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Published: March 11th 2010
Okay so this is a little bit late! Blame the Aussies ... they might think of themselves as a developed country but they are a mile behind when it comes to internet and WIFI access. To make matters worse, it's the Yanks that came to our rescue, with free WIFI in Maccie D's. Paul even felt obliged to eat there in return for the amount of time spent in their "restaurants".
Back to the travels. Indonesia started badly. Having procrastinated about what to do we are too late to book a Jakarta to Denpasar flight online. So when we arrive at 11.45pm we have nothing to do at the airport ... except wait 15 minutes for a cheaper visa. We only want a $10, 7 day visa hence we need midnight to tick past so that we can stay until the 25th Jan. Anyway there is nothing for us to do over the next 6 hours other than wait for the domestic flight ticket offices to open. To make things difficult, we aren't in the right terminal. We try to walk between terminal 2 and terminal 1 but are stopped by security - who actually give us a lift to
Waves lapping at the shore
Apparently they call this Wild Beach ...
the other terminal. We then have a few hours in a tropical storm sheltered only by a tin roof outside the terminal building.
We did finally reach Bali after 32 hours travelling and heated for Kuta. We knew Kuta would be a mistake because it is just a package holiday destination but we needed sleep before our waning senses of humour ended with one of us punching the other.
Kuta is properly rubbish. Most of this rubbish can be found on market stalls or collected in piles along the beach. And because we oversleep we are confined here for an extra day before getting a boat to Nusa Lembongan.
Nusa Lembongan, according to the guide books, is a car free, idyllic diving and beach paradise. But we find the diving is too pricey for us, there are cars on the island, motorbike touts are prevalent and the beaches are in fact harbours with no room to swim!
Mercifully, Pondok Baruna is full ... clearly their perfect position on the beach in front of the ferry landing point allows them to be arrogant about service (the customer is never right) and dish up food in filthy surroundings.
We never tired of watching the sun set during our stay.
We stay in Secret Garden, wonderfully peaceful with the biggest bed we have slept in this whole trip (it was round and 7 ft in diameter). Disenchanted with high expectations and low reality, we decide to bring our flights forward ... and find we are not leaving on the 25th Jan, the flight is actually booked for the 1st Feb ... nor can we move our flight as there are no seats available ... so not only are we stuck here for longer than we want to be, it will cost us $280 in excess visa fees for the pleasure ;o(
In a sulk we book tickets for Ubud for the following day. And Lard has put a wind up on facebook telling everyone we are engaged. Tosser!
The following day we have relaxed a bit and push back the trip to Ubud a couple of days because after exploring the island it's not really as bad as we first thought. Though the beaches are a bit of a let down, the rugged coast of the south is quite spectacular and the sunsets are to die for. Eventually it is a bit of a wrench to leave Nusa
Sleeping in style
As you can see we were slumming it in Bali.
Lembongan as we grew fond of it, especially the bottles of Bintang while watching the sun drop into the sea.
Ubud is delightful. Just as well, we are here for a week! Kajeng Bungalows cut us a great deal for a 6 night stay. 12 quid for a 4 poster bed with en-suite, great breakfast (including banana and coconut toasties) and a swimming pool ... which helps soften the blow of the upcoming visa fine. Interestingly Kajeng Bungalows is on a road where various visitors have left their mark in the concrete paving, including a certain Linda Hall in 2003 ...
As well as being an ideal base to go walking in the surrounding rice paddies and mountains, it is central enough to hire a motorbike to reach the beaches and volcanoes around the island. The market is fun for a morning barter (pm is reserved for Japanese tourist prices) and while there are still touts and salesmen throughout the town, there is a much more relaxed feel than in Kuta. Restaurants are good value and food is good. Mie Goreng, Nasi Campur and Nasi Goreng become staple breakfast, lunch and dinner (in any order) for Paul.
Mountain, bike, helmets
In the end we were happy that we stayed the 'extra' week and could have stayed longer. But with 2,800,000 rupiah in our pockets we faced the music and headed to the airport ... where our flight had been cancelled! Some helpful Jetstar staff made some calls and got us on a flight to Darwin via Perth (12 hours not 3 but at least we will get out of Indonesia).
So we head to immigration to get an exit stamp put in our passport and a small fortune taken out of our wallet. Only we are never asked to pay the fine, and we don't offer it.
Two happy travellers leave Bali better off than expected. Probably can't go back any time soon though!
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