Published on March 30th, 2011 | by Ann Rickard


Bali Visit


What, might you ask does a potato head have to do with getting out of a swimming pool?  At least I hope you’ve asked, as a curious mind will keep you young.
I’m going to tell you what these two things have in common, as succinctly as possible.
Potato Head is the latest uber-fashionable bar in Seminyak in Bali.  Newly opened, this is one heck of a cool place.   Its façade is made entirely of recycled window shutters – the kind you see on Italian and French houses.   All pieced together in jig-saw fashion.  And the façade is huge, my friends, huge.  In fact it is so towering, it resembles an amphitheatre.   As you enter a walkway beneath the amphitheatre of green, blue, yellow, brown shutters (God knows where they sourced them all) you feel quite small.  It’s as big as the colosseum in Rome or Arles and when you first encounter it you aren’t sure whether you like it or not.  But walk along the curved pathway with the colosseum of shutters towering above you and you can’t help but say:  “By Christ, this is impressive.”
So, there we were at Potato Head – our little family group, on holiday in Bali all together for our daughter’s 30th birthday – and among the first people to try out this newly open bar/restaurant.
Inside, it’s all about bigness.  Massive green lawns leading to an enormous infinity pool dipping into the ocean.   The bar space is all wooden tables overlooking the lawn and pool and ocean.  Around the pool are great big day beds with over-sized cushions, inviting you to sprawl (no sun umbrellas yet though, bit exposed) for the afternoon.  A zillion staff hover close by to ferry lush cocktails and clever food to you.
After several cocktails with ingredients such as elder flowers, made by a mixologist (we do not have bar tenders any more, my friends, it has to be a mixologist) and a big feed of giant burgers and way too many fat fries and far too little fresh salad, we took to the pool.   I very much like the idea of going to lunch and spending the afternoon using the host’s pool.  Do we have anything like this in Australia?  Or New Zealand?    Interested to know.
Now, when you are a woman of a certain age and you have gathered six decades worth of blubber around your middle and have just consumed three elderflower cocktails, one giant burger , one lettuce leaf and everyone else’s fat fries, it isn’t easy to get yourself out of swimming pools.  Let’s be honest – even on an empty stomach it isn’t easy for me to get out of a pool without (a) a ladder, (b) carefully constructed steps, and (d) six burly firemen with a rope and tackle.
From my experience, many swimming pools in Bali do not have ladders; they have only steps, very steep steps.   I have learnt it is wise for someone of my age and proportions to never get into a swimming pool without have an escape plan as to how to get out of it.  (The same applies to jumping over the side of small boats into the river.  A big no no for oldies.  The jumping in bit is fun and might give you a fleeting feeling of being young at heart, but try to haul yourself up the side of a boat and over the edge.  Impossible my older friends, impossible.) (And ugly.) (And cause for much amusement for those on the boat watching.)
So there I was, aching to get into the big infinity pool at Potato Head, but there was no ladder, and the step to get down was so steep, even a tall person such as myself had trouble.  And I knew there would be no getting up the step without aid of said ladder, rope and tackle or a team of brawny firemen.  But after walking up and down the perimeter of the pool and checking all escape options out, I realised the children’s wading pool at one end could be accessed  if I made an elegant and discreet float into it from the big pool.
Escape route in place, in I plunged.  Well, my loyal friends, just lovely it was.  Swimming in an infinity pool that dips over the ocean in an exotic country is probably the ultimate in sexy experiences for a woman of my age.  An eager mixologist hovering in the pool  bar waiting for me to swim up to him and plant my chubby buttocks on an underwater bar stool   so he can mix me another  elderflower cocktail caps the sexy experience.
After half an hour in the pool I finally swam down to the kiddie’s end to make my graceful exit.  I floated gracefully over the top of the big pool into the kiddie pool to find myself belly down in about one centimetre water.   I couldn’t stand up from that position.   There was no way I was going to be able to go from a belly-flop position to a standing position.   I was a beached whale, my friends, beached, blubbery and bothered.
I had no choice but to do an awkward backwards float, conscious now that every trendy person sitting on the trendy lounges on the trendy cushions sipping trendy cocktails at the trendy Potato Head was watching me.  I self-consciously flopped and floated backwards into the big pool where  I was faced with the big step as my only escape route.
I hope you’re grateful for me warning you of all this pool exit strategy if you are of a certain age, and if you’re younger, take note of all this.  You will find yourself in such a situation one day.
In the end, it was my son, his girlfriend, my husband, my daughter and her own 2 year old daughter who came to the rescue.  They made a human chain and hauled me out while every sophisticated person in Bali watched.
End of my blog, have a good week and beware of elderflower cocktails and pools with steep steps

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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

3 Responses to Bali Visit

  1. Narelle says:

    Hey Ann

    I enjoy your newsletters and your weekly column very much, not to mention your books. Going back to your newspaper column I have a query. A few weeks ago you were describing your excitement about getting an ireader. How are you finding it? Do you have trouble getting books? Is it easy to handle/read? I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one, mainly for when we travel, and would be interested in your thoughts/comments if you have the time

    Thanks for the giggles


    • annrickard says:

      Thanks Narelle…I absolutely LOVE my ireader, Kindle thingie. It’s so easy to use, get the wireless one, you can download books anywhere in the world with wireless connection, which is just about anywhere. All the latest books are available. I checked out all the bookshops at the airport just the other day and took note of the latest releases, sat outside the bookshop at the airport and downloaded all the ones I wanted for a small cost. Love it. Love it. You can store hundreds, probably thousands of book…great for travelling. All the best…Ann

  2. Pam Taylor says:

    You do paint a pretty picture Ann, in beautiful Bali, the joys of ageing, ughhh!!!!

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