Wednesday, November 9, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - 24th July - BALI

 Not seeing our flight on the domestic departure screen was unsettling, but, we were, of course, in the wrong place. Once we finally figured it out, we were happily eating our starbucks breakfast to fuel or 36 minute flight to Bali (actually our first flight together!).

One of the monuments en route from Denpassar to Sanur
Our driver met us at the airport and took us back to the hotel. Hotel Semawang - a name to be remembered, or best - avoided.

The hotel lobby was average; there was a landscape courtyard to the right, which was nicely decorated. At 25USD, we knew it would be basic, but we (I) figured it would be all we needed to be able to organise our holiday (maybe go to another island, maybe spend some time inland...). It was the same price as Enny's and we had been treated well there, so we thought we wouldn't go wrong.

We were led through the courtyard and up to the third floor to room 23. Outside the room, as with most of the hotels we had seen, there were chairs, only these were old, very old wooden chairs sitting in front of a dirty mustard window frame. The dirty mustard door rattled as the key turned. Before us was a very basic room. The walls were a dank, dirty, slightly mouldy beige, the bed dressed with a foul floral cover that was faded grey and pink. (Not so lucky with hotels, you would think at this stage.)

At the back was the bathroom. Again, it was very simple. The bath had been decorated with small white tiles, adding a certain thickness to it, reducing its size dramatically. It didn't look very welcoming and we knew within a second that we wouldn't be lazing in it like we could at Surabaya.

We dumped our stuff and decided that the room, at least at this stage, was not the priority. We were sure that the outside world that Bali had to offer would be enough.

Stepping out, we decided we should check out the amazing- looking restaurants we had seen driving in. The main one that had caught our attention was a large open restaurant called Massimo. There was a big gelato counter outside and, according to the menu, the food was from Lecce, South Italy, where Ian used to live.

The whole length of the street thus far had been a long strip lined with stalls, each selling pretty much the same thing. There were generic souvenirs, like the cinnamon plates that actually smelled really good, there were the beaded flip flops for the ladies, batik sarongs, bags, everything.

It was a veritable shopping haven, that is, if you could mute the sellers that it (!). And it's not just them, there are the taxi drivers, the mikrolet drivers, the tour operators. They all want to offer you their serviecs at reduced rates, even though those rates are uber hiked up. It's tiring.
((I vented in another two entries about Hawkers after this year's trip to Bali. Both are worth a quick peak if you are heading there -

Maybe they had seen that we were fresh off the boat, maybe they were like this every day (yes!), but they were annoying.

We decided to backtrack and find shelter back at Massimo's. It was great to have Sangria to help pass the tie until our table was ready (it's a busy place, especially at the weekends.) And, like pigs, we ordered the biggest pizza they had! It was called XXL or something like that, but it was impossible to eat, especially after our starts and our 'welcome bread'.

One slice was as big as my hand! We ended up having to take a doggie bag back to the grimy hotel. Perhaps we could have it for breakfast, but we were too tired to think about that now. We climbed into the horrible bed and passed out.

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