Lessons from day 1
After 22 1/2 hours of flying, layovers, and questionable in flight meals, AJ and I have finally arrived in the madness of Kuta, Bali.
The only route from Seattle to Bali is a 1 AM redeye, once a week on Monday, so at 10:30 Sunday night, instead of getting ready for work the next day, I took one last look at my room, grabbed my pack, and headed to the airport.
One of the positives of having a 1 AM flight is that the airport is a ghost town, so before I knew it we were on the flight and taking off for the first stop in Taepei.
Fun fact: EVA airline flights are hello kitty themed…
After the 12 hour flight and a meal in Taepei, we boarded our second hello kitty flight of the day, this time bound for Denpasar, Bali, and arrived 6 hours later at our final destination.
Now, for most of us when we think of Bali, we see in our imagination images of relaxing on a perfect beach, or exploring a tropical paradise. But your first impression when you land couldn’t be more different. On one hand, customs and the visa on arrival process are both very easily navigated, as you don’t even need a visa for stays under 30 days if you are American, and you don’t need to declare anything at customs unless you stashed 200+ cigarettes or 25+ cigars in your bag.
Once you have passed through customs though, the madness truly begins. As you exit the terminal, you are immediately surrounded by both the humidity and a large crowd of taxi drivers all lobbying you to choose them to take you to your hotel. What makes this even more difficult is that the Bali airport taxi drivers are notorious for price gouging, so you can’t really be sure what you should actually be paying for the ride. Haggling will ensue. Once you and a driver have agreed on a price, they’ll take you out of the airport and on to the roads of Denpasar (the largest city on Bali) which resemble the crowded streets of New York City more than a tropical island.
I had never seen anything like it. taxis, trucks, mopeds, anything with with wheels for that matter, all congregate on the main roads and alleys alike, weaving in and out of traffic. You see all different types of people on these mopeds: teenagers with backpacks driving home from school, hijab clad women, locals with surfboards mounted on the side of their bike, and the list goes on. And the Balinese ride their bikes in all different manners too. Women in long dresses swing both their legs to one side while sitting precariously on the back of the bike. Young children (sometimes 2 or 3) stand between the legs of the the driver, while others sit back to back with the driver and peer into your taxi while you pull up behind them (or while they cut you off). If you think 1-90 is bad during rush hour, you have got to see this. It was a crazy beginning to our time in Bali, and I’m looking forward to getting out of the city and catching a glimpse of the slower paced Bali here in the next couple days.
To round off the first day, we walked around the busy streets of Kuta, grabbed some kebabs and beer, and got back to the room for some much deserved rest.
On that note, I’m going to head to bed, it’s been a long day but a good day too. If you’re reading this I hope you had an awesome day as well! I’ll try to make a part 2 tomorrow to add the lessons I learned from this first crazy day in Bali, too much jetlag at the moment.
Thanks for stopping by everyone,