A couple of nights in Nusa Dua as I close out my stay in Bali, Indonesia, first stop La Orein $20 per night how bad could it be? To sum it up in one word, awful. The room to the naked eye appears nice enough if you consider being inside a concrete box with a tiny window 10 feet off the ground, a bathroom separated by a glass partition, the smell of mold and mildew hanging in the air, all encompassing a wave of nausea was immediately upon me. I moved to another room as soon as possible because the air conditioner did not work and the smell was overpowering. Unfortunately the second room was not any better and the smell remained the same. I made decision right then and there I would stay for one night and then I would be checking out even though I had paid for two.
Nusa Dua seems like a is a typical Balinese town where the hotel was nestled into the regularity of the community but once I started walking towards the beach and I came across beautiful traffic circles with fountains flowing out of huge immaculate statues and sculptures, beautifully manicured lawns with people sweeping the sidewalks, the sprinklers going to keep the lawn a lush and green, a beautiful brick interlock pathway saunters along winding its way to the Ocean set back from the road. As I continued along I felt as thought I had transitioned into another world. As I wound around a few traffic circles and followed the signs toward the Ocean I came upon this beautiful area with sprawling lawns, a multitude of trees swaying with the gentle breeze, people sitting on the grass enjoying a good book or eating their lunches, the birds singing their song of praise, the butterflies frolicking, I noticed myself singing. This place was absent of garbage, broken sidewalks, dirtiness, and the constant badgering of Balinese people trying desperately to lure you into their shops.
I continued strolling for about 30 minutes finally catching sight of the Ocean, my heart skipped a beat. I found what I had come looking for – a long sandy beach with some distance to walk. The only drawback was the tide was out quite far and it was impossible to get to where the water was lapping the shore because to get there I would have to step onto the corals all the way out and I feel like a human monster stepping on corals that might still be alive so instead I admired from afar and continued my walk along the sandy beach watching and listening to the Ocean swells caress the edges of my mind.
I walked to the furthest point along the sandy beach and what I noticed right away was the Asian influence everywhere. 100% sure I photobombed a few of the vigorously snapping iPhones everywhere, people dressed in full clothing posing for pictures all the way along the beach iphones snapping wildly. One young woman was wearing a beautiful flowing red dress, I thought it might be a wedding dress – turns out it wasn’t – moving her body into positions and postures to get the best angle of herself snapping pictures of herself with her selfie stick, as I approached she stopped for moment, looked over at me and said hello, she was the first to make contact with me as I strolled along taking it all in, she waved me over and asked me to come and side beside her so she could take a picture of us together, I obliged, but wondered why on earth she would want me in her picture.
As I continued along it became clear that this is the part of Bali was where the Asian culture would come to holiday in the all inclusive 5 star massive hotels. As we drove here today I said to the driver, there are so many buses I have not seen very many, if any, buses in Bali now suddenly they were everywhere. As I walked along the beach the buses made more and more sense. As I walked back the way I had come on the beach I walked closer to the hotels to get a better look at what all the fuss was about. The hotels set back from the beach were massive beasts boasting swim up bars, infinity pools, restaurants, water slides, exquisite lawn furnishings and all the fixings. All inclusive luxury. The vendors know their boundaries and stay on the edges of the luxury resorts.
I have been fortunate enough to enjoy many holidays this way and I enjoyed every moment of each one of those holidays but now that I am travelling and exploring with a completely different mindset so much further than the walls of a 5 star all inclusive luxury hotel I am grateful because this way of travelling allows me the opportunity to see the Balinese culture, the food, the Temples, and interact with the people.
