Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A romantic getaway

I know: the title makes you want to puke. But Bali is a bit romantic. Maybe its the long and wide beaches or the splendid sunsets.

Brian had a conference in Nusa Dua, so we started off our week there. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt, which wasn't much different (from what I could tell) from The Laguna, a resort in the same area that we stayed at the last time. I have to admit, though, that mega resorts aren't really my thing. We spent two days on the compound ... er, resort ... swimming and dining among the handsome and lovely couples and young families, but enough already. I was in need of our own private Bali.

Privacy came in the form of our own Villa. Friends had told us that renting a villa was the way to go in Bali, and I was a silly on the koolaid from the first second I walked into our walled in paradise. We had our own full size swimming pool that ended basically where the living room of the house began. Ahhh ... why leave?

Well, for one, there was all that great shopping to be done just down the road from us. Brian and I haggled our way down the road for at least a few hours ... not even coming close to exhausting all the stores. Among our loot, we scored some great homewares, lamps and I got two dresses for less that $16.

Of course, whatever money we saved on our bargain shopping, we blew on some elaborate dinners. On one night, we went and checked out Hu'u, a trendy, spacious restaurant that had a large pool in the center. Word on the street is that some do opt for a swim after washing down some martinis in the wee hours. We didn't see anyone dive in ourselves, but the place was pretty happening as we got ready to leave. I'm sad to admit, though, that scenery was about all that Hu'u had going for it: pretty decks, pretty people and pretty food. But it didn't make the food any more appetizing.

Maybe I was disappointed because I was expecting some Balinesian fare. We did manage to get some the next night at a small waroeng.

The next night, we went large with sunset cocktails and dinner at Ku-De-Ta. Right on the beach, this is billed as THE place to be in Bali. So, I shouldn't have been sticker shock when I saw that my martini cost $18. Yup, that was about 9 times as much as my lunch! I might have felt better about it if they had served it up in an oversized glass, but this was a pretty standard martini. Down the hatch with it ...

Despite my initial shock, we did have an enjoyable evening. The food was good, no, really good. I started with a tuna tartare for an appetizer and then had a linguine that didn't skimp on seafood.

Afterwards, we could have gone out on the strip and checked out some other bars, but instead, we retreated to our villa for one last night swim.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Night at the Races

Happy Valley may be a euphemism for the cemetery in the area, but it is synonymous with the race course here.

I haven't been to many of the races to date, but Brian and I did go down and check them out on Wednesday. Oktoberfest was going on, and while there may not have been many Germans, there were certainly a lot of gui-los getting their drink on.

We partook in some of the drinking, but the main action was the horses. I put my money down on a horse called A World full of Love. Man, he must get picked on in the stable. I figured I had to choose a horse that sounded like a bad love ballad. Unfortunately, luck was not on my side. Brian, nor any of our other pals really hit it big that night.