First destination on our trip: Bali. I could bore you with the trouble we had at the airport, but let’s concentrate on the fun stuff – no one wants to hear how much Air NZ sucks sometimes…
So we will start with our arrival at the airport in Bali. The immigration/customs part was nice and easy – we could have pretty much brought whatever we wanted because they barely looked at our bags… Then, to find a taxi that could take us to our destination.The first part was easy, there was a sign there for Airport Taxi, which our hosts had already told us was the way to go. We explained where we were going, showed the map we had printed and in exchange we got a paper that says $175.000 (about NZ$18). We got out of the airport and found a driver, as they were all wearing these Hawaiian-type blue shirts. We got flagged by one almost straight away and started walking with him towards his car.
After a few minutes we got there and were about to start loading our stuff when another driver intercepted us and started arguing in Indonesian… All I understood was “Sanur” (the neighbourhood we were staying in) but it resulted in us walking back to the airport with a new driver and into his car. The airport itself was a sight to see; and was starting to give us an idea how seriously these people take architecture and ornaments. Terraces, plants, sculptures, my eyes were constantly scanning the whole lot and trying to absorb it all. The heat was quite intense, but nothing that could prevent you from enjoying yourself.
So finally we got into the car with AC and start driving away. Exchanged a few words with the driver, whose English was quite poor, but was able to point us to a few places and recommend a mysterious Indonesian dish we could not miss: Nasi Goureng. And here we were, in the middle of Bali traffic.
For those of you who have never been in SE Asia, there is one way to describe the way these people drive: madness. Traffic rules? Lanes? Give way? Following distance? All guidelines for someone else to follow. About 80% of the traffic are motorbikes, some wear helmets, some use the straps on them, some wear construction hats, some wear nothing at all. Age to drive? If you can reach the pedals, you can drive. We saw a kid that could not have been more than 8 driving around.. And of course entire families and babies on scooters. So riding that taxi was an experience on itself, I wanted my eyes to multiply so I could see both sides and all the people, everything with a big incredulous smile on my face.
After about 20 minutes of this, we arrived at the street we were after, following the instructions Preya had sent me before hand. However, the street we were in ran in a loop, and had some “blocks” coming out of it (side streets), all under the same name. You would think No 16 is next to 18? Think again, next to 18 there was 253. So I decided to ditch the taxi and walk around. One look at Tim, a “do you trust me?” and on we went, following my mental idea of where the place was, as I had taken some time at home looking at maps and familiarizing myself with the area. Luckly for both we did find the place, after being offered a ride by locals a bunch of times (most see white people as $$$) And both our amazing hosts were here to receive us.
We had met Med and Preya in NZ, when we were walking the Abel Tasman great track, and they were kind enough to invite us to stay with them here. They have a lovely home, which has two rooms facing each other, with an open plan dining room and kitchen which faces the garden and a pool on the open side. Needless is to say having a pool at the end of the day with this heat is SUPER AMAZING! And they are both very interesting, lovely and overall wonderful people, so we are VERY lucky to be able to stay here. To add to this, they have two dogs and three cats, so this is paradise for us, animal lovers <3.
The first night after we arrived, they took us to eat Thai food at their favourite restaurant, and it was fantastic. One look at the menu (which had English translations) seemed to show everything was delicious, so we just ordered a bunch of different dishes to share: Green curry, papaya salad, fried rice, and some other dishes I can’t quite recall.. But one thing is certain, I shall learn to eat spicy or die trying! The beer here seems pretty weak, but I am sure we will get used to it.
So we shared a great dinner and conversation and walked back home afterwards. Our bodies were still on NZ time, 5 hours later, so we were glad to lie down and pass out.