Wednesday, November 16, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - 25th July.

We woke up early and went down quickly to breakfast. There was little keeping us in the room; the television barely worked, not without a hideous amount of background noise for the first ten minutes and the shower was anything but inviting. So, we threw some clothes on and went down to the next level.

We sat at the table and the waitress approached us with a choice of breakfast options - continental or Indo. We had learnt by now that West was best, at least for our tummies, so we ordered the continental. Looking forward to some Balinese coffee, we ordered a cup, sat back and relaxed.

It was quite an overcast morning and it all looked pretty grim, from inside the hotel to outside.

Our coffee arrived - black and bitter. The waitress seemed confused when I asked for milk and had to even ask her counterpart. Not a good start - add to that the sour-faced lady who took our order, we were on a roll When the toast and jam cam, we couldn't help feel slightly put out as others tucked into their big pile of rice with a lovely fried egg sitting on top.

I was so disappointed with my food that I to actually check that this was all we were getting. The waitress gave me a flat answer. What a joke. How can the breakfasts even compare? One piece of bread compared to all that food. But, we decided not to let it get to us and planned a walk along the beach.

We ignored the sudden downpour of rain, grabbed our rain jackets and left.

Actually, the rain didn't last too long at all, although the clouds hung around for a bit longer. It was a really pleasant walk. There were many shops, each of them with the quintessential souvenir and the seller, in each one, hollering after us, desperate for a sale.

We stopped off at the Gazebo villa for a proper breakfast and a juice.

Poolside paradise?
As we sat looking out onto the sea, we couldn't help but notice just how many tourists there were. For us, that was the biggest culture shock. But, what was all the hype about? Why Bali? Where were the peaceful beaches? Where was the tropical paradise?

At this point, we were begrudging this leg of the trip. The only cute thing in sight was an old couple sat together playing card....probably us in a few years time!

I had read that the beach was 5km long. The more we walked, the more the clouds parted and the more people ran out from the shade to catch their small bit of sunshine before the next bout of rain.

The walk was lovely and long. The beaches themselves were dirty; the only appeal being the cool waters. Just a few hotels had the power to maintain a clean beach area for their own guests.

We made it 5km to the Bali Beach Hotel and for the first time, the Lonely Planet was right in its description. It was an ugly landmark and even though we couldn't see the name, we knew we had arrived.

We wandered through the lobby and checked out the process. For all its size and blandness, it was still 170USD per night. The Hyatt has quoted us 200USD but neither even looked that appealing.

Outside, there was a big drive with tais waiting and a concierge. I asked him about the far to Ubud as it was a must see for us. We were tempted to just go there, maybe stay the night and return the next day.

I was very surprised when he told me it was 400,000IDR. But then , he offered me a discount and made it 300,000IDR. I must have looked like an idiot guest of the hotel if if thought he could rip me off to such an extent. Common sense told me that the fare was much less than the discounted price - we had paid less than that for four hours in Malang.

We headed back down Sanur, but this time inland. We passed the many shops that lined the street we had seen the night before. We couldn't decided on anything until we had reached the other end of the strip (totalling a 10km walk by now!) and settled for an Irish pub, where we ate great Indonesian food!

We were quite despondent at this point. We had asked at 5 supposedly luxury hotels and some cheap ones too but most were fully booked. Only one had space on Wednesday or Thursday. Our original plans of heading to other islands seems pointless with little time to organise.

What to do?

Ian thought of checking out the place opposite. I was less convinced, having looked over and into their grounds from our crap location. There was also a mad amount of smoke coming out, perhaps a fumigation operation? No thank you - Bugs? Eeek!

They too were fully booked, but, we were shown a secluded garden apartment at the back which would be available in a few days. Oh, my goodness, it was so cute. Behind the heavy wooden doors, there was a private garden with a gazebo under which were tables and chairs. To the left was an outdoor kitchen, to the right, the bedroom and outdoor bathroom. Elegantly designed, the bed was fresh and white and welcoming, so very different to our current bed. The bathroom was something else. Sheltered, but outdoors, with a landscaped garden, it was appealing, most certainly because the glare of the sun warmed the area.

Villa Puri Ayu was our saviour, but we would have to wait until Wednesday to have our little piece of paradise.

In the meantime, we went to have a dip in our own hotel's pool to celebrate. The pool was about 2.5m square, cold and had bits of dirt floating in it. Lovely.

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