My daughter Francesca went to University at Lancaster and I used to love visiting her and her friends, it was great to see them all having fun there and they used to take me clubbing!
One such visit, about 6 years ago, I spent 40 minutes in the ladies loo chatting with a load of students who couldnt believe a mum would go to a club with her daughter! Why on earth not I asked, they said their own mums never would – but I will have to say that my daughter and all her lovely mates were always so welcoming and we had such fun together.
Dorothy Cortrviend is one such friend –
and from the moment we met Dot and I had a ball
When we met, we had our own special little dance due to Dot’s fascination with my job as a “Baby Catcher”
Dot and her partner Nicole have been living in Australia, their visas have now expired so they have decided to spend some time in Asia before returning to Europe. Once Dot heard I was going to be in Bali, she decided to come and pay me a visit. I was so excited about her and Nicole coming. I made a little sign just like all the other hosts waiting at the airport
and I jumped with Glee when they both arrived at the airport in Denpasar
They seemed in rather a hurry and didnt want me to take long taking this photo as they emerged and quickly moved through the lobby towards me, then they made excuses about putting their bags down and seemed rather distracted. I did think just 2 hours of jetlag shouldnt cause their strange behaviour.
I quickly realised what was going on as I heard a very familiar voice in the distance saying “I think you have forgotten something” It was my daughter – Francesca
My daughter Francesca lives in Cairns and I havent seen her since I departed Australia 18 months ago – they had been scheming and plotting for weeks and she had accompanied them!
I think I brought the airport to a standstill with my screams and cries – I was beside myself with glee!
Not only was she with them, but she had decided to take time off work and surprise me and spend 10 days with me in glorious Bali! All the lies which had been spun flew through my head, right to her and her boyfriend Mikey on Facebook pretending to meet up in Cairns at the time she would have been in Melbourne airport enroute to me!
I had a most wonderful time with these 3 lovely women and it was great to catch up with Dot and see she hadnt grown up at all
I have been so busy working on my Dive Master that Ive seen very little of Bali apart from some of its dive sites. Now was my time to be a tourist. We took a tour of Bali, starting with a bit of Balinese Theatre
We were all relieved when the show finally finished (sorry!) and ready to move on and finish our tour of Bali.
Next we went to a Hindu Temple dressed in our gorgeous sarongs, it was so very beautiful, ornate and peaceful
All this culture made us very hungry, so we drove up north to the beautiful volcano
and went to an All You Can Eat Balinese Buffet – yum!
Not only was the food fabulous, but we had stupendous views of the volcano and the lake (Danau Batur) – it was absolutely stunning
I couldnt possibly tell you how many times we all went up to re-fill our plates!
I have to give credit here for most of the photographs which were taken by Francesca. She has a fairly new camera and was like an addict with it, taking 1689 photos during her trip!
We went to a Tegenungan waterfall,our guide apologised-it was only a little one!
We had no complaints, it was bloody beautiful and we spent quite some time just sitting and looking at the beautiful views, enjoying a nice cold can of coke and glancing at the splits in the floor wondering at what point this building was going to fall into the valley below!
Its amazing how tired doing very little makes you, so we wanted to head for home, but we had to do a bit of a tour of a plantation and found this wonderful example of “Ecoagriculture”
We tasted a completely different type of coffee, one of the rarest and most expensive brands. Its called Kopi Luwak and is made from beans which have been eaten by a Luwak, the stomach acids and enzymes deep in the intestines of these cat like animals ferment the beans, but cant digest them so they poop them out – the locals collect the poo, take out the beans, give them a little rinse and make coffee from it. Honest, I couldnt make something like this up!
We all decided we needed a bit of tropical paradise in a slightly quieter area, so took a ferry to the Gilli Islands, and we were so glad we did!
Francesca and I were feeling pretty loving too as we watched the sun set…..
Here in Gilli Air, we very quickly settled into a routine of sunbathing, heading to a cocktail bar to watch the sun go down, then ambling along for dinner, then falling into bed exhausted from all the stress!
