Day 1 – Bali

Day 1. Singapore to Bali.
Greetings! Am now in Bali. Puspa Ayu Bungalows (180RM for a fan room, Kartika Plaza St, Puspa Ayu Lane) on the southern end of Kuta.
The day started at 4.30am at Changi Airport waiting for LionAir (Wings Air, interchangeable) flight at 620am. Did not sleep the previous night. Flight was smooth, slept through most of it. LionAir provides breakfast, a cold fishburger. Reached Ngurah Rai Airport at 9am. Headed for the Domestic Departures/Arrival Section, located about 200m north of the International one where I disembarked.
At ticketing, (Locally there was Merpati, Transnusa, Lionair, Mandala), was told that my internet booking for 15th flight from Denpasar to Tambolaka was not valid, ie. I got bumped off the flight. Well, so much for Internet booking efficiency. I should have guessed when I booked online and there was just a “reservation” of seat and no payment needed. I should have sourced and booked through an agent back in Singapore.Transnusa and Merpati are the only ones that fly around the NTT region (Denpasar and Kupang on West Timor are the flight hubs in the region, so they have better links), and both are full. There was an 12.45 am flight to Waingapu that morning, so I played waiting game and added myself onto a wait list to see if I can get lucky. By around 2, was told no more cancellations (I was like 4th in line) so i’m stuck in Bali for the night. Not too much to complain here, since original plan was the 15th anyway, and I needed internet access in Bali to submit some assignment files. But the bumping off was a bit of a bummer. Ticket counter girl tells me to try again at 10am tomorrow morning for the flight to Tambolaka at 11.45am. Off to Kuta beach then..
I’ll see how it goes. If I can’t get a tic to Tambolaka, I might just skip Sumba altogether since the Pasola festival is over on 17th and the first not fully booked flight is on the 18th. Instead i’ll fly straight to Ende. From there I’ll explore a bit further east (wasn’t in initial plan) and visit Larantuka’s Portugese influenced architecture. Oh yes, I booked my return trip from Labuanbajo to Bali on 25th AND paid for it. Even that got messed up a bit. Apparently the original date on the 26th is some holiday and there are no flights. Or something. =(
Reached Kuta Beach, taxi cab brought me to Puspa Ayu, pleasant establishment, and asmack outside are a stretch of dept stores. (Discovery Mall and then Matahari further up) plus it’s close to the airport. Far but near enough to Kuta beach. Actually Lonely Planet places this location in Tuban. It’s 180,000 RP for a room with a fan, ouch, I got to ration my Rupiah. Still have flights and rooms to pay for. Took a shower, knocked myself out for a couple hours. Realised the stupid adaptor doesn’t work here in Indo (dammit it was fine for Laos, Thailand, Cambodia which uses the 2 pin bladed plugs, unlike Indonesia’s 2 pin rounded plug). Went out to check out the beach and buy my universal adaptor along the way.
Kuta beach was nice, albeit way too crowded, and there was some roadshow going on. Wandered around somemore, decided to sample one of the many stalls along the beach, Mee Bakso (Btw lunch was Soto Ayam at the airport and Es Selasih). It was great, I indulged in the excessive MSG/salt in the bakso, semi squatting and chatting with a local lady/auntie duo who was beside me (From Sumatra, teaching in Bali past 3 years).
Went off to take my sunset photos, decided to walk inland and then south along the parallel road back to my hotel. But it’s after dark, and i’m a fool, so took a wrong turn somewhere and got lost for 15 min, walked too far east. Got back ok and here I am writing this. Of course, could have taken the Taxi or Ojek (“Transport Sir?”, ad nauseum, ahaha) but where’s the fun in that. Off to do that assignment and send it out by tomorrow morning, so I don’t have to worry about needing Internet access anywhere else along this trip. (Sumba according to LP doesn’t have Internet access at all, hmm). And wish me luck for tomorrow morning’s attempt at a ticket.
Toys that helped a lot : Compass. Navigated the streets and alleys of Kuta tonight won’t be possible without it. Olympus 1030SW. Not perfect, but I think I caught a lot of good shots by the beach, much better than the phone.
Off point: I need to brush up on my crap Indo accent. If you know me, you should know I think in English, translate to Malay and say out loud. In this case, there’s a third step to translate the Malay to Indo. Plus I can’t understand the locals when they speak too fast. ><

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