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Published: November 9th 2016
Our stay in Denpasar had been ok and it was nice seeing the non-touristy side of Bali. But I was happy to be moving back to the coast. Sanur has the reputation of attracting an older crowd. We might not quite see ourselves in that light, but the fact is that given our aversion to ear-splitting hip-hop and pissed-up bogans perhaps it's closer to the truth than we'd care to admit.
The taxi was 15 minutes early but he was a nice chap and used the meter with no complaints. I'd recommend Blue Bird and would use them again. Especially as you can book by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The 11km journey cost us IDR 73000, so even with a small tip it was only £5 door to door.
There was no trouble checking into our room at Asoka Hotel and Suite early, and it was a lovely room. Bright, clean and modern. We're still paying a few pounds more for rooms than we probably should. But frankly the pleasure of a comfortable room means more than saving every penny.
David was still feeling ill and needed a lie-down. Not sure exactly what it was, perhaps heat
exhaustion. After a while he roused himself to explore the area with me. First impressions of Sanur were good but David was struggling so we decided to cut our losses and grab some food before heading back. We usually find that when we are ill local food, delicious as it usually is, doesn't appeal. Suddenly all we want is comfort food. Which is exactly how David felt. Knowing this would be the case I'd done some research and suggested Juicy and Crispy. One of their specialties is roast chicken, an ideal comfort food, especially as you can order it with buttery mash. It was touch and go for a moment, but luckily it was delicious. David said it was among the best chicken he'd ever had. I really enjoyed it too, and was pleased David had eaten. Even so, it was as much exertion as he could take so we returned to the hotel.
While David had a lie-down I did some more research into Sanur and discovered a potential rock bar. Of a kind anyway, we rarely find what we think of as proper rock bars outside of Europe. But this was at least a bar with live
bands in a rock vein. It looked promising so I mentioned it to David. He was keen enough to drag himself off his sick-bed so we went to take a look.
The Onion (stupid name) did indeed have a decent rock band on when we arrived. Not exactly metal but they were pretty good. The bar itself was a mix of mainly older expats and tourists. Not meaning to sound snotty, there isn't anything wrong with this, it's just not our normal hang-out. The prices were steep too, and they only served small beers which was annoying. But all the staff were lovely and the music was good. David decided he was hungry which I thought was madness as we'd had 'lunch' at 3.30pm. But then when his burger and fries came they were so good I did that annoying thing of stealing off his plate despite saying I didn't want anything.
The next day we had a bit of a lazy start. The hotel was the first one in Bali that didn't include breakfast in the rate, so we decided to give it a miss. We still don't have temporary wedding rings and had seen a number
of silver shops so were hopeful. No luck though. Everything was just too fancy for our simple tastes.
David was still a bit flaky and after comfort food. Which was fine with me, as I'd discovered a British-style fish and chip shop called Man Frydays. After a month with no malt vinegar in my life (although I do have a few sachets in my backpack for emergencies) this seemed like a good plan. We were not disapointed. The chips were fine but the fish was the real star with crispy batter that would put many British places to shame. Amazingly there was a framed signed Southampton FC shirt on the wall too! :-) We finished off with a Bintang each at a little place by the beach
After pottering around our hotel room and dropping off some laundry we headed to Jalepeno for dinner. David was still slightly delicate and while you may argue at the definition of western, we eat Mexican food often enough at home for it not to be comfortingly familiar. I had chicken fajitas and David chicken enchiladas, both fresh and delicious.
Despite the expense of The Onion we knew we had to
go back as on a Saturday we'd heard that the band play 80's glam metal, which we both love. We dilly-dallied in Jalepeno as it was raining but sensing a break we decided to go for it. Huge mistake as it proceeded to absolutely bucket it down. We sought protection in a little wooden shelter... and were still sitting there half an hour later until the rain slowed enough to move on.
