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Just Back From Bali and Java



February 2002


Finally--a "just back", better late than never.

I'm not quite sure how the rest of you write 'just backs" so soon!

There seems to be so much chaos here when I get home.

We left Perth ON TIME on Friday 18th January. My sister, daughter and 2 friends were with us. It was my sister's first visit to Bali, although she has spent a lot of time in Fiji. They only had a week in Bali, but Arielle and I were in Bali and Java for 2 weeks.

We were met by my Aussie friend who has lived in Bali for 5 years. We had a "package deal" at Garden View cottages, where I have stayed many times before. We decided on a 3 story bungalow with a kitchen so we could spread out. We mainly like Garden View because of the location-can nip across the road to Loji etc.

The first evening we drove into Matahari Denpasar, as one of us had left all her underwear back home! After replenishing her supply of aforesaid garments, we stopped at a tiny roadside warung for tea. The ambience was "grass roots"--right beside busy Jalan Imam Bonjol, pile of rocks and a drain to climb over to get inside, plastic chairs etc.

Got even more of a grass roots feeling when our hire car broke down in a dark, potholed bit of Jalan Kunti. Tried a few repairs, pushed it for a bit then gave up and left it by the side of the road. We walked to Jl Legian and caught a taxi (6 adults and a motor bike helmet crammed in) back to the hotel. My sister said "I thought you promised me a relaxing holiday". End of Day 1.

6 more eventful days followed, shopping at material shops in Denpasar, hiring motor bikes, finding tiny warungs in dark laneways to eat in, visiting Kintamani, and shopping till we dropped.

We spent a day at my friend's beautiful house in Canggu, walking along the deserted beach there--idyllic.

On my friends' last night we decided to go dancing, so went to Paddies, Apache& Peanuts until about 3.30 a.m. The dancers (I am spectator material only) had a truly wonderful time.

The 3 bags they brought with them had grown to 10 by the time they left, as well as lots of hand luggage. We dropped them at the airport on Friday evening 25th January, and they all said it was the best holiday they had ever had. More Baliholics!

Arielle and I left for Java the next morning, flying to Jogjakarta. It was a very turbulent flight and fortunately I had not told Arielle about the Garuda plane ditching in the Solo river the week before.

This was our first trip to Java without a male, so we were a bit nervous, but had no problems whatsoever. We were met in Jogja by friends and then travelled by taxi to Solo, a one and a half hour trip. We are often the only white people in Solo, but are fairly well known to becak and taxi drivers, so felt safe enough. Plus speaking some Bahasa Indonesia helps a lot.

We spent 4 days in Solo, catching up with our many friends, and attending a Christian church service there. We spent a day travelling to the village of Blora (Endsville), about a 4 hour drive, to visit a friend who had an 8 week old baby. This is the "real" Indonesia--village house with no toilet (just a drain, girls), dirt floors, little shop attached to the house etc. In spite of the primitive conditions, our friends live happily here and have a gorgeous healthy baby girl.

We had one day of shopping in Solo, and the shopping here is so much better than Bali--huge range at much cheaper prices, even the Matahari. All the department stores in Solo were burnt to the ground in the May '98 riots, and only one Matahari has been rebuilt so far.

Flew back to Bali from Jogjakarta on Tuesday night after many hours flight delay. The weather was very bad and Jakarta airport was closed due to flooding, delaying flights throughout Java.

We had another 4 days in Bali, which were also great as a family of friends from NSW were staying at our hotel. We went parasailing and jet-skiing, something I have not tried before. Despite being assured that parasailing was "fun" I was scared witless, but I DID it!

I have often driven in Bali, but usually on failry quiet roads. This time I drove into Denpasar and we made it safely-another "first" for me.

The flight home was the roughest I have ever been on, due to the cyclone developing off the coast. The landing was so rough I was sure we would crash, and a few passengers were upset. In spite of the rough flights, it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. Although it was "wet season" and did rain a fair bit, it did not dampen our fun in any way.

Each time we visit Indonesia we find something new and different, and we are amazed at the resourcefulness of the people. They are always trying new products in the stalls and new patterns for sarongs, quilts etc so nothing is the "same as last time".

Now furiously saving for the next trip, scheduled for June.


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