Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gado Gado go get a massage-o

Originally uploaded by gr8wendini
Yesterday was an adventure. Cheryl and I walked along the beach from Seminyak to Kuta, known to many as the proverbial armpit of Bali. It’s the Surf center of the island (and perhaps the world). Kuta is uber tourist central with so many stores, strips, and a mall, it’s easy to cultivate one’s “shop till you drop” muscle. I have flashes of Canal Street in the sense of the sheer abundance and repetition of everything and of course, the street hawkers trying to lure tourists in. It’s a bit overwhelming, and I find that I have to keep my “New York” on so as not to be some vulnerable prey. Aside from incidental Christmas music played in the mall, and the shop girls wearing Santa hats, it’s easy to forget we’re in the heart of the holiday season.

We had a delicious lunch on the beach—the locals quickie of fresh veggies called Gado Gado (can be made with meat). We paid .50-cents, this was our first real meal deal. Even the mangy, sick Bali cat at our table (don’t worry we didn’t touch) got a gift of salty fish from Cheryl.

Not to be completely clichĂ©, but we were told to check out the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Bali because there are beautiful pools laid out in exquisite landscaping, so we went before the restaurant opened and they let us in for a view, as we walked away we were stopped to do a peel and win lottery-type card game, and Cheryl ‘won’. The young guy, Nannang, was more excited than we because he gets a $50 commission, and that’s a lot of money here. But of course the prize needed to be collected immediately. We were asked to take a “no obligation” ride 15 mins away to a resort tour of one of those time share pseudo scams. Of course we weren’t going to be sucked in, but we went along for the free driving tour from Kuta to Nusa Dua, which was exciting in itself.

Nusa Dua is where the Climate Change Conference is happening now. CNN did a story on the publicity stunts that Carrie helped to organize. She was also one of the ‘snails’ in a snail costume. Here’s the story: Al Gore spoke last night. It’s exciting being so close to the action.

Carrie is hosting a party here tonight and she has quite a circle of lovely expatriate friends working in Forestry, UN, and other global agencies.
We had a group dinner with some of them, and went to see excellent music of a band call Sarharaja at a bar/club “Obsession” here in Seminyak.

I’ve now had my first massage at a place called Cozy, which reminds me of Bliss©. There are three types of massage in Bali. 1. The locals on the beach offering for $5, 2. Getting a legitimate treatment at a center like Cozy (90 minutes for $8.60, this was excellent) and 3. A destination Spa experience associated with high-end hotels or like Jari Menari (“Dancing Fingers”) here in Seminyak, and that is more like $25.

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