We made it at The Onion at about 7.50, and were told that the band would start at 8pm. In the end it was about 8.20 as the band had been caught in the rain too. The place was deserted, but as the rain cleared up it began to fill up with the usual crowd of ex-pats and those who clearly holiday there every single year. The thing is, these are perfectly decent people having fun, I have no problem with this. It's just not our crowd. People just seemed slack-jawed in wonderment at a group of guys in black leather playing guitar. This is everyday of our lives frankly. Once you've seen members of a band crowd surf in a rubber dingy, or a gimp on
a swing on stage, a guy in leather trousers standing on a table is not enough to amaze. I sound snotty, I know I do, but I like my rock to, well rock, and in the company of other rockers. While I had no problem with the other punters, their age and tastes meant the band played to the crowd and covers of 'A whiter shade of pale' and the like failed to thrill us. Luckily, it began to get more rock with some Whitesnake and Aerosmith which was good enough. But then out of the blue we got a Hardcore Superstar song (Above the Law) which was an unexpected joy. In the end we had a good evening. The band were very good and we got enough music to our taste to make it worthwhile. We left when a member of the audiance took it upon himself to take over the mike and 'sing' an Oasis song. Nobody needs that.
Then came our final full day in Bali. We strolled up to the Le Mayeur museum which was small and poorly maintained but interesting nonetheless. We then stopped for a light lunch at Warung Sanur Segar which was
Mexican again (what can I say? We're addicted) and very tasty. A bit of shopping followed, then a final couple of beers at the beach bar we'd visited the day before. I was feeling sad at the thought of being away from the sea until December. David was less than sympathetic, pointing out it was only a month away and at home I can go for a year or more away from the sea.
I was keen that our last meal should be Indonesian. Canang Kitchen had good reviews so we went there. It was much posher inside than the exterior had led us to believe. We ordered a platter for two called a Balinese Rijsttafel. It was a good choice full of chicken, pork and fish dishes. Only a little of each but a good variety that meant that we were were full at the end. David increased his milkshake tally with a tiramisu milkshake follwed by a choco mint, both lovely.
We'd emailed Blue Bird earlier in the day but had not heard back so had resigned ourselves to flagging one down for the trip to the airport (a nearby transport company had quoted IDR 200,000).
However the next morning I got an email asking if we still wanted a taxi, The previous day (Sunday) had been the guys day off. I said we did and it was confirmed, with the email address we should have been using (the one I've put above). Admittedly he did turn up 30 mins early which was annoying but he put his meter on and with the airport ticket fee it came to IDR 110,000.
Given the keen taxi driver, we got to the airport rather early. Still, better than late. Food was stupidly expensive even by airport standards but in the end we decided if we were going to pay stupid money wherever we went then we might as well go all the way and pick the Hard Rock Cafe, where at least we'd get some decent music and a decent burger. It turned out to be double the cost of our most expensive meal in Bali. But was very tasty and we were most amused by the price of IDR 666k. Apt.
Given the cost of our lunch we had to pay by credit card, which gave us a handful of currency left over. So when
we saw a 1 litre bottle of whiskey for almost exactly the amount we had left it seemed like fate. It was $9 (£7.25) which seemed too good to be true. Knowing the high price of alcohol in Malaysia (due to the 'sin' tax) we'd intended to go dry. But hey, we know we have a nice room with a porch coming up so a drink or two would be most pleasant. What the hell, we bought it. Time will tell if it is totally rank!
So there you go. Bali and Lombok has been fun, but I think three weeks would have been long enough. We have enjoyed ourselves. I think the Gili Islands were our favourite, well worth the journey. If we ever came back I'd skip Kuta and head straight for Sanur. We did meet some lovely, friendly people. The heat and humidity had been tough at times. For us the lack of public transport has been a real pain in the arse. Also the price of alcohol, beer is about doable but wine and spirits were out of our price range. The food had been great and I'm glad we mainly stuck to local food. Although it's not going to beat Indian or Mexican for us personally. I'm also sick to death of hearing "yes taxi", "yes tour" and "yes massage", much as I know this is the result of western tourism and local people just trying to make a living. The budget has suffered a bit, we averaged £63 a day when really it should have been well under £50. The strength of the pound hasn't helped, but mainly it was due to us drinking beer and choosing more expensive rooms, Worth it, but we will have to keep an eye on finances.
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