Morning Dip. What a wonderful start to the week – waking up in a big white hotel bed; rolling out of it; putting on a bikini; strolling down past the lush garden, the quiet pool and graceful morning yogis; sinking my feet into soft, white sand; walking out and diving into fresh, warm, clear salt water.
Front Row Breakfast. Freshly cut pieces of fruit, a claypot stew of fish, prawns and spicy tomato sauce, freshly baked brown bread, freshly squeezed papaya and lime juice,freshly brewed coffee. Consumed on a wooden deck right above the beach. With my lovely flatmates, celebrating the birthday of one of them – my present is a small philosophical read (which he powers through in the day, comfy in the sun lounger) from our local bookshop, BooksActually, and a picture of the three of us on Rinjani.
Beach Bliss. I almost feel guilty about this Monday – but then quite early on I feel guilty about spoiling the day by feeling guilty and decide to just fully enjoy every minute. From the fresh sunrise dip in the ocean to the candle lit good night drink on the deck above the ocean. It’s not hard – in fact, for the most part of the day, I just want to stop time and hold on to this. Complete relaxation of body and mind. Biggest mind-boggling dilemmas: ocean or pool? Tanning with closed eyes or reading my favourite magazine? Silence save for the soft rolling of waves and subdued joyful conversations. Strolling slowly around to spoil my gaze with soothing views of thousands shades of the warmest colour.
Rinjani Trekking Tonic. One hour and 30 minutes of energising leg massage to release discomfort in areas of imbalance and toxin-buildup (deep finger and thumb pressure over feet and lower legs), hand massage to improve circulation and joint conditions and back and shoulder therapy to release tensions and knots. The spa session is wrapped up with a glass of lemongrass and ginger tea, which I enjoy sitting on a bench in front of the water bassin in the bright and beautiful open-air atrium between the massage rooms.
Happy Hours. Drinking a happy hour espresso martini while watching Venus, Jupiter and Mercury align above Agung in the sunset. Still lounging in front of the pool, between my flatmates. Many more happy hours to come – as we move over to a table facing the ocean and enjoy a delicious Indonesian meal, share a bottle of wine, follow the traditional dance performance on the lawn behind us with our gaze, chat happily into the night.
Positive Mindset. On Tuesday morning I take a little walk along the beach after swimming in the pink sun-kissed pool. Soaking up the last bit of holiday vibe. Collecting white shells, rocks and pieces of coral. Smiling at the luxury villas in the hills behind the resort. Thinking that if I just keep feeling as calm and stressfree and inspired and strong as now I can do anything.
Pool & Papaya. Though a bit overcast on Wednesday, Singapore is nice coming home and waking up to. 6 o’clock pool laps. Office breakfast of fresh papaya, mango, dragonfruit and strawberries. Exciting meetings and tasks. Free-flowing coffee.
Leafy Dinner Time. And when the weather clears up towards dusk, I meet a friend for a refreshing cocktail and small light seafood dishes served on leaves and seaweed – in a walkway down pretty Amoy Street. We walk home through the Duxton area. Home.
Back on the Barre. On Thursday and Friday I go back to the barre studio in Hong Kong Street. A few weeks after my first daily series here, I find the class as wonderful as then. So hard and so efficient at supporting, sculpting, strengthening… with a good trainer… in a charming environment. I go with a Danish friend on both evenings. After the first session, we have piri piri chicken and strawberry-infused zinfandel at my place. After the second, we go for a refreshing dip in the gigantic pool meandering its way through the garden below her condo, with cosy little nooks and corners, in one of which we enjoy a g&t, before heading up to the flat to enjoy a delicious wok dish with her boyfriend, who just came home from football in time to tuck into our spicy creation. Red wine. Passionfruit sorbet for dessert. Music and candle lights.
Familiar Reunion. At 9am on Saturday, I knock on my brother’s door in Malaysia’s capital, which was born on the back of the tin mining trade in the 19th century, attracting settlers from Britain, China and India. Now also interns from Scandinavia. The flight from SG to KL is just 40 minutes, and I’m so happy to be able to go up here so easily and see how well he has settled in – in the flat with his two flatmates, one of which is his good friend and now colleague from home, and at work and in city as well.
