down on Mum and Dads part with a couple of VERY COLD Longneck Bintangs. As dinner progressed we found ourselves chatting to Tony, the Boss of Bali Rock. We had a great chat about the upcoming Fundraiser and managed to slide some very palatable "untruths" into the amusing stories we were telling each other. You can't Bullsh*t a Bullsh*tter is the saying that jumps quickly to mind.
Tony wandered up on stage to entertain with his fantastic band and we kicked back, ordered Bourbons and started to get the feet tappin'. Soon found ourselves up on the dancefloor with all of the kids to the Rockin' sounds of Tony and 'Stool Q'. We kept the pace up for quite some time until the kids began to fade(Pikers). The older kids watched a few games of pool whilst C4 and C5 snuggled themselves down on the doona in the corner and nodded off. Cracker and Rae hit a bit of form on the Dancefloor and the Barmen kept pouring drinks in my left pocket and taking money out of my right pocket (I can't be drinking this much). Suddenly I realised that my dance partner had been having half of these drinks and what I thought were new steps was Rae trying to get back to the table.TIME TO GO. Midnight at the oasis and 2 very naughty parents put the little darlings in a Taxi for home. Chontelle gave directions and Billy paid. Not quite that bad, but reminded us to take turns being silly or get a Babysitter. All slept well tonight, must've been the Dancing.
Tomorrow we will post on the Fundraiser and a small lecture to those that Drink like Cracker does and forget to re-hydrate. My next couple of days are painful and almost dangerous due to lack of water. It's something that creeps up on you and is very dangerous.
[Days 6 to 10] [Days
17 to 24]