Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bali 4.0: Visit like a tourist, travel like a local in Canggu

Day 3 of Bali was packed and we were pretty tired as we finished up the final drop of our drink for the night. Going into day 4 in Bali, the four of us (Jackie, Ivy, Kuok Sing and I) decided that we should stay in for the day. Since we paid so much for the villa, why not appreciate the beautiful villa right? It was literally an R&R day for us. Plus, we fell sick as well! Haha. We started off the day with our complimentary 30 minute massage from the villa. They sent over 2 masseuses so we waited for our turns when the one before us is done.

The masseuse from the villa is quite experienced, she gave me a foot massage and she told me the points for different parts of the sole of the feet refers to the different parts of the body and she told me that I get headaches/migrain problems, which was true. She was very strong too.

Some parts of the feet were ticklish hence the face.

While we stayed back in the villa, Bryan and Myra decided to have an adventure of their own to Kuta. They arranged with the supervisor of the villa for transportation on that day. We on the other hand, had our own form of transportation in mind.

Bike rental per day Rp. 65,000

Yeah, we decided, or rather the boys decided to rent bikes for one day. The boys were very excited actually. They were trying to find excuses to ride the bikes around the area. Even to buy cupcakes from Ole Ole Ollie which was just a stone's throw away, they insisted on giving us a ride there. Hahaha. The purpose of getting the bikes was so that we can experience the local village by travelling like one! But, we didn't dare go far as the road leading to the main road was very steep and narrow, plus we didn't know the place well enough to travel further.

The villa has bike rentals but the supervisor was kind enough to advice us to rent a bike from out of the hotel instead as he said that it is cheaper. He even directed us to a bike rental shop just by the roadside, not to far away from our villa. Renting the bike is one thing, then you'll have to purchase petrol separately which is just around the corner as well. After the guys got their toys, we began to venture out to the area around us.

Our first stop was Betelnut Cafe to grab lunch. Along the long stretch of this road there are a few shops lined quite close to each other, but you certainly will not miss this particular cafe. The I loved the look of the cafe where bythey used dried leaves/hay to create a concept of a shack. There was even an old kayak which they placed on the roof of the first floor as you can see in the picture below. Parking can a bit of a problem as there were alot of customers.

I was quite afraid of going up and down the stairs as the steps looked really old and it was quite steep. It even made the creaking sound, how can you not be worried? Haha.. But, the waiters were really good at going up and down the steps delivering food.

Betelnut Cafe has 2 floors, the ground floor (which is air conditioned) and the first floor which is open air. We opted for the first floor as the ground floor was full and it was quite dark and small inside as well. We had a view of the paddy field and there was wind. Only thing was that it was too bright! The sun was striking on that day, but I would rather the first floor than the ground floor.

Betelnut Cafe serves fusion food. They have a variety of Western food but also serves local food. Some of their Western are also fused with a local twist to it.

This is their portable specials menu board. The owner of the cafe carried the board up to each tables for the customers to explain to them about their special lunch & dinner menu which is not on their fixed menu. He had a smile on his face all the time and was very friendly and patient with us. This is a really cool concept to introducing the specials. Rather than looking at a fixed board for the specials, you have a waiter who brings the specials to you and explains to you on the spot.

Raw Gado Gado Rp. 40,000

The food was quite slow but taste wise it wasn't too bad for the rest, but not for me though. I didn't fancy the food that I ordered. It is actually an Indonesian salad which compromised a mixture of raw and boiled vegetables but something was amiss about it. I didn't know what to ordered so I went with my guts with this as the ingredients "tempeh" and "peanut dressing" attracted me. As I was eating my salad, all I know that there was rocket leaves inside and I just didn't liked it. The peanut sauce was a smooth-mayonnaise texture like, out of the expectation of the satay peanut sauce that I had in mind.

Nasi Coila Rp. 40,000

Ivy ordered Nasi Coila which was on the specials menu. Her food looks really good. We tried a little from her plate and it does taste delicious! I can't remember what is the name of the burgers Jackie and Kuok Sing ordered respectively but... hey it's food, who doesn't love pictures of food. 

We ordered a whole young coconut for each of a couple to quench our thirst as well. their coconut was the biggest coconut I have ever seen. They are bigger than the ones we have in Malaysia and they taste different too. The coconut water tasted more sourish, it might be a wild coconut of some sort.. I guess? I was wondering if they just cut it down upon order as it wasn't chilled also. 

