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Travel to Bali: Denpasar to Lovina

My arrival in Denpasar, Bali was very smooth. Having sat in the first row of the plane in my upgraded business class seat (woohoo!), I was one of the first people off and into the visa payment lineup.

If you are going to Bali for 30 days or less, you can apply for your travel visa on arrival. It costs $25 USD. If you are planning a longer stay, you must get your visa before your trip from your local Balinese consulate.

So I showed my passport, paid my $25USD, listened to some British woman complain that they did not take credit cards (which she would know, had she done her homework…) and then proceeded to a second lineup for customs and entry into Bali, Indonesia. This didn’t take long, they looked at my passport, took my visa receipt and waved me through. Easy peasy! Next I picked up my luggage, which was already set aside and waiting for me beside the luggage carousel, and I was on my way!

Welcome to Bali

My ride was waiting for me when I exited the airport and I was in the car in minutes and immersed into busy Denpasar traffic. There were more motorcycles and scooters than I’ve ever seen! and people just seem to drive where they please with a loose understanding that they should stick to the left side of the road! (Yes, they drive British style here…) Every time we passed another vehicle, the driver would honk the horn, letting them know we were there. It was very fast paced and honestly, a bit scary…

On the drive, it started to rain. HARD! Like crazy-out-of-nowhere-rain! It was difficult to see anything out of the front windshield at times and we had to slow the car right down to about 30 km/h. I felt sorry for those people out there on their scooters and motorcycles, but the weather didn’t seem to phase them at all.

Although I was very tired after my almost 27 hours of traveling so far, I tried my hardest to keep my eyes open to see what I could on our approximately 3 hour drive to Lovina on the north side of the island, where I am staying.

The coolest thing I saw on the way was MONKEYS!!!! They were just kinda hanging out on the side of a winding road, playing and eating. There were several vehicles of tourists stopped on the side of the road for a closer look. I was told that if given the chance, these sneaky little buggers will steal whatever they can from you and your vehicle!

My main impression from the ride was that driving in Bali is not at the top of my to-do list! For starters, they drive on the left side of the road here. This messed with my head a few times when driving into oncoming traffic on the left side of the road! I must have had at least 18 heart attacks during the ride from the airport to our destination! However, outside of Denpasar, things did calm down somewhat and I think that I may potentially rent a scooter in Lovina after a few more days of getting used to things and acclimatizing to the rules of the road…

And there you have it! Three blog posts later and I’m at my final destination: a gorgeous home in Lovina, which I will tell you all about in an upcoming post!

For more information on Bali and the neighbouring island on Lombok, I recommend the Lonely Planet guide.

Travel to Bali: Taipei to Denpasar

Well… I think I was MEANT to take this trip at this time or something, because things are only getting better and better (and better!) as my travels continue!

We are finally boarding the plane from Taipei to Denpasar, on Bali, Indonesia. Looks like a packed flight on this one. Not much chance of getting an empty seat beside me. I’m usually in no hurry to get on planes because seriously, why be squished into that tiny seat in that tin box longer than you need to be? But from the looks of the crowd lining up to get on, I wanted to make sure I would get some overhead storage space for my carry on bag relatively close to my seat. So through the line I went…

Everyone’s boarding pass was making a short high pitched beep as it was pulled through the machine, and then mine went through and it made a different, double low toned beep… I was thinking, “what now!” But, it seems it was nothing to worry about! In fact, it was my second seat change of the day; my seat at 21A had just been changed to 1K! Which makes it what? Yeppers! That’s right!! I was upgraded to BUSINESS CLASS!!! WOOHOO!!! My first time in business class, EVER!

Business Class Cabin

So here I sit, in my LARGE cushy seat with my plump pillow, nice thick wool blanket and glass of champagne! Pretty sure flying doesn’t get any better than this! The seats have power outlets for my laptop, and looks like an internet connection would be possible, if I hadn’t packed my RJ45 cable in my suitcase… (d’oh!) The seats are electric with foot rests, and lumbar support in my back and if I wanted to lie back and sleep, the seat reclines all the way back into a sleeping position! Craziness!

(Apologies to those of you who experience business class all the time, but not having traveled a whole heck of a lot, i’m new at this and a little bit excited to be so spoiled! Haha! –or should I say so LUCKY?! Someone buy me a lottery ticket back home, it will be sure to win today!)

