Bali, Indonesia

Wow, I'm finally back to the blogging world.  Probably only for the next two weeks though.  Don't get used to it :]  I haven't updated in...what? months or so? Mostly because I feel like I never really have anything to say.  But being in Bali has given me LOTS to say.  Also I don't want to forget anything about this trip and my journal just does not have enough lines to fit everything.  So enjoy the next two weeks of blogs about Indonesia!

Our flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong departed at 1am Monday morning.  We waited in the airport for awhile with mostly Asian people and one large group of students studying abroad in HK.  The flight was fabulous .  I thought a 14 hour flight would seem much longer than it did.  I slept about 7 hours, waking up at 3am HK time (1pm California time).  I never did sleep after that...probably a mistake but I just wasn't tired.  There were SO many movie and TV options on the plane.  Of course with all the stuff to choose from I settled on Friends, season 6.  I watched that pretty much the whole time with one 48 hours mystery and half of Tangled mixed in.  You'd think with all the options I'd watch something I don't watch every other second of my life but it was just too tempting!  The food was OK (nothing to rave about but not disgusting either).  T & I played some word games (with a word puzzle workbook I bought before the trip) and also watched some soccer.  T only slept about 4 or 5 hours and watched movies/TV the rest of the time.

We arrived in HK at 6am.  It is HUMID there.  At 6am it was 80 degrees and very hot!  The airport was very empty when we arrived so we hopped on the free computers (which had cool chinese symbols on the keyboards) and checked emails and FB.  Of course.  Then we played Sorry! card game and did some word puzzles.  At 10:20am our flight left HK and headed to Bali.  Almost everybody on the plane was from Hong Kong.  Very few were from our last flight and I think there were only a handful of white people.  Bali is a popular place to vacation (or take a holiday, as they say) for people who live in HK.

Our flight arrived in Bali at 3pm Tuesday, Bali time (1am Tuesday, California time).  We bought our 30-day visas and went through customs then went for our baggage.  Before either of us knew what was happening, two porters grabbed our luggage and started walking us to the exit.  Tom said they just wanted money (I would soon come to learn just about everybody in Indonesia wants your money).  They waited while we exchanged our USD for rupiah and wanted T to give them $10 each! Yeah right! He gave them $2 each.  That's better but still too much for them rolling our luggage about 100 feet!  Next time we will not be caught off guard and will say no.  Our driver that we hired through Bali Car Rentals was supposed to be waiting for us at the airport.  After searching all the signs people were holding (looking for our name) - twice! - we could not find our driver.  We went to the information desk and called Bali Car Rentals and gave them our confirmation number and they said they would send someone in 30 min!  Yeah right! - we had already been in the airport for at least 45 minutes getting our visas and going through customs.  And they were supposed to have been waiting for us when we landed!  Tom said OK for them to come but then another man approached us wanting to be our driver.  At first he wanted about $60 (I'm just going to do everything in USD so I don't have to constantly write what the USD equivalent is after writing rupiah) but after some hard bargaining Tom got him down to $35 for the rest of the night.  We were going to pay Bali Car Rentals $40 - way to go, T!

Our driver took us to a temple at Ulu Watu.  It was beautiful!  We had to rent some sarongs to wear while looking around.  It's a great place to see the sunset and well-known so it was veryyy crowded.  Apparently the wild monkeys also love to see the sunset from there because they were EVERYWHERE.  At first I thought they were so cute.  And then about two seconds later one of them grabbed a fistful of my hair and started tugging.  I screamed and the first thing that went through my head was "I didn't get a rabies shot!"  Tom made him let go (thanks, love!).  After that I put my hair up in a pony to avoid being latched onto by any other crazy wild monkeys.  I did not think they were so cute after that.  We walked all around the temple area and got great views of the ocean (and saw a dolphin!) and the sunset.  We saw quite a few itty bitty baby monkeys (some with hardly any hair yet!).  Those ones were still cute.  I was attacked by an adult monkey, after all.  We bought tickets to see a Balinese dance at the temple.  It was super crowded and a little bit longer than I would have liked but still interesting.  It was the story that Sara tells on A Little Princess with Ramah and the white monkey.  I would not have understood the story at all had they not given us a sheet with each Act's summary.  It's not that they were speaking Indonesian - they don't talk at all - just that it looked more like a whole bunch of random dancing than a story!  The costumes they wore were very intricate and really beautiful.

After leaving the temple our driver took us to a warung (food stall) where we had nasi goreng (fried rice).  My first authentic bowl of fried rice.  Delicious.  Much better than the kind I make with the IndoFood seasoning packet.  Oh and the best part is it was like $1 each.  Awesome.

