– MAY 19, 2015
We arrived in Indonesia at 2am in Bali. The airport was very nice and had a huge space to welcome us upon our arrival. With this space being so large I can just imagine how crazy busy it must get during the daytime. I was thankful we had arrived so late. Jill had previously arranged for the hotel to send us a driver to pick us up and he was there on time. It was nice to go straight to a van and get whisked away to our hotel for a well deserved sleep.
The airport was nuts after we had made our way through customs. On a side note, we were asked multiple times before leaving Australia to make sure we had booked a flight out of Indonesia before we had arrived there (so they knew we weren’t planning to bum around for an extended time). Once we arrived at customs there were no questions to us about proving we had a flight booked out. Australia cared more that we had a flight leaving Indonesia than anyone in Indonesia did.
Anyhow, back to the airport. After we cleared customs we came across about 50 local cab drivers who swarm you to ask if you want a ride. It can overwhelm you pretty quickly as you end up saying “no thank you” about 50 times a minute. They will reach to grab your bags (expecting a tip of course) and I had to grip my bags and forcefully say “No! Back off!“. We rode to the hotel and immediately crashed for the night.
About 6 hours later we got up and went out to see the Bali Legian district for ourselves. The streets are jammed pack with cars and scooters, it seems the rules of the road do not always apply here. Cars and scooters on the left side, the right side, streets, sidewalks…its all fair game. As a pedestrian you need to always be on your guard for your own safety.
Everywhere you step someone is asking you to enter their shop or to buy something from them. Every street has multiple massage parlors, convenience stores, small clothing shops and tourist shops. Everyone wants to get your business, so of course you end up saying “no thank you” about 15 times every city block. It gets old fast. When you do enter a shop then its game on for them. You know that a shirt should cost around 50,000 rupees, but nothing has a price tag on it. Then you ask what a shirt costs and they tell you 400,000 rupees. Yeah…so now you need to barter. They come down in price a bit every time you say no, until you grow tired of this game and just walk out of the shop. They will run out after you and then agree to your firm offer of 50,000 rupees. Its a game to them and you just have to accept that you’re part of the game and play accordingly. Its not the north American way where something has a price and that’s pretty much what you will pay. Its a paradigm shift in the way we think commerce should work.
You can also rent a scooter on any given street…and you can also refuel your scooter right there on the street too! See below for the old glass bottles of Absolut Vodka now used as petrol canisters. Worksafe BC employees would lose their minds here!
Walking through some of these streets provided an insight to some amazing buildings, statues and culture.
What we would call back alleys in North America are considered streets in Bali. Some residential areas bordering these streets have gone to the extremes of sticking broken glass shards into the cement tops of their concrete block privacy walls. That’s one way to keep a thief out.
There are also small shops littered with bootleg DVDs of movies just now out in theaters. You can see below some of the new movies for sale here. Just wide open to anyone walking by on the street…no copyright worries here.
We walked down to the Legian beach to take a walk in the ocean. I took off my flip flops when we reached the sand, but a few steps onto the sand resulted in a burn on my left foot. We both instantly put our flip flops back on and cooled our feet in the ocean. The weather here is absolutely spectacular!
All over the streets you will find religious offerings on the streets of food, flowers and sometimes cigars. These are called “canang sari” and are offered to their Gods three times a day.
We have ten days booked here at this hotel, so we have plenty of time to slow things down and enjoy the time off work. New Zealand and Australia were so expensive that we had to keep a fast pace moving to minimize the days of costly travel. Now we can sit back and enjoy some downtime in between the amazing sights and adventure opportunities throughout Southeast Asia.
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.