I'm back! I'm back! Hope everyone has a fabulous 2010 ahead. Filled with friendship, laughter and love.
I've had a great week in Bali... in and amongst all the wedding stuff we had to do, I er... hung out in our villa and er... didn't do jackshit. Just the way I wanted it. :) *HOLIDAY-AYY!* (sung to Madonna's tune)
Oh, and of course I stuffed and stuffed my face and felt it in today's practice (heavy, slow & sluggish). Of course I practiced a little bit of yoga while we were there - We had a beautiful villa by the beach, it was the perfect place to practice! (except it's hard to practice on grass. I felt an exceptionally kapha pull towards the earth) I did a full practice initially, but got progressively lazier as the week dragged on and ended up doing 3 Surya As, 3 Surya Bs, then jumped straight to headstands by the final day there. HAHAHAHAHAHA. (I woke up late! The sun was too hot already!)
Also, one of my best friends Sam, was doing her Vipassana meditation next to me one day at Sunrise while I was practising my Ashtanga, and it was such a peaceful and serene setting. A beautiful start to that day.
But where was I? Oh yeah, I've got close to 300 photos to share from this trip, so will need to split up my update into different parts.
So are you ready? ...Here we go!!
The whole reason why I was there in the first place was coz it was another one of my best friend's weddings. Oi Leng, Sam (Vipassana chick) and I have known each other since we were about 13 or 14 years old and went to Secondary School together (US equivalent of Middle School... or for the UK readers it's for when you take your GCE O Levels).
Oi's wedding invite kinda said it all.
This was probably the only "cultural" thing I had time for... and even then it was on the ride from the airport to the villa. HAHAHA. It's a sculpture with a scene from out of the Mahabarata. Or is it the Ramayana. But my driver couldn't tell me who it was or what the scene was about. It's only like one of the most famous sculptures in Bali too! HAHAHA!
Singaporeans generally are seasoned travellers to Bali since it's only about a 2 - 3hr flight there. Hence, you won't find the average Singaporean living in Kuta - that's where the average Brit or Ozzy tourist... sorry, I meant frat boy, hangs out. All the wedding events on this trip were taking place off the regular tourist-beaten paths of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak or Ubud and instead, were further west in Canggu (pronounced "Chung-goo"). This was the rice-padi scenery on the drive to our villa. (YAY! No bars or pubs!)
This was the light at dusk by the time I arrived (there are better day time photos later).
The beauty of Bali is that there are so many different accommodation options... from the typical 5-star resort hotels (Boring!)... to the backpacker budget hotels (lots of those in Kuta/ Legian)... but I reckon the real magic of why anyone should go to Bali is to stay in one of their many many many villas.
It's usually up to 5 or 7 individual villa houses within one shared compound. So you still get your own individual privacy, but usually there's a common shared pool and dining facilities. There is usually live-in staff like a chef and cleaners who wait on you hand-on-foot. Seriously. You let the chef know what you'd like to eat at the start of the day, they go out marketing, and you're sorted for meals all day.
So it's great when you're travelling with bigger groups... such as for a wedding. The entire bridal party stayed within the same villa - the 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaids (of which I was one), and the bridal couple.
Since there were 7 individual villas, they were each themed around the 7 chakras. I dunno why I didn't think to take a photo of my room (the fifth chakra room. Ooh... I've always had an interesting connection with this chakra)... but here's the love tub in Oi & T's bathroom. Yes, it's an open outdoor shower behind the tub!
The first night we got there, Sam and I had planned the hen night. Well, it was more like Sam who had arranged all the details, while I gave my 2 cents worth every now and again. (YES! Hen night 2 nights before the wedding!! STRESS!) We had dinner at La Sel, a gorgeous little Spanish restaurant which was all white and very apt, since we had asked all the hens to come dressed in pure, virginal white.
After dinner, we whisked everyone off to yet another villa down the road. Now, I dunno about you, but I reckon it's meaningless to have a hen night that's just another piss-up/ get shit-faced and drunk as you can. I mean... what kind of send-off from singlehood is THAT?! ...Maybe we're just really square and nerdy, but Sam & I had been stressing out over planning this night coz we didn't really want it to be yet-another-one-of-those-meaningless-hen-nights. On top of this, Oi had requested that she wanted some kind of ritual... the more paganistic-woowoo, the better.
The pressure was on.
We got lost trying to find this other villa (this pretty much summed up most of the trip. Try and do things off the regular tourist path, and none of the cab drivers know where you wanna go). At one point, we thought we were where we were and got dropped off but then realized we were in the middle of nowhere. What do a bunch of hens do? ...Stand around and cam-whore and take photos. Of course.
