Trip Start Oct 17, 2009
19Trip End Ongoing
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As this is our first big effort traveling we thought we would ease our way into the swing of things at the tourist friendly area of Bali, Indonesia.
We arrived at Sydney airport on Saturday morning and at 6:00am flew from there to Perth. We waited half the day for our next flight out of the country, then about lunchtime got the onwards flight to Denpasar airport. Arrived in Bali at about 3:30 that arvo, breezed through customs, baggage check etc. and found ourselves standing out the front of the airport wondering what on earth we were supposed to do
We arrived without a worry, although the driving is a little more erratic than what were used to, and paid the driver our agreed 125 000 rupiah fare(16 dollars). It turns out if we had a little more wit about us we could have done the same taxi trip for about 25 000rupiah(3 dollars).
We stayed at our hotel, the 'Green Garden Resort and Spa' for our first 2 nights, letting ourselves adjust to the climate, which I might say is like having a wet towel permanently wrapped around your body. The hotel was pretty suave, air con rooms, big bath, balcony, huge telly with all the satellite channels, pool with a waterfall, spa, and free brekky every morning(bacon, eggs, noodles and fruit). It's located down in Tuban which is a little bit away from all the hustle and bustle of the main tourist strip, but the beach was still close enough we could throw a rock at it. Not bad when you're only paying 60 Aussie dollars a night.
But we are on a budget, so we went room hunting. We found a nice little hotel in Kuta called 'New Arena', and used our new found bartering skills to bring the price down to 220 000rupiah a night, which means we're paying about 12 bucks each for our room. 'Tis a little rougher round the edges but I'm not complaining as there's a bar in the pool(sic!), and we're pretty close to all the action now. Most of our money has been spent so far in said pool, as Danielle has now acquired a taste for the local drop, Bintang. The hotel is full of younger like minded travelers, so we have been quick to join others on expeditions to the local bars and clubs, which are pretty damn hectic
The nightlife here is pretty intense, with most clubs kicking off about 10 or 11pm and going on to the wee hours, the vibe being pretty much, get wasted. Some clubs have promotional nights with a one off fee of 450 000Rp. ($50) where it's all you can eat, all you can drink, with the emphasis on getting drunk, handing out free tequila shots and having drinking competitions etc. The Balinese must think us Australians are the biggest bunch of wankers, parading around like a bunch of drunken hooligans. It's a shame as the locals are really chilled out people and seem genuinely friendly (only seen one fight here so far, and that was between a pair of angry Balinese lesbians).
It's hard to mix in with the locals just yet, we still stick out like sore thumbs. It's quite obvious that the rest of Bali thinks so too. We're only just getting used to the constant pleas from the array of hawkers and touts on every street corner. At first we would stop and politely listen to their sales pitch, but have quickly realized that they don't let you get away until you part with your money.
The first time we caught a taxi into Kuta, as soon as we got out of it we were jumped on by a fellow claiming to be promoting tourism in Bali. He issued us with complimentary game cards for a chance to win major prizes. Mine was a second chance draw, but when Danielle peeled back her piece of paper it revealed she had won the major prize! The bloke waved his arms around excitedly like some sort of game show host, raising his voice saying 'look! you've won!'
It was a free weeks accommodation in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, our subsequent attempt to decline his amazing offer proved to be exhausting, we ended up grabbing our bags and legging it down the street
We've done a couple of day trips so far, our first was to an 'Elephant Safari Park', a one and a half hour trip out past the town of Ubud, a solemn drive, nursing hangovers from the previous night of partying. Once there though our feelings quickly changed. We got to feed the elephants breakfast, then jumped on the back of one and went for a ride through the forest and farms in the area. No I'm not turning into a hippie as yet, but the whole thing was pretty cool.
We prepared ourselves a little better for our next adventure. Getting a good nights sleep we got up at the crack of dawn, jumped in the supplied minivan, and traveled up into the mountains to try our luck at white water rafting. We paddled down the Telaga Waja river for a good couple of hours, on what was, all in all, a pretty tame ride. For what it lacked in adrenaline it made up for twofold in scenery, the river snakes its way down between cliffs and ridges covered in jungle, with the occasional waterfall or farmers rice paddie cut into the side of the hill. We finished the course pretty much unscathed bar a killer sunburn on my legs.
We should be moving on soon to explore the island of Java. I'm pretty psyched about it as I've picked up a few CD's of some of the local death metal bands which are based around Jakarta. Their sound can only be described as brutal, with some pretty insane fretwork too, I'm hoping I can find some live gigs I can go to once we get over there.
Overall were surviving pretty well, adapting slowly but surely. I haven't crashed my motorbike, and we aren't showing any diarrhea symptoms as of yet. Best wishes to all at home doing nothing,
John and Danielle.
distance traveled: 5 880 km
days since last shave: 9
Over and out from Kuta, Bali.