Back at the bus, we give our guide a tip which she seems to appreciate very much. From Denpasar south now to our new hotel. We watch the Balinese scenery passing by--or are we passing it by? No beautiful ravines or mountains with their slopes carved into lush green and gold rice paddies. It seems fairly monotonous, the land being much flatter here in the southern peninsula. I doze off for a while. There here we are! We turn off the main road onto a very narrow lane with bamboo and other shrubbery crowding either side, making it impossible to see anything to the sides. Then suddenly we burst into a clearing, and here's the lobby building of the hotel. The souvenir building sits on the other side of the turn-around and small parking area.

We clump down the bus steps and stretch, then mount the two steps to the veranda of the lobby. We get our room assignments and identify our luggage. Porters scurry off with our bags while a Balinese maid says she'll show Joan and me to our bungalow.

Well, we thought Puri Saraswati was beautiful! This place is heavenly gorgeous! We spot quite a few double bungalows, each nested snugly amidst beautiful flowering shrubs and trees. The stone paths curve between the bungalows. Flowers abound everywhere one looks. Outside each bungalow stands a terracotta lady-lantern about three feet tall. Basically cylindrically bell-shaped, each lady has very skinny arms, rolls of clay only as thick as a human finger. Each lady has a different expression and arm positions. They also all have very small boobs!

Upon seeing "our" lady, Joan and I double over with laughter! Her right thumb is stuck under her right boob, shoving it up in a suggestive gesture! Oh, goodness! What did we EVER do to deserve this? Is this what makes this a French hotel?!


Our lovely Balinese guide unlocks our door and shows us inside. This room is much more spacious than our room at Puri Saraswati. After allowing us a quick look around, our guide next opens the door to the bathroom and invites us to come inside.

WOW! A bathroom to beat all bathrooms! Just like something exotic out of House Beautiful! It's tucked under the large overhang of the thickly thatched roof, so it's really an outdoor room that runs the width of the bedroom on the other side of the wall. Outer walls about six or seven feet high assure privacy.

The part of the bath that's under the roof contains the sink, toilet, and full-sized bathtub, all in dark chocolate brown porcelain. The other half of the room opens to the sky, but much of it has a "roof" of tangled branches and vines from the bushes planted right off the tiled part of the floor.

We notice that our guide has stepped over to a very large ceramic crock mounted on a cement pedestal, so that the spigot of the crock is higher than our heads. "Look," she demonstrates, as she turns on the spigot. "A Balinese shower!" A stream of water splatters down. Quickly she jumps back to turn off the spigot. She apparently enjoys our delighted expressions of surprise, and then leaves us to our unpacking and settling in.

We appreciate the room's air conditioner. Here at the beach it seems hotter and more humid than at Ubud. Our room's walls are painted stark white. All the bamboo doors and windows and trim are painted a very dark brown. Not my idea of an ideal color scheme. White ceramic tiles pave the floor, too.

"Golly," I wonder aloud. "How am I ever going to get a decent picture with so much contrast?" I have Joan pose in one corner of the room and snap the picture. Then I take a couple more shots of the bedroom. The bathroom presents a different challenge--it's awfully cramped for picture-taking. I stand in the tub for one shot.

Joan and I unpack, arrange and rearrange. She lays her lovely little bamboo and flower offering on the desk. We figure out the light switches. Can't find our flashlights. I also can't find my small crystal that I'd brought to leave here at the beach when we depart. Finally we give up and go outside to check out the rest of the hotel grounds.


We head towards the swimming pool. The slope leading up to the pool has been cut into three terraces that contain mini rice paddies! They even contain half-grown rice, planted very precisely--brings to mind the carefully raked gravel of Japanese Zen gardens. So this must be Bali's answer to that.

Now this swimming pool is something else! I've never seen anything like it. Those who have an inclination to imbibe while swimming have only to paddle over to one side of the pool and sit on submerged bar stools! Then, like decadent mermen and mermaids, they can place their drink orders with the bartenders in the sunken, but dry, pit bar along that side of the pool. Joan and I stare and giggle, then move past the pool to the dining area.

An open, veranda-like room houses the dining facilities. Along one side, propped up on waist-high wooden sawhorses lie two dug-out canoes. One, lined with heavy sheet metal, holds hot casseroles. The second canoe, filled with ice, offers an array of cold dishes. A large, long table, groaning with more bountiful buffet dishes, sits along an adjacent wall, joining the two canoes at the corner.

Eyes agog, we grab plates and get in line, suddenly realizing how famished we feel! First we slowly savor with our eyes all the overwhelming sights and heartily enticing fragrances of this spread-to-beat-all-spreads. I try to get a sample of each vegetarian dish on my plate, but fail. I'll just have to get in line for the rest later. Both vegetarians and carnivores can get happily sated here.

After stuffing all we can cram down our gullets, Joan and I waddle back to our bungalow, bulging bellies weighting us down. Groaning, we laugh that we can't believe we actually ate that much. On our way back we examine more closely the silly lady lanterns. Each expresses her own personality. We search, but can find no other lantern lady who uses her emaciated little rolled clay arms like ours does! "We must have been assigned to the Clara Bow room!" I laugh. We try to figure out "Why US?" We decide this must be karma from some other lifetime. Surely not from THIS one!

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