We were SO tired by the end of the night (by now it was 8pm Bali time and 6am California time - remember, I hadn't slept since 1pm California time the day before).  Talk about being exhausted!  Our driver took us to our hotel which is BEAUTIFUL.  When booking, we upgraded to a romantic suite and it's lovely!  There is a queen bed with a really cool drape that goes around it (I think to keep mosquitos out but it looks pretty too!) and a really cute couch and nice table.  Neither of which I doubt we'll use but still they're cute.  We have a door leading out to a balcony that overlooks the back of the hotel with the pool and water features.  The ocean is just a stone's throw away and you can hear it with the balcony doors open.  I just love being beach front!  Even though we were exhausted we took showers then a walk along the beach.  It was totally empty (I guess most of the people who come to Bali are probably young adults who party at the night clubs and old, retired people who are in bed at dark).  It was nice to have the beach to ourselves.  We walked out on a dock and sat and watched the ocean for awhile and the weather was perfect.  Very warm with an ocean breeze to keep us from being overly warm.  Perfect and romantic.  I was in love with Bali right there.  Finally we went to bed - I think we were both asleep within seconds.

This morning we woke up at 8am, got ready, and headed down to our free hotel breakfast.  It's in the hotel but the hotel is totally open to the outside so you are practically eating outside too.  It's actually a really weird concept.  The whole hotel has like places where walls just don't exist so it just leads to right outside to the beach.  But it isn't at all like a motel.  It's definitely a hotel with a few missing walls.  I love it!  The place who was supposed to pick us up from the airport yesterday was also supposed to drive us around today but we were not about to call them to have them drive us after they stood us up yesterday.  And after we stood them up after they stood us up.  We think they're probably mad about that.  But we don't care because we were pretty mad that they stood us up first.  Anyway, Tom hired a guy who is a chauffer through the hotel.  Or supposedly through the hotel.  You're supposed to book him through the hotel but he agreed to let us book him at a lower price (I guess under the table or whatever you would call it).  We ended up paying him $50 for  the day (it was supposed to be 10 hours but we used him only for 8) which is $5 more than we were going to spend to pay the Bali Car Rentals guy but we paid $5 less last night so it works.

Bagi (the driver) spoke very good English and told me he learned it just from the customers he drove around.  I was very impressed.  He took us to Katu first because I wanted to do some shopping.  He told us that a lot of the crafts were imitations or things bought in Ubud (who has high-quality crafts) and then sold in Kuta at a higher price.  He said to do a lot of bargaining since several of the crafts would be low-quality and far over-priced.  Tom was great and did a lot of hard bargaining and got me some fantastic deals!  I've picked up a few souvenirs but am waiting mostly to shop until tomorrow when we'll be in Ubud because I expect to find better things.  The Indonesian shop owners are VERY persistent!  They'll follow you down the street begging you to buy something.  Lots of times they send their little kids to follow you to try to get you to buy something.  At one point a little 3 or 4 year old girl was following us trying to get us to buy pencils.  They train them young!  Tom got some chicken satay at a warung which I had like 2 pieces of.  It was just so hot outside that it was hard to eat hot food!  After shopping, Bagi took us to see a famous temple called Tanah Lot.  It's also right on the ocean and just gorgeous!  We walked down to the ocean and walked along the beach for awhile and looked at all the shops on the grounds.  We bought some ice cream which was overpriced just because we're white.  After Tanah Lot, Tom asked Bagi to take us somewhere cheap to eat.  He asked to go to a warung and Bagi said he knew one close to the hotel.  When we got there the restaurant was called "warung" but it was not really a warung.  It was a restaurant instead of a stall.  Tom didn't want to tell him to take us somewhere else after he had already parked (since that would be kind of rude) so we just ate there even though everything was overpriced.  We ended up spending $12 which is 6 times as much as we budgeted to spend on any meal.  Good thing we brought extra money!

After eating Bagi took us back to our hotel - it was only 5:45pm but I was totally exhausted!  I sat on the balcony for awhile to warm up (I was actually cold here in Bali after being in the air conditioned car for an hour) and then showered and readied for bed.  I decided I should try to stay up at least a little later so I didn't wake up at 3am.  Jet lag.  Ugh.  Anyway, Bali has been wonderful so far and we are looking forward to Ubud tomorrow!

1 comment

  1. Sounds like you guys are having a great time!!! I bet it's great having Tom speak the language! Thanks for the updates!
    Be safe & enjoy!!


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