One of our goals for our trip to Indonesia was to get scuba certified. We did half of our training in the States and booked the open water referral course in Bali through AquaMarine. The referral course included four open water dives, two on the first day and two the second.
At 8:00am the morning after CL and T arrived, AquaMarine sent a van to pick us up at our bungalows. The destination for our first day of diving was the Blue Lagoon in Padangbai. Our base for the day, Topi Inn. Immediately upon arriving at Topi Inn, we were shown to the dining area and handed a menu for lunch, which was part of our diving package. After we placed our orders and signed all the necessary AquaMarine paperwork, we were off on a boat with our two diving instructors.
If you haven't gone scuba diving before, you should. I'm nowhere near a strong swimmer, so while I am hesitant about snorkeling, I'm all about scuba diving. I mean, hello! You get a tank of air with you underwater. Plus, you can inflate your BCD (kinda like a life jacket, but way cooler) to stay buoyant. It's basically swimming without all the exercise.
Not to mention all the cool things you get to see underwater! I actually missed seeing a cuttlefish because my ear wonked out on me during our second dive and I had to surface in the middle of it. A CUTTLEFISH. I was so angry at my ear. Ugh.
After we completed our second dive, we headed back to shore. A quick shower later, we sat down at the Topi Inn restaurant to wait for our lunch.
The four of us each chose something different so that we could share. The menu at Topi Inn included both Western and Indonesian dishes, from ratatouille to nasi campur. We basically ordered the entire Indonesian section of the menu.
We got the mie goreng or stir fried egg noodles with veggies:
The nasi campur (non-vegetarian, of course):
One of the words in Indonesian we picked up real quick was "campur", which means "mixed" and when it comes to food, it usually equals a bit of everything. And nasi campur is exactly that. There's rice, tempe, tofu, veggies, and meat. We got to choose between fish, chicken, and egg. We went with fish.
We also got the nasi goreng or fried rice:
And lastly, the gado-gado:
Besides being fun to say, gado-gado is a cooked veggie salad with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce at Topi Inn was a little too watered down for any of our tastes and the salad itself was rather bland.
Anything off the menu provided to us at the beginning of the day had to come out of our own pocket. This included drinks. You really can't go to Southeast Asia without binging on fresh fruit juices. It's just wrong not to. Not only is it fresh and cheap, you also get options not easily found in the West. Such as soursop and coconut milk:
I've tried soursop juice before and it wasn't memorable. I tried it again this time and it still wasn't, so I guess this just means I'm ambivalent to soursop juice. Oh, well.
Topi Inn was actually one of the places we were considering living at. While it's not exactly a four star hotel, it's very backpacker (aka hippie), which means it's cheap and serviceable. Ultimately, we were wooed by the idea of living in a bungalow and we opted not to stay at Topi Inn. So while I can't speak as to the Inn itself, the restaurant isn't bad. Not fantastic, but not bad. Just...decent. Definitely a nice place to unwind and process the enormity of actually diving in the ocean (and not a swimming pool) for the first time.
Jl. Silayukti 99
Padangbai, Bali 80872, Indonesia
+62 363 41424