One day in Kuta is enough....

Trip Start Jun 04, 2005
Trip End Apr 05, 2006

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Where I stayed
Bali Homestay Program

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, September 8, 2005

Our marathon 12-hour transit from Singapore to Bali via Hong Kong finally ended in Denpasar at 9ish in the evening on Tuesday 6 September. After a minor panic about the visa fee ($35 we did not know we had to pay.. we had no cash but could thankfully settle on the credit card), we staggered out of the airport and were met by a cacophany of touts. Welcome to Bali! Exhausted after a long journey, we took the first one up on his offer of a bed and breakfast room in Kuta.

The Bunut Garden Homestay turned out to be pleasant enough, with friendly people. The next morning we set off on our mission to buy an Indonesia guidebook... what a struggle! We were hoping to pick up a secondhand Lonely Planet, but could not find an edition more recent than the mid-90s in the four secondhand bookshops of Kuta. We finally settled for a new, overpriced Rough Guide. At midday we retired to the shade of a parasol on the beach to do some reading up.

The touts and hawkers on Kuta Beach were enough to drive us mad within hours! Sarongs, sunglasses, drinks, massage and surfboards for hire.... they just don't give you a minute's rest! However, the waves looked awesome, and Rich finally succumbed to the surfboard tout. We hired a long board for an hour - great fun! Rich managed to stand up within minutes and stay upright, though the posture still needed alot of work. I only managed to get up once. A good laugh nonetheless.

Having spent a couple of hours leafing through the Rough Guide, we decided to press ahead with our original plan of travelling to the islands east of Bali as soon as possible. Kuta is literally overflowing with travel agents, so later in the afternoon we marched into the first and best one, and asked for a flight to Maumere, a town on the eastern side of the island of Flores (we figured this would be our eastern-most point; and from there we could work our way back to Bali). However, we were told that the next day's flight was fully booked, and we would have to wait around for five days for the next one... no ways, we thought, we're desperate to get there ASAP. So instead we settled for a next-day flight to Labuanbajo, located on the western coast of Flores.

With our escape plan in place, we took a cab to Jimbaran Beach at about 5pm, just in time to enjoy a long sunset walk on the beach. We watched fishermen launch their outrigger fishing boats before sitting down at one of the literally hundreds of informal beachfront restaurants for a BBQ fish meal. A romantic end to a frustrating day in an overcrowded, maddening resort town.

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