All in a month
Sometimes life flies by, and sometimes, when we are lucky, it is quite the opposite. It has only been thirty days since we left our jobs and it feels like it has been months. So what have we been up to in the last thirty days you ask, well, let me tell you…
The first few days were spent in a frenzy of continued packing, we had managed the bulk over the long Jubilee weekend but have found packing invariably takes longer than planned and we always have more than we thought we did. However being hyper organised paid off once again and although there was a lot to do, and it did indeed take longer than envisioned, everything went pretty much to plan and by the morning of Sunday 12th June we were calm (ok fine I was a bit tearful) and ready for our flight that evening.
After a pub lunch with the family we were off to the airport, where thankfully we had none of the delays that have been making the headlines recently. Our bags, as per usual teetered just under the allowance, in this case 70kg between us. Which yes, is a ridiculous amount of luggage, although in our defence we are taking over a fair bit for the business and things that we will not be going anywhere else with us. And on to our scoot flight we trotted. We won’t be flying scoot again long haul because they had NO TV SCREENS what cruel and unusual punishment is that! The first hour involved lots of seat moving, not at our behest and eventually we ended up back in our original seats minus the person who’d been sat between us, so at least that was a plus. We’d declined the overpriced and unappealing plane food and brought our own so semi happily dozed and munched our way through the next 12 hours.
Our arrival in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport was equally uneventful and we were pretty quickly through customs, sim carded up and on our way in a taxi to the hotel. It’s a hotel that we’ve stayed at before that has definitely seen better days but is clean with large rooms, great wifi and in our preferred location. With no PCR or quarantine required we soon headed to one of our favourite Bangkok restaurants for some Japanese cook it yourself BBQ, which was as tasty as ever. Masks are still a permanent fixture in Bangkok (June 2022) both indoors and out and the only people we saw not wearing them were westerners. There are more pleasurable things that wearing a mask in 85% humidity but there are also more pleasurable things than catching covid so you know, we’re super happy to wear masks 😊
The next few days were spent in a whirl of swimming, walking, eating at all our favourites (Tokhai, Eatthai on repeat) and massages at the wonderful at-ease spa, yay! We also went on a brilliant food tour of Chinatown which I plan to write more on soon.
Far too quickly our time in Bangkok was up, we did looking at trying to change our flights so we could stay a few more days however flight prices have gone through the roof, ah well.
I would say our flight to Bali was a much more enjoyable Air Asia experience however I had the most intense abdominal pain for almost the entire flight. JHubz was trying to burp me like a baby to no avail and the pain was only relieved after I went into the bathroom and, masked by the airplanes engine roar, let loose a string of very large burps, gross I know but ah the relief. TMI? Probably, might remove that bit, we’ll see. I don’t want anyone to think our life is remotely glamourous!
On arrival in Bali we quickly disembarked, completed the new visa on arrival process and were met by our friend and one of our business partners Wayan, so very good to see his smiling face after such a long break.
Ubud, like many tourist centric places suffered greatly during the lockdown and so many of the lovely shops and restaurants are currently closed. We spent a relaxed few days supporting the economy, wandering around and getting massages, this time at our all time favourite spa Putri Ubud 2. Our last day, in the absence of our hotel’s pool which was having a much needed clean we spent the day at Wild Air Ubud relaxing and eating at their poolside restaurant. Wild Air, unlike their less commercially minded neighbours had the good sense to allow non guests to use the pool while occupancy is still low and we ended up having a great day and parting with a chunk of change for delicious drinks and lunch.
At this point we were both feeling pretty anxious. Our business is a tourist centric business, and with no tourists we will have no business, erm, yeah, eek.
It’s now the 20th June and only eight days after we left the UK, but feeling more like two weeks. Lembongan bound we headed to Sanur which is MUCH busier than Ubud and already our optimism starting picking up. The crossing to the island takes about half an hour and the closer we got the happier I felt. Stepping off the boat to be greeted by the wonderful smiling Maya was lovely. A friend had very kindly offered her beautiful home on the island while she was back in the UK and our first ten days were spent in idyllic settings high on the hill, with our own private pool looking after the inimitable Tarzan with occasional glimpses of his canine siblings Tofu, Raymond and Tzitzy. #LuckyBunniesAreUs
When we left the island in 2019, for the sole purpose of leaving the country while our work permits were issued, we left the majority of our belongings where we stayed. As the months turned into a year our lovely island friends gathered up all of our belongings and stored them in another friend’s office. That was two and a half years ago. In our first few days we only removed one bag from storage and it felt a bit like Christmas opening it up. Clothes we had long forgotten, all manner of bits and bobs, Chinequa, the beloved pink flowery blanket we picked up in China in 2016 which I have missed most of all. Thank goodness the house we were staying in had a washing machine as although everything survived mould free, it was all very musty.
Our first week on Lembongan was spent in a relaxed mix of 630am walks (well for me anyway, JHubz is NOT social at 630am) with the lovely neighbour, catching up with wonderful familiar faces, relaxing and enjoying a holiday before we started diving into the business. I love this island, it’s tiny-ness, lack of traffic – there are only a few cars on the island and most transport is by scooter or mini truck. I love the people and how safe it is and how comfortable I feel here. Larger than I have ever been thanks to my troublesome thyroid, I feel more like me here than I have in a while.
After our ten day idyllic respite we moved down to Jungut Batu at beach level. It’s funny as I have always loved staying in Jungut Batu and now after time in the hills I find myself hankering for the hills and their wonderful views over to Bali and Mount Agung.
The poor owner at our homestay must have had a fright when we moved in, with a mini truckload of luggage and everything bar our bicycles removed from storage, shortly to be followed by the delivery of a brand new fridge. I kept apologising for the state of the place and saying that it would be tidy soon (It finally is now). JHubz’s oversized beanbag armchair survived storage unscathed, the fan needed a massive clean but was otherwise in great working order and the only casualty of the storage was a storage box of dry goods and tins which all needed discarding. Another few days of unpacking, cleaning and arranging and we finally unpacked our dive gear, which is thankfully in pretty good shape. Having been out of the water for a while now we spent an hour with tanks in the pool pottering around and getting used to being under water again. I was feeling a little but not overly anxious about diving and the next day we were able to get spots on World Diving’s Big Boat and headed out.
As someone who was scared of the sea a decade ago I cannot explain quite how happy I feel being on a boat heading to a dive site. The crew at World Diving are all wonderful, knowledgeable and long serving and were a part of my dive master journey so I always feel incredibly safe and supported. A breathtakingly beautiful 61 minute and 58 minute dive later any lingering anxiety had gone. It’s just SO beautiful, we say myriad fish, hairy and tiny orangutan crab, huge lobster, moray, mantis shrimp, garden eels, turtles and JHubz spotted our all time favourite, an octopus, whoop whoop!
Since then we’ve joined the gym, I’ve resumed 630am walks – with our new neighbour, we’ve had our bicycles serviced, been over to Bali for 24 hours to get our VOAs extended and we’ve been practising our Indonesian. We’ve been using duolingo and also now have schoolbooks we are starting to work through. And have been slowly taking the steps towards restarting our business. Things have not been going as smoothly on that front as hoped but are finally heading in the right direction. The less said about that the better really, onwards and upwards.
So here we are, a month later, me missing ma and the pussycats, our lovely UK friends, old and new, our first dives successfully under our belts and finally getting under way. Feeling a little anxious, a little excited and mostly grateful. Can’t wait to see what happens next Xx