A Day or Two in the Life of an Octogenarian

All good things end and on Sunday, our stay in Bali ended. However, we put plenty into the available time. We were picked up and taken for lunch by friends. after a 2-hour drive through traffic, very busy but well-behaved, and with the driver and our host arguing about where we should turn, we ended up at the wrong beach and the people in the other car were not there. iI was 30 degrees in the shade, of which there was little. We eventually all met up and then began the trek to where these friends thought we had been the last time – the restaurant closed and six weary folks looking for another.

Lunch was good though not at all Balinese, and then it was time to leave. Meantime, one of the others, a Muslim, had taken off to find a temple and once again we were waiting for the second car. Yes, it was a shambles and I must say this Octogenarian was very pleased when we arrived at the hotel but only one hour before our pick up.

View while waiting for driver.

We were met by a pleasant driver who talked about Bali and of course, the upcoming G20 visit which has had, and will continue to have, an effect on everyone living in Bali. Much of the infrastructure has been improved, roads resealed and new roads built. The resort in which we stayed is to be the venue of the meeting and before our eyes (literally) two new conference centres were being built. The walk along the sand was paved in a day and we were told the sand will be cleaned and replaced where necessary every day. Busy, busy groups of small Balinese men appearing to be happy in their work.

So to the airport. I remember the first time I arrived in Bali in 1988. The airport terminal building was little more than a hut but now it is a large international terminal. Very impressive.

Two hours after arriving we were bound for Sydney. Nothing to report on the six-hour flight. A good selection of movies, my book and notebook, some food and sleep, and we were there. Then …. ELEVEN HOURS waiting in the Qantas Club lounge. How would we have filled in all that time without the lounge? Plenty of food and drink, alcohol if one wished, coffee and tea, a shower and eventually we were taken to the plane for our 3-hour trip to Wellington.

After arriving in Wellington and going through all the necessary formalities we came out into the terminal area at 1 am to find that the ordered taxi was not there. After calling the service I was told all cabs were busy and to take a cab from the rank. Problem No 2 – no cabs on the rank and about 15 people already waiting in line. so a very tired, elderly lady called the company once again and soon several cabs appeared including one which we took. So after depositing my companion at her house tired elderly lady eventually arrived home at 2 am. As my daughter said, I have to reconsider long journeys and stopovers from now on.

So many photos were taken of this incredible resort and I would like to share this one.

Dinner with the fishes swimming around and over our heads.
JB Happy to be home
in Wellington, NZ
October 25, 2022
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What? Bali? Again?

This is the JB day to post. We alternate you know! But guess what? I came up with a brilliant idea, that for each day she is gone, I would post something from her original blog Growing younger each day (pre AWA) from the past.

This one is from five years ago this month, and can you guess where she is? Again? Our lucky blogster is catching some serious relaxation time in exotic climes. Much needed for sure. And it is only for a short time!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain 

August in New Zealand is deep mid-winter.  Each year, my husband and I would take ourselves off for a few weeks or occasionally months, to get away from the dreary days of winter.  And way back in 1989 we chose to go to Bali in Indonesia.

We had been several times before and had thoroughly enjoyed the place and the charming people of that island.

Paneeda View Hotel, Sanur

We decided on a simple Balinese hotel for one week.  The Paneeda View hotel was recommended to us by our travel agent.  It was set right on the beach and was a lovely, gentle way to start our holiday.

Sengiggi Beach Resort, Lombok

 This was to ne followed  by a week at a 4 star resort on Lombok Island (the only resort on the island at that time).

Putri Bali Hotel, Nusa Dhua

and a final week at a fantastic hotel at Nusa Dhua.

The Peneeda View Beach Resort in Sanur was idyllic.  Very laid back and charming.  Unfortunately, several years later this area of Bali became infamous for the Bali Bombings that killed 202 people many of them overseas visitors.

However, when we were there it was a lovely, peaceful part of Indonesia in which to holiday.

