Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A day out ...

... and about.  8th May.  A very full day but pretty much the sort of day I'd been looking forward to. - *lol* - and WARNING, a very, very long post, photo heavy.

Unfortunately I woke up with a sore throat, bad breathing and a splitting headache but wasn't going to miss the first proper day of sightseeing that had been put on the agenda, so dosed up with everything I could.  

Mini bus arrives, we all pile on and away we go ...
First stop .... A pearl jewellery store just down the road from the hotel.  Lombok is known for it's quality pearls and the local pearl farms.  Got to say there were some beautiful pieces and, although reasonable in price compared to what we would pay in the UK, there wasn't anything I wanted in the price range I was prepared to go to.  It also seemed that they weren't prepared to barter, even though I wanted more than one item.  I'd been told they would as they'd rather sell than not, but that certainly wasn't the case for me so I left empty handed.

Next stop, after a good lengthy journey through some beautiful countryside, was a local pottery at Banyumulek.  We had a chance of actually making something for ourselves and little Ruby took the opportunity to do so, with the help of one of the potters *LOL*  Several of us browsed the warehouse, which was rather large, and made a few small purchases .... well, you have to have some little mementos of the holiday.  I bought a couple of coasters and a tealight holder.  I've found fault with one of the coasters since I've been home but hey, they are handmade and it adds to the charm *grin*

At some point Anie got the bus driver to stop and she bought some fruit for us to try.  Not particularly appetising to look at and not as spikey as it would appear but, once we broke through the outer casings the fruit inside was delicious.  What was it?   Rambutan and the actual fruit inside looked and tasted very much like lychee.  Very moreish!

Another drive through more charming scenery and we stopped at a weavers co-operative. I think it was at Sukarara although not 100% sure, but it was in central Lombok.  We had a guided tour and explanation of the work undertaken by both men and women, a look round the store and were given the chance of having a go at a bit of weaving, under close instruction and eye of the local weavers .... hmmm, I wonder why *wink*  Jackie and I loved this and even little Ruby had a go.

The men's work stations.  They were all at lunch .... women at work!

After the weavers we paid a visit to a local market - brilliant!  Real, local life in all it's glory.  Yes, it was smelly (chilies, spices, fish, meat and the like - what else would it be?) and a bit messy as there'd been a bit of rain and the ground was wet in places but it was real life.  The people were so friendly and if they caught sight of a camera they were asking us to take photos.  One lady, who'd been sitting on a stool, asked me to take a photo and all of a sudden she became a hive of activity.  She didn't want a 'portrait' she wanted me to take some of her working!  Another man kept pointing to his wife and child and then the camera .... such happy people!  Anie stopped to do some shopping at a dried fish stall and ended up shooing us all away (we were waiting for her).  Reason?  The stallholder was asking too much money for what she wanted to buy and all because of us.  There's different price ranges - local, Indo speaking whites and tourists!  Anie came away with a bag load so guess she ended up with the 'local' price she wanted *grin*

We had lunch (not the best we'd had) at a local, and very popular, swimming pool/temple/cafe complex.  No idea where it was, or what it was called but, there were monkeys in the trees and on the access road to it - and cheeky they were with it.  Obviously very used to human contact :0)

Lunch was followed by the last planned visit of the day - to Pura Lingsar (Lingsar Temple).  It was built by Hindus in 1714 but is now also shared by followers of the local Sasak people's Wektu Telu religion. Beautiful place and very peaceful.  We made a wish and threw coins, following a certain ritual, over a gate into a small pond which also housed 'holy' eels. We tried to entice the eels out of their hiding place. It's supposed to be good luck for life if you see them and it seems that just seeing the face (which we did) was enough, according to our guide.  

 Making our wishes.

A priest.

Unfortunately we couldn't fully explore the Hindu temple part as a family had arrived to worship so we were only allowed to take photos from a corner of it.  If they hadn't arrived we could have looked round properly but it was fascinating, none-the-less.

Showers for ritual washing.

