Adventure in Bali

Mom and I had two weeks to spend in Singapore following our trip to Australia, from the second of July through to the 20th. And what fun we had! It may come as a surprise to some, but for such a tiny island, there is quite a bit to do here in Singapore. Over the course of the next few weeks, we hiked across Pualu Ubin (an island off eastern Singapore), drank craft beers at Little Island Brew Co., visited the Gardens by the Bay, and ate our way through the city. Our favourite day was the one we spent at the National Gallery seeing Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit. This is one Larissa saw in Rio, and loved. We were very excited, and not disappointed at all! Her work is an immersive and expansive experience, including a yellow room covered in black dot stickers, with a dual-sided mirror cube in the middle. Very cool! Afterwards, we headed the rooftop bar, Smoke and Mirrors, for a drink (or three), looking out onto the beautiful marina area and taking in the nice warm weather. I am consolidating my recap of this part of the visit so I can get to the next gem of our adventure, which was of course Bali!

I was most excited to see celebrity all-star and general champion of life Larissa Hayden on this trip. I hadn’t see her since Christmas, so this was sure to be a good time. And a girls trip to boot!

Mom and Larissa arrived in Bali on Thursday, a day ahead of me. Being the working girl that I am, I finished up the work week and then flew out on Friday evening. I spent that Thursday and Friday experiencing extreme Fear of Missing Out syndrome, and hopped aboard my flight.

Our accommodation was at Hotel Vila Lumbung, a boutique-style resort in Seminyak, which Larissa found for us. The property was beautiful; built with typical Balinese wooden roofs and a bungalow setup where each home had two floors for guests. This included a garden-facing terrace with an epic napping spot that I tested out quite a few times over the weekend.

I had been to Bali in April with friends, so I knew a few places I wanted to show Mom and Larissa, but as that had been a different type of trip (read: more concentrated drinking), I was open to exploring new places and spaces. Since I arrived at the hotel quite late Friday night while Mom and Larissa were already sleeping, I hit the sack early that night (but not without wrapping Larissa in a tight snuggle, which was highly unappreciated by the recipient). On Saturday morning we were up early for breakfast, a delicious spread of fresh fruits and juices, egg dishes, lovely pastries, and of course endless coffee. From there we began exploring Seminyak, heading first to the beach to spend some time laying in the sun. As Larissa is the most Irish among us, she relaxed under an umbrella while catching up with Mom and me (Dad, Mom and I did wear SPF and kept hats and sunglasses on for the whole time, don’t worry). I even bought a beautiful sarong from one of the walking vendors that I have worn many times since—a good investment indeed!

After spending some time soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean, we headed into town for lunch. I remembered a nice place where I ate brunch last time I was in Bali called Cafe Organic. It’s quite a hip place with simple vegetarian dishes, including acai, salad and smoothie bowls, as well as an extensive menu of coffee. Always good. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there, but before sitting down, we were surprised to see two people I know from Singapore being seated right next to us! And not just any two people—my closest friend Roisin and her boyfriend, Rajat! I knew they were also visiting Bali for the weekend, but did not expect to see them until later that night. We pushed our tables together and enjoyed a nice lunch together. I am very happy my sister got to meet Roisin, as she has been a big part of my life here in Singapore. I am hoping they will meet up when Roisin travels to New York in a few weeks!

After lunch we spent some time shopping but did not pull the trigger on any items. I was on the market for a nice new pair of beige-colored sandals, but as I have feet the size of Sasquatch’s, I once again was unlucky in the Asian boutiques.

We headed back to our beautiful bungalow to relax for a bit before heading out to dinner. I was set on introducing Larissa to the nightlife in Bali as it is very fun and there are quite a few good options for clubs, but when she fell into a deep sleep during her nap I was getting nervous, especially given the fact that she had landed in Asia only two days prior and was still getting used to the time difference. Luckily, she woke up an hour later and told me she felt refreshed enough to go out after dinner. Champion!!

The previous night, Larissa and Mom had found a nice local spot for dinner just around the corner from the bungalow. They liked the food so much that we decided to go back for dinner on Saturday! We enjoyed some delicious local food and fresh juices—I had a yummy ginger drink and Larissa had a nice lime one. After dinner, it was out to the town while Mom headed back to the bungalow to read and relax (big shoutout to Mom Hayden for being such a trooper when it comes to your crazy kids’ partying). We first went to Motel Mexicola, a very trendy spot in Seminyak that is great for dancing. Larissa and I told ourselves we’d go out for “just a drink or two,” but the music and energy were so good in the place that we ended up staying for quite a while, dancing our heads off. They also had a nice menu of mezcal which I find to be rare at most bars, and which made me very happy. Super fun. The DJ played a series of mediocre songs and, after a while, we wanted a fresh scene, so we went to La Favela, but the line was very long so we headed home. We walked between bars and then back home, and it was good to have some 1:1 time with Larissa and talk about what has been going on in both of our lives. Sister time, gotta love it.

On Sunday when we woke up, we had a small breakfast of the above items and more coffee, and packed our things, as we had to check out of our beloved bungalow by noon. Dropping our bags behind the check-in, we explored a new shopping area of Seminyak, and Mom and Larissa both bought beautiful dresses to bring home!

Sadly, Larissa had to leave us early to meet Jason in Hong Kong (he’d been in China for a few weeks and Larissa planned her trip to Asia planning to see both us and him). We had passed by a very cool-looking restaurant during our shopping adventures, so we decided to check it out. We were so glad we did! They had a great menu of drinks that you could “spike” and, being Haydens, we opted for that option. Each of us had these delicious, light and fresh cocktails to go with our yummy lunch of smoothie bowls. After lunch, Larissa had to head to the airport, but Mom and I lounged by the hotel’s pool for a few more hours until we too had to head back. It was very relaxing, and I finished my book on modern First Ladies that I had been struggling to finish for a few weeks.

I am so happy I had the opportunity to spend time with my sister and mother in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Even though it was a short weekend trip, it was incredibly meaningful and it’s a trip I will never forget. Larissa and I spent about 90% of the time cracking jokes, reminiscing on other fun times we’ve had, and making some plans for our second sibling trip in the future. There is nothing quite like spending time with family, and bonds between mothers and sisters are so special. I definitely lucked out with mine!

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