Lokl. After dropping off my bag and watching the fighter planes practicing their routine for the National Day on Wednesday from the balcony, the boys and I meet two of my friends from Singapore, who are also just in town for the weekend, at a hip cafe in Chinatown, which is just 15 minutes on foot/5 minutes in an Uber from Bukit Bintang where the boys live. Big brunch, big reunion/introduction chat, happy people.
The Islamic Arts Museum. Full of bread and coffee, we head to the glorious nearby display of art related to Malaysia’s main religion. Set on the edge of the Botanic Gardens, the building is flooded with panorama light and quite impressive with its decorated ceiling domes on all floors. The museum exhibits Islamic artifacts from all over the Muslim world, and we’re especially impressed with all of the miniature models of the most impressive mosques situated around the globe. Such different types of architecture, such wealth, such palaces…
Majestic Afternoon Tea. After the galleries, we continue down the road to the beautiful art deco/colonial style Majestic Hotel for a cup of tea and a g&t in the elegant ground floor space – beautiful furniture, lavish flower arrangements, classical music being played on the piano just behind us.
Central Market. Walking through Chinatown after our drink – dilapidated shophouses, so much trash on the ground, so many intertwined garlands of red lanterns above our heads, bird cages dangling from windows, intense durian smell in the air – we stop at the bright blue art deco market building, home to hundreds of arts and crafts stalls, a food court and a gallery for local art. Treat ourselves to coconut ice cream before trotting on in the heat, making our way to the boys’ place so that we all five can freshen up before our night out in that area.
Helipad Sundowner Drinks. KL isn’t topping a lot of favourite global travel destination lists, but it has got a helipad bar, serving as an excellent location for saying cheers to life with a selection of your favourite people as you watch the sun set over the city and a couple of spiralling towers which were the world’s tallest when they were erected.
Pinchos. Dark and cosy little joint. Delicious, beautifully arranged classic tapas with tasty twists. Perfect Margaritas. A glass of Ribera del Duero. More Margaritas.
Marini’s On 57. Party with a close-up view of the white-lighted Petronas Towers. Having spent the whole day together, immersed in such a varied range of activities, the girls and boys are having a grand time by now, and centrally based and slick as this bar might be, it’s by no means too tacky or crowded, and the music is great.
Batu Caves. Sunday morning exhibition to a Hindu shrine – impressive flights of stairs, impressively large Hindu-statue covered in 300 liters of gold paint, many monkeys, a glorious view of the lush greenery at the top of the largest cave.
Pool Hang. After a spicy lunch in famous Jalan Alor (red-light-district-turned-street-food-haven) around the corner from the condo, we spend most of Sunday afternoon relaxing by the pool, taking a few laps, splashing a lot of water on each other, dozing off in the sun. Just my brother and I – the girls are on an afternoon flight back to Singapore.
KLCC Park. Getting ourselves out again, we go have a coffee at the trendy The Apartment on the Symphony Lake in the nearby KLCC park. Stroll around the lake afterwards, admiring the fountains, the root-nets of the mangrove tree trunks, the steel whale sculptures frolicking on the water.
Sky Drinking & Dining. Amazing gin-based drinks at dark and stylish Claret followed by similarly outstanding South American food at charming open-plane Fuego on the 23th floor of a building just across from the Petronas Towers.
Movie Night. After dinner we go straight home and spread out on the sofa to watch a truly captivating and well-executed Danish thriller, Flaskepost fra P, starring most of our favourites actors – followed by an episode of Dragonball to take the edge of the thrilling atmosphere. So happy I’m not flying until Monday morning so we can enjoy a full Sunday evening together. Just like in the old days – super early flight from Denmark to London to go straight into work, fully energised from making the most of a lovely family weekend. This trip was all about quality time with my brother, checking in to see he’s all right, and getting a first (touristy) impression of KL. All of the elements – sightseeing, fancy bars and eateries, complete chill. Next time (in less than a month) we’ll do some more exploring to seek out special spots and alluring vibes – but we’ll also return to Claret and Fuego to celebrate my birthday.