On the way back to the hotel we passed several local weddings. Anie thought it was probably some important holy day as there were so many. Unfortunately we only saw one bride as most hadn't arrived.  I managed to get a picture from the bus window.  Driver offered to stop so I could get a better photo but I didn't want to intrude so declined.  Wish I hadn't now - :0(  Guess which one is the bride ...

That 'homeward' journey rounded the day off nicely.  As we were nearing the hotel there was a large gathering which turned out to be a stick-fight gathering.  We stopped so we could go and take a quick look but I stayed on bus with Ruby, who was asleep (well, she was when we stopped *lol*), and I wasn't sure I could cope with the crowds by this time as I wasn't feeling at all well.  Unfortunately Jackie didn't have her camera and hadn't taken mine so I've no photos to show of that and nobody who took any has been kind enough to share :0( however, a search of YouTube has given me a video, shot in February of this year and filmed at exactly the same place - Senggigi - just down the road from our hotel. This is video #2, there is another by this contributor.  At least I've got to witness it now, if not the atmosphere *grin*

I finished a very busy day with an early night as still not feeling good. Lovely day but still an undercurrent and not really sure why there should be any more.  Anyway, another day out planned for the following day ... Gili Air (island), beach, glass bottom boat for some, diving for others and .... chilling for me!

Now .... I've had a very lazy Bank Holiday weekend and today I've to take Dad to his hearing appointment.  Hope he doesn't fight me so much with his mobility 'cos if he does it'll be the last time I will be able to take him out.  I can't cope with the struggle. It wears me out and takes me ages to recover my breath.  He doesn't physically fight but he doesn't trust that you won't let him fall, so he hangs on to stuff for grim death.  You try to get him to move and he's trying to move his feet without letting go of what he's gripped on to.  Telling him to let go produces no effect, no matter how firm you have hold of him.  Carers are now 2-up with him and they're fit and healthy with no breathing problems.  I have to manage on my own.  I'll try this time.  I'm not expecting to do it any more.  I warned the hearing centre last time that it might be the last.  They can do home visits.  Unfortunately everything is now a home visit which means he goes out even less than he did.   I'd like to take him out for pleasure but I don't think I can any more.  We'll see.

Thanks for dropping by .....

Monday, 30 May 2011

Moving on ...

... to the next destination - or perhaps not!

6th May -
  • Flight to Lombok, the neighbouring island to Bali - 11:40am.  
  • Transport booked to leave Villa Infinity at 10:30am.  
  • Breakfast at 9am.  Ready by 10am.  Transport arrived.
  • Anie taking photos - don't worry, plenty of time.  
  • Spare luggage already taken to Matt and Anie's home.  Matt meeting us at airport.  
  • Left villa 10:30am.  Traffic very heavy.  Going was slow.  
  • 20 minutes into journey Anie gets message ... Ruby's little case found at villa.  
  • Pulled off road.  Villa staff delivering. 10 minutes they reckoned.  
  • 5 minutes later Anie decides can't wait.  Time getting on.  
  • Soon clear we're not going to make flight.  Would have been difficult even if we'd left villa at 10am!  
  • Arrive at airport around 11:45am.  
  • Anie rushes off to 'sort things out'.  We deal with luggage.  
  • 12:30pm and we're still waiting.  
  • No sign of Anie or Matt and it's hot, sticky, no air and little breeze.  
  • Nowhere to sit other than on luggage trolleys and kerb stones (where we found some breeze) 
  • Nobody was happy.  
  • Anie emerges 
  • Now booked for the 6pm flight.  
  • Loaded trolleys taken to left luggage - afternoon to kill.  
  • Then something unpleasant happened and from that point the holiday took a turn for the worse.
Jackie was singled out for an unwarranted, public, verbal attack! It came from nowhere, for no reason :0(  Worse, it was from someone who should know a lot, lot better!  I think anger/frustration was being taken out ... but on the wrong person.  Disappointing, embarrassing and so sad.
    Lunch was first on the menu and we were taken to a local, up-market(?) warung.  It was then decided that we'd go 'shopping'. Unfortunately we weren't all interested in shopping but time had to be killed and the shopping mall did have a coffee shop and, as Kuta Beach was directly behind it, there were also bars. Times were kept a close eye on and we left at 4pm to get to the airport in plenty of time for our rescheduled flight. This time the journey to the airport took less than ½ an hour (we were a lot closer *lol*). We were checked in and in the departure lounge by 5pm. Just right for a 6pm flight as boarding was going to be at .................. 18:55 ...... huh? I queried it, thinking there had been a mistake, but I was snapped at and 'ordered' to go sit down and 'just rest' until the flight was called. Flight finally called at 19:30, took off around 19:50 and we were in Lombok arrivals hall at 20:15.  

