Day 227-241 Legian, Bali, Indonesian
Trip Start Dec 01, 2008
91Trip End Nov 08, 2009
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Where I stayed
Airports and travel predictably present problems, even for seasoned travellers and also as a general rule for PJ, my brother. He managed to cause a little grief for his girlfriend Kristy who was in Melbourne attempting to meet up with him in Bali. He had left for Perth 10 days prior and was already in Bali while the drama unfolded.
I had already been in contact with Kristy (a nervous flyer) she was on her way to the airport. I assured her we would be meeting her off the plane in Darwin to then help her navigate customs.
About 30 minutes later I received her frantic call - she was unable to check in for her Jetstar flight, she had all his itinerary and flight documentation
You can only imagine the stress of being told you can’t get on; especially when there is a strict policy of being checked in 45mins prior to take-off. It was a stroke of genius that Greg knew to call the travel agent. They were able to fax the required documentation directly to the check-in and a very relieved Kristy finally boarded the flight. But not before seeing Monique whilst in the departure lounge, she had arrived in Melb on the same plane Kristy was on to Darwin.
Monique saw Kristy was very upset and shaking and was able to give her a cuddle and sit with her a little to help reduce her anxiety. Neaka’s and our recommendation of a stiff drink seemed to do the trick also!
We knew our friends Bill and Trudy Doyle from Sunshine Coast were also coming into Darwin to catch our plane to Bali
Greg went to the service desk to have it altered and strategically placed himself next to Bill and Trudy at the front of the plane and left the kids with me and Kristy several rows back!
PJ was waiting for us, but any anger Kristy harboured had well and truly abated by the time we arrived. Suffice to say he did receive a few “tut tuts” and head shaking…
Bali Mandira is a beautiful hotel, with lovely manicured gardens full of candle lit night lights. We loved the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area. After checking into the tranquil resort at 1am we were all soon asleep and very much looking forward to exploring tomorrow.
I have to be honest, we weren’t over excited about coming to Bali, we had become quite entrenched in our lifestyle in the caravan. Camping under the stars in unusual places and sitting around a fire each night was what we were enjoying the most. It had seemed like a great idea back in Melbourne to travel to Bali for a break from the small confines of the caravan but now we were not so sure. The B.N was bracing himself for further budget blow-outs!
How wrong it would turn out to be. The children loved the hustle and bustle of Bali as much as Greg and I did. The Balinese were so friendly and helpful - they adored our children, making them feel welcome and safe.
Our hotel had two fabulous pools, a kids club and we were right beside the surf beach. There was plenty to keep us amused in the surrounding streets and we were only a short taxi ride or walk from the tourist precinct of Kuta or from the more up-market Seminyak. It was the ideal location to access all areas and also be able to retreat to the hotel to chill-out
The children were especially excited about seeing Mum and Dad again they were stationed 200m further up the beach at Melasti Resort. It was also lovely to be able to spend time with PJ and Kristy. Twain and Dicko, PJ’s friends made up our group and we ate out together, relaxed by the pools and watched the boys muck around in the surf having tricks competitions on long boards.
I bought a Lonely Plant guide to Bali and was “head down bum up” reading it prior to travelling and using it as a reference whilst here. I would find local café’s recommended and we’d traipse around the streets looking for them. These local eateries are known as Warungs, each had a different speciality and we ate at many. Our favourites included: Warung Indonesia, Warung Yogi & Warung Asia, with the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had.
Greg and I loved eating at the myriad of Warungs across both Kuta and Legian. It was a real highlight of the trip
Large Bintangs (beers) are only $2 AUD and washed down all meals. We were also drinking copious amount of bottled water. The total cost of lunch was no more than $10 AUD for the whole family – not surprisingly B.N was very happy!
Billy and Trudy were staying on the other side of Kuta and Bill bartered his Bintang prices at a local beach vendor who he has got to know well over his many visits to Bali. For him Bill hauled comfortable camping chairs in his luggage in exchange for his low beer prices!
It was Trudy’s birthday on the Friday and we arranged to meet her and Bill, plus Maddi their daughter and her boyfriend Sam, for dinner to celebrate at Kori, a Restaurant (Western Food) in Poppies Lane II in Kuta. We enjoyed our first plate of beef since we arrived. Mum and Dad took the kids home early and we stayed a little longer playing pool and having cocktails
Our first major excursion was to the Safari & Marine Park. Dad arranged for a driver for the day, we nicknamed him “Speedy” Pete and made just in time for the Elephant show. The kids were able to meet the stars of the show afterwards. The highlight of the day was the amusement park out the back of the animal enclosures. We laughed our heads off watching Max attempting to drive the dodgem cars.
