Beirut or Bali?

Welcome 2012!  

(And still…no jet packs in sight)…

Seeing in the New Year in Bali was quite the experience. We ventured down to Legian Beach and dined among the stars (maybe not stars exactly, but equally as glittery). We dined in the company of a gaggle of Lady Boys (or maybe it’s a “gargle”, not sure what the collective noun is, for a group of “spangly-danglies”).

The boardwalk along the beach was chock full of motorbikes and flashing/glowing headwear. And inside the Blue Ocean restaurant, we had our own spectacle to observe, which was just as unusual and surprising to us, as it was for the staff who nervously giggled and whispered among themselves. There was a birthday celebration behind us, but whether it was “for he’s a jolly good fellow…or…she’s a jolly good fellow”, was anybody’s guess?

But still, they had a wonderful time, and it certainly kept us all entertained.

But that’s not the amazing part. I think the entire economic budget of Indonesia, must have been invested in fireworks! And although they may not have the spectacular quality of fireworks that we’re accustomed to at home, what they lack in quality, they more than make up for in…QUANTITY!!

About 6hrs worth!!

No kidding! The fireworks started about 8-8:30pm and continued non-stop til about 2-3am! It was like we were living in Beirut instead of Bali. The entire horizon was continually lit up with flares and sparkling explosions, like we were in the middle of a war zoneFOR HOURS! The haze of smoke crept across the island like a doona spreads across the bed.

We left the beach a couple hours before midnight, but we were still watching them from our balcony at home 3 hours later, and they continued for hours after we went to bed. I think it could take NASA 10 years to gather enough gunpowder to relaunch another rocket, after what was used up last night.

Just incredible. And just another reason to marvel at the incredible life and beauty that this island has to offer.

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Space Invaders

I’ve been living alone in this huge two story villa for 4 weeks now and finally the love of my life has returned (with some family members in tow), to brighten my life and prevent me from going “Island Crazy” without them. A welcome invasion of this huge empty space, if ever there was.

So, Fiona and “bubindabelly”, arrived about 2pm in the arvo and I picked them up “quick-az” on the scooter in an absolute flash. I was in and out the airport quicker than a teenage boy in a brothel.

And speaking of space invaders, Fiona’s arrival at the villa must have been like being visited by aliens from another planet, when she walked in the door, right into the waiting open arms of…

A 60 year old American man…in his underpants!

My next door neighbour, John. He’s a nice guy with a big heart but, an even bigger pair of y-fronts. His heart is definitely in the right place, but his underpants are usually not (up around his neck).

So we talked, swam…and looked away every time he climbed in and out the pool.

About 11pm that evening, I picked up Fiona’s Entourage (mother Irene, sister Stephanie and niece, Candy). Only this time, I was in a cab with our Bali Taxi driver friend, Gede, so we were in and out the airport slower than a 40 yr old Bigfoot enthusiast losing his virginity.

So, ’tis the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring except...the hacking cough and moonlight twinkling of a sixty-year old man bobbing for Xanax.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Familiar Faces Old & New

Any chance to upgrade from a “dining-for-one” experience, is a welcome opportunity in Bali.  And it’s always great to catch up with a familiar face, and even meet new ones.  This morning I met up with Sally McAuliffe (our lovely photographer friend we met during the Ubud Writers Festival), and her equally lovely husband, Tom, who in terms of “top blokes I’ve met around the world”…goes…“straight, to the pool room”.

We met for breakfast at Biku, and caught up on all our adventures and discussed the latest movies. Although, Sally and Tom live near the beach in Timor, and only have electricity at night, so they haven’t really seen anything beyond 1997!!

But we did have a great chat about Eckhart Tolle, author of such books as The Power Of NOW, Practicing The Power of NOW and A New Earth. Come to think of it, I have a great title for another book in the series, It’s NOW or Never. And if you’re familiar with the concepts, then that title is pretty apt 🙂

“Ahh, I love the smell of philosophy in the morning.”

(Dibs on that title myself, if Eckhart doesn’t use it).

All-in-all it was great to meet and catch up, and hopefully our paths will cross again someday in the future…ah, I meanNOW?




Today I spent the day with my old mate, David James, from my old cinema days in Queensland, over 10 years ago.

