Our final stop in Indonesia, and the last of our South East Asia trip, was Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia. This is not a typical stop on the tourist trail, although it isn’t far from popular Uluwatu. The reason we spent our last three nights in Bali here was to see my aunt and cousin. My aunt is Indonesian and is currently living in Bali with her son, my cousin.
The hotel we stayed at, Trumbu Nusa, was one of the nicest we have stayed on our trip. However, it was a curious place to put a fancy hotel. The surrounding neighborhood is residential, with only a few local shops scattered around. There are no attractions nearby and almost nothing in walking distance. However, for us, it was perfect. It was only a short 2 minute walk to my aunt’s house.
My aunt met us at the hotel, with an entourage of her friends, family and my cousin. The hotel staff couldn’t find our reservation, so she spoke to them in a blur of Bahasa (Indonesian language). It didn’t take long before the hotel staff were apologizing profusely. It helps to have a friend on the inside.
That evening we hung out at my aunt’s house. Neighbors roamed to and from her house, popping in to sit down for a chat. Children of all ages ran through the house, before jumping on their bikes and taking off to find their friends. It was a hive of activity and a very tight community. My aunt made us noodles for dinner, one of the best dishes we have had yet. Although, it was a little too spicy for my delicate taste buds. Sweat dripped from Ben’s forehead, but he insisted it wasn’t too spicy for him. My aunt commented that this wasn’t spicy at all for her. She would usually put in a handful of chilies, not just the two she put in ours.
The next day my aunt and her neighbor took us to Padang Padang beach. This is a world-famous surfing spot on the south end of Bali. We sat around watching the surf and chatting about life in Indonesia. Ordering a coconut to sip on, my aunt was outraged at the tourist prices. “But I’m local,” she bartered with the shop server. Unfortunately, this didn’t work. In Indonesia there are usually two sets of prices, one for locals and one for tourists. However, in a place as popular as Padang Padang, the shop server knew she had the upper hand.
We then drove over to the Uluwatu Temple, located high up on a cliff overlooking the sea. A walkway stretches either side of the temple, following the cliff top. Tourists aren’t allowed inside the temple, but the best views are from the outside. At the far end of the walkway tourists gathered taking photos. Monkeys roamed the area. This was their turf. In less than a minute we say a monkey sneak up behind an unsuspecting tourist and pull his brand new, shiny iPhone out of his pocket and run away. The monkey held the phone up to his ear, as if he understood what it was for.
Tourists circled around the monkey taking photos of this hilarious scene, whilst the other monkeys walked up behind them. This was the monkeys’ well-rehearsed routine. The poor phone-less man watched helplessly as a security guard threw food at the monkey to get it to give up its new toy. The monkey let go of the phone and ran away. And so the cycle continued. Clutching my phone and handbag with a white-knuckled grip, we wandered around the rest of the grounds. We saw two more people have their glasses pulled off their face from monkeys hiding in the trees. One monkey was lucky enough to score itself a chocolate bar.
Then we headed to a trendy café for a drink. While we were sipping juice in the gardens, a children’s beauty pageant/ graduation from modelling school was taking place. Girls as young as seven were dressed up in high heels, a face full of make-up and short dresses. They took turns prancing down the cat walk. One of the youngest girls stood on the stage and sung an unaccompanied, tuneless version of “Let it Go” from the Disney movie Frozen. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it.
For the third time in our international travels our credit card had been compromised. I have ferociously wiggled every credit card slot I have put my card into (I’m serious, it’s a wonder I didn’t break the machines) and have fully covered my hand every time I entered my PIN (to the point where even I don’t know if I entered my PIN right). Nonetheless, someone out there stole my credit card number and used it to order movies on Netflix and HBO and run around town on our dime. Around $1,000NZD was taken, which is now sitting with the bank’s fraud department. Luckily for us, we have five more credit cards to use before we really get into trouble. I hope the thief at least got to watch some good movies. I’d hate to think they’re out there watching Nicholas Cage movies.
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