Surprisingly, however, it worked out fine. In a rare moment of something airline-related actually going my way, the check-in agent offered me a window seat in the exit row. Legroom! Glorious, glorious legroom! So despite it being Jetstar, and thus about as luxurious as one of those third world buses with goats on the roof, I had a very comfortable flight and landed in Bali not wanting to curl up and die in a gutter.
From Denpassar Airport we took an overpriced taxi up to Seminyak. There are many calm, meditative places in Bali, but Seminyak veers between “decadent luxury” and “exuberant chaos” on a moment by moment basis. High-end shops and luxury restaurants stand aloof amidst listing power poles, crumbling footpaths, scooters parked in every conceivable nook and cranny, and shifty locals trying to sell tourists taxi rides, massages and Viagra.
Fortunately my hotel is being relatively honest when it sells itself as “a peaceful oasis in the heart of Seminyak”. Away from the street, the lobby is a Zen space of orchids, polished surfaces, mellow gamelan music and smiling staff who welcome you with a polite sembah. Upon checking in, we were subjected to the usual upselling, but we resisted, largely because we had no idea what they were actually offering: there’s nothing so ineffectual as an upselling attempt from someone who doesn’t speak your language very well.
Because we’d arrived fairly late in the day, we set off almost immediately for our first restaurant. It was the only one on my list that I’d already tried; Ginger Moon.
The last time I was here it was with the anti-foodie, who ordered chicken pizza. This time, my foodie friend and I could order The Banquet. Corn and zucchini fritters. Roast duck pancakes. Asian fusion mini hotdogs. Chicken satay skewers. Watermelon salad with deep fried soft shell crab. Three kinds of crème brulee (pandan, black sesame and ginger). All washed down with amazing passionfruit and chilli martinis.
Putaloco was a little alarmed by the traditional monkey head bill holder...
But he defeated it...
Or so he thought...
Sadly, Ginger Moon couldn’t exist in the same way back home. This delicious six course banquet cost us $23 each, not including drinks or service charges. In Perth I’ve paid more than that for a single martini.