Young Coconut Rp. 15,000

You can forgo my comment on the Raw Gado Gado, as I do recommend you to visit this cafe. We didn't get to try the other items on their menu nor did we try their desserts but I am pretty sure their food is good as it is one of the recommended cafes around the area.

After lunch, we had a vehicle breakdown. Actually Jackie had a vehicle breakdown. XD He couldn't start his bike! Luckily the bike rental shop is around the area so Kuok Sing had to drive back to the store to get backup. The guy arrived at Betelnut Cafe where we were waiting, he diagnosed the problem and decided to exchange with Jackie a new bike.

As Kuok Sing's bike was running low on petrol (he thought the first fill of petrol could last for a day), we dropped by the "petrol station" for petrol. Being a total jakun here, I was very fascinated by the way they store their petrol and how human-ly manual their petrol refill is. It is not even a petrol station, it was just a little hut that sells some snacks and drinks and it is as though "Yeah, lets do a side business. Let's sell petrol too". XD

Petrol in a whisky bottle + funnel, that's how they "pump" petrol in Canggu.

Next destination, Let's Go!

We were told by the supervisor of the villa that there is another beach around the area, about 10-15 minutes bike ride from the villa. Upon arrival, there were people who were on standby to collect entrance fee. But we told them that we were not parking as we were only gonna take some pictures. The entrance fee was quite expensive if I remember correctly but just be prepared. The beach was just normal, nothing special actually. There is a temple facing the sea, some shops around the area and babes in bikinis. I personally wouldn't pay for the beach but because it is a tourist spot and a surfing spot, they will have to collect the entrance fee.

Tryna' be all badass Ivy with the helmet. Haha.

Oh Yes! We got the matching tops from Ubud Market on Day 3.

As there weren't much to do at the beach, we headed off to venture around the residential area. Along the residential area, there were convenient shops located approximately 500 metres to 1km away from each other and some which were in closer distance within each other. After riding around the area for a while, we decided that there isn't anything much that we can see anymore so we headed back. As we were heading back, we came across this stall that sells Pisang Keju (Banana with Cheese). It looked interesting and also the locals who were buying them makes the stall seems like it was worth the try.

The name sounds fancy right? But it is actually Pisang Goreng (banana fritters) topped with condensed milk, brown sugar and grated cheese. As simple as that combination can be, it tasted good! It was mushy on the inside, but the fried batter was a little bit soften on some parts as the condensed milk melted its way into in. Oh, but it still tasted good. Best consumed immediately while it is still hot. ;)

We headed back to the villa to rest and to take a good long bubble bathe for myself :p We stopped by Ole Ole Ollie to buy cupcakes for tea.

We totally forgotten about our complimentary afternoon tea, so we only got to try the afternoon tea prepared for us only on this day. It were two kinds of local delicacy which the flower-mooncake look alike tasted like green bean paste while the pate one tasted like fried potato which was tossed in melted sugar and combined together to form the food that you see below. I kinda liked the potato one one but I didn't finished the whole thing as it was too sweet.

Since we had no plans for the rest of the day, Ivy and I made an appointment at Therapy for a manicure session. The boys took us for a ride.. to the SPA. -.- Just because they wanted to use the bikes. Anyway, this day was a Saturday, as we were entering the area to the Spa, this time there were people collecting entrance fees. We told them that they were only dropping us off at the Spa and the boys are coming out immediately, so they let us in. I read from one of the blogs that Echo Beach is quite the happening place on Weekends so I'm guessing that's the reason for the entrance fees.

Their manicure service was quite mediocre. I think Ivy's manicurist was better at it but my manicurist seems quite amateur. I didn't get an even colour on my nails and I asked her to even it out for me after she showed me her work. I would go back for their massage but not for their mani-pedi services. The manicurist taught us a trick to dry the nail polish. She said to place our fingers in a bowl of ice cold water for about 10 minutes. Of course we couldn't last 10 minutes in ice water so we took out our fingers occassionally. Haha.

We took a rather long nap that by the time we woke up it was dinner time. We decided to order delivery from Red Salt instead of going out. We had to wait for 1 1/2 hour for our delivery but it was worth it! Next up on my Bali will be our final day in Bali where we spent most of the time in Seminyak.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Movie Review: Rio 2 3D - Churp Churp Premiere Screening

**If you want to know my general opinion, scroll straight to the second last & last paragraphs! :)**

Blu and I at the Churpremiere of Rio 2 in 3D!

