Time for blog post #3
It’s just a day short of a week of being in Bali and I have had an incredible time so far.
So Wednesday, I visited the salon/spa with my mum and we spent the whole day there being pampered, it was amazing. I had my hair coloured for the first time in the whole 20 years of my life (which was a massive deal as I was being a chicken about it and also liked the fact that I had “Virgin” hair) but I do love the results! Change is good and it was so nice to be pampered, definitely something that I don’t often get to indulge in back in the UK. I was so embarrassed to get my “Nurses” feet out, they are pretty battered from roaming the wards and answering patient’s bells but having them beautified was worth the shame haha. It’s crazy how the treatments were so cheap compared to prices at home. In total my bill came to 1.3 million rupiah, which is about £60ish, not bad for about £200 worth of pampering.
After dinner, I had a night out in Kuta with my brother, which was eventful and a night I really want to lock away, deep, deep down. Kuta has a busy night life that attracts many tourist, it’s nicknamed the Australians Magaluf. I’ve never visited Magaluf and it’s something that doesn’t really appeal to me but I can understand why it appeals to some. It started off well at the Hard Rock Cafe which was a nice upper end kinda place, then it just went down hill from there as I delved deeper into Kuta, I ended up in Sky Gardens. Never again. Although, I would recommend it if your idea of a good night out is to forget your own name. Anyway, I’m going to put it all down to experience and move on, swiftly. Although, I would like to add that in between Hard Rock and Sky Gardens, we stopped for a few drinks in one of the restaurants where there was a local duo playing live music, they were really talented. That’s what strikes me about this place, there is so much raw talent (plus they played all the songs I requested haha).
The next day we headed to Kuta again, but this time to shop. Shop till we drop was the intention. I was battling a huge headache as you can imagine but managed to find the strength to get some goodies. Rule one and only rule of shopping at stalls and markets in Bali – DO NOT GET RIPPED OFF. Like me and my little sister did. Well mainly my little sister. We were greeted by two men at the entrance of a side street and we thought we’d have a look at the bits that they were selling. The place was packed with beautiful dresses, shorts, sunglasses, all of those nick naks that you find abroad for a really cheap price. I felt a bit wary as they were quite pushy and even kept asking Monkey what he wanted. Excuse me, I’m sure that’s my job. We picked out about 5 bits of clothing each and asked for a separate total. Before I had chance to work out the estimated price in British pound (so I had an idea if it was worth what they were asking), my little sister handed over her money which was 5 times more than what she should have paid. I spoke up and said that it wasn’t on and that I didn’t want the things anymore and tried to leave the market, we were followed all the way out and pestered as they still wanted my money, in the end I settled for 900k rupiah which was still over double what they should have really charged us. Completely annoyed and angry, I found my dad at the restaurant that he was “resting” and explained what had happened. Baring in mind that now my 13 year old sister has just handed over 3/4 of her entire holiday spending money to these pesky Del Boy’s I was pretty gutted for her. A woman on the table next to us suggested that we go and demand our money back with the threat of the police but dad suggested to just wait for our mum to sort things as she is Indonesian and knows what she’s doing, she’s also a fiery little lady. He also laughed at us because my sister alone has just paid him enough money to live and support his family for the month, for 5 pieces of clothing which would cost a few pounds to buy! Eventually, mother came to the restaurant and marched us back to the market. It’s quite a hilarious little scenario looking back. As soon as she got there, she demanded he refunded our money, in Indonesian, her words were “How dare you do this to my children”. The man handed over all the cash as we laid the things we bought from him on the table. We didn’t want to leave him with nothing so we paid a fair (but still “top dollar”) price for our goods because at the end of the day, tourism is a massive part of their lives and they will do anything to make money, as they have families to support and bills to pay. Which I can completely sympathise with but in the same breath, it’s unfair to rip people off. Especially as we felt pretty intimidated whist we were in his presence. If you can imagine, the market was in a side street and there must have been about 7 men in their individual little shops. Apparently, the key is to get the price down to as low as you can in Bali, start walking away and they will drop the price. Dad’s advice to us after was, always offer them 10% of what they ask for and settle for only 30%, if not leave it and move on. If only we knew before haha!
All that aside, I continued to shop in one of the shopping malls (which was legit) with my monkey for some new toys that he could play with at the Villa. He was in his element amongst all of the cars and and train sets. He spent his time playing with another little boy, they enjoyed the toys that were on display, it’s inspiring how children love to get along and learn a lot from interaction. After all of the shopping shenanigans at Kuta, we headed back for a quite evening at the Villa. Dad had some friends over and we enjoyed a chilled night.
My mum flew to Jakarta early hours of Friday morning, she is mega mad about the newly elected president of Indonesia. She believes that he will give Indonesian’s a brighter, fairer future and we are all for that. I think there are talks about making education and health care free for all (taxes) which is what Indonesia really needs. In the UK we are incredibly blessed by our system. I think she’s attending some kind of political conference and gathering in Jakarta and is due back Monday afternoon.
