We have arrived in our first country during our round the world journey where English is not the mother tongue. Even more than that, the surroundings are unlike any we would encounter in our home in Oregon.
We had a few hiccups to get us here. I spent so much time sorting out the information about the visas I missed that tiny line about how you must have a proven departure plan before they will even let you on the plane.
So, we were at the Brisbane airport Jetstar check in counter (for the first time) and I hurriedly bought four tickets on a ferry to Singapore. I was punching the details of all our passports into my iPhone screen hoping that the credit card I am using would work to buy the tickets. And what’s more, that we will be able to use them.
The port is a place about 1000 miles from where we were staying but, it IS in Indonesia! Thanks so much to the airline representative who helped me do this rather than be forced to buy another airline ticket. Times four!
Earlier, we had already experienced not being picked up by our pre-scheduled Uber ride and frantically had to book another taxi to get us to the airport. I dislike that kind of scramble to the airport.
While we were checking into our flight (after I bought my ferry tickets) they had a lock down at the JetStar check-in counter. I felt like we were at a cooking contest as they yelled out for everyone to step away and hands up from the computers.
For several tense minutes, we all stood around and scrolled through our phones to see if there was some new information about Mt. Agung, the aged volcano currently smoking in Bali. Nothing. Just a false alarm and after a short while we all got ticketed and sent to the gate. The duty free gin never looked better!
It was about a 5 and a half hour flight and the pilot said he was getting updates on the volcano every five minutes and we would ‘act accordingly’. No sure what that means but, okay. He’s in charge.
Onward, a flight with some movie watching and an occasional peek out into the darkness with the hope to see a glimpse of the magical land we were winging toward.
We arrived in Bali and the humidity hugged us like a damp sweatshirt. Wandering through the airport to the immigration hall that had ceilings about four stories high I knew we had arrived.
A friend arranged a pick up (thank you Drew!) and we were mesmerized by the steady of stream of motorbikes that swarmed around us as we motored down the narrowest of roads in the dark. It was like being with a bunch of ants. You just went with the flow.
The next day we headed up to Ubud, known for its rice patty fields, cultural dances and, most recently, the popularly of Eat, Pray, Love. And currently, a spat of downpours that wipe the humidity from the air and feed the rice.
In Bali, tourism accounts for about a third of the economy so, there is always someone to help you with your questions, desires or plans. That is certainly the case in Ubud.
We are staying at a place I found on Airbnb as I wanted to have something set for the celebration of our 15 years of marriage! Whoo-hoo! This home is a dream, it feels palatial. It was a splurge to our budget at $42 a night.
So much swimming around my head. More to process and share.
Here’s my my list of 20 things I have noticed after arriving in Bali in the first day and a half.
20 things I have noticed since arriving in Bali.
1- There are scooters everywhere and they hold such a variety of people carrying a multitude of things.
2- A rice field walk with Drew was awe-inspiring. We saw people working, rice-growing, ducks, giant spiders.
3- The spiders can be very, very, very big. With bodies as big as a hummingbird.
4-People are very, kind and helpful.
5- The roads are very narrow and have various surfaces, rarely a sidewalk and gaping holes about every 25 feet. Makes for an interesting stroll.
6- It is very humid and the rain comes in downpours.
7- Butterflies, moths, are frequently flying around. They are black, blue and many colors.
8- The beds come with mosquito netting and it looks so romantic.
9- People carry loads on their heads to free up their hands.
10-Geckos, lizards are all over the place. We counted 24 outside our place last night.
11- Ducks can be pets and hang out in the rice patties during the day and get walked home at night by following a flag on a pole.
12- Our place has a little pool and it is delightful.
13- The dollar to Rupiah exchange is 13,435. So you can feel like a millionaire when things cost 60,000 Rupiah and you can buy it with ease. That is the going cost of all four of us getting a ride to the center of town, equivalent of about $4.45.
14-It is hard to figure our what everything costs with such big numbers.
15-There are offerings nearly everywhere for most everyday activities. You find these beautifully folded offerings and incense in the most delightful places.
16-If you order Western food it will look differently than you expect.
17- It is really quiet when you get away from the roads.
18 – There are chickens everywhere. They are like wild mice (aka rats).
19-Alcohol is rather expensive.
20-You need to drink bottled water. Even to brush your teeth.
More to come. We will be here for at least two more weeks. More adventures to be had. More plans to be made. Let’s hope that volcano behaves.