Since the first movie in 2011, I was eagerly waiting for the sequel to be released after watching the trailer. We left off from the first movie with the villains defeated and Blu achieving a milestone by being able to fly at last. Tulio and Linda built and runs a Blu Bird Sanctuary in Rio de Janeiro what we can only assume in the end to see Blu and Jewel to start a life together.

Image taken from

In Rio 2, Blu and Jewel have their own family of three kids - 2 daughters: Bia which seems to be musically inclined and Carla, why of course there has to be the one that is always thirsty for knowledge right? Then there is their only son, Tiago which (stereotypically and expectedly) the mischievous one. If you think that this movie evolves around their kids and probably the plot is about their kids being captured and Blu is on a mission to save them, then you are wrong. The focal point of the plot still remains with Blu.

Left to right: Carla (Rachel Crow), Bia (Amandla Sternberg) & Tiago (Pierce Gagnon)
Image taken from

Tulio and Linda who are in the amazon, reportedly sighted the supposedly extinct Blue Macaws hence, Blu and his family flies to the Amazon partly to help Tulio and Linda find the Blue Macaws as and also because he wants to fulfil Jewel's wishes to meet the rest of their kind. Being a bird isn't exactly Blu's first nature, so it really is a jungle out there for Blu. As they meet with a flock their kind, Blu has problem trying to fit in and along the journey he has to face his not-so-approving-of-him father-in-law, a charming Roberto and a vengeful Nigel.

Jewel (Anne Hathaway) & Roberto (Bruno Mars)
Image taken from

Rio 2 has a much more serious plot as compared to Rio, the dialogue in the movie and the feelings that Blu has to go through has a mild sombre portrayal to it. The plot for Rio and Rio 2 is almost the same, as it is about belonging, acceptance and courage. The main plot is Blu and how his family learning to settle in with their new family and the sub-plot is about Tulio and Linda trying to put a stop to illegal loggers in the Amazon. In the end, Blu comes to good terms with the Blue Macaw family and they are the ones who stop the illegal loggers before they bring down the forest.

The plot is more serious and less of humour (not to say that there weren't any at all). The plot is quite bland but going into the first half an hour of the movie, it is clearly an old fashioned family film. The life-of-the-party Nico and Pedro plays a fairly minor role in the movie. I feel that their role in the movie was "for sake" purposes. The plot would've work just fine even without them. They go on screen on and off but I find that their roles in the first movie was way way better. If you were a fan of Luiz the drooling bulldog, you would be disappointed as he only appears at the beginning and at the end of the movie.

Nico (Jamie Foxx) and Pedro (Will.I.Am)
Image taken from

The music arrangement was quite a disappointment for me. I expected better but I think my expectations were too high. I still like the idea of mixing Brazilian music with modern music genres such as pop and R&B but I find that the music in Rio 2 is not as danceable as the first movie. In the first movie, it made me feel like moving when I first heard the songs, but the second one was just "okay". I really liked the dark-humour of Nigel the Cockatoo in this sequel, he had quite a number of dramatic scenes and singing, very enjoyable, funny but fantastically villainy at the same time.

The villains in the films were the same as the first in terms of one group of humans and the other are animals. The human villains, lack character and development. There were not much details about them except that the boss who runs the illegal logging wants Tulio and Linda to be out from sight. The human villains were quite pathetic so to say. Nigel the Cockatoo was an even better villain! This time, he even has sidekicks, and one which develops into a really one-sided unconventional relationship (it was funny but I am still a bit weird-out by it. Haha.).  

Nigel (Jemaine Clement) and Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth)
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The cinematography however, was amazing as usual. I loved how they had a lot of wide angle landscape shots. The colours were vibrant and the Amazon was beautifully shot and illustrated in animation. It is so surreal but it made me feel like I wouldn't mind living there! I watched Rio 2 in 3D, but my advice to you is don't waste your money watching it in 3D. As amazing as the cinematography is, there weren't much of any 3D elements. I would have preferred watching it in just 2D.

One of the beautiful shots in Rio 2
Image taken from

If you're a fan of Rio and of animations, the answer is yes, do watch it in the cinemas. The cinematography is wasted if you're watching in on a tv/desktop, but skip the 3D. I believe kids would enjoy this movie. The younger kids might not fully understand the real meaning behind the story but I can mentally hearing kids going "waaaaaaaaaahhhhh..." at the sight of the beautiful sceneries that Rio 2 has to offer. This movie entertains but at the same time presents valuable lessons about family, home, the self and protecting the ones you love and others.

Be sure to catch your favourite blue bird(s) in the cinemas from 10th April 2014 onwards! :)
Image taken from

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