On the way back Pete took us to a Warung out the back of Sanur for succulent roasted pig - their specialty, another feast of Indonesian dishes. On top of the huge breakfasts you would eat every morning at the buffet and our Warung lunches I was rarely able to fit in dinner most nights.
Aussies were everywhere in Bali and the local pubs catered for their sporting obsession by advertising every code that was on the each night at their establishment. Mum was able to watch her beloved Bombers and Dad and Greg happily accompanied her on these nights whilst the kids and I opted for early nights in front of the T.V in our rooms
Before PJ left he graciously met Max and I down on the beach after breakfast and we hired boards to have a go at surfing. Max did particularly well grabbing waves at will and eventually I was able to find my old mojo and stand irregularly!
Greg and I hadn’t made a booking for our second week. Mum and Dad managed to extend their stay at Melasti relatively easily. But we were having trouble finding a suitable place. There were availabilities at the more expensive accommodations but we were hoping to spend less than we had in the first week. In the end Melasti made room for us the entire second week and we moved the 200m down the beach to Mum and Dad’s hotel.
Dad and Greg discovered Billy’s Bar on the beach and could be found there most afternoons or in between meals enjoying Bintangs. Mum and I were off shopping or relaxing by the pool.
On one particular afternoon the smell of the local beach vendors got the better of them
Mum and I were spared this time but just being around those who were sick was enough to make our tummies rumble!
Bali belly disrupted our burgeoning surfing regime and kept us closer to the hotel for a few days but it didn’t stop us from eating at Warungs at lunchtimes. These cafes are recommended via the Lonely Planet guide so we were confident that we were not going to get sick eating at them. The kids quickly picked up on the lingo and were whining about eating rice 24/7 – they wanted western food! Dad and I found a supermarket and stocked up on bread and suitable condiments (read peanut butter) so they could enjoy more regular lunches.
We ventured out to Ubud on another day trip once the Bali belly had subsided, trusty Pete our driver taking us up
Lunch was at a lovely three story Warung that overlooked a steep ravine, it was very picturesque. I scoured the shops in search of a race day outfit for Darwin Cup but had no luck here.
Pete wanted us to meet his family and we dropped in to his home in Denpasar on the way home from Ubud. He has a boy Max’s age and also a younger daughter. It was a fascinating look at the communal living of the Balinese. The males bring their wives to live within the houses of their extended families. Pete’s wife was very welcoming, even waking their son to ensure he didn’t miss out on meeting Max.
The children saw a very basic way of life, one they had not witnessed before
Back in Legian Dad went looking for a watch for Max, he was had by the street vendor named Mel Gibson (2) and paid nearly twice as he’d scoffed at back in Ubud for the same watch. Mel Gibson (2) justified the higher price was because his was genuinely waterproof. He then stuck it in a bucket to prove his point. I told him to leave it there and we’d be back after lunch. Miraculously the watch was no longer in the water!! Mel Gibson told us he’d guarantee the watch was waterproof and if not, bring it back.
Max lasted 10mins with it on in the pool before it filled with water and rusted out all the metal in it – no surprises there. Mel Gibson had the audacity to claim when Dad presented it for refund that he’d spend 10K rupiah on a drink of water and could only return 70K of the 80K amount Dad paid!!!
Our final day trip was on the Bali Fun ship to Nusa Lembongan Island. Mum began the day in many photos looking happy and excited but after being on the boat not more than 30mins later she began to feel seriously sea sick and nauseous. We were not sure if it was a combination of sea-sickness and a migraine, but either way it rendered her prone on the couch of the boat the rest of the journey.
It was difficult to enjoy the day knowing how terrible she was feeling, but it was a great way to see Indonesia without the crowds. The beaches and the water were pristine. We snorkelled, there was a slide from the boat for quick access to the water. The kids with Greg also had a banana boat ride and I rode in a glass bottom boat checking out a massive school of fish.
The BBQ lunch was the icing on the cake, ensuring we all were fed before wandering the island for a tour and some free time at a resort. We managed to get Mum in the dingy and to shore where she found a lounge by the pool and slept. She returned to lying on the couch as we left for the mainland not feeling any better and desperately wanting to get back to Melasti.
Bali ended up being a fabulous holiday, despite our initial trepidations and a destination we would definitely return to if the B.N ever sees fit!!
There were lots of tears shed as we farewelled Mum and Dad again at the airport. We’d be home in another four months or so…