Our first stop in Bali was Seminyak, an upscale tourist destination just north of Kuta, the main destination for Australian partyers. We’d intended to splurge a bit on a nice resort, but had no idea what kind of splurge it was going to be. We paid for the cheapest room they have and when we got there they upgraded us to the most expensive villa they have. It was really spectacular: a quarter acre or so, all walled in, private pool, fish ponds with beautiful lilies. If you have a fantasy of a lush resort in Bali, this was it.
We have a few theories of what happened. Maybe it was pure random; we got there at a time when the entry level rooms were full and we were lucky. Or, maybe they see that Mark writes a lot of TripAdvisor reviews and they wanted to wow him. (Our reservations are always in his name. Computer databases like Sullivan a lot more than St. George.) Maybe they saw that this was our first stay at that particular upscale chain and hoped we would fall in love. It was also possible they thought we were a different Sullivan family; on checking in a few people welcomed us back and all that.
Whatever it was, it worked. Getting upgraded is a good thing; it was, simply, the most amazing and perfect place we’ve ever stayed. Ever. It’s the only time in my life I wanted to order room service for lunch. We could buy a bottle of wine in town (at a fraction of the price the hotel would charge), have salads delivered to the lanai out by the pool, and enjoy the most fabulous lunch ever. Now I start to understand why people have pools in their own houses….
Then tragedy struck. OK, it wasn’t a tragedy, but it was painful. Getting into the shower on our third morning I slipped and crashed onto some marble ledge that separated the shower from the rest of the bathroom. It was just me being clumsy, but I really smacked onto the corner of the marble ledge hard. After an hour or so of trying to grit it out, I decided I had to see a doctor to see if I’d cracked something or ruptured something or whatever.
The hotel was great – with I assume visions of lawsuits swimming in their heads they couldn’t do enough. First they called a doctor to the room to make sure I could move safely, then they had a driver take us to an emergency room and had him wait until they were done. As it turns out it was nothing more than a painful bruise. They did x-rays and an ultrasound and found nothing unusual. Of course, they did give me a wonderful IV painkiller that I would like available on a more regular basis.
Two noteworthy things about the emergency room. First, the services were great. There was only the most minor waiting for treatment, the medical staff all spoke English, and I had every confidence they knew what they were doing. It was our first emergency room experience on this adventure and I can only hope future experiences will be that good.
Second, as with the travel clinic and dentist I visited in Bangkok, the cost was almost laughable compared to what I’d have been charged in the U.S. The doctor who came to the hotel charged me about $65 for her house call. The total bill at the emergency room – x-rays, ultrasound, IV, doctor’s care – came to a little over $200. I have a feeling you can’t get that kind of service anywhere in the U.S. for anywhere remotely close to that. And none of that “There’s no blood, so wait over there until we get around to you…”
So now we’ve moved south, down to a much smaller lodge on a big cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, a place with morning yoga and macrobiotic options on the menu. The sun is setting as I write and it’s stunning. This seems as though it will be a good place to recover from the fall. Mark, in fact, is talking about making this our permanent winter home when we tire of traveling.