Sunday, May 26, 2013
Incredible though it is to believe we awoke in Brisbane, then bedded down for the night in Bali. Ubud in the mountains to be precise. So off on another adventure and I am yet to be disappointed.
Airport etiquette hasn't changed much since we last travelled. There is always someone queue jumping, using their gold card status. I must admit I was pleased to watch them then go to their seats in Row 23. How spoilt am I?
Arrival at the airport in Denpasar was chaotic to say the least. There is major redevelopment of the site going on and it seems to impact on everything. The new airport should be finished by October and it seems that it really is needed. We heard the arrival of over half a dozen flights announced just in the period we were waiting for our bags to come out. This took the longest time. Even our allocated guy was on his walky talky trying to see what the delay was.
I can highly recommend the express airport process. You pay a fee, then you are allocated a staff member from the airport to walk you through the visa process, the bag collection and customs. Then we were passed on to a Four Seasons guy, who took our luggage and escorted us to the vehicle (quite a hike given the redevelopment process) then yet another guy was our chauffeur. Seems complicated but it worked.
We are staying about an hour and a quarter from Denpasar, in the mountain area of Ubud. Watching the frenetic activity from the safety of the car was an eye opener. The place is crazy. There seem to be more vehicles than Thailand, certainly more cars and an equal number of motor scooters. It wasn't long before we saw the usual tally of multiple people, children (including babies and toddlers), overloaded cargo - from bamboo cages, to bundles of stuff, armfuls of pipes, vegetation etc. the sight of the afternoon however was the girl riding pillion who had a bright orange swim tube around her stomach as she clutched on to her friend and zipped past us in the traffic. If you get bored with watching the world pass by, the car has its own wifi hot spot!
Roadside stalls sell everything from car tyres, to food. Bali is known for its artisans and so far it is a toss up between stone carving and wood carving for the ultimate position. They are everywhere. Apparently the teak now comes from another island and a lot of the timber pieces we saw were a much lighter timber than teak - both in weight and colour. Everyone proclaims items are "made to order" but I have my doubts. Why Balinese artisans would carve giraffes is beyond me, especially given the 1000's we have seen. Can't help but think they come in from China, then are finished off on site.
Arrival at our destination went smoothly. After we passed through the security check point and had a bomb check of the under carriage of our vehicle carried out. Another first, it seems this is standard practice on entering the resort.
We went through check in, did the intro to our suite, then decided to eat dinner. Bali time is two hours behind Australia. So, for us, arrival was 6.30 or dinner time, where for locals it was late afternoon. Dinner was not served until 7.00 pm so we compromised with a drink and snack at the bar first.
Dinner Saturday night is a traditional Ubud feast. Made up of numerous courses the food was great. The meal started with a selection of salads, then duck soup, followed by a range of choices from the wok station fried rice, beef, chicken etc, then the grill station with chicken, prawns, fish followed by suckling pig roasted on the spit and a range of deserts.
Dog count for the afternoon was a respectable 32. Not bad given we had limited time on the ground. The dogs here are all very similar to those in Thailand. A specific colour and look to them, they are a typically generic dog.
As our friends in Thailand would say "same same but different". It's hard not to compare Bali with Thailand, but for me so far I think Thailand is winning.
25 May 2013