The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 14, Melbourne to Bali

Saturday, March 14 - Day 39 - Melbourne to Bali

Dick is up very early, as is usual for a travel day, so he goes for breakfast and coffee while Carolyn sleeps for another hour. Carolyn gets everything packed up after she wakes and goes to breakfast while Dick gets the luggage down stairs. The breakfast is very nice...buffet style, but lots of choices and every thing is fresh, not the cardboard, prepackaged stuff seen at the Holiday Inns in the US.

Our Virgin Australia flight is at 9:15AM so we have to be checked in by 7:45AM. We have reservations on the 7AM hotel shuttle which runs every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. We have had no trouble with our luggage on the two previous Virgin Australia flights but today we hit a snag. Now, explain to me why a properly sized carry-on bag has to weigh only 7.0kg on this international flight when they haven't worried about it for the two previous flights. Mind you, they don’t care what the stuff in your hand weighs; just the weight of the designated carry-on bag. Carolyn questions the agent, but she says that they will weigh it at Security?? and at the gate?? Really!?  The 11kg carry-on has the same stuff in it that it has had since we left the ship, our medicine pouch and the medical equipment Carolyn needs for an asthma attack plus the folder with our needed paper work for the trip. We manage to get the bag down to fighting weight by taking out the medicine pouch and hand carrying it to security. This leaves the carry on at 7.1kg and we are allowed to move to security screening. We now have a bunch of loose stuff to screen so load about ten little bins and, of course, now for the first time the camera bag does not pass. They insist on rummaging through it and then running it through x-ray again. Once again, this same camera bag has flown from Houston to San Francisco, Sydney to Hobart and Hobart to Melbourne without a second look. Today it is a problem!!!!

Finally through with this comedy of errors, we repack our stuff the way we want it...the carry on is back to 11kgs...and head for our gate only to discover that we are now forced to wind our way in a serpentine pattern through all the innumerable airport shops! We wonder what space there costs when several million people are forced to walk through your store every year? It is a very long hike and way to warm! By the way, they did not weigh the bag at security or at the gate!

We are in seats 1A-C and are the first on the plane and settle in for the nearly six hour flight. The pilot today is a lady; Susan something. When we meet her at the end of the trip, she appears to be 50-something and looks quite competent. Our route takes us over Ayers Rock (Urulu) in the red center of the continent and she goes out of her way to be sure that both sides of the plane get a look at it from 38,000 feet. Later in the flight, our stewardess takes Jack up to the cockpit with our camera and we now have proof that he can fly a plane! He is one talented and well traveled teddy bear!

We land at Denpasar Airport at noon, some 30 minutes early and work our way through immigration and customs. We already have our visa so can skip the VOA lines, but the man running our line is slow and officious. He does one passenger for very 2 or 3 the people on either side of him are doing. We stand there for 20 minutes while he proves how important he is. He even comments on the fact that Carolyn got her visa in Houston and acts surprised. OK, now we have our passports stamped and have collected our luggage. One would think you could now leave the airport. NOT! We are faced with yet another set of x-ray machines! Unload all your luggage and put it on the belt for another look see. They are not concerned with the people, just the luggage! As we are leaving we see one poor soul watching as the official paws through the luggage carefully inspecting three packages of 6 rolls each of toilet paper! There are three other inspectors pawing through others luggage....dodged that bullet!

Finally, we are out and see the Alila Resorts representative who takes us in tow once we wind our way through all the airport shops. See comments on Melbourne! He walks us out to the pick-up point and turns us over to a driver from Alila Manggis Resort for our transfer.

Carolyn has arranged for a little extra time with the car and driver and we stop at a village known for its silversmiths. The car has good AC so we are somewhat overwhelmed by the heat and humidity that greet us as we step from the car. Prapen Jewelry is a very nice store but open air; read hot and very humid.  So, Dick suffers as Carolyn shops. We do get a little demonstration on the way Bali craftsmen make their intricate designs. Carolyn then finds a couple of things she can’t live without.  Surprise!  Surprise!

Back in the car we head for Alila Manggis and arrive after another hour in the car in constant, heavy traffic and interesting sights.

The resort appears lovely but, again, reception is open air; read hot and humid. They provide a cool, refreshing tea made from local spices and "Snakeskin Fruit" with ICE and a cold face cloth while we check in and then we head for our room, #204. It is on the small side as resort rooms go but comfortable and very Balinese in appearance. The AC will only go down to 23C (73.4F) and that is warmer than we like but those are the rules. Fortunately the unit has a really strong fan option. The grounds are very nice and our room has a great view of the ocean and the pounding surf will put us to sleep! We can hear it over the AC.

The hotel knew that this was our 50th anniversary celebration and they have gone all out for us. There is a beautiful love design in fresh flowers on the bed centered around a local wood carving of a couple.
Dick takes a swim and then we clean up and get ready for dinner. The restaurant opens at 7PM, 30 minutes after sunset, and it too is open air. By the time we are seated, there is a light breeze blowing with lightening around just close enough that we do hear thunder from time to time. It has cooled off and there are ceiling fans so it is comfortable.

We met the chef earlier and he had worked in the Caribbean when getting started in his profession. The menu is very Indonesian but quite good. Dick has Sate and we both have seafood fried rice with vegetables and a homemade vanilla bean ice cream. They make Carolyn’s dish with white rice and without the soy. Dick has the kind made with red rice which the waiter says is a little more spicy. We are both extremely tired and drained from the heat so we do not last long at the table. They have prepared a beautiful, fancy chocolate cake as a special treat for us, but we are so beat we ask if they can save it for tomorrow’s lunch. By 9:30PM the lights are out in our room.

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