Feb. 5, 2007 Monday
Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Our flight leaves this early afternoon so we have time to walk around Labuan Bajo without Ryan telling us what it is we are looking at. We are on our own again and it feels nice. We visit the Gardena Hotel and have some coffee in their veranda restaurant, and see just how nice the place we wanted to stay is. Arvid asks the staff if they had any vacancies the day before, and as we suspected they had plenty of room for us. The place is nearly empty. Well, so much for Flores. It's been a very interesting trip through the island. We're glad we did it but glad also to move on to exotic Bali.
At the airport we meet some interesting fellow travelers. Two Australians, who have a movie production company in Bali, have been on Rinca and Komodo filming a promotional for the Komodo National Park. They tell us some great stories, like when they were filming a dragon which started charging them. When the camera man had brought the zoom lens all the way back to the positive stop he realized how close the animal was. He and the sound man dropped their equipment and ran. Only the sound man still had his headset on and when he hit the end of the cable he was jerked flat on his back. The dragon rushed right past his head and kept going. Turned out the animal was just headed to the nearest shade. Scared the crap out of the chap though; and makes for a great story.
We finally flew off to Bali on a little known airlines, Trugana Air. The Belgians Danny and Daniel, who we kept running into on Flores, had given us a business card from the Secret Garden Inn in Kuta and on their recommendation that is where we are going to stay. It's a good thing there was a map on the back of the card because the taxi driver at the Denpassar airport didn't know where it was
. Our hotel is in the center of Kuta, on the oldest street in the city, Poppies Gang I, apparently laid out before there were cars. It and the surrounding streets in the neighborhood are extremely narrow; only wide enough for one car and then the pedestrians have to step up into the doorways of the shops to avoid getting hit. Some of the alleys narrow to the point where a car cannot pass through, maybe one motorbike. Cars are rare here on these streets. Most of the motor traffic is motorcycles. Our room is poolside and this is the best hotel we've stayed in since we started the trip. Only Rp200,000/nite or about $22US. Free breakfast, hot showers, great big beds and air con. The place is only about 4 years old so everything works properly including a western toilet. The staff is extremely nice. They sweep and wash the floor of our room and patio and make our bed with new sheets everyday. The owners, Peter and Joan, are Aussies and are around all the time making sure we have no complaints. We are going to stay here as long as it takes to get board.