Random Solitary Thoughts

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Seafood - fresh from the delivery truck

Dawn of the third day, and we were beginning to tire of the mundane breakfast that was provided to us by the hotel. An almost westernised spread, interrupted only by the presence of porridge (which Kotak delightfully and religiously ate every morning).

The food was a combination of okay, versus not so good stuff. The sausages and eggs were good... not too bad, but the bread and pastry lacked everything that defines bread and pastry. In other words, they suck! The toast was okay tho, for I don't see how anyone can go wrong with toast, and I dread to imagine someone who can actually screw up toast! Burning it doesn't count btw... The corflakes were okay as well, and as mentioned before, I still haven't come across someone who can screw up cornflakes!

Anyhow, after the otherwise uneventful breakfast, we were scheduled to go to the town centre... the capital of Bali, Denpasar!

During the journey, I questioned the driver about the number of accidents, after seeing the way he drove, since I never saw one despite the amountof reckless driving I saw so far. He said that accidents do happen quite often and as a testament to his words one happened right in front of us. I've never ceased to be amazed by the power of the word...

The 'marketplace' in town looks exactly like the KL town centre. Dirty and wet, and full of dishonest people. Feels like home... The shops inside the complex were similar to those back home, but definitely smaller, darker, and dirtier.

Most of them sold handmade handicraft, carvings, paintings, and clothes. Very often they would pester you to buy their wares and would make you bargain for them. The trick is, to look around and walk away. And sometimes, it's good to bargain with the shop next door. Then you can see how two competitors slash the price down to beat each other. Kinda fun...

If there's one thing that really marred my visit to Bali was the fact that everywhere, there seems to be at least one local looking for easy money by following us around and trying to be our guide. They want to be paid for being a busybody and I really think that puts off a lot of people.

After completing the usual round of shopping, we had lunch at a cantonese restaurant nearby because almost everyone was sick of the bad tasting local fare. Then we headed towards the local Museum to check it out. On the way, we passed by a cloth shop, and everyone stopped to buy and bargain for cloth. I continued with Ms.Yap, a fellow group member and a friend of Kotak's mother.

The museum was closed, on a Saturday! Well, no worries, we hung out while waiting for the rest to arrive, and were constantly bothered by the usual bunch of locals trying to sell one thing or another.

When everyone was finally assembled, we headed off towards Sanur beach, and spent about 10 to 15 minutes there posing for a few shots and buying some expensive ice-cream and some old corn that wasn't as nice as it smelt. The roasted nuts were good and the satay was a bit better than the one we had previously. But overall they were cheap snacks to keep us occupied until our next destination, Tanah Lot.

Tanah Lot was a piece of land reputated to have one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. It housed a temple that was built on a ledge which is surrounded by water when the tide is high. One can only access the temple by boat, or when the tide is low. Or so we've been told...

Anyhow, when we got there, the first thing was to shop. Of course, having exhausted most of my cash, I decided to walk ahead and take a look at the shores of the temple. The temple was indeed built on a ledge and it was beautiful. The waves were crashing on the rocks like those seen only in movies. I could hardly contain my appreciation for the beauty of nature.

Here, we took a few shots of the waves and the rock formation, but unfortunately we didn't get to see the sunset because we were supposed to rush off to watch the Kechak dance, also known as the fire dance.

But somehow, we managed to miss it as we were late, traffic jam and all, so we settled for some seafood at this place which is famous for its 'fresh' seafood. Along the way we had the privilege of enjoying the view of more hillslope padi! So much for Tegalalang...

So we arrived at this restaurant, which is reputated to be famous for its 'Fresh' seafood. It reminded me so much of the restaurants that lined the road to my home back in Penang. But of course, this was Bali.

We sat down on chairs placed on the beach itself! The breeze was blowing, the sunset was visible, the view was magnificent, a live band was playing, and the waves were crashing! Talk about atmosphere... We had a menu to order drinks, and I ordered a 'Jungle Juice'. A alcoholic cocktail that combines fruit juice with Balinese wine. Worth a try in this foreign land.. so why not?

The women went to pick out the seafood, while Kotak and I sat at the table savouring the atmosphere. The drinks came and the 'Jungle Juice' turned out to be too much juice and not enough jungle... ah well.. what can we expect? The ladies returned shortly and proclaimed that we might have to spend more than we should... ooo.. kaaaaay.... I graciously checked my wallet to see if I have anything left...

The food arrived a moment later... and we tucked in, the ladies complaining about the lack of quality and how 'fresh' it was. Apparently, it wasn't as fresh as we thought, because according to Malaysian standards, fish or seafood was kept pretty much alive until the second before the chef decapitates the poor thing. In this case, most of the seafood came packed in ice... so of course they weren't as fresh as we expected...

The food itself wasn't anything to shout about. It was all cooked in practically the same way barbequed over a fire with spices and some sauce. But seeing that we were hungry, we ate almost everything. THe atmosphere did compensate a bit for the lack of good food. The band wasn't too bad as well.

So full of unfresh seafood, we headed back towards the hotel. By now everyone was tired, so while the ladies inventorized their spoils, Kotak and I headed out to get some last minute souveniours and say good bye to the night life.

Our first stop, was at a Nike shop just below the hotel which I had browsed the day before. There, I found a pair of football boots, black with an orange streak running down the side, on sale for RM 60!!! Without much consideration, (I had my fair share of considering the night before) I bought the boots!!! (The boots proceeded to be the envy of many a football player in the field in the days that followed... and still do.. occasionally...)(P.S. Football boots cost anywhere between RM 100-RM 500 here in Malaysia. Anything less than that usually lasts long enough until your next payday arrives. Plus, we're talking Nike's here!!!)

Next stop was at another Nike shop a few streets away where we met this local who was so friendly, we thought he was going to spend the rest of the night talking to us! So anyway we walked on and stopped by HardRock hotel to take a look at the souveniors. Too expensive.

Next, HardRock Cafe, and Kotak bought some T-shirts. We walked somemore enjoying the nightlife in Bali before heading back for a good night's sleep. Tomorrow will be our last and final day in the 'Land of the Gods'!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home