Asia, Malaysia

Malaysia II Day 14: More Bali Adventures!

Today we selected the American breakfast instead with eggs, toast, bacon, sausage and tomato. Again this is served with watermelon juice and watermelon and papaya slices. The portion sizes were not large, just one small piece of each of the bacon, sausage and tomato, unlike the portions I’m used to in Canada (*cough* Baker St. Cafe). It was just the right amount of food for breakfast. 

After breakfast, our first stop was the famous Tanah Lot, a small hindu temple on a rock island. The name literally means “Land Sea” It is suspended above water at night, but during the day, the cave underneath is revealed. Here ceremonies are performed where you can cleanse your face with the holy water, then blessed with a flower beside your ear and rice on your forehead. You are then expected to provide an offering to the temple. In order to walk further up closer to the temple, you will need to participate in such a ceremony. Access to the actual temple was prohibited thought. Apparently, there is also a cobra here, meant to protect the temple, which you can touch, but we didn’t manage to find where the cobra was located. Surrounding this very touristy spot were many vendors, selling very cheap clothes and souvenirs. I bought a few myself and the items range from $3-10 CAD. Haggling is a must. I purchased comfortable pants for $4 CAD, which were quoted initially to be $8.

The traffic is ridiculous in Bali. We spent another 2 hours in our van, just so we can be 1 hour late for our 90 minute massage. This is a very popular spa (Bali Tangi) and they were fully booked, but they offered us a 1 hour massage instead. First thing I noticed was I was disappointed with the washroom quality. For a spa, I would expect nicer washrooms. Otherwise the place looked really professional and decent. Enough washroom talk. We were brought to a communal female room with separate massage “rooms" separated by opaque sheets. Inside these “rooms” was a platform with a futon on it. I was asked by the masseuse to remove my clothes and I was expecting her to leave the room, but nope, there she was. She also gave me a disposable underwear and when I looked at her wide-eyed, she said that I can just double up. I’m a pretty conservative person, so I prefer the increased privacy that I’m used to in Canada. The massage was a full body Indonesia massage. The main difference is the firm pressure and the intense “stretching" that they did. I was previously only used to soft/medium pressure, so this was definitely a different experience for me. The stretching part I was warned of previously but I was still shocked at some of the positions they were able to put my limbs in. Imagine flexing your knees all the way backwards until your feet touches your bottom. I’m not the least flexible person, but it hurt! 1 hour quickly expired and they wiped you down with warm water before it was time to go. Interesting. I did manage to catch a brief snooze as she left to fetch some water. To finish it all off, we were served rosealla tea. I noticed that the males of our group had another type of tea. Again, very interesting. The best part of this massage – it costed only $10 CAD! What?! I know. This would have costed at least 10 times the price in Canada. I was convinced to get another massage before I leave.

The time was 3pm and it is about time we grabbed lunch. Our choice was Bale Udang. The restaurant famous for their “flying fish”, or “Terbang” fish.  Again, the atmosphere was amazing and this time, we had our own little hut above the pond with a private hand washing station! There were many fishes in the pond and we were given fish feed for them. The main fear for us was dropping our cell phones since the center of this “hut” was open for us to put our feet (unlike some of the other huts where you were expected to sit cross-legged). If we dipped our feet in the water the fishes would try to bite us. Ok, time for our menu. We were advised by Aaron’s brother, who has been to Bali previously, that one Terbang was not enough so we ordered two of those, then we had another fish, the grilled shrimp, salty egg shrimp, calamari, chicken satay, some vegetables, and of course, like every other meal, a side of jasmine rice. Starting with the Terbang, the looked impressive (at least one of them) as they sculpted and deep fried it to look like it’s “flying”. In terms of taste though, I preferred the other fish more. (Sorry, I don’t remember what it was.) The grilled shrimp was a crowd favourite at our table but I preferred the creamy salty egg shrimp .The calamari was alright, still not as good as the ones I’ve had in Spain. Chicken satay was mediocre but it really isn’t their specialty here, so I can’t blame them. The vegetables were my favourite Tong Choy and I loaded up on those since my meals on this trip so far has been protein/carb/fat/deliciousness-heavy.

Our stomachs were content and we headed next to the Kuti beach to watch the sunset. This beach was again very packed and commercialized. The waves again were much enjoyed by surfers. Aaron decided to grab a beer so I sat beside him to watch the sunset. Then this lady comes up to me and starts massaging my neck and offered me a “sunset special” neck and leg massage for the price of 50,000 (~$5 CAD). I said no but she persisted so I was like, oh why not and just had a neck massage for $3. With Aaron’s beer being ~$2 CAD, we managed to get beer, a massage on the beach in front of the sunset for a total of $5. The beer apparently tasted watered down and the massage was alright, but remember the price so you can’t expect too much.

We head back to the Villa finally after a long day for some pool time, then it was time to head out to look for a place for dinner around our villa. There were many nice restaurants. With Zomato and Foursquare as our friends, we managed to decide on Sarong. The only concern was their dress code. Many of the nice restaurants here has strict dress codes stating no flip flops, no board shorts or beaters. We managed to pass the test and get into the restaurant only 30mins before the kitchen closes. We each ordered a cocktail. I had their passionfruit mint bellini. I was disappointed it was not ice-blended and then I realized the second time now that passionfruit drinks are apparently not my favourite. Then it was time to get down to business and order some food before the kitchen closed. We were pleasantly surprised that the food times were mostly reasonable priced at around ~$10-15 CAD per plate. For starters, we had the scallop which was super tasty but a bit pricey, the “whole squid” stuffed with ginger and other delicious herbs and spices, and the crispy chicken, which was loaded with curry leaves and was again super tasty! What I learnt from this trip is curry leaves and fried chicken should get married. For our entrees, we had the 8 hour braised beef, pork curry and the fish green curry. They were all amazing and the braised beef was super tender, but the taste was not as delicious as the pork curry, especially when pair with naan. We were pretty stuffed but couldn’t resist their extensive dessert menu. They suggested the “sampler plate” with 6 different desserts so that is what we got. To our surprise, the sizes were not actually samplers but full on dessert sizes! The items included deep fried bananas and sesame balls (average), avocado ice cream (smooth and tasty), fried veggies (unremarkable), super rich chocolate cake, lime and coconut freeze (need to spoon the appropriate proportion of the 2 in order to have it taste good, so it was too much work for me), and raspberry/brownie mousse (very refreshing with fresh raspberries). My favourite would have to be the mousse. And that marks the end to our last night in Bali.

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