Monday, 18 February 2013

Day 1 – Waiting...waiting...

I hate waiting!  I’m told that I’m always running late, but my theory is that if I’m exactly on time, I really shouldn’t have to wait.  However, just to ensure the check-in process was problem free, we got to the airport by the ridiculous 3 hour prior deadline.  And yes, no waiting in the check-in line, bags through no problem, straight into the airport, heaps of time for a very expensive breakfast and leisurely shopping in duty free.  We opted not to purchase from the tiny shop in the main airport foyer and decided to wait until we went through International Departures... and that’s when the waiting started.  I figured that by 8am the secret doors would be open, but NO!  We were supposed to be getting on the plane by 9am.  Eventually a man came out indicating to selected guests within earshot (I made sure that included me) that we had to wait for staff to finish their breakfast – WHAT?!  I had been up since 5am; surely they had the time to finish their breakfast by now!!
About half an hour later, the doors finally opened and as we had already completed our departure cards in the foyer (good thing there was a bench set outside to save time there) it was a relatively quick process through.  My handbag did get confiscated momentarily due to the hand gel loose in there that needed to be sealed in a snaplock bag – thankfully the customs staff assisted with little fuss.  A little stressed about our now limited time to duty free shop and fit in a toilet stop; in hindsight we really didn’t need to worry at all.  After purchasing a 1ltr bottle of Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka and Jim Beam Devils Cut for the trip over (Total = $60.99) and a 1lt bottle of Smirnoff Vodka, 12yo Canadian Club and Silver Jose C Tequila (discounted 10% - who could resist) to collect on our arrival at Adelaide (Total = $88.32), we found a seat and took turns for the toilet.
When we were called to board the flight at about 9:20am (20 minutes over time) I knew there was going to be delay, even though no one was saying so.  In our seats a little after 9:30am and looking around the plane it was only half full, I thought there is no way we will be leaving on time (9:45am take off).  I didn’t think we would be sat on the plane for nearly one hour though!!  Eventually, the flight attendants informed as that there had been a delay at check-in and slowly (real slowly) but surely, the remaining passengers boarded the plane.  When the cabin doors finally locked, a passenger from down the back of the plane gingerly approaches the flight attendant to announce she had lost her passport.  A few moments later after everyone is instructed to find it for her, it is mysteriously located and nearly one hour over time, we are told the plane is ready to go... but of course now we need to wait for a clear pathway to take off due to others that had kept to schedule.  Although the thought crossed my mind to kick off a Mexican wave, I really couldn’t be bothered because I was so annoyed I had to wait... I hate waiting!
The flight was trouble free, one trip to the toilet which took up a chunk of time – it’s a long way from row 4 to the back of the plan, dodging all those obstacles.  Of course, the front toilets had been quarantined for the lonely Business Class traveller.  I read a few chapters of my book, watched a movie on the laptop and played some games on the phone and before I knew it, we had landed.  The upside of being at the front of the plane meant that we were on the first bus over to the airport.  Straight through Visa on Arrival – paid in AUD (Total = $52), which gave us some change in Rupiah.  First time we had done it this way, but sure saved a lot of issues with changing money beforehand (usually we get $50USD and a couple hundred Rupiah).  Of course, our plane had coincided with another that had landed, so this meant 20 minutes in the line up through Immigration.  Once through, we collect our luggage and find the only Customs Officer who was not busy and go figure, he waved us straight though – he didn’t even want our blue form.  I reckon it’s because he was too busy admiring hubby’s goatee (he, he).  That’s where the waiting stopped... I love Bali!
We head to the front and there is our trusty hotel driver, Eddie, holding his sign high with pride.  He has been faithfully waiting for over 1.5 hours for our arrival.  Short walk to the front, we wait at the curb, he collects the car and loads us up.  We arrive at our hotel, Kuta Central Park (formerly Quest) and realise all that waiting earlier has paid off, because for the first time ever, our room is ready!  We were greeted with a welcome drink, 25% discount vouchers for in house spa, information about Wi-Fi (which I still can’t get to work) and shuttle bus and breakfast voucher.  A fruit platter was delivered to our room.
The complex is more like a traditional hotel style, comparable with Australian standards – not really the usual style I would prefer in Bali.  There is even a lift, but of course happy to use the stairs.  The pool is smaller than the photos depict, but it does have a decent playground for kids (Miss 7 would have loved it).  We have a Studio Room, balcony with view of pool area, king size bed, huge shower alcove and the room is well set out and of good size.  Definitely nothing to complain about for just over $50AUD per night including breakfast (and pick up from airport).
Once we’ve checked out the room, the reception desk phones a taxi for us and it’s off to Carrefour for supplies, including toiletries (we didn’t pack this time) and of course, a carton of Bintang.  Hubby decides I can come back here by myself next time to stock up before we leave – can’t handle the enormous selection of beauty products I need to wade through.  Back to the hotel to drop off our purchases, a quick email home on the hotel’s computers in the foyer, a Bintang for the road we head into Legian/Kuta to sort out phone SIM card and find somewhere for dinner.  We decide to walk in, which is definitely doable (approximately 20 minute walk), but the road is really not designed for walkers – if anyone knows Jl. Patih Jelantik (think Alta Moda), you know what I mean.  After dodging the traffic, we get to Jl. Legian walk down to Commonwealth Bank to take out some more Rupiah and drop in to the Circle K to set up our phones. 
Across the road to Blue Skyz – one of our favourites from last year – we order a Bintang, Chocolate Milkshake, Curry Seafood and Beef Rendang (Total = Rp.151,000/$16AUD).  It’s now about 9:30pm still on Adelaide time; we are absolutely buggered and catch a taxi back to the hotel.  Hubby knows I’m done, as I’m not chatting with the driver and he nudges me in the taxi to see if I’m still awake.  Back into the hotel, many attempts to get the Wi-Fi connected a shower and a couple of vodkas later I fall into the comfy bed and sleep my first night in one of my favourite places in the world!
Ps. I'll do better with picture taking tomorrow and promise to include more photos...

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