Saturday, 25th June 2011
Alas, I finally made my way to the island of Bali, about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Singapore by plane. Our previous attempt in July 2009 was called off amid security concerns following the 2 bombs that went off in the capital city of Jakarta.
The AirAsia airbus took off to a turbulent start this morning even though the skies appeared ok. It took quite a bit of effort for the gigantic machine to stabilize in the air. By then, I was scared stiff, totally glued to my window seat, located at row 31 of the aircraft.
I was pleasantly surprised to be served a complimentary pack of peanuts on board the budget flight even though free drinks were out of question.
Seated next to the window was a real feast for my eyes as the plane flew pass the stunning crater views of the volcanoes in West Bali before making a final descend at the Ngurah Rai Airport.
Coming closed to 12pm when I safely landed, I was dead hungry.
However, lunch was postponed to a later time as I had arranged with my guesthouse owner to pick me
up from the airport.
The drive to the town of Ubud took more than an hour due to the lunch-hour traffic. Fortunately, my driver was chatty enough to engage me with some small talks throughout the journey.
Home for my next 3 days was @ Ubud Dream
, a charming homestay located at the heart of Monkey Forest Road in Ubud. There were only 2 rooms available even though a 3rd was under construction when I visited.
The owner and his family stayed downstairs most of the time even though they were most willing to help out with my many queries of Bali.
My bedroom was huge and it faced straight to a patch of green, leafy gardens. My only gripes were an absence of a television set and wash basin in the room.
I spent the rest of the day exploring the town after satisfying myself with a huge serving of Gado Gado and Nasi Goreng. This was filling to last me throughout the day.
Ubud Town that struck me was relatively peaceful. The folks that I met in the neighbourhood were kind. Most of them never failed to say “Hi” when I met them
in the backlanes or at the rice-fields.
There was a very strong sense of local community spirit that I seldom encountered in other tourist places. With the exception of a Starbucks Café, the town was devoid of other commercial brands and western chains.
As Day One wore on, I was slowly captivated by the tranquility of the whole experience.
For some reason, I believed that I was going to enjoy the rest of my vacation in Bali.
And it certainly was.
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