The flight attendant refers to me by name, and hands me a menu of food and cocktail options for the flight. Wow! I never knew how spoiled they were up in these hidden front seats behind that mystery curtain until now! So although it’s only about 9:30am here in Taiwan, I order a vodka/soda because my biological clock is telling me that it’s 6pm in Vancouver. And hey! If they’re gonna offer me free booze while I sit here in business class, I’m gonna TAKE IT!!!

Enter vodka/soda with two slices of lime in a REAL glass (none of that plastic crap they’re getting in economy class!) complete with cocktail stir stick! LOVE IT!!!! I could get used to this! If this keeps up, this is going to be a fantastic month of adventure!

My cocktail in a REAL glass!

Next on the menu: A shrimp cocktail appetizer, then shrimp, rice and bokchoy in a creamy mushroom sauce as the main course with a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, and cheesecake with fruit, whipped cream and chocolate sauce for dessert, all followed by a lovely cup of green tea. Holy horse! I’m not going to have to eat for a week!! The best airline food I’ve ever tasted, that’s for sure!

Business Class Entre

Business Class Dessert!

Approaching Bali by Air

Approaching Bali by Air

Yep, there’s no better way to spend 5 hours flying through clear skies, 11,634 meters above the ocean to the tropical paradise island of Bali, Indonesia… Haha! Today, this is MY LIFE!!! I wonder what tomorrow will bring! 🙂

Stay tuned for more Balinese adventures coming soon…

For information on Bali and the neighbouring island on Lombok, I recommend the Lonely Planet guide.

Travel to Bali: Vancouver to Taipei

Right from my check in experience at the Vancouver airport (YVR), I was very impressed by China Airlines and their efforts to accommodate my seat request for my 13 hours flight from YVR to Taipei (TPE) Taiwan. My seat was decent to begin with, 9A by the window fairly close to the front of the Airbus 330-300, but the clerk at the desk said he could probably do better for me and find a similar seat with an empty one beside me as the flight was only at 70% capacity. He would let me know at the gate if he was able to make the change. And SUCCESS! I ended up in 12K, a window seat on the opposite side, with the whole row to myself! YES!

The flight was smooth for the most part, a few bumps and fasten seat belt warnings along the way, but nothing major. The food was… well… it was airline food… But surprisingly, I was able to sleep away about 7 hours of the flight… Almost like a time machine deleting these hours from the flight time! 🙂

The landing at Taipei was smooth. There was an attendant waiting there to help passengers find their next gate. So after a short train ride and a bit of a walk, I found Gate 1A, complete with drunk-airport-crazy-lady and all!

When I first arrived at the gate, drunk-airport-crazy-lady was passed out at the end of the people mover (you know, those escalators that don’t actually escalate? they are just flat people movers)… Then I decided to find myself a snack and some tea, and when I passed her for the second time, she was awake and ranting at everyone who passed her. Then she stumbled her way to my gate, and caused a bit of a ridiculous scene. Yelling, screaming and waving her arms like a crazy person. (ah-hem, straight jacket please!) The airport crew then moved her to a separate area in hopes, I think, to calm her down… But lemme tell ya, I sure hoped she wouldn’t end up on my 5-hour flight from Taipei to Denpasar!

Honestly, I’d be surprised if they let her on a plane at all…. but no security had shown up yet, so who knew…? If this was Vancouver, they would have tackled, pepper sprayed, tazed and handcuffed her by now! (ok, ok, bad joke… but still… the point is that this would never be acceptable airport behaviour at YVR…)

Anyway, now I have some dude sitting behind me in the waiting area and a China Airlines worker, who claimed to be the purser for our flight, hijacked his guitar and played Eric Clapton tunes flawlessly! Loved it!

Hehe, if the rest of my trip is this interesting, I think the next month will be an amazing one!

I later ended up talking to said “dude” with guitar (who ended up being from Vancouver Island) and he was telling me how he got upgraded to business class on his flight from Miami to Taipei and how great that was. I was pretty happy having an empty seat beside me, but I had to agree that a 13 hour flight in business class would have kicked ass!

So, that’s it for the first leg of my 30-hour travel adventure. Stay tuned for Part II in my next post about the flight from Taipei to Denpasar