We’ve landed in Bali from India, but with much less sleep than hoped. The 2.5hr time zone change plus the not too late flight has left me with maybe 2-3 hours’ sleep and Jenn an hour here, half an hour there. As with our other points like this I’m feeling better than expected though. Perhaps the less sleep with the puppy before we left helped prepare us?
First order of business is getting money. Last time in India I got a horrid exchange rate at the money changer and only a $5 ATM fee, so this time I’m going with the ATM. At first I read the 13.000 Rupiah to USD as 13$ with an extra decimal place like when you go to the gas station in the states and its 2.99 9/10ths. But no, it’s 13,000 Rupiah to USD. Wow this is going to be hard to do the math no. I double check this with the lonely planet guide which was at 12,000 when it was published a back in March (Yay Greenback!), and the internet which I’m picking up with free wifi. I’m able to pull 1,200,000 Rupiah from the ATM which seems like a ton of money until I find it’s just over $80.
There is a single taxi company in the airport, and they charge a lot. 100,000 rupiah to go just about 2 miles down the road to Kuta. We want to go to this water park called Waterbom to spend a few hours since we got off the plane and through customs by around noon, and won’t have time to do anything fun once we check in. I’ve checked and the water park says they have lockers including larger “family sized” ones. We’ve also read we should be using the BlueBird brand taxi whenever we can as they’re well controlled and on the up and up. Apparently there are a lot of knock off BlueBird taxis so we need to make sure they say BlueBird on the windshield.
To add insult to injury, we don’t have small bills, so when our taxi drops us off I ask for change and hand him 100k. He hands me back 50k. No dude, you don’t get to choose your tip. But he acts like he doesn’t understand and I’m in no mood to fuss over $3.50 right now so I just wave it off. I should have just not tipped him for being an asshole.
Waterbom turns out to be so very well put together I’m absolutely impressed. Customer service is able to take our larger bags. When you pay for entry you get a wristband which you charge with money to be used throughout the park, this saves you from needing to worry about money all the time or bringing a bag with you. When you’re done they cash you back out. The lockers work on a similar rfid wristband system, as does a photography purchases system where photographers take your picture throughout the rides and then scan your wristband to associate the picture with you for later purchase. It’s slick. The park is also very lush, and well maintained with great rides, excellent service, and tons of vendors around selling different snacks and other activities. I’m also impressed with their nice blend of kid’s areas on up to adults with other diversions like nail painting and massages or a bar.
First order of business was getting a locker. The normal locker area had sold out of the family ones, but the kid’s area had them. I guess this would be our base. We probably needed 2 family lockers though and barely got everything in the locker.
Before getting in the water we need lunch so we can take our malarone. Plus it’s been a while since we ate.
First up is the lazy river, what drew Jenn to this place originally. She’d seen it on Pintrest and wanted to go. It just so happened to fit perfectly in our schedule and had more to offer than just that.
Up next was this really fun slide called “Boomerang” which sent you through a tube at first before catching some air down a super steep incline, and then up this near vertical ramp that gave you the feeling you’d shoot right off the end before sliding back down and launching again off a bump and into a pool at the end. This was by far my favorite.
From there we got in line for another twin-tube ride on the other end of the park. The line for this one was much longer, and it wasn’t quite as fun. I spent the entire slide facing backwards and was completely disoriented.
Jenn was finally tired after all the flying and excitement and wanted to find one of the chaise lounges in one of the quiet areas to take a nap. I wanted a churro. We compromised and I got a churro and Jenn took a nap. We kept having to move because of the sun and eventually gave up.
It was time for some ice cream. One thing struck me through it all, each of these little purchases and even lunch was relatively inexpensive; these weren’t Disneyland prices. With our ice cream sitting watching the kid’s play area we decided we were done, we didn’t really need to go on another ride and Jenn wasn’t particularly keen on going down Boomerang again so we cashed out our wrist band (which was nice because we paid with credit card and got back cash). We picked up our bags and asked if they could call us a BlueBird taxi. Before we’d even hardly got our stuff squared away our taxi had arrived. Our bags we had our wedding clothes in hadn’t really survived all the travel AND being forced into a locker too small to fit everything, so we’re going to need to come up with a new solution before too long.
This taxi went a whole lot further, maybe 15-20 minutes and cost us 120k rupiah with tip as opposed to the 150k rupiah with tip we paid the first one.
At our hotel we check in. I’ve heard Bali is one of the best places to dive in the world, and tomorrow I’ve signed myself up for a difficult set of dives that gives me a chance to see a Sunfish that sometimes come up from the deep ocean because of a deep trench nearby, and manta rays. Jenn isn’t up for a tough dive like this so in exchange I’ve gotten us a room at an upscale resort that isn’t too big to be cookie cutter, but isn’t so small that it doesn’t have all the amenities to keep her occupied for a day. She plans to sit by the pool and get a massage and relax. When we arrive we’re given a pleasant surprise, we’ve been upgraded from a “superior” to “deluxe” room. Not only that but we’re now in the “club house” section of Puri Santrian which has its own private pools (plural). The room is gorgeous and there is even someone on staff outside at all times ostensibly handing out towels, but also keeping an eye on things and keeping the staff from disturbing you if you’ve not left the room.
Because of the bag situation for our wedding day clothes we need to go out and get a duffle bag. A woman at the front desk advises the Hardy’s mall 1km down the road so we start walking. We should have taken a cab. They’re cheap and reliable. But 1km is short, and we hate being that fancy to take a cab 1km. Only it’s not 1km. More like 2 or 2.5km. Half way there we don’t want to give in, but now we’re sweaty, hungry, and a bit cranky. Arriving we find the selection kind of wanting with the store front hawkers we ran into along the way offering similar prices on duffle bags. The one bright side is at least we don’t have to dip into our small cash reserve as we can use credit for our $10 purchase. We do catch a BlueBird on the way back though. It’s amazing how many knockoffs there are, you don’t hardly realize until you’re looking for the legit BlueBird taxi and each one that drives by is just a slightly off shade of blue with a logo that’s reversed and not quite right. It’s close enough though for you to go “oh here’s one. Oh wait…”
We drop our bag off and then go to dinner, deciding on a sushi bar associated with the hotel. I had predicted the one thing I’d be craving when I got home was Sushi, but here we are halfway through our trip having good sushi in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia. Again I’m struck by the prices, they’re really not that bad for a big meal of sushi at a high end restaurant.
Oh man that nice bed is calling my name, here I come!