DJ now works as a flight attendant for the new, Air Australia, and had a stopover in Bali, staying at the Novatel Hotel in Nusa Dua.


We wandered down for a couple of sodas at Geni Beach, then scooted into Kuta…two passengers, but only one helmet…


Got pulled over by the local authorities and had to follow him into a deserted alley. He showed me the fine for not wearing a helmet was Rp. 250,000. We could follow him to the station and he’d write us up a ticket, or…we could just pay him now. DJ used to be a cop, way before we met at the cinemas, but he still had his old id. That worked a little in our favour. In that caseRp. 200,000!

So, DJ coughed up the cash and he said we could get back on our way, but two passengers=two helmets. Since we still had to get from Nusa Dua to Kuta, I asked him what happens if we get pulled over again before we get to Kuta. His reply, “No problem, I call my friend,” and indicated his walkie-talkie.

Who the hell knows what that means, or how that works, but he left us Rp. 200,000 lighter and we headed in to Kuta. Low and behold, we got pulled over again just as we got into Kuta. “No helmet, pull over”. Not again…this time, I told him we already got pulled over in Nusa Dua and was told we’d be okay. He asked if we paid the ticket, which of course, we replied, “yes”. He looked a little skeptical and asked us how much. We told him Rp. 250,000 (as that was the cost of the fine I was shown in the book earlier), and he seemed satisfied with that and sent us on our way. We only had about half a block to go anyway.

So, we parked the bike and initiated DJ into the creepy joy that is, the Bali Fish Spa. Hundreds of tiny “Dr.Fish”, nibbling away at your dead skin cells, me likey very much 🙂 Then we moseyed on up to the Memorial and then back to Kuta beach, before indulging in a chocolate sundae on a Sunday 🙂

It was great to catch up with me old mate, and piled him into a cab to take him back to the Novatel before he flies back out tomorrow.

Safe skies, my friend 🙂


Day of Indulgence

Pascy’s last day with us in Bali before his niece’s wedding and then heads back to Oz, so we have to go all out with a Balinese…Day of Indulgence. I can’t tell you how many times Fiona and I have ventured down some tiny side street or winding path only to discover, an amazing Balinese treasure. And today, was no different.

We decided we’d have a full day of spa treatments to really relax and unwind on our final day together, but the Spa we went to was booked out, so we wandered the streets until…a tiny sign, Breezes Resort and Spa, caught Fiona’s eye, pointing down a long and winding alley. We followed the yellow brick road which, unsurprisingly, led us to the wonderful land of Oz.



A beautiful spa situated right on the beach, with an incredible range of treatments and best of all, they could fit us in, right away! The next 4 hours was truly divine. A Balinese massage, body scrub, jacuzzi bath, facial and pedicure for the boys, and cream bath hair treatment, facial, manicure, pedicure, neck and shoulder massage for the beautiful girl. The rooms overlooked the beach, and the windows pulled open to let the ocean breeze in. A reflection pool outside the window and the methodical crash of the waves outside added to the majesty of the experience as we whittled our cares away.



After scooping us off the floor with a spatula, we headed across to Potato Head, which from an architectural point of view, was absolutely stunning. Like a giant Roman Coliseum constructed NOT, from ancient stone and columns, but thousands upon thousands of coloured wooden shutters of different shapes and sizes. Who even thinks to build a restaurant like that? The food was not too bad either, a little on the pricey side and it certainly was no Salt of the Earth, but delicious all the same.

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One thing is for certain, Bali has another fan, and in just these few days, Pascy has already discovered how and why we love this island paradise, so much.

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Resort to…Resort Style Living

Today, Pascy and I hung out with his family at the Patra Bali Resort, in Tuban, where his dad, sister, brother-in-law, three nieces, two nephew-in-laws and two great nieces (phew), were all staying. Pretty awesome place, right on the beach, huge swimming pool with a swim up bar. We hung, ate and chatted by the pool for a couple hours.


Then we headed into Kuta for a relaxing the back of a dodgy tattoo parlour. It was a great experience for all of us except for one, Pascy’s niece Sam, who’s massage girl kept leaving the room to answer her phone and burped on her three times, but apart from that, it was all good 🙂

The evening was spent, far away in time…at Echo Beach. Where you can eat and watch the sunset as the waves roll in. Good times 🙂