Today we set off to Karma Kandara in Ungasan, just near Uluwatu, where we’ll be having the wedding next Wednesday night.
Miss Emma has already seen the venue and on her recommendation, we agreed to have the ceremony there. Today is the menu tasting and signing off on things like the music, wines, order of the ceremony and, I guess, the little things that you really don’t have at the top oyour mind, but that wedding planners/function coordinators earn their money on.
The trip to Uluwatu is a nightmare in terms of traffic. Since Miss Emma has been coming to Bali (30 years and counting) South-East Bali has been an hour – give or take – from Seminyak/Legian by car. Today’s trip took just over two hours. That’s how bad traffic has become in the airport and touristy regions (The road to Uluwatu is also the same road as the bulk of the Jimbaran Bay traffic uses for part of its journey).
Having said that, the two hour trip is well worth it. Karma is a wonderful place, with a strong Mediterranean feel in its design. Our first stop is the Temple Bar. It’s a really nice spot with panoramic vistas of Uluwatu and Jimbaran. This is where the wedding guests will be escorted to for welcome drinks on arrival. Its nice and classy and gives a great first impression of Karma Kandara.
Next we head down to di Mare, the Restaurant bar. This is the 5-star restaurant at Karma and is really picturesque. The decor is all white with hints of light blue. Like Temple Bar, it creates a great atmosphere for a beach retreat and fine dining. Below us, a team of labourers are hard at work IN THE POOL constructing a stage for a weddding being held there the next day. They are strategically placing specially designed aluminium foundation stumps in the pool. The next step is the scaffolding/rigging, over which reinforced glass/perspex is placed for the Bride and Groom to walk out on to say their vows in front of a celebrant. This “Walking on Water” look (somewhat cleverly called the WoW Wedding, geddit?!?!) can be yours for a lazy $5,000.
We meet Sam and Lauren – our even coodinators and are shown into a special wine cellar where the Sommelier and Chef are also waiting for us. The Chef advises us of which dishes he’ll be preparing from the Rijstaffel menu of our wedding and the Sommelier will be providing a selection of wines to accompany the dishes. It’s all very schmick. To put the icing on an already impressive cake, a bar attendant comes in and asks if I’d like a Bintang. F–k yes!
To cut to the chase, 4 Bintangs, 6 tapas dishes and 6 glasses of bloody brilliant wine later, I am well and truly shitfaced, but holding my own as Miss Emma and Lauren are crossing T’s and dotting I’s with my input.
After about an hour and a half we head down to the actual beach bar where the ceremony will be held; Nammos Beach Club.
To get to the beach club, you have to ride down a fairly steep travelator. As someone who suffers vertigo, let me assure you that the ride is just amazing! You get a fantastic view of the scenery and you’re travelling down amongst lush, tropical greenery and the pace of the ride down is perfectly balanced: not too fast and not too slow. Hopefully people enjoy it.
If the welcome lobby of Karma Kandara is Mediterranean, then Nammos Beach Club is pure Gilligan’s Island, sans the annoying castaways (Ginger excepted). It’s a very nautical theme, natch, but really well laid out and makes chilling out easy.
Emma is testing out the sound system making sure she can get her playlists going for the night. I’m sitting at the bar and – alcohol aside – nicely blissed out. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I had been working on a surfing-themed Tablet to Scoreboard mag and was working closely with Craig Baird – the museum’s curator and all-round Zen Surf master. I’m watching the waves breaking over the reefs and counting the waves as if I was trying to surf them, measuring out the number between the un-surfable trash before a quality wave rolls in (seven, in case you were wondering). It is a truly blissful day. Once again, I’m pretty confident the guests will have a good time.
Before we know it, it’s around 5pm and we should be getting back to Seminyak. Nyoman, our driver is ready and waiting as we get back to the car. If we thought that the drive TO Ungasan was bad, then the THREE hours it took us to get back to the Pelangi was hellish. As Nyoman explained, there’s just too may cars on the roads in Bali these days, and the infrastructure just can’t cope.
We arrive back at the Pelangi at around 9pm after having Nyoman drop us off in Diyana Pura for something to eat. We’re both knackered – who knew sitting in a car and drinking grog all afternoon could be so taxing – so we crash out in no time at all…