We had explored the island on previous trips including Ubud the arts centre of the island.  We had seen the rice paddies set in terraces on the high slopes and watched the ducks being herded to market along the streets.

Borobudur temple

So this time we decided to venture further afield to Java.  I had heard of Borobudur the 9th Century Buddhist Temple in Jogjakarta and the biggest in the world.   I knew that it had been constructed as a ten-terraces building and rose to 42 metres.  The first seven terraces are in a square form, two upper terraces are in a circular form and the top terrace is where the huge Buddha statue sits facing west.

One has to walk clockwise from the entrance to the temple to understand the sequence of the stories that early sculptors set into the concrete.

We got up really early to cram as much into our day as possible.  We were told that one simply turns up at the airport – no pre-booking –and boards a plane.  We bought the tickets and were given 2 snack boxes.  Then the plane arrived and the locals rushed to the gate to grab a seat.  We were pushed and shoved and eventually we found two adjacent seats.  The seat back on mine was broken and I had a most uncomfortable journey.

via Wikipedia

Merpati is the domestic airline of Bali and I must say I really hoped (and still hope) the maintenance of the engine is better than the maintenance of the interiors.

The hostess passed around small packs of lukewarm ‘juice’ and then we opened the snack packs.  We were each faced with a curled up white bread sandwich and a soft biscuit.  Needless to say neither of us ate that ‘lunch’.

When we left the plane (having left behind the snack packs of course) we were accosted on all sides with noise, people and smells.  Traffic in Java is manic.  Six or seven lanes moving each way, ignoring traffic signals, other traffic and pedestrians.

Jogyakarta traffic

But all was forgotten and forgiven when we got our first sight of Borobudur.

What a magical sight and surely this building must rank up there with the pyramids for the sheer scale of what was achieved all those years ago.

Image via Wikipedia

Our guide told us it was is a shrine to Buddha and was built over a period of some 75 years in the 8th and 9th centuries.  Constructed out of an estimated 1,600,000 blocks of volcanic stone, dredged from the river and assembled solely by human labour, and is famed for its 1,500 intricately carved reliefs, covering a total length of five kilometres end-to-end.

The first archaeological study of the site was initiated in 1814 by Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. First restored in 1907, the monument suffered from neglect and war and was almost rebuilt in the 1970s under the guidance of UNESCO, who designated Borobudur as a World Heritage Site. The massive restoration process involved the removal and refurbishing of over one million blocks, rebuilding the foundation and adding drainage systems.

When we visited one could get inside the temple and also climb the hundreds of steps to the top layer.  Unfortunately, my late husband was unable to climb and so stayed down enjoying the sunshine and the views.

I still think about this magical day.  The return to our hotel was equally as frenetic, but it was all worth it to see this magnificent building.

And now some 22 years later, I still get ‘goose bumps’ when I think about Borobudur.  It ranks with my first sight of the Grand Canyon for sheer, breathtaking beauty.

“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.”
Bill Bryson, American travel author

Ticket to Paradise

After the excitement of Opera at the Met on Saturday, today we went to the movies and saw a totally different tale.  George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in Ticket to Paradise.

This is a fun and frolicking movie.  Clooney and Roberts characters were married for 5 years and have been divorced for 20.  Their only child, a daughter Lily, travels to Bali after graduation and meets and falls in love with a local seaweed farmer.

Her parents for once agree, they travel individually to Bali to stop their daughter from marrying and making the same mistake they think they made 25 years earlier.

There is no great story to be told, but the film is brightened and lifted by the fantastic scenery and some hilarious interactions between the stars. And of course, the stars brighten the screen with their smiles and their facial movements.

But a great movie it is not.  I am left wondering why these two mega stars became involved in this story.  Maybe the idea of travelling to Australia to film it during Covid was the draw.  

Having said all that, it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours as Wellington and New Zealand marked the Official Memorial Day for The Queen.

And now for the famous last line from Billy Wilder’s 1959 film, Some Like it Hot

“Well, nobody’s perfect!”

JB, Wellington NZ
September 26, 2022