Friday, December 4, 2015

Bali and Singapore

Flying knight statue
We arrived in Bali, Indonesia and the sun had already set, yet the air was so hot and humid it felt like walking into a steam room.  We took a cab ride to the hotel and along the way saw some pretty awesome statues depicting Hindu stories.  One in particular, the flying knight, which is located near the airport looked amazing all lit up.  The following day, we headed over to the pool to cool off. Getting in to the water was great.  The water was so warm that you could just dive in without feeling that uncomfortable cold on your tummy.  The pool was very deep, about 10-12 feet.  They have the pool this deep to keep it relatively cool.  They do have a kiddie pool that was about 1 foot deep and it was significantly warmer, too hot for me, but Eden loved it.  Also, along one side of the deeper pool they had 3 in pool loungers that Eden loved to play on, and Justin and I liked relaxing on.  Danielle went off to the kids club and really had an amazing time with all of the activities they had planned daily. The kids made sand art, did palm weaving, made muffins and played lots of games.  

Joel and Eden at the pool

Making muffins
We had decided to keep a low profile and stick to the area where we were staying.  So every day we went to the pool, ordered some fun drinks, checked out nearby restaurants and amenities.  One of the days all of us except Eden, went for a massage.  I had thought that the cost of massages in Phuket were reasonable, but here in Bali they were downright cheap.  A one hour massage turned out to be $4 including tip!! We went in turns, so I went first with Caleb and Danielle.  Once done, it was Justin and Joel’s turn.  Needless to say, we were all feeling rather relaxed and my back felt great.  That afternoon, Danielle learned Balinese dancing at the kids club.  They also dressed her up in a traditional Balinese costume.  Danielle asked if I could take her back to our room to show everyone else and they told her she could go.  Once Eden saw her, she wanted to get dressed up too.  In the end, the boys even decided to try the traditional men’s costume.  They all looked amazing.  They had done full makeup on the girls and even did their hair.  The costumes are so colorful and very pretty.  I personally loved all of the adornments in their hair.   

Danielle in Balinese attire
Eden liked being dressed up

All the kids dressed up in Balinese attire

On another day the ladies went for pedicures.  This was a little pricier at $5 including tip, but what the heck it was worth it.   The place we stayed offered cultural shows every other night and man was this a treat.  We experienced the traditional Kecak dance which is also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant.  The troupe of 30 men chanted “cak” while moving their hands and arms. There are also 4 other characters/dancers that appear at different times in the story.   The dance depicts a battle from Ramayana, a Hindu poem.  It was very interesting and almost trance like.   

Ramayana Monkey Chant Performance
With the performers after the show

On another evening we were treated to the lion dance.  This was done by a troupe of teenagers that used only percussion instruments.  There were 4 other teenagers that were in 2 different lion costumes (2 performers per costume). This is a traditional dance that is done for the New Year or religious festivals.  Eden was terrified of the lions.  We had to take her over to the side, away from the main stage.  Eventually one of the lions came over and they were very nice, trying not to act scary.  After a while, she warmed up to it and pet the lion.  My favorite dance was the fire dance. This dance was accompanied by 3 drummers.  Two of the dancers were female and they came out several different times with different fire accessories. Some looked like candelabras, others were rings of fire.  Each dance was beautiful and mesmerizing.  There were also two male dancers that came out with fire poi balls and batons.  At one point they twisted the 2 poi balls together and then pulled them apart to have them spin quickly.  The fire actually resembled a blade on a saw!  They took this and slowly traced a circle around their head, at a very close proximity to their face.  It was amazing.  Caleb especially liked it.  Last year in school Caleb participated in a hooping and spinning class.  Their last showcase consisted of them each doing at least one performance with one object on fire.  Caleb had chosen the poi balls. I know, right, I couldn’t believe they had a class like this in public school, no less with middle school boys, very brave teacher.  I will say I was more at ease watching the strangers perform then my own son.  I was the parent that kept gasping every time the fire came too close to Caleb, which during a fire performance is the whole time.  We all fully enjoyed the fire performance and Caleb was excited to share pictures of it with his teacher.  

