Here and There



A last look at Bali: the beach at Sanur

joylani 130pxDuring our last day in Bali we bought a couple of magazines and a newspaper.  The Jakarta Post went pretty fast, but we’ve both been taking our time going through the issues of The Economist and Newsweek.  It had been a while since we’d gotten any papers or even news online.  One of the features of the Newsweek is a special section on travel in the Gulf and travel fueled by oil money.  We both took our turns reading through the array of articles that covered things from $14,000 hotel rooms (yes, that price is quoted in US dollars, not Indonesian rupiah), luxurious air conditioned Bedouin tents in Oman’s desert, to $800 breakfast buffets, and both of decided that rolling in more money than you know what to do with it doesn’t sound so bad in terms of luxury travel. 

The last month in Indonesia was great, but it wasn’t without a lack of the comforts we’ve become accustomed to in other parts of SE Asia.  Ever since I dropped our soap holder between the shower stall and bungalow wall at the beginning of the year, we’ve been able to adequately scrub with mini-bars of soap provided by various hotels.  In Indonesia though, our supply ran out and we finally had to buy a full-sized bar of soap and dish.  Hot water?  Only at two of the places we stayed.  Until last night, we hadn’t had a hot shower since we left Ubud on the 16th.  During our stay on Gili Air we went without true fresh water for a week.  Nothing like a salty shower to rinse off that seawater. 

I’ve learned to cope.  Hot water isn’t necessary when the temperature inside your room doesn’t get below 85F most nights and a $2.50 pedicure is a good solution for feet that have been dusty for way too long.  This morning I used the fan in our room to blow dry my bangs that had dried haywire during the night.  Luxury is relative.  Perhaps the best thing of all, since arriving back in Malaysia, is that we sent out 4 kilos of laundry (that’s just about all our clothes plus two each of sleep sheets and towels) to be washed and dried by machine.  Talk about backpacker’s opulence; there’s just something wonderful about wearing a shirt that has shrunk back to its original size after way too many hand washings.  

This morning I got a chance to talk with my grandma on the phone and one of the questions she asked was, “Are you staying in a nice place?”  In fact, we are.  For a hostel it’s not too bad.  The good old Red Dragon (this is our third time staying at this swanky address) is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s China Town in a renovated theater, as you can kind of tell from the sweeping staircase in the lobby and the theatresque walls in the interior.  The place has been carefully restored, though sadly without the addition of windows.  It continues to be cleaned (daily!), and I even noticed that they have fixed the broken shower holder since our last stay.  Also, when our AC didn’t work very well we were given a fan at no extra charge!  Finally, the sheets on two of the beds in our room have matching tangerine-colored sheets.  Always on the lookout for good design ideas and color schemes to take back home, I asked Matt how he liked the hue of the sheets; he responded (with a fist pump), “Goooooo giants!”

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