In the end, after finding the right villa, and without going into too much (personal) detail, we decided against tying her up and stringing her to a tree (HAHAHAH!)(Yes, that was a joke) but instead found an Aphrodite essential oil. Yeah, y'know, the goddess of lurrrrrrve. We had asked all the hens to prepare an individual blessing for Oi, so we all sat in a circle around her, passed the oil around and infused all our love and blessings for her in this next phase of life. Then, when everyone was done, Oi was anointed with this oil and sent forth. (to multiply. Hehe)
It was a very sincere, heartfelt and loving night (yeah, seriously... you really felt the love for Oi all around!) And we sat around chatting and drinking afterwards (a few games were played but I can't say what. It's hen night rules, my lips are sealed).
Right as the night was winding down, and it felt like we were almost ready to head back home... suddenly we saw and heard the wooden villa doors shaking and banging. We were a little confused, when suddenly in burst 4 half-naked guys with Mexican wrestling masks over their faces!! (a la Jack Black in Nacho Libre)
None of us were expecting this and were wondering WHO THE HECK ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?!?? ...and the 4 guys made a beeline for Oi, scooped her up and proceeded to carry her (horizontally) out the door. We didn't know if we should stop them, or if we should let them take her... and in the midst of the commotion someone heard that they had German accents.
AHA! Must be the groom and his groomsmen! ...But... HUH?! What the eff?!
We were trying to figure out who was who, but then one of the hens spotted Thorsten's Casio-calculator watch on his wrist (yeah, he still wears it oldskool, y'all!) So at least we knew Oi would be in "safe hands" if they insisted on whisking her away. I know, we're such terrible, "protective" hens aren't we?
It was full-on pouring outside by now, and the groomsmen had carried Oi out of the villa, onto the street. She was horizontal, carried by each arm and leg. All of them were getting drenched thoroughly, and then they realized their driver was nowhere to be found!! HAHAHAHA!! So there they were, standing out in the pouring rain, carrying poor Oi, and WAITING for their car to make a U-Turn at the end of the road!
Someone then said this was a German or maybe it's Balinese tradition where apparently the groomsmen kidnap the bride and the groom is supposed to go off and look for her? ...but er... the groom was definitely part of the group who had kidnapped her! ...So, what next?
In the end, when their car finally made an appearance and they piled in, they had no idea where to go next. Oi chimed in that "actually, I'd like to stay on here, please!" ...so being the gentlemen that they are, the groomsmen relented and proceeded to hoist her back into the hen's villa.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Operation FAIL. (But a major "A" for effort!)
All 4 guys then ran into the kitchen and locked themselves inside for a good 15 minutes. We were wondering what kind of devious plan it was they were hatching, when suddenly, out burst 2 of them, sans pants. Yes, pants in the British sense (ie., underpants)... and only carrying frying pans over their bits for modesty! And of course they still had their Mexican wrestling masks on. HAHAHAHA!
Everyone was screaming in disbelief and laughing in shock and horror. It was quite a spectacle! (Oh man! These Germans!)
The groomsmen's driver had come inside to chillax and watch the events unfold, but when he saw the 2 naked men bust out of the kitchen, he actually JUMPED OUT OF THE WINDOW, in sheer fright. HAHAHAHAHA! (These stupid Westerners!)
At the end of it, all 4 got dressed and sat down for another drink.
We half-considered telling the villa staff that maybe they should probably wash their frying pans and pots again... but er... I think everyone kinda forgot by the time we left. EWWWWWWWW!!! (Good luck to their next guests. We left them a flavour-saver!)
One of the groomsmen was too sweaty and wanted to go for a swim. So he challenged Oi to a swimming race. Er... I think nobody gave him the memo that Oi was a National Swimmer back in the day. And er... she even broke a national record for the Backstroke when she was all of 14 years old! And er... that national record had been unbeaten for 20 years before that!! So... dammit, we should've taken bets!
The dude stripped off to get in the pool and Oi was considering doing the same when someone yelled out "NO NAKED BRIDE!!" And she jumped in fully dressed instead. Of course she beat him flat (you can see him trailing behind).
Sweaty, drunk groomsmen having a lay-down.
Everyone was spent by the end of the night.
It was a goodie. Look at us, so wired and tired (may I remind you I don't drink a drop of alcohol, and by the time we were done at 4.30am, it was the equivalent of 7.30am in Sydney that morning.) I think I did rather well on only water and orange juice even if I do look a little crazed. Check out my I'm-so-tired-but-let's-fake-this smile. :)
That's all for now. More on the wedding rehearsal and the actual wedding night in the next day or so. (Including rehearsals in the midday sun and a bridesmaid who got bitten by a dog. Yup, Emergency Room treatment in a 3rd-world country and all). Stay tuned!