I’ve realised I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to section these blogposts going forward. If each blogpost is a new part, goodness knows what number I’ll get onto. So I’m going to separate them into chapters, staying with country. Therefore, Part 01 will be Indonesia and all the islands and places that go with it, Part 02 will be Singapore, Part 03 will be Australia and so forth. I’m feeling quite relieved I’ve got that out my system.
So where were we? Having made it safely onto the plane after encountering our 3 major obstacles, we immediately locked any good intentions of doing the work we told ourselves we would in the back of our minds and settled down to enjoy the films. Our flight was in two halves, with a few hours stopover in Dubai. The most exciting part of our trip were the films, the one that stands out most vividly in my mind being Mad Max. It is indeed, mad. And where on earth did George Miller get the idea for the War Boys to use those bendy sticks on moving vehicles to attack their prey from? I thought that was genius.
Films aside, it was late by the time we eventually arrived in Denpasar. Tired and bleary-eyed and at risk of getting ripped off for the taxi from the airport to our hotel a few minutes drive away, we wandered around, fending off touts. Tom read somewhere that BlueBird taxis were official and are charged by the meter, so, spotting a taxi with a blue bird on, we decided we should use that one (even though they gave us a price upfront) and that was the first time we got ripped off. There’s not much to say about our first night’s stay. We cosied up in a small but clean Harris Hotel room after a quick celebratory juice to mark our arrival, slept and then woke to discover we’d missed breakfast. No worries, we shared a giant chicken satay instead (Tom’s choice). Tom’s lick-smacking and ‘mmm-ing’ suggested he enjoyed it.
400,000 Indonesian rupiah (approximately £20) and a 90 minute drive later, we were outside our honeymoon hotel (thanks Mr & Mrs G and Anna for choosing such an awesome place), Chapung Se Bali. Chapung means dragonfly and indeed, we saw a lot of them at the resort. As well as frogs. And big flying bugs. And lizards. And a cat. We spent the whole journey with our noses pressed against the window, watching brave tourists and locals trundling by on motorbikes and losing count of all the temples, large and small that we saw.
Chapung Se Bali has made an impression on us that we’ll never forget; for Tom and I, having our own private pool that we could slide into from our bedroom or bathroom is the height of luxury in our books. We also had a spacious bedroom, giant bathroom, a dressing room and a toilet with no door. With marriage comes a lot more than I’d bargained for. Oh wait, we also had an OUTSIDE kitchen with dining table, sofa and coffee table too. We both breathed a big sigh. Hello honeymoon.
As well as a beautiful villa, we also had a beautiful view over breakfast. We had it every morning from a terrace overlooking a large pool and a jungled valley. Breakfast was pretty spectacular also – a 3-course banquet that started with fresh fruit, eggs cooked how you wanted it (we both enjoyed it poached with smoked salmon – I know, I know, not very Indonesian, right?) and finished with pancakes. Oops, I forgot to mention, there was also a little buffet for the greedy people which had on offer, several pastries, cheese, meats, cereal and a little pie. Every day I’d have a little pie. After all, one must never refuse pie when it’s on offer.
Breakfast finished, we’d lazily return to our villa for another swim (swimming at 7am in deliciously cool water, naked, with the morning sun warming your face is wonderful. And I generally avoid unheated swimming pools at all costs, especially before the sun’s out, at all costs so this is saying something). Our movements for the day were generally limited, often the only effort being to move across our villa to a new reading spot, whether that was the sun lounger or the sofa. At one point, we roused ourselves enough to make a dent in our wedding card list, but the pile still to be done remained larger than the ones ready to be sent.
Having stuffed ourselves over breakfast, lunch was rarely needed and dinner was never too far away. Eating in the resort (we were sort of in the middle of nowhere and not in any frame of mind to explore) the menu was disappointingly Western, although still good; I’ll never pass up the chance for a risotto.
There were 2 highlights of our 3 nights’ stay at Chapung Se Bali – the evening massage that we treated ourselves to where we were pummelled and prodded to the sound of frogs singing, geckos making their distinctive squeaky toy noises and crickets chirping. ‘Magical’ is the only word fitting. The other highlight involved sweating. On the recommendation of Theo, the manager, we embarked on the ridge walk from Chapung to Ubud. Tom, seeing a good opportunity to put his orthopaedic-looking walking shoes that was taking up half his luggage space was pretty excited. It’s about a 40 minute walk along a dusty path, that takes you past lush jungled valley, local craft shops and warungs (mini restaurants). You eventually come out at one end of Jl Raya Ubud, a bustling road filled with both tourists and locals crammed onto the narrow pavements.
With Tom reading this over my shoulder, he reminded me of another highlight of having our own private pool; midnight swims. He spent a good couple of hours in the middle of the night splashing around (naked. of course).
Let the honeymoon begin.