    Arrived at new hotel, the Alang-Alang Boutique Beach Hotel, around 9:30pm, after a 45-ish minute drive in the dark again - *grin*.  Rooms allocated and meal - except it didn't quite happen that way.  Suffice to say the upset continued and, although I ate that night, Jackie didn't.  We retired around midnight (meal not served until after 10:30pm) and hoped that it was just the situation of that day that had caused the upset and that things would improve.

    The following day, 7th May, became yet another 'rest' day so it was spent on sunbeds, bale/baruga, reading and watching the world go by. I went around with my camera :0)  This hotel was right on the beach front. Lovely views and beautiful grounds.


    Our room & terrace

    Bathroom open to the elements.  
    The bathroom door was locked from the room-side when room was left and, when it rained (and it did rain - storms, the lot, but only at night, fortunately) you needed a brolly to use the loo ... the loo seat got wet!
    Unfortunately we also had no hot water.  It was reported several times and each time we were told it was fine.  Then we were told we should open the sink taps as well as the shower one when we wanted a shower.  Of course, now why didn't we think of that one?  The only hot shower that we had, for our entire stay here, was by me - and the occupants in the next room were also having one at the same time *lol* 

    The bar, with outside dining area behind, swimming pool sunbeds behind that, garden ones in front.  To the left of bar is the covered dining room and the far left was the room next to ours.

    Part of the swimming pool (never got to test that)

    Non beach front rooms.

    Part of the gardens.

    Views from a sunbed.

    A beach seller.  Fortunately not too bothered by them because of where the hotel was situated but ... they weren't supposed to be there at all.  Some tried their luck - *LOL*

    Jackie, lounging and reading, on the bale/baruga.

    Some of the others, chilling!

    There was an undercurrent following the previous day but mostly it was pretty enjoyable however, dynamics had changed and a distancing was taking place.

    Anie's family, who live in the main town, Mataram, came and joined us for dinner that evening.  My meal?  2 starters, due to a misunderstanding as to what had been ordered earlier in the day. Not my misunderstanding though.  Should have listened to myself!  Couldn't manage a main course after 2 starters. There were also a few problems that arose before Anie's family arrived but that was more out of thoughtlessness, although the comments that followed certainly weren't :0(  Anyway, something to look forward to ... our very first day of proper sightseeing .... BRING - IT - ON!

    Well, it seems that I'm a loooney!  That's according to Kieran, eldest grandson.  I posted a couple of pics on Facebook yesterday, of me on the jet ski and para-sailing and that was his reaction ... and there was me thinking I was a pretty cool Nana - *ROFL* 

    Thanks for dropping by .....

    Sunday, 29 May 2011

    After the night ...

    ... before!  The morning and the days .... 

    Got to say, despite it being 24+ hours from door to door nobody seemed to be suffering jet lag.  The only problem I encountered was losing one of my inhaler devices.  The device for my most long acting inhaler that I only take once a day.  Seems it fell out of my bag on the second part of the journey and I didn't notice until I went to use it just outside Bali airport after we'd arrived.  Anie tried to get me one the first day in Bali but she was told I'd need to go to the hospital to be given one and it would mean seeing a doctor first (for a hefty fee).  Even then, there was no guarantee I would get one as "it was something Europeans used, not Indonesians".  Don't they suffer from COPD?  I think they must but perhaps it's not treated in the same way, if at all.  Anyway, I made the decision to try to manage without, using my other long acting one as normal (with an odd supplementary dose) but making a lot more use of the Ventolin inhaler that I don't usually use much.  I'd taken a spare one of them so I knew I had enough to last me the holiday.  On top of that it meant just taking things a little slower than I do normally, which is just past a full stop as it is *LOL*

    Anyway, the day after the wedding, 4th May .... a chill out day.  There were a few, no nearly all, that needed to recover from the night before, me and Jackie being the exceptions as we'd not over-indulged, so it was another 'rest' day.  Pool, reading, just general chilling - a repeat of our first day in the country really.  There were a few things hanging around - apart from hangovers - that perfectly illustrated the day ...

