Brief encounter with Bali

We started our day with breakfast in the Remix Juice bar, I had to try what they called ‘Nice Creamz’. 

I’m still not entirely sure what exactly went into it, but it tasted good, and is healthy and vegan! 
We had hoped to get a massage in today, the place we tried, twice, first told us they opened at 12 (the sign on the door says 10am) the second time they told us they could only do two of us which is useless when you’re a group of three. So they clearly didn’t want our money. 
We came to Warung dua to grab our last meal together (sniff).

On the walk back to the villa, there was another massage place, they were more than happy to rub our little feet! 

Boring packing, followed by a swim (we had packed our bikinis so, a skinny dip). 

We said farewell to Layla as she makes her way to Canggu for a few days before heading back to the U.K

Meanwhile Laura and I are onto greener pastures, in the form of New Zealand…


Silence day

Day of silence was awesome. A forced day of doing nothing. And that’s precisely what we did.
Waking up after 1pm, we lazed around the pool, reading, chatting (quietly) and doing a tiny bit of planning for our next adventure.
When night fell, we broke the rules a little bit and watched films huddled around the laptop. 
We did take a break between movies to stand on the balcony and look at the stars as there was no light pollution. It got a little emotional.
There’s no photos because I took a digital detox away from my phone. 

Beautiful Bali

Started the day with super healthy breakfast at the cafe on the corner by the villa, Remix & co.

Took a dicey motorcycle ride with Laura to the ATM. (The roads were dicey, not Laura’s driving.) Today is the day before Nyepi, or silence day. 

This evening will be a huge festival and procession where they burn effigies of the evil spirits, Ogoh Ogoh. 

Tomorrow, silence day is basically Bali on lock down. No one is allowed out of their homes, no entertainment, no noise, no lights on, no working, and no pleasure. 

So we have to stock up on food and snacks or it will be a fasting day for us!
Once we had done all the boring shopping we hired a driver to take us to to the temple in Tabanan.

You can wade through the water to this temple, have a wash in the holy water while a snake looks on, then the monks place some rice on your third eye and a flower in your hair.

On our drive home we passed a few of the Ogoh Ogoh models that will be burned later.

Messed around in the pool for a hour or so before it was time to get ready for the festival.

Leaving gifts for the gods.

We waited for darkness to fall and the procession of the demons began. 

After all this excitement it’s now time to batten down the hatches and prepare to be silent for silent day. Ha! 

So long Singapore

Well, considering I wasn’t that fussed on coming here, I think I’ve fallen in love with this country.

The weather is good, it’s got art, it’s got all types of food imaginable, it’s clean, they take the environment into consideration…the list goes on.
So, after sleeping through my alarm and leaving the hotel in a blind panic and leaving a book I was reading behind (I was also using my Ankhor Wat ticket as a bookmark, the one with the hideous photo of me on!) gutted. The book I can probably find a copy of when I return home, my main concern was that if I left that behind, what else did I leave?
Nizer came to the rescue and picked me up from the hotel to take me to the airport.

When I booked my flight to Bali, it left Singapore at 0920, when I got to the airport it showed on the board as 1010, once I went through to the departure lounge, it changed to 1030. Not a huge deal, but just a bit odd, when I asked the staff why it kept changing he said I booked my flight so early it had changed since. Surely I should have been sent an email telling me this? (Maybe then I wouldn’t have left my book behind!) 
Changi Airport is full of stuff to see and do, unfortunately, even though the flight times had changed, it wasn’t enough for me to take full advantage! 
Arrived in Bali safe, and late, couldn’t find the driver I had booked, no wifi connection to get in touch with him. The information desk let me use their phone, he was still there waiting for me, bless.
Laura, Layla and I have been reunited! 

Shown around the villa, had a dip in the pool and a beer while we caught up and what we’d all done since I saw them last in Cambodia.

Once we ran out of beer we head out to a nearby restaurant. Seeing as I’m in Indonesia, the obvious choice is to have chicken satay. It was nice, but I’ve made better myself.

We took a taxi into Canggu to go to Old Mans, a pub/club. 

Played drinking games until it was time to find somewhere to dance it off.

At this point, the bar names are eluding me, but there was a Reggae band.

Time for some midnight snacks.

Last day in Singapore

I had big plans for today, I wanted to take a walk in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and climb to the highest point of Singapore through the rainforests. I also wanted to take a visit to Sentosa island to maybe chill on the beach. Singapore Art Gallery, as its close to my hotel, last minute hawkers for food…
Ah! Best laid plans! I ended up not getting to sleep til gone 3am which resulted in me not wanted to get up when my alarm went off four hours later. 
So I ended up sleeping until noon, when I did eventually surface I did make my way to the Art Gallery only to discover it was closed for re-installation. 
In the end Nizer picked me up and took me on a mini tour. First stop was Bukit Chandu, a museum displaying the history of when the Japanese invaded Singapore.

Nizer then took me to a rainforested part of the area.

Found a HUGE spider.

It’s a little surreal being up in amongst all the trees, literally in the middle of the rainforest, but you can look out onto the industrial port, or the high rise buildings.

I was then taken to the Universal Studios. I’ve never been to any of the Universal Studios anywhere in the world, so even though we didn’t go in to go on the rides or anything, it was still something definitely worth seeing.

I’ve been diverse and tried most foods Singapore has to offer, but my belly was craving pizza. Saturday night is still Saturday night no matter where you are in the world! 

