Wednesday, January 22nd
Our original plans for today of renting some motorbikes and heading up to Ubud quickly got sidetracked, but that's the beauty of an actual vacation: you can just do whatever sounds good at the time, as long as you enjoy yourself and relax. We started the morning with a delicious buffet breakfast and enjoyed some of the non-standard options like fried rice or noodles, mashed potatoes, guava juice, and also favorites like waffles, croissants, and the absolute best coffee I've ever had.
After breakfast we took the cameras and did some more exploring around Kuta, looking for some of the places familiar to Naomi from her previous visits. After coming out of one of the many shopping centers here we met a man handing out advertisements for a resort in Nusa Dua that promised free gifts for visiting. We immediately suspected a sales pitch for a time-share or vacation club, but after talking to him and learning that the "winning ticket" I had gotten would get him $100 if we showed up, we decided that it wouldn't hurt. $100 for a local here is probably enough to completely take care of his family for a month. He was friendly, and not pushy at all, and was delighted that Naomi spoke Indonesian. We chatted with him for 20 minutes or so and then a taxi arrived to take us to our "free tour and lunch."
Long story short, it did in fact turn out to be a sales pitch for a vacation club like we expected, but we met a friendly British guy named Mark who was more interested in talking with us about how he ended up moving to Bali than in selling us a membership, and got to pick his brain a bit about what it's like to live here as an expat. We told him right up front that we weren't his target audience, and that we didn't intend to sign up for anything, but he was happy to keep talking with us anyway. Ended up being a good use of our time, since we're looking into the possibility of eventually moving somewhere like Bali, and we got a lot of good information about the housing situation, how to get a work permit and visa, what the cost of living is like, and a lot of other useful tidbits.
After being offered a free lunch (we declined) and getting driven back to our place, we napped, paddled around in our pool, and planned the rest of the day. Lunch was at a nice cafe right across the street from where we're staying. One of the best things about Indonesia is the low cost of most things, and this was no exception. Our lunch of plates piled high with fried noodles and chicken and beef satay cost somewhere around $8. And that was at an "expensive" restaurant.
Once it started to get dark and cooled off a bit, we headed back out into town to a nice secluded spa we had seen earlier. I dropped Naomi off for her two-hour "Luxury Hair Treatment" and did some more exploring around town in the mean time. She was positively glowing when I came back for her, looked even more amazing than ever, and was so relaxed. I guess an hour-long head massage followed by whatever else she got does that to a girl. We booked her another couple hours for the next night for some more "girly stuff" and went off to find dinner. If it sounds like we're being extravagant here, keep in mind that everything so far, including our lodging costs, is still less than a third of what it costs us to spend those same days in Japan for food and transportation and our rent.
For dinner we wound up at an Irish restaurant tucked away in a different resort called Gracie Kelly's. The food was delicious, and the Indonesian band playing western rock music was highly entertaining. After dinner we meandered back to our place, enjoying the night sounds and smells, the warm humid air, and the breeze off the beach.