Day 1 of a new trip and we started on a high (well if I’m being realistic, we hadn’t even boarded our first flight).
Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport now has Wi-Fi (or at least the domestic terminal does). Finally moving in the right direction!
So with fares to Bali ridiculously overpriced when we first booked, being just after Christmas, we opted for a more circuitous route. A domestic flight to Perth, followed by a Perth to Bali flight.
As we we were chasing the long set sun, our 22:45 departure saw us land in Perth just shy of 1am with quite a few hours to kill before our 05:45 flight to Bali (not that we were in any rush, but we were thankful to discover that Perth’s domestic terminal is only a short stroll to international).
My first true attempt at a few hours sleep on airport benches before we checked our bags in was largely unsuccessful, but Sarah true to form managed it far more successfully.
A few hours after boarding (in fact less time than it took us to reach Perth) and we were touching down on the Indonesian island of Bali (Sarah did manage to get close and cuddly with another sleeping passenger in this time).
With our correct Visa fees in $US pre-prepared (we sorted this in Perth), we were quickly through and ready to find a taxi… still 6 hours early for our check-in.
Using the official airport taxi desk to book and pre-pay our fare, we got a few quizzical looks when our destination was revealed (I’m assuming the bulk of tourists head to Kuta, Legian or Ubud) and when our taxi driver was forced to pull over and ask directions a few times, we wondered ourselves where we were headed!
It’s time for one of those confessionals now. With our efforts to squeeze the most out of a tight schedule, we pre booked most of our lodgings for this trip in advance. The problem being, a few assumptions were made along the way… the first being that the aptly named Denpasar airport, is actually in, or near Denpasar (it isn’t, it’s actually closer to Kuta).
The 2nd assumption was that our first nights accommodation was in Denpasar. As cute as it was, it was a fair way removed from the action.
Rumah Kumis (where we stayed) was actually a really nice place! A decent sized room with a great bed, a lovely garden, pool and day bed. Best of all, we were in a local area, surrounded by only Balinese people (arriving just after 8:30 in the morning seemed no problem either… 5-6 hours ahead of check in!)
So, what to do now, out in a far flung Denpasar suburb? As we always do, we slipped on our trusty thongs (flip-flops) and began to walk the 6km or so to central Denpasar.
It was hot. Humid and hot, and it seemed to get hotter. Our first plan was an early lunch, and possibly a beer.
We began to pass many Warungs selling all manner of food, many sporting the ‘Halal’ sign, which we thought would severely inhibit our chances of also having a beer.
So we kept walking… and walking. Turns out Denpasar really isn’t a tourist destination. So after failing in locating said desired beer, we settled on a small Warung (and it was Halal) for a cheap tasty feed and drink. It took us some time however, to convey that we would like our lemon tea iced (we do live on the edge).
Eventually we made it into downtown Denpasar after a very sweaty, and at times dusty, walk along the kerb.
What was surprising, was Taxis aside, there wasn’t a single person touting their goods to us (there were plenty of nods and smiles however).
Relaxing in a park after checking out a street that had been closed to traffic for a Denpasar festival, we did eventually have an old gentleman try to hawk us some artworks.
Traveling with no map, we figured our best course was to retrace our route home (after a false start or 2, we also finally got a couple of beers)!
One look at our feet confirmed, we were definitely down and dirty in Denpasar! …a situation quickly remedied with a quick dip in our pool.
We were not harrased by local touts which was nice, met with plenty of smiles and waves, and eventually found the centre of town.