Before the sun went down, I wandered back to a restaurant I had seen along the way. Mr. Bob’s. It looked clean and was only minutes from my hotel so I stopped in to have some dinner. Besides myself there was one other couple sitting across the room from where I chose to sit, as I went to sit down the server pulled out my chair for me and tucked me back in, she had a beautiful smile and welcomed me to Mr. Bobs. A few seconds later a young gentleman came over and brought me a menu which was several pages in length offering a plethora of choices, appetizers, balinese, western, desserts, drinks so much to choose from. As I always do, I read through the entire menu several things catching my eye, being as hungry as I was certainly didn’t help, I chose to go with the greek salad as an appetizer and the black devil burger and fries for dinner with a strawberry/banana smoothy. As I was gazing at the menu, the young male server was back with a fresh cool cloth and a wooden bowl with an assortment of bug repellent sprays and lotions in case the mosquitos decided to join me. I was quite smitten and I had not sampled the food yet, the service was already off the charts. Once I finished towelling off, he was back to collect the cloth and take my order. He took my order and then repeated it back to me. My smoothy came first, it was delicious, the tall smoothy glass was filled with ice cubes and had a dollop of shaved ice and a maraschino cherry on top. Presentation was beautiful and I liked the ice cubes in the glass because it stopped me from slurping the entire thing down in one gulp which I have been known to do especially the coconut milkshakes at Youpy Cafe on Gili Air. Next came the greek salad, impressive, a little mound of lettuce, tomato wedges, white onion ringlets, black olives, red pepper sticks, cucumber wedges and noticeable chunks of feta cheese throughout the dish, finished with an oil and balsamic dressing. It was listed as an appetizer on the menu and the size of the dish was a perfect starter size, just enough to leave you wanting more.
Next to come was the black devil burger and fries, the server put the plate down and I immediately started to salivate, the bun was completely black, he asked me if I thought there was enough fries on the plate clearly going to get more if I was not satisfied with the portion. There were plenty of fries, especially in comparison to many other places I have eaten where the portion of fries has been enough to count on one hand alone. The burger was complete with a delicious beef burger Pattie covered in cheese, a fried egg, tomato, lettuce, onion and their own special chilli sauce. Delicious and completely different than any other burger I have eaten, it carried a bit of a kick with the home made chilli sauce.
My eyes were bigger than my belly of course and I ate half of the burger saving the rest for a midnight snack. As always, I started picking my teeth with the skewer that held the juicy burger together, the waiter was again at my table with a small container of toothpicks. He asked right away about the quality of the food thinking that I did not enjoy the meal because I had only eaten half, I reassured him that the meal was excellent but that my tummy was simply full. He smiled and took the rest of the food away and brought it back in a take out container moments later, he offered me another smoothy, for free if I would be willing to share my experience on trip advisor. I ordered a tea with milk and it was the best cup of tea I had had in a long while, on the house.
A gentleman and his wife came and sat at a table outside, he looked over and made eye contact with me, smiled and asked if I had enjoyed the meal. I said yes very much, getting the impression that he might be the owner, I asked and sure enough he was, he came and joined me at my table and we had a wonderful conversation about his restaurant revealing the fact that this was his second location and it only opened one month ago. We conversed for awhile and he mentioned that he had a property that housed 10 bungalows near the beach and if I was interested in checking them out he could give me a good deal if I wanted to stay. Well it just so happens that I had already decided not to stay another night at my current hotel and here he was offering me a place to stay at a discounted price. If his bungalows were anything like the service and quality of food at his restaurant, I was certainly willing to give it a go. He gave me his contact information and upon returning to my room I checked it out, Matahari Terbit Bali. A beautiful property with bungalow-style accommodations, featuring thatched roofs and a private balcony with an outdoor seating area. He offered me a very good price and organized it with the front desk all I had to do is show up. Sweet!
The Matahari Terbit is of the same quality as his restaurant. A Beautiful landscape with many trees and plants adorning the stone pathways leading to the Bungalows and beyond to the pool, restaurant and beach. A lovely pool with well cared for lawn furniture set around with thatched roof umbrellas, a little further down a tiny stretch of private beach again with thatched roof umbrellas with tables to set your things down and good quality lawn furniture. The rooms are quite large with a King sized bed, large, full fluffy pillows, a large bathroom complete with all the amenities. A large private balcony. It is what it says it is, big, beautiful, private, inviting with great food and good service. A wonderful place to visit and create a lasting good memory of Nusa Dua.