    More abandoned shoes - *lol*

    Anie musters the troops ...

    ... including Ruby! ...

     ... who also decided to help cream up Nannie *bless* ...

    ... so that she could 'da bomb' in the sun. Yes, really!

    Some of us have more sense (or do we?)

    We rounded Wednesday off with a visit to a local restaurant where we experienced the best ever BBQ spare ribs.  An huge plate load was delivered to each of us with a side serving of chips.  No way was I ever gonna eat everything they put in front of me but .... those ribs were sooooo tender and delicious the lot was devoured.

    By this time we'd only seen Bali in the dark, apart from the view from the villa, however that was due to change the next day, 5th May, as it was planned to visit Sanur beach for some 'water sports' and massage.    As the saying goes .... you're never too old (or too young).  Opposite ends of the age scale.  Not sure who were the maddest *grin*

    Jackie going pillion, Ruby with Uncle Matt

    I got talked into going solo!  As easy as riding a bike, they said.  Can't do that either, still, I'll give it a go.

    Half the time used and on my way back.  Didn't feel in proper control and pretty sure I was out of my depth should I come off .... feeling uncomfy ... now Jackie can have a go solo by taking the rest of my time *grin*  Should have held out to go pillion.

    Fortunately Jackie didn't have camera.  If she had there would be another picture to add.  Me on my back in the water.  Got off of jet ski fine.  Stood in water on the soft sand, appreciating the coolness.  Wave comes in, moves sand under my feet and I loose my balance.  Result - flat on back!  Look cool Pam, I meant to do that  *LOL*

    Jackie taking over.

    So let's have a go at para-sailing as well *grin* ... I watched.

    Despite what it looks like she landed safely on the beach.

    OK.  Take off and landing on the beach.  No water involved.  I can do that :0) - I'll have a go as well, except   ...

    ... I end up in the water!  It only ever happens to me.  Couldn't pull the cords as directed.  Lost all strength and, no matter how hard I tried they just didn't respond - ooops!

    Little Ruby, tandem, with one of the para-sailing guys

    Too much excitement but at least I'd given them a go.  Probably should have tried both a few years ago, when I'd been tempted but not brave enough, before I became old, weak and mad - *rofl*  2 more off my bucket list though.  Would I do either again?  You bet I would, but not solo.  I certainly wouldn't para-sail solo again in this type of harness!  Seen set-ups more like seats, which sounds - and looks - much easier and more enjoyable.

    Followed the excitement up with a full body massage in a little beach massage parlour - well, 4 of us did - and, it was heaven!

     All in all a fun day that I wouldn't have missed for the world and we actually got to see some of Bali, in daylight, on the journey to and from the beach - bonus!

    Finally, I couldn't resist taking these pics.  It's the middle of the night and Jackie has decided that half the giant bed isn't enough.  2 nights running this happened.  Just as well I wasn't sleeping too well anyway - *LOL*

    This was the last day based at Villa Infinity.  The following day we were off to Lombok for 6 nights - or so we thought?

    Now?  I've given up trying to get butt into gear.  It's a Bank Holiday weekend so I've decided to go with the flow and listen to my body for the next few days.  Weather is rubbish anyway and has been for a few days now.  No rain to speak of (it was the driest April of 350 years and looks as though May is going to be pretty much the same for this part of the country) but it's not sunny or warm and there's been quite high winds for a while now.  I shall have a struggle on Tuesday getting Dad to a hearing check up appointment and then, after that, I'm going to really kick myself into action, no matter how I feel.  I guess there's a bonus to not feeling physically 100% .... I'm getting the blog posts done - *LOL*

    Thanks for dropping by .....