Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Bali June 2013 - Day 1 - Getting There

BALI JUNE 2013 - DAY 1 - Getting There.

So here I am, sitting in the most gorgeous Villa in UBUD, Villa Madu, its early still and we are all suffering from the long day of travel yesterday to get us here. I awoke, even with earplugs to the sounds of my old Bali mates - THE ROOSTERS ! 

WAIT.... lets go back a little in this tale.

So when we jumped off the plane last year after our awesome foursome trip to Seminyak, I was keen to put a bigger group together and get us back here as quickly as possible. We started off with 12 of us (6 couples), and boy, that was a struggle. You try finding accomodation in Ubud and Seminyak for 6 couples thats not sphincter tigheningly expensive. Through a mix of circumstances, we were then down to 10 of us with 2 dropping out. At this stage I managed to secure Villa Madu in Ubud and Villa Kampung in Seminyak. Plans were then well under way with us getting flights and organising seating to try and be near each other etc. Mick and Debbie, Bali regulars decided to go up early, and they would meet us at Ubud. They managed to get nearly a month off work to go back this time. Lucky ducks !

With a few weeks to go, another duo had to drop out due to work commitments, and an inconsiderate daughter timing her pregnancy so that the birth was imminent when they were away. We were now at EIGHT !  Never fear, we will carry on regardless. We changed nothing re the lodgings, and all just chipped in a few extra $$$ to make up the difference. We didn’t want to lose our chance to stay at the gorgeous villas we had booked.

So yesterday (Monday) we started the adventure. To be completely frank, it was not a great start. Litsa and I decided to start our holidays a little early, and go have Sunday drinks with some mates. So come Monday morning at 4am, when the alarm went off, I was not well. Actually, I was horrible. It didnt make for a comfortable trip at all. At one point I feared I’d be calling for an injection of Maxillon to stem the nausea. As they say, SELF INFLICTED - NO PITY.

Jetstar, God bless their little cotton sox, decided to cancel our Brisbane to Darwin, Darwin to Denpasar flight and send us via Sydney. Great, a 7 hour layover. Well, with 4 good mates in tow, and a myriad of places to eat lunch, it was never going to be a bad day was it ? We landed around 10am, then took the shuttle to International to go drop some bags into the storage, then we took an $80 cab to Darling Harbour (That sure cut into the Bintang budget - OUCH). We had a wander down to Kings Wharf and sat down at Nicks Bar and Grill for a relatively cheapish (by Sydney standards) lunch. 5 minutes in, the waitress managed to tip 3 icy cold glasses of water all over Litsa. YAY that made her day. The food was OK. Highlights were Scotts mussels in Tomato concasse and some bowls of seafood chowder that we all shared. The steaks were OK, but nothing outstanding. We shared a bottle of NZ Sauv Blanc, and by glass number 2, I was starting to feel a little more human. We then wandered around Darling Harbour to kill time, stopping at the pumphouse for some overpriced beers. 

Karen suggested we head back to the airport early and she would try and get us all into the QANTAS club, a heady task given that there was six of us. Into yet another Bintang Budget killer (a Sydney cab) and back to get the bags and go check in just after 3pm for a 5.20pm flight. Karen failed us !!!!  Her usual convincing nature, and BOY can she be convincing, just wasn’t working too well today, and after buying our duty free booze and perfumes, we ended up sitting around the centre section near the bar once you clear immigration etc..

The flight was called, and we were off.

Jetstar obviously shunted half of Brisbane to go via Sydney, as the flight, and A330, was chockers. Litsa and I just watched movies on the Ipad, and tried to snooze. Karen and Scott were way down the back in row 58, and apparently it was kiddy creche land back there.

BALI... landed. YAY

We were the only flight in, but as the A330 was full, VOA seemed to take forever. We were exactly the last people in the queue too. It took close to an hour to get out and greet our drivers who were patiently waiting for us. We had booked 2 cars, so that all our luggage could travel in one and we could all travel in the other. Hugo and Karin have never been to Asia, so I made sure that Hugo was in the front seat and Karin was in the middle behind. Both needed to have a good view of the roads. We were told that it could take 1 hour and 15 mins to UBUD. Scotty threw out the challenge to the driver to do it in 45mins. He certainly gave it a nudge !!  The optional use of lanes was pushed to the edge of the envelope, and the look on Karins face as we hurtled headlong towards multiple head on impacts was priceless. I could see Hugo pushing his brake foot a few times as well sitting in the passenger seat :)

We arrived around 11.30 local time, to find Mick and Deb already in the Villa, and cold Bintangs in the fridge. A quick catchup, tour of the amazing Villa Madu and a couple of cold Bintangs, and it was time for bed. We drew straws for the primo rooms, and Mick and Deb ended up banished to the ‘lower levels’. One of the rooms at the Villa, in the separate apartments,  has a really musty smell, so we have decided that no one will stay in there. Litsa and I are camped on the daybed on the top floor near the media room. Its nice and cool at night.  The whole villa is just stunning. Those on Facebook will see the images tomorrow. The rest of you will have to wait till I can setup the photos in a Blog when we hit Seminyak. At the moment, all our stuff is thrown onto the floor, and we are not really settled for these couple of days in Ubud. Its a lightning quick trip again. Today we are just going to walk around, get a massage, eat, drink and be merry as usual.

Stay tuned.

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