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Kuta Beach, Bali
Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia
Jun 27, 2001 02:43

Pros: nice and interesting place, paradise
Cons: none

Mom, you can stop worrying - I'm still alive, and I finally made it to Bali.

We left Sunday morning, and had a 13 hour flight fom Chicago to Tokyo. Surprisingly, that flight seemed much shorter than the subsequent 6 1/2 hour flight from Tokyo to Jakarta. The stopover in Tokyo was brief - only about 16 hours - and pretty inconsequential, but well worth it - primarily because I beat my Japan-obsessed younger brother to his favourite country. The original plan had been to head into Tokyo for the evening. Unfortunately, money and time didn't permit us to leave Narita, where the airport is located. It was still pretty interesting to check out Japan, however. Our evening in Narita included a visit to the Narita Shinto Temple, and a nice Japanese dinner in town. Then it was off to bed, and onto an 11 am flight to Jakarta, finally arriving in Bali after 30-something hours of travel. I want to say that I regret flying Japan Airlines, and taking so long to get here. But I can't - JAL had the coolest planes I have EVER been on. Each seat in Economy had an individual TV screen with 12 movies, video games, a navigation map, and, my favourite part of all, an onboard camera, with two different views, forward and down. I get amused by the silliest things.

Anyway, we finally got to Bali last night - and immediately got ripped off (I should have known - I was the one who told you it was filled with scam artists). At Immigration, they asked us for our return ticket out of Indonesia. Apparently, you need one of those to enter the country. Unfortuantely, our return ticket is out of Singapore, which as I'm sure even the most geographically-challenged know is a separate country. So we were SOL. After a little sweet-talking (or begging, if so interpreted), we were allowed into the country, provided we paid the nominal entrance fee - $20. WELCOME TO BALI!!!!! Damn Immigration Officers ;)

It didn't stop there. We decided to spend our first night in Kuta - basically the Cancun of Bali. The place is absolutely packed with tourists, and people trying to rip them off.
As we walk down the street, we are confronted by a different Balinese every two steps offering something we don't want: bracelets, clothes, drugs, young women, and buses to everywhere on the Island. Paradise, let me tell you. We settled on a hotel in Kuta, and crashed, surrounded by the loud noises of the disco next door. When we woke up this morning, early due to jet lag, we decided that it was necessary to relocate. We spent about 2 hours wandering up and down the beach looking for a place. To make matters worse, Jay started feeling the initial effects of the famed Bali Belly, necessitating a search for toilet after toilet. Finally, we found a beautiful place - bungalows on the beach, about 10 minutes outside of Kuta, with a/c (a precious commodity in 90 degree heat) for about $25 US. Not bad at all. The rest of the morning has been spent lying on the beach, surfing, and trying to ignore the countless people offering everything under the sun.

And so now we're settled. The plan for the next couple days includes more sun, surf, with some sightseeing thrown in. We'll probably be in Bali for 4 or 5 days, and then head east to Lombok. We'll spend a couple days there, and then back through Bali and west. But things change...I'll keep you posted.