Today we woke up and were treated to some black sticky rice topped with coconut and fresh fruit. I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this or not, but we are really digging all the fresh fruit in Asia. It is going to be sad when we are finally in Australia and New Zealand, needing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for the same fruits but certainly less quality. But, who knows! Maybe we’ll be proven wrong.
We said goodbye to our Dutch friend and her child, paid our bill for all the food we consumed, and packed up our hotel room. While we were packing Made came by with a large plastic bag of sea salt for us as a gift, which was quite generous though we now need to figure out if we can even get unlabeled salt into Australia. When we were finished we met up with Gede’s brother and his SUV to begin our 3 hour drive across the north of the island to Melaya our last (planned – we’ll see how the volcano situation fares) destination before we take off to the Land Down Under.
The drive was quite scenic taking us along the coast while we bopped our heads to Gede’s brother’s CD of pop hits on replay. Mixed amongst the Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Maroon 5, was some unfamiliar rap. Either we have missed out on some new releases since leaving the U.S. or our taste is music has not caught up with what is hip in Indonesia. Along the way we were privy to a few close calls, but we came out unscathed.
Despite some difficulty in finding the Melaya Beach Resort due to downed signs, we pulled in right on schedule and were greeted by Komang (a different Komang) who is staffing the very empty resort. She informed us right off the bat that we would be the only ones staying in the hotel, a series of 4 rooms overlooking the pool and ocean. There are also people staying in a villa but they have their own pool, so it looks like we have the hotel pool all to ourselves. Sweet!
We were brought fresh orange juice and ordered soy sauce chicken and mei goring, stir-fried noodles with a fried eggs on top, for lunch. Though not as delicious nor plentiful as Made’s food, it hit the spot.
When we were done with lunch we had a somewhat immediate task to tackle using the mediocre Wifi (pronounced “wee-fee” in Bali to our delight): Calling Jetstar to determine the likelihood of us leaving in time to make it to Cairns for our liveaboard dive trip of the Great Barrier Reef. While Bali is lovely, this is something we are really trying to not miss. It took a good 15 minutes to install Skype (one good thing about Jetstar is they have free calling through Skype), 5 minutes to figure out our login password, and another hour to get a Jetstar human being on the phone. Luckily during that hour we learned that we could pay for an upgrade which allows us to select our seats, modify our reservation online, and order food ahead of time in case the cart did not contain our desired meal by the time it reached us (on repeat).
Finally, we reached someone who was not as helpful as we would have liked. No, our flight had not yet been cancelled. All of today’s regularly scheduled flights leaving Bali had been cancelled, but they are flying four recovery flights. Doug then asked who were on the recovery flights. We were thinking maybe people from 2-3 days ago. Nope. People from as far back as November 3rd are being placed on these flights with priority given to people attending weddings/funerals or those people who have children. Ok, fine. So the likelihood of our regularly scheduled flight departing is probably 2%. Even worse, the likelihood of us getting on a recovery flight before Tuesday is probably 0%. Here is where Doug laid out his plan to our dear Jetstar friends in the hope that they would be willing to compensate for the cost difference. If we first take a 20 minute taxi to the ferry at Gilimanuk, then a 30 minute ferry to Ketapang on Java, then a 6 hour train ride to Surabaya, would Jetstar cover the flight from Surabaya -> Singapore-> Perth -> Cairns? No such luck. We would need to cancel our existing flight and use the voucher to create a separate booking to do something like that. Bah! We thought we’d be saving them money because we know they are putting all of their stranded passengers up in hotels in Kuta. We hung up disappointed and frustrated, but decided to wait until our flight is actually cancelled to lay out the epic 3 day journey that this would require. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.
In hopes of relaxing ourselves, we then threw on our bathing suits for a long walk on the black (Doug disagrees and says it’s chocolate brown) sand beach. We stopped along the way to admire some beautiful shells, including a sand dollar, and have our picture taken with some men moving live cattle onto a boat offshore. Though the scenery is quite lovely, we quickly agreed that we would not be swimming in this at this beach. The water is a bit murky and there is quite a bit of trash on the sand and floating in the water, but what probably put the nail in the coffin was when we saw an entire once live chicken with its legs strapped together floating in the waves onshore. We assume it was supposed to be on a boat headed somewhere but was knocked off-board and couldn’t save itself. Poor thing. And who knows what else is lurking in that water… Yeeesh.
Making our way back to our room, we jumped in the pool and hung out on our porch to do some more relaxing. Here is where we met the property manager, Gede (a different Gede), who gave us some more tips on getting to Surabaya. And we learned that the time zone changes in Java… a key bit of information if we are to catch a train there. A short while later we met Colin, the British owner, and learned that he had been living here in Indonesia for 8 years now. He gave us another key bit of information – get a first class ticket on the train and you’ll be treated to air conditioning (no A/C is an option?!) and boxed meals.
We then sat down to dinner of sweet and sour chicken and Balinese chicken curry. Again, Made had spoiled us at our last place because these we’re nearly as good. But, Doug did take the opportunity to bring out our bag ‘o salt for distribution. We were also able to enjoy quite a lovely sunset while we ate.
Daily Walking Mileage: 5
- Buffalo races, consisting of 2 buffalos, a cart, and a single jockey are very common in this community. While we have not witnessed a race, we did see a few teams training with very irate buffalos. They didn’t seem too happy with this tradition.
- Doug has made a new friend that he is now calling “Touchdown Buddha.”