Bali: At The Melia

The north side of the Melia Hotel Bali. The grounds were so quiet and beautiful.

This is the second post on my visit to Bali last June – a year ago. My, how time flies.

On Friday evening (on the day we arrived in Bali), we were told that we have been invited as participants to the regional meeting to attend a cultural festival which will be opened by The President of the Republic of Indonesia.

This was news to us as we were not told earlier when we checked into our hotel – the Grand Bali Nusa Dua. We also had not received copies of our programme in Bali for that weekend apart from attending the inaugural Global Ethics on Tourism meeting at a neighbouring hotel.

We only found out when we sauntered into the Melia Hotel Bali about 4.00pm or thereabouts. This hotel was the location of our regional meeting the next day, Saturday. The announcement that we were going to a cultural festival that evening was really a surprise and a half!

Entrance to the Melia Bali – the gong seems to be a common feature in most Balinese and Indonesian establishments. They use it to announce the arrival of an important visitor.

Thank goodness we are from Papua New Guinea which has a blessed word-of-mouth culture and are not so hung up on a written programme so we had no problems as we switched on to our coconut wireless and asked around to find out what we were supposed to be doing. One thing we realised we had to do was wear something decent and dignified as we were going to be in the presence of so many VIPs and in a manner speaking we too were VIPs that evening at the cultural festival.

We scrambled to find suitable attire for the occasion. We looked around and at eachother and wondered whether we should attend or not. We could have laid on the excuse that we did not have the right kind of clothes for the event or we could have decided simply not to go. However, I reckon since we were the only ones from the Pacific Islands region and besides we were Papua New Guineans, such excuses are lame and embarrassing. So we bit the bullet and decided we were certainly on that bus to the festival. We might learn something valuable about Balinese culture – that made up our minds for us!

The grand foyer at the Melia Bali. Loved the high ceilings and open design.

We had to think on our feet – there was no time to return to our hotel so the best thing we could do was purchase batik clothes.  Batik is generally accepted as ‘formal’ wear so that was easy – but where to get batik-wear was the million dollar question. Thank goodness there was a souvenir shop at the Melia so we went in there pronto! After getting in and out of several outfits we settled on a blouse for me and a shirt for my colleague. At last we were set and felt confident that we can now join the other more formally attired fellow participants.

A very valuable lesson for the future – advise all participants of the programme apart from the programme of the meeting proper for which we had traveled over 8 hours (including the overnight stop in Singapore) from our country via Singapore to participate in.

One word to describe this place – grand!

We joined the others were were already assembled at the hotel entrance and waited for our bus to arrive.

A stone sculpture on the grounds of the Melia Bali.

By the way, we found out that we were not the only ones looking for something descent to wear to the festival and that made us feel better. Another delegate to the meeting was also looking for something descent and more Balinese or Indonesian to wear. We didn’t feel too bad then.

As we waited for the bus I spared a few minutes to take these shots.

This beautiful sort of parasol caught my eye. Very ornate set.

This hotel is bigger and grand than the Grand Bali Nusa Dua but I wasn’t disappointed at all – just glad that I could wonder around and take some shots of the Melia Hotel Bali.

I’m always fascinated by hotels especially the architecture and the materials used. The Melia was no exception. I guess hotels anywhere always try to find the edge that induces tourists and those like us attending conferences and so on to feel like the hotel is a ‘home away from home’ and in some instances that is the case. I find that hotels in Asia actually fit into the category of ‘home away from home’ come to think of it.

Another stone sculpture outside the hotel. Stone sculptures seemed to be a common feature at this hotel and my hotel. The black and white checkered fabric seems to be a feature at this hotel too.

Our bus eventually arrived and as we clambered onto the bus, I wondered what the rooms at the Melia were like and what the rate per night was.

En route to the festival we were served an early dinner in woven baskets on the bus.  This was a novelty for me and I marvelled at the simplest things which the Balinese do as they extended the hand of friendship and hospitality wherever we went during our brief stay in Bali.

This was also unexpected but I was pleasantly surprised as lunch was a fair few hours ago on the flight to Bali from Singapore. Oh yes, my colleague and I were upgraded to Business Class in Singapore so you can imagine what lunch was like especially on a Singapore Airlines flight – one word “sumptuous!”

I loved this sign – written with stones, on sand, and decorated with a flower. Lovely and elegant like everything about this hotel.

The journey to the festival went smoothly and once again I felt so privileged to have been there and to have enjoyed the cultural programme besides even though we were not made aware of it when we arrived. I guess it was clearly a case of being at the right place at the right time.

I’ve added the Melia Hotel Bali to my list of possible hotels to check out next time I plan to visit Bali.

Brightened An Office With A Rose

Brightens the office and a delight to the eyes...

The other day I was sitting at my desk contemplating what to do during the long weekend. I was thinking about a whole bunch of stuff such as tidying up my wardrobe, packing stuff for storage, reading, laundry, ironing etc.

The room was cool – the breeze was cool coming in from the east side of the building. It was quiet, no phones ringing and I felt really happy and contented having just tied a couple of loose ends and organised for the coming week.

I had also at midday had a filling in my tooth so I was wondering what kind of a long weekend it was going to be for me. I also needed to go shopping for replenishments to my dressing table. As I looked up deep in thought, I happened to look at the apricot/peach/orange coloured rose on my desk. I had picked up these roses on my way to work sometime during the week. My office looked bare, too sterile and kinda fun-less – not me!

