1st June

A pinch and a punch and Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit to you all! We are already into the sixth month of June. It doesn’t feel all that long ago since I was having my back broken in the Epworth Hospital for some much-needed surgery, but here we are!

Drew’s mood at brekky is remarkably good; he claims – in typical Drew style – that some inner reflection has given him the wisdom to understand, nay relish his new-found liberation from the shackles of slavery to a 10cm by 6cm piece of leather! It is great to hear he’s okay. It’s not the end of the world, we know, but its something that you just don’t need on holiday. It’s something you never need at all.

Breakfast done, it’s time for some serious pool action. The Dr and I have massages booked at Vitamin and head down around 1pm. It is a cloudless azure sky and the heat beats down as we walk the half mile or so to the Spa. I’ve booked for an organic face cleanse reflexology treatment. Fellas; the metrosexual is well and truly dead, but for the $AUD25 it cost for this 60 minute window of brilliance, do yourself a favour and try this treatment. It was amazingly relaxing and my skin felt bloody brilliant. Words fail me.

On the walk back, the Dr relates narrowly avoiding an international incident. It’s fair to say that massages and Spa treatments – at this point – are not high on the Dr’s usual ‘to do’ list, so he’s a bit unsure of the protocols in your average day spa (try not to make too much noise, listen to what your therapist asks you to do, don’t be overly anxious etc). He’s not a complete rookie, but nonetheless, this isn’t his usual ‘thing’ if you get my meaning.

The other thing to note is that the Balinese can’t say the hard ‘f’ sound, so when they say words like flag or phone, it comes out as ‘plag’ or ‘pone’ (on balance, not many Australians can roll their r’s the way Bhasa speakers can, so it all works out ok). Nor, for that matter can the say the ‘sh’ sound – as in shit, stupid, shine etc.


The Dr’s treatment has been going along nicely. The therapist removes all the towels then leans in to the Dr’s ear to tell him that the treatment is “FINISHED“. Now, as I mentioned above, the Balinese can’t really say finished, and to the Dr, it comes out as PINIS. After the brief couple of seconds between his mind going ‘what the fark did she just ask me?’ and “well, now that you mention it…” the post massage bliss evaporates to a hurried “no, no, thank you though”. Equally taken aback, the therapist quickly says “pinisED, suda, done, get dressed”. Thankfully, they both see the funny side and DFAT can stand down.


Having snuk in an afternoon siesta (if you’ll pardon the mixing of the languages and continents) it is time for the Bucks and Hens nights. All along I’ve maintained that the Bucks night will be nothing more than just a quiet drink or two, but Miss Emma is determined to get the girls and ladies together and have some fun at the Banchong (lady-boy) Bars, just near the Pelangi in Jl Dhyana Pura. For the gents, just a quiet drink and chill-out at La Plancha on the sand, under the stars. This has absolutely nothing to do with the penchant for shenanigans that the Dr and Drew are capable of, but more that there’s a lot of family men in the wedding crew and to even more frank, the bulk of us are totally rooted by about 10pm at night these days anyway.

We all meet at the Pelangi bar and head down to La Plancha. Emma and the hens have joined us all and we have managed to wrangle about 30 or so bean-bags into an enormous circle and the drinks and food are flowing freely. The majority of the wedding guests have been able to make it and there’s a really great atmosphere with the guests mingling really well. The DJ fortuitously has selected a range of tracks that really nail the mood of the night (yes, I know that’s why he the bloody DJ), ranging from Sinatra to a be-bop jazz cover of Berlin’s soppy ‘Take My Breath Away’ (I kid you not) to the usual standards like Wayne Newton’s ‘Danke Schoen’, ‘Girl From Ipanaema’ and – the highlight of the night for the Dr – a polka version of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’.

Strangely, I feel myself unwinding even more and it’s probably largely to do with seeing everyone getting along so well! The girls start heading off to the Ladyboy’s and a great friend from my Superrules footy club in Melbourne – BT – makes a most welcome appearance. In tow with BT is his bud Matty O! and it is great to see them make it along.

Soon, the rain begins to threaten and the La Planch staff start bootng us out. Totally knackered out from the heat (the evening skies have clouded over and the humidity has ratcheted up quite a few notches). BT and Matty O! head off to see what the girls are up to and Drewey, the Dr, Adrian and Em’s two cousins, Richard and Stuart head back to the Pelangi for a nightcap or two. Drew and I – purely for research purposes – have accessed a couple of cigars (not a euphemism) that we agree need to be sampled before the wedding. Once back at the Pelangi, the Bintangs, cigars and milkshakes are in good supply.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts Stuart works for the UN. His brother (and Miss Emma’s cousin, natch) Richard, not to be out done in the nicest possible way, works for Oxfam and is usually found in most of the world’s hotspots. After a while, Richard has Adrian, Drew, the Dr and I in the palm of his hand as he’s relating stories from his time in places like South Africa (beautiful place, would move there tomorrow) Zimbabwe (another stunningly beautiful place), Afghanistan, Syria, and a whole bunch of places where you haven’t packed your bags until you’ve got a kevlar vest and had a security briefing. He’s off to Lebanon in a few weeks time he says, “pending a security briefing and clearance”. In fact he says, there’s two things you always look out for when you head to trouble spots; if everyone likes the head of security, in most cases it means security is a bit lax. If people don’t like, or are intimidated by the head of security, it means security is/are doing their job. If, when you land on the ground, a security briefing isn’t the first thing you get, don’t do shit and demand a security briefing. It’s important to note that Richard is telling us this with the humility, lack of any pretence and nonchalance as someone who digs ditches for a living. I tell Richard he should be writing a book about this stuff, which he agrees with, but that he “can’t find a celebrity chef to co-author it, which would be the only way to interest a publisher”. So true.

In the blink of an eye, it’s midnight and I call stumps. Most of the others also pull the pin pin, though I suspect the night is still young for Stuart and Richard. Working where they do, and with who they do, you can completely understand them wanting to let their hair down.


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