Kids with the lions

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Bali and there was no turkey in sight.  We had wonderful tapas and traditional Balinese food with some amazing drinks.  All of it was delicious and we had a wonderful, yet unconventional, Thanksgiving dinner.  

Getting to Singapore from Bali ended up being much more difficult than expected.   There is a volcano in Indonesia, Mount Barujari, in Lombok, the island adjacent to Bali, that has been erupting on and off for a few weeks.  The ash from it got so bad that, in early November, the airport in Bali was closed.  Justin and I had been keeping ourselves abreast of the situation in case we needed to change our plans.  Everything seemed to mellow out so we went forward with our plans.  Once at the airport to leave Bali, we got a different story.  Our airlines, Jetstar, had turned the plane coming from Singapore back to Singapore when it was ¾ of the way to Bali, they said, due to the volcano.  So, in fact we had no plane for us because it was in Singapore.  While keeping informed of things in Bali before we even arrived, we had heard that Jetstar was pretty conservative and had cancelled flights longer than all the other airlines, for about 10 days.  Justin and I went to the board and no other airlines had cancelled any flight, in fact the volcano had not had any new eruptions since the earlier part of November.  Justin and I decided to get our luggage back from Jetstar and rebook our flight with another airline.  What a headache!! Oddly enough Jetstar refunded our full amount and we were able to leave Bali 10 hours late.  We could not miss our flight because we had booked a cruise out of Sydney and we could not miss that.  Once in Singapore we all breathed a sigh of relief.  

The following day we had a very late night flight to Sydney so we had the entire day to visit Singapore.  Justin and I had wanted to stay longer but since Singapore is now considered the “most expensive city in the world” we did not want to break the budget.  We had a great time in Singapore. Our first stop was Chinatown.  It is so lively and animated.  There are hundreds of different shops and restaurants.  I had wanted to get each of the girls a cheongsam, a Chinese dress, and a pair of embroidered Mary Janes.  We found both and got them each one. It looks totally adorable, they will be wearing it on the formal dinner nights on the cruise, can’t wait.  We picked up a few other items and grabbed a drink at one of the restaurants.  Justin and I had a Tiger beer, it is brewed locally in Singapore.  It tasted great and really hit the spot since it was about 95 degrees and 90% humidity. We were all so hot!! Caleb’s hair looked like a sponge, and we all had sweat pouring down our backs.  

Singapore Chinatown
We headed to the metro which was a little cooler and after a couple of stops ended up in an area called Marina Bay.  This place is incredible.  They have a botanic garden with these huge structures that look like enormous, 50 meters tall, trees called the super trees.  Around the outside of each “tree” is a living wall.  The super trees are surrounded by beautiful gardens and it is all free to the public. We had a great time exploring the gardens and taking in the views.  But it was still really hot.  We then headed over to the building that is adjacent to the super trees.  This building is called Marina Bay Sands, and is 3 separate towers that are connected at the top by a building that looks like a large ship.  It is the oddest and coolest thing that I ever saw.  It is said that the architect built it that way in case there was another worldwide flood, he at least had a place he could go, his own personal Noah’s Ark?  We headed toward the shops and ended up getting lunch at a food court that consisted of every different kind of Asian food imaginable, the kids were in heaven.  It was very nice to see the city of Singapore decorated for Christmas.  It was the first time it felt a little Christmassy.  We walked around the harbor and took in the sights then headed to the airport for our overnight flight.  I will say if we had more time and money both Justin and I would have loved to stay in Singapore longer.  The city is beautiful and clean, the architecture is amazing and the people are so nice.  We all loved it.  

At Marina Bay

The Super Trees
Marina Bay Sands with ship-like structure on top of 3 buildings

Overnight flights are horrible, full grown humans trying to sleep in a tiny seat that barely reclines while tiny humans try to use you as their own personal pillow.  No one really sleeps.  I hate overnight flights!!  

At the mall with Christmas Tree

Helix bridge

Singapore skyline at dusk

No comments:

Post a Comment