Singapore Shores

I think I have mentioned the Couchsurfing app in previous posts, I uploaded my travel plans a while ago to find someone to host me during my stay.

I had been offered to stay with a few hosts here in Singapore, one who turned out to be a bit flakey and couldn’t actually commit, the other who insisted I should stay with him the whole time, then messaged me on the morning telling me a pipe burst in his house so he was staying in a hotel while it was being repaired (I was relieved as I didn’t want to stay with him, he kept nagging to drink all the time, which set my alarm bells off).
He kept insisting I could come stay with him in the hotel, and repeatedly asking if I would drink with him, no matter how many times I said no. 
In the end I said his messages are coming across like he just wants to get me drunk and take advantage, his reply ‘yeh’.
Not exactly what Couchsurfing is for, but obviously for sleaze balls, they will look for any opportunity. Just hope that any other solo female travelers don’t fall for it.
I moved to the hotel today, I chose it based on it being in a different location for me to explore, price and pool. 
After last night’s sleep, I am so happy to be in a room alone. The hostel dorm was full when I came back at 3am, air con and fan on again, I had no blanket to steal and couldn’t put my towel up to protect me from the icy blast from the fan. 
So once I’d got ready for bed I quickly turned the fan off and hoped no one would notice! They didn’t! Yay! 
Only thing to deal with then was everyone’s alarms going off at 7am. If it wakes me up and I’m three beds over, why doesn’t it wake them up when it’s next to their head? You’re in a room with other people! A little consideration goes a long way! 

Now I have a lovely clean, plush room all to myself. 

Enjoyed the rooftop pool and dozed in the sunshine.
Colin from Couchsurfing messaged me asking if I had any plans, apart from lounging around, I hadn’t actually made any for today. He offered to take me to Wake Park. A lake with a zip line for people to wakeboard around on. The guys doing it made it look so easy! 

Colin treated me to a milkshake while we watched the wakeboarders and we swapped travel stories, Colin had just returned from a trip to Phuket, another one on my list, so enjoyed getting as much info as possible!

We took a walk on the beach, although the beach itself is decent, the numerous tankers parked in the bay spoil the horizon somewhat, although I’ve been informed that these ships bring in about 50% of Singapore’s revenue.

I found the very rare and elusive Singapore sea orange washed up on the shore..

Colin then took me for Malaysian food, we had Murtavak, which is like eggy bread stuffed with meat, Sup sayur, a vegetable soup, Butter chicken, which was basically chicken tikka, with a fish curry on the side to dip the bread in and washed down with Teh Tarik, which literally translates to ‘tea pull’, like a very milky tea. 

It was all delicious and I was stuffed, Colin returned me to my hotel fat and happy and ready for a lay down.
Obviously that didn’t happen, it’s my last day tomorrow so I was flicking through the book to see what else I fancied doing…

Exploring Singapore

I’m staying in a shared female dormitory in Coziee Lodge. When I first arrived there was only one bed occupied so I was hoping that it would be pretty empty.
When I got back after dinner last night there were a few more occupants. Only 4 including me which isn’t so bad. The air conditioning is on over night, but one of the girls thought it also best to have the fan on too.
 I was freezing! 
Made worse by the fact that when I left the room the heat would hit me like a wall. 
I did get some sleep, and this is the kind of stuff to be expected at hostels. 

I wanted to find out where the hawker centers were so I knew where I could eat cheaply.
I found them, they looked pretty cool, but for now I needed a place with wifi so I could budget and plan the rest of my trip now I’m officially a nomad.
I found a cafe called Bravery Cafe, close to the Kampong Glam area. 
The all-male staff seemed to be big Mariah Carey fans, blasting her greatest hits and singing along! 

The prices here are similar to eating in a cafe back home, so not too extortionate. When my food came, I was actually shocked at the amount of smoked salmon they had stuffed into the ciabatta! 

Had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t access my savings account. My whole To-Do list was based on my being able to actually see how much money I had to play with! 

As there was nothing more I could do at this point I walked towards the Kampong Glam area to see some sights.

I found the Parkview Square, a building that looks like something straight out of Gotham City.

There was an art exhibition on inside, On Sharks and Humanity.
A collection of artists had teamed up with WildLife in spreading the message about killing sharks for things like shark fin soup.

Really enjoyed this exhibition. Probably because it was about saving a misunderstood and endangered animal. Made me think again about volunteering, probably not this side of June, but definitely when I come back traveling again.
I then explored Arab street, the smell of Indian food is intoxicating, and the whole area, although it was described to me as ‘hipster’, I would just say ‘arty’. 

All walked out, I went back to the hostel to shower and have a nap and wait for the banks at home to open.
Once I had contacted them and moved some money I could relax a little, and went for a massage! 

Massages are cheap out here by U.K. Standards, so I like indulging. Plus actually carrying big bags around now is making me ache! 
I went to a place called Green Apple, they have multiple relaxing chairs in one room facing a giant screen with a film projected onto it (Riddick wouldn’t be my choice of film to relax to by any stretch of the imagination!) 
An hour and a half later he had pummeled away my pain (and created more!) it was then time to go see Beauty and the Beast with Nizer. 
After the film we went to Little India.

It was my last night in the hostel tonight, I was supposed to be staying with a Couchsurfing host but he kept changing the times so in the end I looked for a private room in a hostel, and found it was about the same to stay in a hotel with a pool!