Days 100–104: Megan in SE Asia Part I, Bali and Singapore

At the end of September Michael and I welcomed our final visitor to Singapore, as we’ll (most likely) be moving to Europe soon after the holidays. Megan arrived from Chicago after a summer filled with long hours at the office and weddings spread throughout the Midwest. She needed a break from it all and requested a relaxing itinerary. I was more than happy to oblige. We spent two weeks doing little more than laying by the ocean, reading, eating, and getting massages. It was bliss!

Jetty into the Indian Ocean

One day of visiting tourist sights in Singapore was followed by five days at the Laguna Resort and Spa in Nusa Dua, Bali. We didn’t leave the resort on our first day, opting instead to sample the resort’s restaurants for lunch and dinner and explore the expansive pool and beach area. At dinner we were treated to Balinese traditional dance accompanied by a gamelan troupe. The music was haunting and the dancing was mesmerizing. Elaborate costumes accompanied the dance that was as much about the shifting movement of the dancers’ eyes as the jerky movement of their bodies.

Traditional Balinese dancers

Our second day on the island was more of the same (food & beach) with a couple of new elements added in for variety (shopping & massages). On our third day Meg and I broke from our relaxation routine to explore Ubud, Bali’s cultural center located an hour and a half inland from our hotel. Ubud is filled with charming cafes overlooking rice terraces and shops selling all manner of local handicrafts. Wooden carvings, mosaic glass plates, stone sculptures, and batik sarongs had the strongest presence in the shops lining Monkey Forest Road. We both ended up with some unique souvenirs to take home.

At a traditional Balinese home "compound" on the way to Ubud

The Balinese are incredibly friendly and many spoke excellent English. More than a few times we were asked where we were from and how long we were staying. Our answer of “just five days” elicited cries of disappointment and pleas to stay longer. The locals seemed proud of Bali’s reputation as an exceptional holiday destination.

An offering on the sidewalk - the locals are very spiritual!

Back in Singapore for just a day, I took Megan to The Chocolate Bar at the top of the Marina Bay Sands resort and casino. Our outdoor table gave us a great view of the Singapore skyline while we indulged in three trips each to the all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet. My favorite treat was the green tea and white chocolate tiramisu… heavenly! A close second was a raspberry cake topped with gold leaf. We then retired early to prepare for Part II of Megan’s trip: Thailand!

Chocolate Bar plate #1

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