I guess you could say we piked tonight. No, we didn’t dine at Ryoshi, but yes, we did return to a restaurant we have already visited. I am totally glad we did but there will be others who think otherwise. We did not get to Sarong or La Lucciola or Metis or Ku De Ta or even SIP. We love our fine dining, but people who know me also know I make a point of staying away from the ‘obvious’. There hasn’t been one restaurant we haven’t been totally happy with in our time here. We have loved them all, especially Pearl, last night and our revisit to Lemon Grass again tonight. People were being turned away at the door, so that should give you an idea of the popularity of this little known Thai restaurant. Perhaps I would recommend if you want to dine there, to make a reservation – we have been blessed to walk in as though a table was reserved for us, but have watched many turned away. Timing, I guess.
So that was our dinner decision. Actually, today, my decision making skills deserted me, only to be replaced by a low-level mania/panic. I wish I could have more control, but on the last day of any overseas adventure, I begin to panic. I begin to realise that when I get home I will realise that I should have bought this or done that or eaten there or visited whatever or taken photos of that. It goes on all day and gets worse and worse, until I am running into every shop, taking photos of every dog to the point of Peter suggesting that I race out of the restaurant to a shop across the road while we wait for our main course! The hysteria ended not with a bang but a whimper. Would you believe the last purchase we made was from Bintang? Would you believe it was a pack of six coat hangers, made in Indonesia; two pink, two green and two purple? Do you understand now, how demented I get? Bintang was the only shop still open. What can I say?
So, on our day of ‘lasts’. We had our last massage at Eden Green in Jalan Double 66 (Jalan Arjuna). It was the second time we had been there. We also went to another branch of this spa in another street, but the one in Double 6 is the better of the two.
I think I should share about massages in Bali. Day spas are not like the ones we have in Australia. They can look quite luxurious from the front but you must be prepared for it to be quite different.
In the old days, day spas didn’t exist in Bali. I think (from my experience) massages started out on the beach. This is what I used to do anyway. I would go to the beach and about five women would rush over and ask me if I wanted crochet bikinis or if I wanted a massage. I said yes to both, of course. The massage was performed in a shaded spot on the beach, lying on a sarong, wearing bikini bottoms. They would place a towel for discretion, where needed. That was the early 80s.
Later my massage experience moved from the beach to a kind of hut/shed constructed of tin, on the edge of the sand, performed by the usual laughing, chattering women. I always wished I had paid more attention to my Indonesian lessons. Their conversations always sounded so interesting. I heard something about the police once, outside the window. I don’t know. Maybe they were hiding their boyfriends somewhere or secretly dealing in magic mushrooms. But there was definitely something ‘going down’. There’s something strangely thrilling about lying mostly naked in a tin shack, being massaged by a complete stranger who is perhaps hiding her boyfriend (or something contraband) from the police. Something exciting, something scary and risky. Or it could have all been my imagination and very poor understanding of Indonesian. Maybe they were just talking about what they would make for dinner. That’s about all we ever talk about at work.
Alternatively, at the hotel, there was a man who was the ‘authorised’ masseuse, who would walk around the pool area asking everyone if they would like a massage. If you answered ‘yes’ he would take you away to a massage table hidden behind a bamboo screen, somewhere off to the side of the pool area. That’s where I heard the agonised ‘aaarrgh’ of a man who perhaps was wanting the ‘medium’ massage as opposed to the ‘strong’.
So, these days there are the ‘spas’. You have all the options you always had on the beach – manicure, pedicure (with or without painted flowers), Balinese massage. There are so many other options now too; cream bath, aroma therapy, swiss massage, stone massage, shaitsu massage, waxing, scrubs and the list goes on and on. Total pampering, Balinese style.
If you have never had a Balinese massage, I recommend it. Here are my tips.
Firstly, wear a loose fitting dress or sarong, that you can slip into and out of easily. Be prepared. Whatever you wear is going to end up on a very oily body afterwards. Wear decent/big undies unless you’re confident, comfortable and beautiful enough not to have to worry about what you have to show. I always wear my boyleg bather bottoms. They are specially reserved for the daily massage. Whatever you wear will also become very oily.
When you enter the massage chamber, be it a room or curtained off section of a room, with other massage beds close by, you remove your clothing, leaving just the undies – no bra, no boardies, just the bottoms. Lie face down on the table as instructed. Balinese massage can be VERY firm. Let them know if you need softer. You want to relax, after all. You will have all the back done first and then the masseuse will let you know it is time to roll over. You will be covered with a sarong, which will be moved away as needed to massage the different area.
When the back and the front are finished, the masseuse will very quietly and politely let you know your massage is finished. They will usually ask if you would like a drink, then leave the room and you can put your clothes on again.
You’re done. Pay at the counter and probably rush back to your room for a shower, or if you’re like me, go sunbake. All that oil has to be good for something.
We had a massage every day and highly recommend it, if you have time. It is a wonderful way to totally de-stress and after the first couple of times you really begin to become accustomed to the strangeness of it; the smells, the atmosphere, the whole experience. There are some beautiful, up-market spas that are expensive and there are the ‘beach’ spas that have moved to luxurious looking ‘day spa’ establishments. They are still like beach massages though and still relaxing and the least expensive. We found the one we liked at Eden Green. Carla Spa was also good, but Eden Green was closer to us.
I wanted to blog about spas/massages because I hope people will be comfortable enough to give it a try. I also wanted to let people know they should leave their undies on, OK? Just sayin’.
You know what? I’m not staying up much longer. Tomorrow is D day (whatever ‘D’ stands for?). We will check out around mid day and head to the airport.
Words are not adequate to express what I am thinking; all sorts of things. Things like how very happy I am that Peter has fallen in love with Bali! That was my big hope; that he would love it. Being back here after such a long break and seeing how much had changed, yet how much has stayed the same. The people. Our sweet waiters in Pantarei, Richard and Nik (aka Mustika and Nyoman), the smiling, welcoming staff all around our villas, the taksi drivers with the wicked sense of humour, the finest of fine dining, the dogs, the cats, the holes in the pavement (makes the City of Melville look good), the blogging and the Trip Advisor friends, our villa and so, so much more – everything Bali.
Good night, friends and family.
It is 10 degrees in Perth. I’m not saying anything. Peter says “stop looking at that everyday. You know you’re a ‘glass half empty’ type person!”
Do I really, really, really have to get on that plane tomorrow? Really?
I wasn’t going to say anything, was I?
Thank you all sooooo much. It has been a pleasure having you all along on our Bali Odyssey. You will probably hear more, if you choose to tune in, but if real life bores you, keep an eye out for our next Bali Odyssey!!!
Smiley Face here!! 🙂