24/11/11 – Thursday
A lazy day… again. Apologies to all those stuck at work.
Miss Emma gets another in room massage before we head out to Seminyak for some shopping and a general look around. It is once more a hot day, but not as brutally hot as recent days.
Shopping in Seminyak is interesting to say the least. It’s almost entirely a mix of designer boutiques with the odd Quicksilver and Hurley chain thrown in. Unless you’re on the chubby side, if you can’t find clothes you like in Seminyak, you’re a hard person to please.
The sales staff here are also an interesting study. This level of outlet in Melbourne usually employs the kind of people who make you feel that simply walking into their store is an impost and they sigh that typical Gen-Y ‘whatever’ when you have the temerity to ask them a question, thus disrupting them Facebooking or tweeting how like, totally boring their day is. In contrast, most of the stores in Seminyak greet customers with a friendly hello and then ignore you. In a good way, of course. We spend the bulk of the afternoon wandering Jalan Laksmana in a really lackadaisical fashion. Ms Emma treats herself to some yoga wear and – her most prized purchase on the holiday – a kimono that she’s been trying to track down for a few visits.
We rest at one of Ms Emma’s favorite stops: Café Bali. After we both avail ourselves of the facilities – which are impeccable, I must say, we sit and admire the décor, as well as take some pics of the coolest Ganesh altar I think I’ve seen. We head back to the villa and as with our shopping trip in Legian Rd, it’s only on reflection during a taxi ride into Kuta the next day that we realise how far we walked. Impressive, in my mind, given the heat and general conditions that we did it in.
Dinner that night is at Sardine in Kerobokan. And no, we didn’t say hello to Schapelle. Sardine is an amazing seafood-inspired restaurant set in an awesome expanse of rice paddies; the owners keen not to disrupt the balance between local self-sufficiency and maintain some authenticity. Many people in Bali are saddened that much of the development that takes place on the island – resort accommodation, villas, new eateries etc, often comes at the cost at reducing arable land that local farmers used to rely on for an income. Bookings here are essential, like most of the best restaurants in Seminyak and Kerobokan. The entrance takes you to a bar where you wait to be seated at your table and you can watch a pool of Albino fish swimming lazily around.
Like Sarong, the meals here cost only a fraction of what they would in Australia and there’s no concession at all to quality. By Bali standards, though, it’s still a pretty penny, but who’s complaining when you shell out around $A100 for a meal that would easily cost you $A200 at home. Ms Emma enjoys a Barramundi fillet and I have the (ahem) truffle ravioli with seared Diver-retrieved scallops (if you don’t mind). It is the finest meal I’ve ever had. Even better, the owners do the rounds of the floor chatting with diners, asking how they enjoyed their meals and spreading general bonhomie – something I always like at a restaurant. It’s a ballsy move to place yourself in that situation; you’ll either get hammered about the smallest of issues or simple thank-you. It shows that a place backs their chef and the menu and are serious about making sure you enjoy your time at their establishment.
We adjourn from the table and have a coffee on one of the lounges where the rice paddy fields start. The evening breeze is cooling and relaxing at once. We enjoy a coffee and discuss more wedding thoughts before hitting bed.