Well here I go. I haven't slept in over 36 hours so I apologise in advance for the spelling and nonsense to follow.
The flight over was only a third full and mostly schoolies. And as we were going off to schoolies ourselves (that's what our friends said we were doing) and travelling with our schoolies son, it was fun. The poor hosties were run off their feet keeping the drinks up to them. Within a few minutes our son had made a heap of friends, which was great as his mate who was to travel with him pulled out a few weeks earlier.
We had booked the VIP VOA through TravelCo Bali so were met and whisked straight past the lines. This was $45 USD per person, including the VOA of $25. In the time it took me to use an ATM the guy was back with our documents in order and we waited about another 2 minutes for our luggage. Straight out through customs to the taxi booth. Very cool. And may I say that it impressed the hell out of all the schoolies. lol.
We arrived at Villa Puri Ayu, dropped our luggage and headed to Mago Restaurant to surprise our friends. We hadn't told them we were coming, they were expecting us in January. Well, there wasn't much screaming but alot of giggling, running and waving of arms in the air. I managed to get most of it on video. There were people running at us from all directions, slipping over as they negotiated the turns around tables. So much fun to watch.
Quite awhile later we returned to our villa. We had a 2 bedroom garden villa that was huge. Our eldest son has just purchased a 2 bedroom unit here in Brisbane and our villa was almost twice the size. It had 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, dining and lounge, as well as a private walled garden and bale. It wasn't new, but everything worked well. The only issue I could find was that the thatch was just about at it's use-by date and there must have been a little water leakage through in a couple of areas. This was making the ceiling flake in a few small areas. Daylight showed us that they are in the process of rethatching some of the buildings at the moment.
The next day we went to Carrefour to buy our Smart phone. 120,000 rupiah of talk time for 120,000 rupiah and you get a free phone. This deal lasts until the 31st December. It took about 24 hours for the number to become fully active. In that time it would only make and accept calls to certain numbers but after that time it was great to keep in contact with son. We will use it again in January when we go. It costs 1000 rupiah/minute to call Australia using this phone. It doesn't seem to make SMS though but smart phone to smart phone is free talk time.
I ordered 2 pair of prescription glasses at Discovery for about $200 less than 1 pair would cost here.
The exchange rate fluctuated from 7500 to 8000 over the week, so that has improved.
There seemed to us to be a few restaurants now able to get imported alcohol. The places that do have it though have increased the prices. Where basic spirits and cocktails where 35,000 in July, they were now on average 40,000 each now in the same places.
Can you believe that I had never had a creme bath before. Why had no-one told me what I was missing all this time. I even gave up one of my massages for it, gladly. Never thought I would say that.
We walked the length of the paved walkway on the beach at Sanur. Our son was offered 6 different teenage daughters as his bride along the way.....Ooooh your son handsome, he so tall. I have 15/14 year old daughter for him to marry.....
We found the famous Lazer Bar that Noodles raved about. They were suffering along with everyone else from the alcohol shortage, but great drinks, great staff and nice atmosphere. We will return.
That night we ate at a restaurant called LAGHAWA. It's on the main road not far north of Hardy's on the opposite side of the road. Very nice menu, great food at very reasonable prices. The seafood, according to Hubby was as good if not better than Jimbaren Bay, at half the price. The only down side was the price of the alcohol. They had it, but it was very expensive. Basic spirits 65,500, Cocktails 70,000 to 80,000. But as the food prices are so reasonable it wasn't so bad. 3 of us had 3 courses each plus drinks for 660,000. Despite the drinks prices, we will return here as the food was so good.
We did have to do a little business while we were there. We spent half an hour with our shipping agent examining the contents of our latest container which is leaving in about a week. That was enough to justify the trip, wasn't it?
We visited the Sukawati Markets and were suitably impressed with the prices when compared to the Ubud markets. We will not be going back to the Ubud markets, put simply.
We also visited Tirta Gangga for the first time. All the way there Dean kept asking us if we were sure we wanted to go there. After we left he asked us if it had been worth the trip. He was of the opinion that it was overrated. We were glad to have seen it, it was beautiful and coming from drought ridden Queensland seeing that much water running off constantly, was quite unusual for us. We feel guilty if we flush the toilet, water has been in so short a supply for us for so long. It was worth the visit and fun seeing the local kids strip off their school uniforms to swim.
Sunday we took our friend Ary and her 2 children (7 and 4 months) to the Safari and Marine Park. Unfortunately a small child had passed away in their village the day before so her husband Wayan had to attend the cremation so couldn't come with us. We had a great time, despite this sad news. 7 year old Putu rode an Elephant with me (something I have always wanted to do) and had his photo taken with a tiger, lion, python, feeding a baby elephant and orangutan (spelling). As I said in another thread, we have been to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida and this park left them for dead as far as the visibilty of all the amimals and the amount of interaction you can have with them. All of the animals were well fed and happy (not sedated as some have suggested) and very active. We were particularly impressed with the white tigers. You could tell that they were very happy. They were extemely active even in the heat of the day, swimming and sitting in the water right up against the glass. We were literally cms away from one of them for about 10 mins. He watching us and us watching him. Got some great photos. Bronn, one of the orangutans wanted to come home with me. He posed dutifully for the photo then swung himself around to face me and was hugging me so hard and stroking the back of my head. When the line started to build up, the keepers had to literally peel his fingers from around me, so I could get up. It was amazing.
Kuta was almost deserted though. There didn't seem to be many tourists at all. Hopefully it will pick up over the next couple of weeks. But the atmosphere was just as fun as always. No post-execution tensions at all.
Well, unhappily back in Oz and counting the days till our next trip to Bali. Only 37 sleeps to go!!!!! And speaking of sleep, it's about time I got some.