We were in Bali for a month last year and we had such a great time. I really wanted to go again but I already booked up all my leave with a trip to Japan this November. I hatched a sneaky plan to run a work trip to Bali for one week under the pretense of “team building” plus “working remotely”, got the green light and so here we are!
My partner Tahni had planned to come as well but she just recently got a new job and is studying to be a teacher so unfortunately she had to cancel as the dates didn’t work out! I had to say goodbye to Ted and Tahni for the week and so It’s me, my brother, three other guys from work and one of their girlfriends.
We stayed the night in Brisbane and got the 6:40am Jetstar flight on Saturday. It was a pretty good flight but my other brother (who is known throughout the land for being stingy) booked us some pretty basic seats. We didn’t have any meals or inflight credit. Nobody wanted to pay $10 to watch the new Jumanji movie so we spent six hours staring at the flight info map.
We landed at lunchtime and got some cash out from the ATM at the airport. Happy to report that I didn’t leave my card in it this time. We went outside into the Bali heat and I arranged transport with a driver. I suspect it was a poor negotiation on my part because the driver laughed when we settled on a number (250,000 IDR to Seminyak).
The driver tetris’d the six of us and all of our luggage into his tiny van and we started the drive from the airport to Seminyak. I love the drive from the airport and seeing all the crazy traffic and the sights. It doesn't take long before you get desenstised to it all throughout your trip so I like to look around and take the first drive in.
After a 20 min car ride through the crazy traffic, we arrived at our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Santika (it backs onto the villa we stayed at last year) and it is pretty good. We originally planned to stay at the villa because we booked the conference room facilities at Santika for work, however the plans fell through for the villa so it was Santika all the way.
The rooms weren't ready so we went to the rooftop bar and had some beers and some late lunch. I got the Ayam Sambal Matah and it was great. Very spicy so the beers helped in that regard. After lunch we were told that the rooms were ready so we went and got changed. We sat in the air con for a while and decompressed and then went down to the Circle K to get some sim cards and some snacks. Got a few good snacks including a soccer ball ice cream I hadn't seen before. I think it was new. It was a bit small but really good.
We dropped the stuff off at our room and hopped in a taxi to the beach. We told the driver that we wanted to go to the beach and he dropped us off at place called Potato Head bar. It looked pretty cool from the outside (like a big arena made of wooden shutters) and we went in to check it out. It was a bit of an experience - very crowded inside but a great setup. They had a couple of bars, there was a pool and a lot of good looking people. We bought some cocktails and Pete and Dion (the two single guys on the trip) were pretty happy to just drink their cocktails and do a bit of bird watching.
Jane saw an empty lounge area so we sat down and had a bit of a recline, but someone quickly came up and told us that they were reserved and we had to sheepishly un-recline and shuffle off. We finished our drinks and went to find a bean bag bar on the beach. We had a great walk - walked about 2KM and took everything in. We didn't end up finding anything but by then thought we'd just go back to the hotel for a swim in the pool. My brother Elliot went to go get a hair cut while we were at Potato Head and he met us back at Santika and we had a swim. It was good but a bit cold (couldn't believe it!) so we went to the bar and had a light dinner.
Pete ordered something and asked the waiter if it was a "hot meal" or a cold meal. Pete's order came with a cup of hot milk, so we had a laugh at that. I had an indonesian soup with chicken mince. I can't remember the exact name but it was really good, at least until I ate one of the big fat chillies floating in the broth. It was easily the hottest chilli I've ever had and I started coughing and crying. I tried to use Pete's hot milk to take away some of the heat because milk helps with chilli, but the milk was too hot and just made it worse. I alternated hot milk and cold beer and I wouldn’t recommend it. I didn’t last long after that and was in bed in short order.
The next day we had a bit of breakfast at the hotel and went out for a walk. Ryan and Jane wanted to go to a gym so we all tagged along and had a workout. Underneath the gym was a convenience store so I got a snack I hadn’t seen before - Maltitos written in the style of malteasers so that was funny. They were great. We went back and had a swim at the hotel and I went to see Wayan, Tahni’s brother.
He was really sad that TJ’s closed down. He said that there wasn’t enough foot traffic coming down Poppy’s lane anymore and not enough coming through the doors. I went into the restaurant with him and all the tables and equipment was all stacked up. I found the place where I proposed to Tahni and that was a bittersweet moment. On the positive side, I found Tommy the turtle swimming around so I got a video of him. Wayan has the restaurant space for rent but isn’t getting much interest at the moment, he said there are a lot of empty properties for rent right now. We had a chat for a while about the things he planned to do.
I was there about an hour or so but said goodbye to Wayan and the girls because Wayan was tired and wanted to grab a nap. I said I’d drop in a couple times through the week and organised to take the girls to the waterpark on the weekend to give him a bit of a break.
I walked for a while down the Main Strip. There were a few market shops so I got some clothes for teddy and sat down at a Warung for a bit. I looked up TJ’s Mexican online and actually found a trip advisor forum post from a week or two ago and Teddy was mentioned. I sent it to Tahni and she thought it was cute that he was “famous”.
Elliot called and he met me at the Warung, we had a banana smoothie and then went off to find the others. We found them down the road and split up with some going to the hotel and Dion, Pete and I going to get a beer. We had some spring rolls and a chilli octopus side dish. It was very hot but not as hot as the soup last night so I had no problem. Very good!
We got back to the hotel, had a quick shower and went to the Atlas Kitchen and Coffee. Elliot found it on Trip Advisor and it was a great little cafe a little bit down an alley way. I had the pork belly and the berry smoothie and they were both amazing. There were a few people there but the food came quick and everyone was happy. The total was about 700,000 for the six of us with smoothies and beers.
By the time we finished it was getting pretty late - we had to actually start work in the morning so we got a taxi back.
We got up early to start work at 8:00AM QLD time. Unfortunately for us, that was 6:00AM Bali time so everyone was a bit tired. We went down to the conference room and they had a sign up in the lobby. It was pretty cool. We went in and set up all of our laptops and went to work. We are pretty lucky being able to work from anywhere so we’re all used to working from home, but this was a bit different with the time zones and hotel staff coming in with lunch and afternoon tea. It didn’t feel like a normal work day. A week of this!
We finished at 3:00PM Bali time (QLD 5:00PM) and went up to the pool for a beer and a swim. Dion and I went to Niko Han’s Ju Jitsu class at Hammerhead gym and then spent the next two hours being practice dummy’s for the guys there. It was really fun and I actually did a class there on my last trip. Niko actually remembered me which was pretty impressive. He asked how many classes I’d done and I told him “Two, including this one” and he laughed. At the end, we hobbled away very sweaty and sore but we had a great time.
After that we got a $2 taxi back to Santika, had a shower and popped out to get a Bali massage. The massage was just we needed after the Ju Jitsu class and we were feeling much better. We went across the road to a Taco place and had a quick meal then off to bed.
We took a different kind of video for this one as part of our normal work stuff, here it is: