Published: March 26th 2009March 26th 2009
24 - 25 March 2009 -
We wake up at 4am to drive to the Gold Coast Airport for our 6am check-in. This time we were pleasantly surprised to find that our flight was going to leave ON TIME - no transfer to Brisbane for a night-time flight. Finally we get to fly to SE Asia DURING THE DAY and not arrive all tired. YEAH!!
Matt & I had both pre-ordered seats with extra leg room in row 8 - but on opposite sides of the plane (the girl on check-in thought that was weird that I wasn’t sitting with my husband but little did she know we see each other 24 hrs a day practically!). Anyway - I ended sitting next to a lovely 24 yr old girl from Norway called Inga who is an IT expert in programming (short version). She was at the start of a 15 week overseas adventure - starting with 2 weeks visiting friends in Brisbane who are studying at QUT. We found a common love of Asian food and spoke of Pad Thai etc etc. I shared with her my food adventures in KL - writing down my recommendations. Along with where
to stay for her lay-over - at the TUNE hotel - a mere 500 meter walk from the departure hall of the LCCT.
Inga was keen to sample some of our food recommendations so we offered for her to come with us into the City - @60km. Our taxi cost 75 myr to Bukit Bintang - Pavilion Mall - the food hall which puts Australian Malls to shame. We went to Dragon-i (a favourite from last trip) sampling wontons, spring rolls, Shanghai soup dumplings, la mien noodles (hand-made and the main reason we are here!) finishing with soufflé desert buns- yummy - all washed down with Hot Chinese Tea - which was great as we forgot how freezing cold they have their malls.
After that we went to Jalan Alor we went to last time - an eating street where I recognized a shop owner from “Bobby Chin’s World Café Asia” from the Travel Channel on Foxtel. She made hokkien mee for him - she laughed when I quoted her from the show - “sweet like me Bobby!” so we ate in front of her shop - having some beer with sate chicken and sticky chicken wings -
you can basically sit at any shop and they will get the food from another stall if they don’t make it!!
We were very tired by then so headed back to the TUNE Hotel for SLEEP - it was only 9pm local time - but that was 11pm in Brisbane - long day.
The TUNE Hotel - $25 (pay for what you want ie air-con, towels, wi-fi) - all in a VERY small 11 sqm room with a safe. Perfect for a lay-over. The shower - fantastic - the bed - perfect. The place has only open 3 days !
We slept soundly waking only to door of our friend leaving for her early morning flight to Vietnam then the occasional plane taking off - not really noisy but you could hear the quick roar before take-off.
The reason why this blog is so long as I’m doing it on the plane on lap-top so happy I brought this along.
Our flight to Bali left at 11:40 - on time AGAIN! We spoke to a couple of travelers at the airport who didn’t know about NEYPI (silence) day tomorrow & hadn’t booked anywhere to stay. You
don’t want to get caught in a crappy guesthouse because you CAN’T leave your hotel AT ALL for 24 hrs - 6am-6pm. Hindu Balinese New Year - where they stay inside, meditate - whilst not making any noise, light or eating. Westerners are subject to the same strict rules except they let us eat! Really it’s a forced day of rest - so we have good books & somewhere nice to stay with our own plunge pool and pre-ordered chef made meal.
The travelers I met where VERY happy they spoke to me as they didn’t know about it at all and didn’t have anywhere planned to stay yet. It is VERY strictly enforced with local village chief’s patrolling the streets and escorting you back to your accommodation then arresting you if you don’t comply. The whole Hindu New Year thing was supposed to have a festival the night before with effigies of monsters paraded through the streets then burnt at the beach - but this has been cancelled for the first time due to the elections in Indonesia being close by. I was REALLY looking forward to this - oh well - have to come again! The whole
Silence Day is to make the demons/monsters think that there is no-one on Island of Bali and therefore they disappear for another year - cool really. The silence will be strange in an area that usually has a lot of noise from cars and bikes. Serene - and that is the name of our Villa!
IN BALI NOW
OK - our plane arrives on time - very dramatic landing - that is a great view of the Surf Break Uluwatu & the “airports” break - which was not happening. Nice day. We get off the plane and pay our $25 visa on arrival fee in US $. The line has not moved AT ALL since we got there. The Aussie couples in front are having a conversation with officials & I overhear them paying a fee to skip the queue. I can’t stand waiting at traffic lights let alone the pleasure to get into a new country so I jump in and say quietly can we do this too? Because of my eagerness - the price goes up $5 to $20 - I didn’t care. We are ushered around the queue and wait in front of the baggage
scanning device which has the huge death penalty signs for drugs. Matt & I have ticked the “we have narcotics” box on our custom forms due to Dr prescribed medication we have - with the accompanying letter from our Dr. The official takes all of our passports away for what seems like a huge time - although the huge queue from which we came is still moving much much slower. I’m starting to think - what the hell have I just done - am I insane - they say never let your passport out of your hands … anyway it all goes well and he comes back. We all get handed the wrong passports back but sort it out.
Before the officila goes I want to check if we have the entry visa stamp but Matt is intent on getting to his surfboard to check the locks are intact along with his surfboard & with no added items for him to carry through customs LOL! We find it OK - get to the customs and he checks our medicines which he agrees we had to declare due to the Valium. Yeah all though - anxiety levels a little high
! We get outside and thankfully find our name on a little board - well Matt’s anyway ! Our driver Made (which means 2nd born - there are only 4 names in Bali that mean 1st, 2nd , 3rd & 4th - so nicknames are common) - is cool and understands my only request of go via “Bali Deli” that I had read is a gourmet foodstore carrying all manner of treats - including locally produced organic “storm” beer - namely Pale Ale for me and Stout for Matt. We stock up on treats for Nyepi Day along with lots of water too.
The Villa is in the backroads of Seminyak and it looks very hard to know where we are going… It’s an air-con bedroom, with vaulted ceiling with a huge mossie net. An outdoor bathroom is connected. The living area is outdoor, with kitchen deck and tiny plunge pool. I can see that mossies are going to be a problem! Thankfully they have it all looked after with coils and spray etc. We get settled in and decide that we must see the beach (800m away but too hot to walk and too rabbit warren-like).
get a taxi and go to Ku De Ta on the beach - CLOSED !! So we go to La Lucciola on the beach but due to the sun setting it was SO HOT and due to EVERYTHING else being closed due to Nyepi tomorrow there was no room except for in the sun. Oh well - so we have a look at the beach and Matt is suitably impressed by the waves. He is annoyed I picked somewhere not right on the beach. We decide to go to another beach and check it out - we grab a taxi and he tells us all closed in Legian & Kuta too - so we decide to go back to the Villa and get the staff to find us somewhere - but we forgot to take a Villa Card and the driver has no idea where our Villa is !!!!! Hmmm what to do… we stumble across an Ogoh Ogoh parade about to start - cool ! Not all cancelled as thought - from what I’ve been told - its being done in Kuta, Seminyak etc but not in the rural areas for some reason. But more important things on my
mind - like where the hell are our Villas?? I ask many locals who don’t know - I flag another taxi down - thankfully he does know.
We get back to the Villa grab cards and maps that we forgot and get them to find us a place for dinner (we could have had it in our villa but since we are spending 24 hrs without leaving the villa for Nyepi - we want to see somewhere else. They ring a HEAP of places. Finally he rings another Villa / Spa / Resort he used to work at and we go there - Villa Air Bali - 5-10 mins drive past upmarket shops (closed!), then Villas, next to tiny rice fields (like a ¼ acre block), next to cows (saw a baby calf bounding like a lamb - very cute).
We arrive a VERY lush villa resort complex - quite big compared to ours - and looks expensive. The food is quite reasonably priced - 60 cents AU a satay and the most yummy deconstructed ceasar salad. We have pina colada for $6 too. It’s a very luxurious place and we are very tired before long - heading
back to our Villa where we fall asleep.
I am sitting here in my villa typing this now - its midday. We woke up at 8am and rang our butler who came and cooked us breakfast. He is so lovely. The Balianese are lovely people - up for a chat - which I love !! He tells he family compound is near Ubud and tells me that the mother temple at Pura Luhur Batukau has a once in 100yr ceremony on this week & it is very special. I tell him the saying of “the short straw” and tell him that is what he has drawn by having to work - he laughs and says YES!!! I HAVE - all my friends and family say to me WHERE ARE YOU GOING ?? (I say to cook and wait on foreigners…). Such is life - I tell him of my job and our shift work so he knows I understand him!
Matt spent the morning sleeping - I spent it sunbaking, reading, dipping in our pool and writing this - why it is so long - as I have a fair bit of time to kill. It is REALLY silent.
You can hear every bird chirp, the wind blowing the leaves - quite nice. Matt bought his humidity / temperature gauge. It is 33 degrees in the shade and 48 in the sun with 40-50% humidity - he rises and has a bake and dip in the pool and a storm stout - yummy too but I am partial to the ale - it is quite fruity too. We are now sitting here waiting for our lunch - I will upload this today and type more in a few days time - it will probably be way way less as I won't have so much time on my hands! As I sit here uploading it all my new friend the butler Wayan Mudana is watching me and asking a million questions - he is very nice!
There are more photos below