The “hotel we stayed at was lovely, exactly what we wanted were after. Having walked off the boat without a clue, we turned left to find accommodation, with no roads on the island, we took a short walk to find this lovely place. We discovered that if we had turned right, it was far more touristy with back to back bars and shops – not the idea of tropical paradise we had in mind at all! Good luck struck!
I would definitely recommend “Pongkor” if you happen to be around the Indonesian Ocean, it was lovely! Very novel little huts to stay in with fancy showers
and comfy hammock outside
Most of these places are family owned, with all the family members living in the complex, going about their daily lives.
The “Boss Lady” of our particular home stay put on a lovely fish buffet once the sun had gone down,
you just choose what you want to eat and it gets barbecued there and then for you
As a scuba diver I do struggle with the concept of eating fish. I love seeing them in the water and admit to a bit of Catholic guilt when I eat them too. This is sustainable food though, caught by the locals with a single line and it is the mainstay of their economy……..
A novel way to get the BBq going!
We had such a relaxing time in Gilli Air, and loving every minute
The Bintang was served very cold, but as the weather was so warm we had to drink them very quickly!
The time came for us to leave our patch of paradise, but not until Francesca had contacted the local adoption agency – guess what Mikey!!!
Only joking – this gorgeous child was a member of the family from our home stay, and she got passed around the tourists with great pride!
The boat trip is part of the holiday, and we made the best of the return visit too to pack in a bit of fun
Francesca held a fascination for the motors on all the boats, telling us all how Mikey would love to see these…..I think she mentioned Mikey once or twice during the trip…..hmmmm!
Back in Bali, I was getting withdrawal signs from diving so Francesca and I booked a trip to “Manta Point” Francesca was so excited that she was going to get to see mantas with me and we got up nice and early with true eagerness. Unfortunately, mother nature was not nice to us, we had a massive storm overnight, the loudest thunder I have ever heard and lashing rain, this, combined with a brilliant full moon meant loads of waves and surge, so it was not possible to anchor the boat at this fabulous dive site off Nusa Penida so we would have to try another day to see mantas together. We did manage 3 fabulous drift dives however
The next day we travelled to Ubud and stayed in yet another lovely home stay. We visited a very interesting market (more to come on this in another blog)
and joined a cookery school which was so fabulous. If you are ever in Ubud, please seek them out, we all had a great time together and a lovely feast. http://lobongcooking.com
This culminated in a gorgeous feast with the most stunning food ever!
When the girls planned their trip here, Dot and Nicole were going to go to Ubud initially, so Francesca booked a hotel for a couple of nights in order to be local and just turn up and see me! Well, Dot and Nicole decided to come straight to me in Sanur, so Francesca just moved the dates of her hotel and we ended her time in Bali there! It was absolutely gorgeous and a real treat – thank you Francesca!
If you are in Bali and want somewhere to stay, I strongly recommend this place, it was so centrally located, yet so peaceful and luxurious with a gorgeous spa – see above! http://hotelpuritempodoeloe.com
The time had arrived for Dot and Nicole to leave. We had a lovely time with these two beautiful women!
and they came to join us at the hotel for their final afternoon and have lunch
Then to my last evening with Francesca.
We went to a lovely Italian restaurant to enjoy a tasty meal (as if we hadnt eaten enough during our sojourn!)
Travelling is a wonderful thing to do, but it is so difficult as a mother being away from your children. I have a child living in Australia and two in the UK. So lovely to spend time with my Francesca, and I so wished Natasha and Callum could be with us too.
I escorted Francesca to the airport, we said our goodbyes yet again. Last time we had done this we had no idea when we might see one another again, just as I had at Heathrow just over a month ago with Natasha and Callum. This time, I know that I will see her when I go back to Australia, some time in July.
Time now to get stuck into my training as a Dive Master – Ive nearly finished it and soon start to train as an Instructor – I feel another blog coming on!