E-mail Update 2005-06-27

Bali, First Impressions

Hey Everyone,

Since there will no longer be new pictures coming to the web site I am switching to a "whenever I want to" e-mail basis ;) Hopefully you will find this interesting & if not then just tell me & I will drop you from the list.

Flying from Australia to Bali was not very memorable because I slept through almost the entire flight. Although the landing was interesting because we kept getting closer & closer to the sea & at the last minute land popped up out of nowhere for a landing strip. The airport is right next to the sea. From the beach where I am staying you can see airplanes land & it makes for an interesting site as well.

My biggest single concern about Bali was getting through customs. Not because I had anything to hide, but because it has been big news & you hear how things get put in people's bags. I was still groggy from the plane ride when I went to get my luggage. Thankfully my bag made it here but before I could pick it up a porter had grabbed it & my other bags. I was a little in shock & for some reason thought they were customs. So I let them take my bags to what actually was customs. There I passed through without a second look (even though I had honey which was not allowed into the country). Then the porters wanted there money so I gave them 50000 rupiah (about $5 US) because that was the only note I had. The person before me got a full check, but I didn't so maybe it was worth the $5. Then I got my shuttle to the hotel (Troppo Zone), which took me through the city. It took around 30 minutes & was an interesting ride. I knew right away that I was no longer in Australia. The streets are lined with people sitting & at their little shops. It was dark & a little dirty & basically all looked the same.

When I got to the hotel I got a cup of Orange Juice which was good & got the Bali "do's & don'ts" from Grumpy, who is in charge at the hotel. He told me it I met a Bali woman in the bar she was a prostitute, no exceptions. He also told me not to shop anywhere the first few days & to not trust anyone on the street. There were lots of other things, but those were the important ones. I got a security locker which only I have a key to for all my important documents, which made me feel more secure.
He told me not to leave anything in the room because it would get stolen, which of course made me feel less secure. The first night I only ventured out a little to get some bread & water. Although during my 10 minute walk & shopping I probably got 10 offers for various legal & not legal things.
The big things you get offered are drugs, girls, massages (which are actually massages), Oakley sunglasses, to look at someone's shop, raffle tickets & transport. I had experience with this before from Fiji so I just politely ignored the people. The cool thing about the trip was the realization of how cheap things were in Bali. The bread & water cost me under 50 cents (about 5000 rupiah). If you are still having trouble with the math 10000 rupiah is about 1 USD & 1 million rupiah is about $100 USD.

After a good nights sleep I got up to realize that I got a free breakfast provided by the hotel. It is really good & on the advice of Beli (a guy from Australia) I took the omelet & pancake with honey. After that him & I started talking & ended up decided to go to Waterbom Park. That is the local tourist attraction which is a big water slide park. It is comparable to Noah's Ark back home with some cool rides. It cost us about 200000 rupiah, with the transport included. The water park was cool & there we played water volleyball, rode around lazy river on tubes, hit the water slides & had a beer in the pool at the bar (there are bar stools in the pool!). It was my first tastes of the local beer - Bintang. You can get it really cheap here & it comes in huge bottles. Plus it has good taste, better than about 2/3's of the Aussie beers I tried. After park we came back & decided to head to the beach for a massage. The walk to the beach is about 20 minutes from the hotel. It takes less time with 2 people because it is easier to ignore the vendors who are tenacious. Once down to the beach we walked for a little bit until we saw a group of women who did the massage. After some intense negotiation we got them to give us a massage for 20000 rupiah each for one hour. It was the worst massage I have ever had, but was still ok & given the $2 cost I can't complain too much.

After that we sat on the beach for a while talking to some of the people & watching the sunset. We also got 2 pineapples for 10000 rupiah. The lady sits there & cuts them for you in a cool way that allows you to eat them like a popsicle (well almost). After that we went back to our rooms to get ready for a night out. My room has 2 twin beds, a great air conditioner, a TV (which is useless because I don't know Balinese), a refrigerator & a personal bathroom. The night out was fun, although my friend drank too much & I had to basically drag him home.

Ok that was the first few days here. I need to get going so that I can catch some supper. By the way the cell phone is no longer valid so all communication must be e-mail now.

Hope that everyone at home is doing well & have a good time :)

Take Care!