The Ultimate Homewares tour begins, and broads behave badly at brunch
Before I move on to this next part of my holiday, I should fill you in a little. I was shopping in Tuban several years ago, when I got chatting to Brenda. She was on a buying trip to furnish the new home she was building. We swapped email addresses, and had kept in touch ever since, catching up occasionally in Bali. Since starting her Exclusively Bali Facebook page, she had branched out and was now offering a six-night shopping tour focussing on her particular area of interest and expertise: homewares and design. When I discovered our dates coincided, I told her to sign me up for her tour. The time had come to join the other tour participants at the Royal Beach Seminyak, where we were to stay for the next six nights.
I’d not stayed at Royal Beach before. It’s a lovely older-style property with a large, manicured garden. Heaps of palms, well-clipped lawns, little ponds and bridges. All very pretty and tropical. My room was clean and comfortable, the bed was great, and the staff were friendly – what else could a person ask for?
Once I’d settled into my room, I threw on my togs and caught up with Brenda and a few of the gals from our tour by the garden pool. There I spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting. Nice to have people to talk to again! A bit of a gossip, a dip in that lovely pool, and a late snack of soto ayam and iced tea. What better way to pass the time?
We officially began our tour when we met for sunset cocktails by the beach, then continued getting to know each other with meal together at the hotel and an early night. The tour was off to a fine – but demure – start.
Things changed dramatically the following day, however, our first full day together. We were heading for Sunday brunch in Nusa Dua. After a good look around the hotel, we wandered down to the restaurant to begin our feast.
We settled at our table and inspected the drinks menu. We had a choice of two house cocktails included in our package, as well as a domestic red, white and sparkling. Where should we start?
At the beginning, of course. Cocktail anyone? Don’t mind if I do.
We ordered the first cocktail on the menu, and then the second. Which one did you like best? Dunno, hard to say, really. Guess we’d better try them both again… And then we started on the wine.
Can you see where this is going?
We did eventually get around to thinking about food… It was difficult to know where to start and where to stop. There was so much choice. Salads? Breads and dips and terrines? Seafood perhaps? Antipasto?
Before too long, the noise level at our table had increased substantially. No probs, the restaurant was crowded that day, full of din and clatter and laughter – no one paid us any attention.
Then the birthday thing happened…
Angel was having a birthday. We all knew that Brenda had advised the hotel in advance, and that staff would bring a cake to our table and make a loud fuss. The Happy Birthday song came on. Staff approached our table with a cake. We all turned towards Angel, mouths open, prepared to sing our little hearts out. The staff bypassed our birthday girl completely and sang instead to a bloke at the next table.
Huh? Someone else had a birthday? We’d never considered the possibility! (Note: there were three birthdays at brunch that afternoon – Angel did eventually get her cake, and we did get to sing to her, so all good!)
We sat there, feeling slightly deflated as everyone sang to the Birthday Boy at the next table. A bit of an anti-climax, really. Then two gals from our group took action.
Binky and Floss leapt from their chairs and rushed over to Birthday Boy. All eyes were on him as they positioned themselves on either side of his face and planted a big birthday smackeroo on each surprised cheek. Then they were back in their chairs, looking as if butter wouldn’t melt.
Before long, we immersed ourselves again in the spirit of the brunch. We ate, we laughed, we drank… then we found ourselves with empty glasses. We had been drinking Jean Pierre sparkling, if I remember correctly, the stuff from which headaches are made. Real French bubbly was available at $100 a bottle, but we didn’t bother.
Empty glasses didn’t sit well with Floss. She jumped up and snatched a bottle from a nearby waiter. She then did the rounds of our table, filling any empty glass she could see. I sat, horrified, waving at her and hissing, ‘Don’t use that one, it’s the real stuff and it’s $100 a bottle!’ She ignored me and emptied the bottle.
Our table became progressively noisier, so much so that we became the afternoon’s entertainment. Nothing like having people watching us to see what we would do next.
Time to make a trip to the loos, with those fabulous bum-washers.
Bum-washers fascinate me, but I’ve never been game to use one. I know roughly what they do, ie squirt a jet of water up your khyber, but some are more complicated than others. The instruction panels are often confusing, with functions I can only guess at. Kind of like my dishwasher at home. I just press a random button and hope for the best.
I settled myself on the toilet seat and read the instructions. Oh boy.
One button said Stop – that required no explanation. The button marked Front would be the economy mode, just a light wash and blow dry maybe. The button labelled Back could possibly be like the pot scrubber mode on my dishwasher. Heavy duty action for those hard to reach places. The next button was marked with a mystery symbol, which I could not for the life of me figure out. And the last looked as though it was a control for two people, but how could that be? I really couldn’t picture two people on that toilet seat at once. Which button to press?
I sat there mulling over the possible combinations, until someone outside banged on the door. Oops, better get a wriggle on before they broke down the door.
I braced myself, and pressed a button… nothing happened. I pressed another… nothing happened. After pressing every one of those damned buttons, I gave up and left. What a let-down.
By the time I returned to the table, Floss was munching on a ball of bright blue fairy floss on a stick. Ugh! Fairy floss? I could never work out the appeal of spun sugar and food dye. Nasty tasteless stuff that coats the teeth and sticks to everything.
Seeing Floss tuck into all that sweetness reminded me that there was a whole world of desserts out there that I had not yet explored. Sweet tooth heaven!
I tried eclairs, mousse, random lollies and macarons. I ate ice cream and home-made chocolates. There was so much of everything. Everyone went back for seconds and thirds. Apart from Floss, who was still fixated on the spun sugar. Her second helping was huge, spun in a bizarre shape.
‘It looks like a big blue hat,’ I told her. It did too. Not a pretty hat, but a hat nonetheless.
Before I could say ‘hush my mouth’, Floss had removed the blob from its stick and carefully lowered the mass on her head.
With all the poise and confidence of a supermodel at Flemington on Cup Day, she paraded from table to table, glass in hand, showing off her fabulous hat. She and that hat were new-found besties.
Not only is fairy floss sticky and bad for your teeth, but it melts when warm. Rather quickly. As Floss moved further and further from our table, showing off her big blue hat to everybody who cared to look, the hat began to dissolve. It wasn’t nearly as elegant when half its original size.
By the time Floss returned to our table, her big blue hat had shrunk to fascinator size. Sticky blue rivulets trickled down her neck. Lovely.
Time to get rid of your bestie, Floss? Yep, definitely. Being a caring, sharing kind of gal, she stuck it on Binky, who put up with it for a few seconds flat. When it looked like it was coming our way, everyone recoiled in horror. Take that thing away! Floss carted it over to the table next door and plonked it on Birthday Boy’s noggin. He was very pleased with his gift. He wore it with pride, like a jaunty blue mohawk.
When brunch finished, we took a vote, and decided it wise not to move outside to the pool . We returned to the Royal Beach instead. Happy Hour at the Royal’s Garden Pool was not a quiet affair that evening.