Southeast Asia

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Diving Deep into Hot Waters

The weeks leading up to an impulsively booked trip to Bali for Advanced and Rescue/Recovery Diving passed in an anxious blur of respiratory specialist visits, spirometry testing, frights over difficulty breathing and a steady stream of decongestant medication. And all of that for a doctor’s signature on the PADI diving medical form. I packed my bags with trepidation a few days ago and headed off after several sleepless nights and was pleasantly surprised to be the first at a sleepy immigration corner upon arrival. Even the hastily-arranged driver from Putu’s gang of merry men actually turned up a few minutes late – his arrival finally caused the rest of the taxi...

The Art of Marinating

Perhaps I have read too many spa reviews/experiences written in the female voice that typically crows over the stress-relieving touch of the masseurs, the potent ambience of the location, and the overall sense of peace they come out with. TC presents a rare but entertaining read of his own experience at the spa after I cajoled, begged, forced persuaded him to try a rub-down at least once in a lifetime. Finally, a male voice describing all. ***** The row of shops the driver stopped us at seemed normal enough. What did not make sense was that the driver was now gesticulating at what looked like an attached garage telling us...

A returning nightmare

Lunch on the last day consisted of pizzas made with eggplant, spinach and ricotta, and tasted like raw plant. Then it was back to Bali Botanica for a rather strange rub-down that involved twisting of joints, and more alarmingly combined with some sort of prayer on the masseur’s part. The weather was unkind that day, and with much sweat pouring off my back despite having thoroughly showered off earlier, my top was pretty much soaked through. The “son” – which we later learnt was the nephew of the first driver – was already waiting for us in the parking area and spent the first part of the journey over-enthusiastically thanking...

Noodles, rice fields and a side trip

Long before we left for Bali, I had a (stupid) dream. It was to buy Super-mi (a type of instant noodles produced in Indonesia) ever since I last ate them while visiting a friend in Melbourne in 2003. It was a silvery packet with a road-duck flavour, and since tasting them, I was completely lost and raged against the dying light and the dawning day when I simply couldn’t find them anywhere else. Weeks before we departed, I dreamt again that TC had already bought his box, while I struggled to buy my own. I related this very earnestly to TC, explained that I really needed the noodles after those years of...

In the heart of a heatwave

He drove resolutely in the middle of 2 lanes, honked indiscriminately, taking hair-pin turns downhill with a confidence that made me envious of his incredible taxi-gymnastic skills. The cheapest transportation option had always been my priority when I travelled and this was (obstinately) no different, despite the fact that many people grew a pair of cold feet when it came to Southeast-Asian countries and their daunting transportation systems. A fixed price of 190,000 IDR was the eventual amount for a taxi from Ngurah-Rai Airport in Denpasar to Ubud, a marginally better sum than the USD 30 quoted by the hotel. Bali clearly thrives on the large droves of tourists and...

Southeast-Asia: A small start

I did not think that I would be updating the blog any time this year as it seemed all travel plans would have come to a halt for now. Yet I’m grateful for the unexpected opportunity to do so once again, as this means that another adventure (though short it will be) awaits in barely 3 weeks. The Travel Companion (TC) and I toyed with this idea casually some weeks past – a trip to some place in Southeast Asia for a couple of days over Christmas or over the New Year – without paying much attention to the logistics that needed to be taken care of, before promptly dismissing...