I was planning on going with her on this Jakarta trip to meet some modelling agencies and have some test shoots which was arranged via one of her friends, they have been sending pictures of my previous work, back and forth, but I have decided against it and want to put that side of my life on hold whilst I continue with my nursing degree. Every one of my parent’s friends and local Indonesian’s that know us have suggested that I should try and break into the entertainment industry here, being mixed Indo and British, they think that the possibility of becoming successful in acting or modelling would be high. I, on the other hand, am a realist. Although I love modelling, performing, acting and singing, I just want a stable career that I enjoy, which will support myself and monkey for the rest of our lives. Which is nursing. I am absolutely, a million times certain that being a nurse, is what I’m destined to do. Maybe in a few years, after my degree, I could look into things here in Indonesia in regards of acting or modelling but it’s something that I’m not putting before my studies. As a little girl I did dream about one day entering the Miss World comps haha, then again, I also wanted to be an air hostess, a journalist, a mermaid and Britney Spears. I just hope the decision I’ve made to not attend these test shoots is a wise one. We’ll never know. On that note, I was contacted by a photographer and family friend from the UK who wanted to know if I was interested in a swimwear shoot whilst I’m in Bali as he has a friend who is looking for a model for their new business. We’ll see if that happens as I’m not feeling 100% in shape at this moment in time. My Bali Bikini bod diet/training went straight out the window when I reached my last placement of my nursing degree which finished the same week we flew out here. But if it made me happy, I ate it.
Friday day, we went to Uluwatu Temple! The place is breath taking and the monkeys are little rascals! My monkey really enjoyed it even though the heat was unbearable. You have to pay a small price to enter and be respectful as it is a place of worship. Sarongs were given to visitors who were wearing shorts or anything that left your legs uncovered, they were a beautiful shade of purple. My brother took the most amazing selfie with a monkey, everyone laughed as he took the risk to get up and personal to this little creature, everybody loves a selfie. You have to be really careful as these monkeys will try and steal your belongings! Sunglasses, hats, I’ve even read somewhere that a woman lost her pants to a monkey haha! Although you shouldn’t believe everything you read online. A part of me thinks that these monkeys are trained to steal bits and bobs from tourists as you can only really get them back from the people who work there but at a small price. The Balinese believe that Uluwatu is the gateway to heaven, legend says that your soul flys over Uluwatu once you pass away. It’s a humbling thought. I left feeling refreshed.
Friday night and Saturday day was really chilled, we just spent time by the pool at the villa and ate more local delicacies that I’ve missed so much.
Saturday night I met up with my school/childhood friends who I haven’t seen in 12 years but have kept in contact via Facebook over the last few years. They are probably the coolest people I know. And I can say that after meeting up with them again for one night! I felt so nervous on the drive there. I was just chatting away to our driver (Wayan, who I will be spending a lot of my solo outing journeys with) about the differences of life in the UK and Indonesia. He drops me to places and waits until I finish and takes me home again, which annoys me a little bit because I just want him to join me on the fun! It was pretty heartbreaking listening to him actually. We take a lot of things for granted at home which people here would absolutely die for the opportunity to have. It was nice to talk to such a hard working person, like the majority of Indonesians here. If you don’t work, you have 0 income, although if you do work, mostly, you get paid very little. He told me that the average monthly wage is 1.2 Million Rupiah, which is basically what I spent at the salon on Wednesday. £60. I felt ashamed. His wife is a school teacher, and that is her wage! He was astonished when I told him that teachers in the UK are paid £2000ish a month.
I met my friends in Seminyak which is lush! Such a massive contrast between Seminyak and Kuta. It has such a chilled party vibe. Two of my friends were playing in a band at one of the restaurants, Mantra, we met up there. It was a strange but nice feeling to see them again and hear about how much life has changed for us all. It was a lot to take in. They are all also mixed Indo and European. We all went to an International school in Sanur which had a high tuition fee and mainly educated children of mixed English speaking backgrounds. A few are studying in Europe but based in Bali so they’ve lived the island life here.
The music played was really chilled, it had a soft reggae element to it. We planned a few days out and a bigger night out too. We are going to attend a “tropical music festival” at The Potato Head Beach Club, there are a few big UK names that are headlining so I’m very exited for that! We checked out the beach club briefly so that I could have a feel of what the place was like. It is amazing! Such a beautiful venue. I really enjoyed my first night reunited with my old friends and looking forward to more dates that we have planned. It’s funny as I never realised how British my accent was until last night. They all have an American twang to their English language, which is probably going to rub off on me after a few more friend dates haha. My Indonesian is coming back to me too! Which I’m very pleased about.
Today was spent at the beach with my family. We had an amazing time! I’m really quite black now! The water is so warm and the surroundings are beautiful. Food was amazing as per! I think my monkey needs a new nickname, maybe fish? He’s never out of the pool or sea!
Tomorrow is a big day for me and I don’t think I will get much sleep tonight. Not like I’ve had much sleep any night in the last 3-4 years haha!
If you’ve got this far into my post, thank you for your time! Hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’m so happy with the positive feedback I’ve received and my blog has had over 1000 views now!
Spreading the Bali love x x x
P.s. I really would love homemade a roast beef dinner with Yorkshire puddings and mint sauce right now!