September 09, 2018


Oslo, 2010

In the blink of an eye, we have grown older.

Seen other parts of the globe.

Sampled fine port in Lisbon, the colour of the fortified wine a golden burnish which I cannot do justice to in my description.

A moment.
Between a step.
And the next.
A turn of my head.
And first sight of the Sagrada Familia, yet incomplete but completely otherworldly.

We walked - in Europe, in Asia.

Somewhere on the Nakasendo, hospitality from the caretaker of a rest house.

O-cha, pickled radish, folk songs and the accidental company of fellow walkers, meeting at that point in time at the rest house on the way to Somewhere.

A blink in time, moments on the road.

Time passes, sights savoured.

March 24, 2007

One more amazing meal >> Bali 08

Going home today, so we decided to treat ourselves to one last good local meal at Warung Biah Biah.

The cosy and quaint restaurant (mud walls, etched artwork, hewn wood furniture) had friendly staff. We ordered a combination of Balinese dishes with rice. The food came, charmingly presented on leaves fashioned into cute, mini-plates. The rice has a faintly woodsy taste since it was cooked over charcoal fire. This was one of the most enjoyable meals we had although the bubuh injin was a disappointment.

Then we had to take the dreaded Perama bus back to the airport. Not much choice since a car / taxi cost six times more! Luckily for us, the bus back was air-con and in very good condition, with curtains to shade us from the afternoon sun and only half-filled. ^_^

So we’ve come to the conclusion that the type of buses you get really depend on your luck.

We decided to buy some titbits at the airport since the prices were ‘fixed’. After picking up the items we wanted and mentally calculating the total amount, we approached the counter. We found it strange that the staff was using a calculator to add up the amount instead of scanning the bar codes.

Imagine our surprise when the total amount exceeded our estimate by over 10,000 rupiah! Surely our math could not be so bad? We asked for a receipt since the staff had torn off the price tags. The lady cashier was very reluctant to do so but we insisted. Instead of giving us a printed receipt, it was handwritten so nothing was recorded in the cash system.

Before leaving the shop, we compared the prices on our receipt with the items on display in the shop, which had price tags on them. We discovered that they overcharged us by 10,000 rupiah for one of the items! When we questioned the staff, she was very quick to claim that the item was on offer and refunded us the 10,000 immediately, plus another 3,000 from the other items bought.

Of all the scams / cheats that we’ve encountered so far, this has really got to take the cake! Do they really think tourists are so gullible that nobody will notice an extra 13,000 rupiah? And we thought it was ok to buy things at the airport since prices are ‘fixed’…

But, we did not want the incident to sour our memories of this Bali trip, so issued settled, we went for a drink and spent our last half hour in Bali recalling our favourite moments of the past week.

That's all for Bali. Next >> On a loop - Mae Hong Son to Pai to Chiang Mai

March 11, 2007

That Singaporean accent >> Bali 07

Today, we decided to attempt one last walk before going home. Destination? Goa Gajah.

Our guide book says this is a long 10km circuit. But, after our ‘extended’ Campuan Ridge walk, we feel we ought to give this a try, at least.

On the way, we met a very nice American who seemed very concerned that we were walking to Goa Gajah.

“You’re Singaporeans, right? It’s your accent! I can tell because my wife is Singaporean.”

The tall, gangly man said the walk was not very pleasant and was dangerous. Unpleasant we could understand, as it was rather dusty walking by the road, but how could it be dangerous (unless the locals know something we don’t)? Anyway, he pointed us in the right direction and promised to pick us up if he saw us again later (he was waiting for his staff to pick him up after getting supplies).

True to his word, he appeared about fifteen minutes later and offered us a ride to Goa Gajah in his pickup. He even gave up his seat next to his driver to us so that we did not bake in the sun at the back (where he sat)! We chatted with the driver (his employee) and learned that the American had settled in Bali 8-9 years ago, was in the construction business and was a good boss.

When we alighted at Goa Gajah, the American was still vaguely worried (don’t know why) and we assured him repeatedly that we would be fine. Our compatriot is so lucky to marry such a nice man! Too bad we didn’t get to meet her.

There wasn’t much to see at Goa Gajah although the surroundings was quite pleasant.

Met a Malaysian couple with two daughters whom we’d seen at the next table in Café Lotus yesterday. The father said he brought his family here so that he could expose his kids to Asian values and let them learn about their roots as they’d been staying in America all these years.

We took a bemo back to Ubud and observed that both the locals and tourists (us) paid the same price. A poor, old woman boarded midway and when we reached Ubud, the driver actually gave her half the fare back. What a heartwarming gesture! ^_^

We lunched early at Gayatri Café, a popular and cheap restaurant with a varied menu. Since lunch wasn’t very substantial, we decided to have tea at Café Wayan, supposedly famous for scrumptious, fairly-priced Western breads and cakes. Was quite disappointed as we found it way too expensive for mediocre cakes and lousy service.

Debated whether we should have dinner at GreenHouse in Pertiwi Hotel or Lamak and finally settled on GreenHouse as it was just across the street from where we stayed. I had the highly recommended five-spiced duck breast while J ordered the squid-ink pasta. The pasta was a bit too hard (al dente it was not) and the squid slices were not too fresh. My duck dish was quite good though and J also enjoyed the tasting portion I slided on to her plate. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our leisurely dinner until it was time to settle the bill.

When the bill came, we were charged for items we did not order although the restaurant was quite empty (only 2-3 tables were occupied throughout our dinner). After the mistake was corrected and payment made, the staff did not return our change although we sat at our table for quite a while. No doubt it was a small sum but they should still give it back to us since service charge was already included and they should not just pocket the change as extra tips without our consent!

We would go back to Tropical Bale (even though it’s more expensive than GreenHouse) anytime when we compared the attitude of the staff at both restaurants. Maybe we should have gone to Lamak instead, which several guide books have recommended for outstanding, creative food.

Next: One more makan session