Tuesday, May 28, 2019

One sad thing about fancy hotels is their breakfast usually isn't free. I live a hard life.

Today the mission was: white water rafting down the Ayung River in Ubud.

As we drove we saw a lot of these little flower piles in front of people's houses. Our driver put it pretty succinctly: "flowers in front of house three times a day keeps the evil away".

The rafting was fun. We saw some monkeys and some cool carvings in the rock while we bounced our way down the river. It was pretty chill compared to our previous white water experience. Rafting in Ecuador was much more about trying to not drown, with people flying over the side of boat over and over.

Lunch afterwards was part of the package. They had some good weird stuff for me to try.

Bubur Mutiara (pink pearl pudding)

Balinese traditional dessert

Indonesian traditional dessert. I was amused that they didn't even try to explain what this way. It's friggin' traditional. Eat it.

Lydia had some fun ideas on what to do next in this part of Bali, but I was beat from the rafting and the flights, so we went back. I still feel a little bit guilty that we missed some cool stuff because I ran out of gas. Oh well.

The hotel was still looking fly when we returned.

For dinner we hit up a nearby Balinese McDonald's that I was excited to try. The trick here is that they have some Hindu people around so there's no beef on the menu. But they also have some Muslim people around, so there's no pork! Needless to say there was chicken for days on this menu.

They had these fun little meal things with rice pictured sitting on top of leaves.

I went for the paket ayam serundeng spesial sambal terasi - spicy. Quite a wordy dish, that one.

I also had no choice to order a chicken sandwich that came with a black bun: the McSpicy Black Topokki.

There was a giant Halal sign on the door.

Some dessert may have happened as well. I'm a sucker for a good matcha green tea ice cream.

More Halal seals of approval.

We hit a local grocery store on the way home. I thought this little phone charging locker setup was a nice touch.

They had a ton of salak, which I just had my first nibble of in Cambodia.

There were a lot of kinds of date available. It was currently Ramadan so I think a lot of the snacks were for that.

There was a little offering assortment thing at the cash register.

I couldn't get enough of how cool the hotel was.

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Baller Bali Resort

We were confident in the fact that we had culinarily dominated Hong Kong and now it was time to find new lands to conquer. To the airport!

I don't like to brag but I visited the birthplace of Wilbur Wright in Hagerstown, Indiana.

You may recall about a week ago, which at this point feels like about three months ago, we flew business class from DC to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. It was a real hoot. Well the flight I booked was actually from DC to Bali, as it was the longest flight I could find. The last week of bouncing around was nested inside this stopover. My understanding is that Cathay is one of the few airlines that allow this sort of next level maneuver on award tickets.

Anyway we were still riding bidness class and so could enjoy the bidness lounge.

This leg of our flight was a bit less luxurious than the leg from DC. It was still pretty fun though.

The flight was way shorter and it was lunch time so the food options were a bit less extravagant. On the plus side we weren't trapped on this plane for 24 hours so I'll take it. This was:

"Smoked salmon with Waldorf salad

Mixed salad with Kalamata olives and tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette"

There was a different champagne to experience on this leg of our flight too!

"This is Taittinger's signature brand - an off dry Reserve Champagne that represents the finest quality the establishment has to offer. If you love your Champagne fresh with the taste of fruits such as apple, pear, and peach, then this is the one for you! The Brut Reserve is enjoyable at all times, thanks to its balance and depth. As the house's cellar master Loic Dupont says, "Taittinger's idea of pleasure is the natural way all the blends are put together." This blend consists of a majority of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a smaller proportion of Pinot Meunier. It is a Champagne we are proud to include in our Business Class wine selection."

I'd read about Hong Kong style milk tea and had been looking for it and asking about it all over Hong Kong. I even asked last night at the fancy pants T'ang Court because I figured they would have everything. Our server not only said no but kind of scoffed at the idea. Thankfully Cathy Pacific came through with the win. It sounds like the only difference is it's made with condensed milk rather than milk and sugar.

There were a few choices for lunch. I picked "Roasted lamb rack, spinach, mixed vegetables couscous and tomato sauce."

Camembert, steinerberger, and shropshire blue cheese made an appearance.

Our destination this time was Bali, one of the zillion islands that comprise Indonesia. Bali is the only Hindu-majority province in Indonesia.

The airport in Denpasar was pretty fun.

I got some peeing advice in the restroom.

The airport had really cool decorations. I was getting excited at this point. I feel like Bali really knows how tourism works.

The Grab app is like the local Uber. Our driver sent us detailed directions on where to meet him. He directed us all the way to a specific spot in the very cool parking garage, which was baller.

“It reminds me of one big garden store.” All along the road there were ornate plants and statues and fancy walls everywhere. It was like driving through a giant plant nursery showroom.

The InterContinental Bali Resort knows how to welcome a guest. They hit a gong when we got out of the taxi. I deserve more gongs in my life.

The hotel was like a temple. This coupled with the fact that there's not much to do in our part of Bali meant we often didn't really want to leave. That's sort of the double edged sword of really nice hotels: you almost feel guilty not being in it.

Welcome drinks son. And some leis. Haven't had a good lei since Hawaii.

Lydia got to pick a prize out of a box during the check-in process.

It was just a stupid coupon but I enjoyed the pageantry of its presentation.

These guys were not messing around with the flower arranging.

This place was ridiculously nice.

I wondered if this was a different flavor of the mythical Naga snake creatures that were infesting Angkor Wat.

We wanted to be real and not eat dinner at the hotel. Really the only other choice was one of the beachside seafood restaurants lined up in the sand. 

The restaurants all seemed pretty similar. I think we went with Menega Cafe because it had good reviews.

One thing that was a bit of a bummer if we ordered fish but it was really hard to see/remove the bones with such low lighting.

We ended up eating a whole basket of rice that night.