Every trip out of the house is a not-to-be-missed chance for one of us to spring a surprise – and this may come in the form of a new, untried dish in some hole-in-the-wall carinderia… an unscheduled stop at a flea market selling old vinyl records… or, a flight out of the country – with itinerary unknown.
Latest surprise victim was me.
My housemates hatched a plan 4 months ago to “gift” me with a trip – timed a week before my birthday. The destination was “supposed” to be Jakarta, a family favorite alongside Kuala Lumpur, Guam and Honolulu.
Why four months? Because we don’t have the resources of M’am Jenny Napoles… and my wife and the kids needed that much time to earn, scrimp and save. (Angela had to triple her Deal Grocer clients; Paolo had to accept more music gigs; and poor Isa had to double-up on her Creative Writing classes. Four months mean no major Mac purchases at A-Shop, no Mamou steaks, no Bohol or Boracay excursions, no concert tickets, among others. )
Jakarta turned out to be… a detour to… surprise – Bali.
But I wasn’t complaining.
Just some back story: Bali to us is not Kuta – the island’s main tourist drag populated by Australians, Europeans and lots of drunk local surfer cowboys.
Bali to my family has always been Ubud… one and a half hours from the airport and a town oozing with art and Michelin-starred restos and luxurious villas and centuries-old temples… made even more famous by the movie “Eat. Pray. Love.”.
More surprises unraveled… I was stunned and mesmerized by our lodging facilities: my family decided it had to be first class for my birthday blowout.
Not the Bulgari Villas (at $6,000 per night, we would have had to mortgage our modest house or be hauled to jail for failure to settle villa bills).
The humbler alternative was just as good – the new Komaneka Bisma Villas, away from it all but just 5 minutes from Ubud’s town center.
The scheming gang booked the grandest villa in the property – gated, with three separate bedrooms/structures, a private pool and golf carts to drive us to reality… este, to the front desk or the coffee shop.
We made a vow that we will again find time to earn, scrimp and save for our next Bali trip… and though it will take us a bit of time to do so…
We’ll make sure we will again go for it… go first class all the way… just for the spirit.