There is a meaning to every coloured rose. The apricot/orange/peach colour means enthusiasm and desire. For more information on meanings of roses check these websites.

I smiled to myself, yeah there near my computer monitor was the vase of roses and lillies. The flowers brightened up the room and made it warm and inviting. I believe that an office should be warm and comfy.  Sometimes I spend 10-12 hours a day so it is important to me to make the room comfortable and warm. That’s half the fun and the motivation to go to work and to wake up in the morning – come rain or shine.

My Birthday Treat

I wore this all day...a present from the lady who did my hair. Thank you A.

 

This is how my special day, Wednesday, 17 March, 2010,  began and ended. 

7.30 am out of bed, charged camera batteries, checked my email and my blog visitors, had breakfast, showered, got dressed, brushed teeth, made up face, stopped at Londis for cakes to celebrate birthday with hair stylists, then to hair salon. Got my hair done in record time and was happy I did my hair midweek. Well, did I come out feeling a million bucks? yes I did! Before I forget, and believe it or not, the girl who was having her hair done too and sat next to me was also celebrating her birthday. In a city of 12 million this is uncanny. She was going to get a tattoo for a birthday treat. Now how about that! Different strokes for different folks. 

After the salon, it was home, dry cleaners to drop off some laundry then yippeeee…off to Westfield Shopping Centre. 

At the local pub, Jamesons (next to the dry cleaners), and true to their Irish roots, the green balloons were out. The feeling of celebration was overpowering –  a real good feeling. 

The green was out...yeeeeaaaah!

 

Zigzagged through the mid morning traffic! 

Buy British, don't forget, ok...

 

Considered the biggest shopping centre in Europe, it was a joy to get to the shopping centre and check it out. It is not as large as the Mall of America…but who cares…this is Britain and the scale is just right. It’s a landmark. 

Thinking clothes, jewellery, shoes, handbags, food etc etc

 

I really did not know what to expect. A colleague who visited here a few months ago told me it was humungous. I could not feel that from this sign outside but that changed when we entered the parking lot…oh my! 

Gi-normous, modern and user-friendly

 

Took the lifts to the ground floor…my first thought was that we had entered a hotel lobby and were heading towards the reception. Wrong! we had just entered Europe’s largest shopping mall. It was massive. I was really happy that I had ‘decided to spend my day here checking out this huge place. 

Simply amazing

 

A food island, handy when one is thirsty and hungry

 

For lunch I was spoilt for choice. I couldn’t make up my mind – I started with hamburger, than fish and chips and finally settled for Vietnamese pho ga…chicken noodle soup. It looked great but tasty? Hmmm, I’m not going to go for it next time. 

It was busy and I was hungry...had pho ga

 

Hot soup...hit the spot

 

 

The wooden/bamboo soup spoon - really cute

 

The dip for fried spring rolls

 

Some more photos of the shopping centre…the place is growing. Grow on, grow on, grow on…. 

 

 

 

A floral gazebo

 

A clothing island...punctuates an otherwise wide sterile shopping corridor

 

Icecream anyone?

 

At 6.00pm we exited the shopping centre homeward bound. On the way I reflected on the day. I could have gone to the countryside or some other city outside London but I needed a couple of things and a day for leisurely shopping was my vision of a happy satisfying birthday. No crowds and no rush to return to the office. It was a great decision. 

Homeward bound...it was a lovely day

 

This is my 100th blog! It has been my great joy and pleasure. Thank you all for visiting this site. Your visits encourage and motivate me to write. I enjoy writing about my magic moments and hope that you will continue to drop by so I can share my stories with you. 

 

Weirdly Homesick

Warm, cosy and inviting...yeah

 

Interiors of hotels always hold a great fascination for me. I’ve been in and out of so many different kinds and sizes of hotels throughout many parts of the world. Different hotel rooms and varying degrees of satisfaction and comfort. Some rooms or areas of a hotel have a ‘wow’ factor. Others just drab and dreary. 

The view was absolutely stunning!

 

When I visited Folkestone I stayed at the Clifton Hotel near the sea. One of the reasons I stayed there was that it was near the sea and the other was that it looked like a place steeped in rich history. I love history especially the great illustrious events and beautiful bits and pieces in the stories that are related through books and TV programmes etc. 

At the hotel on this Saturday afternoon, I headed upstairs and as I turned towards my room the place felt strangely familiar. That was because it reminded me so much of the mission houses on Kwato Island, Milne Bay Province, PNG where I grew up. All of these houses had staircases and stunning views of the ocean.  

Reminded me of the grand rooms of the 'Big House' on Kwato Island.

 

The Clifton Hotel was built in 1864 and is a traditional Victorian hotel which graces the Folkestone Leas. A grand landmark looking out to sea. It has over fifty rooms and I was fortunate to have a room with a gorgeous sea view. I loved it! High ceiling and spacious. What more can a person ask for. Pure luxury. 

A beautiful staircase...

 

I was really moved as I walked around the lounge area and the staircase on the Sunday afternoon. In the afternoon sunlight the place was warm, cosy and friendly. I felt weirdly homesick. I really did. Isi kapore….