Day 86 Perth to Bali
An early start heralded our departure from Australia as we sadly said goodbye not only to Bill's family who had been our hosts in Perth, but also to the country that had been our home for the last month. We both loved Oz and I for one will certainly miss the constant sunshine and temperatures of Perth and the South West. The locals may have been praying for rain but I certainly wasn't amongst them!
Our flight with Jetstar was slightly delayed although we know not why as the aircraft was there on time but we boarded half an hour late and this is apparently unusual. This is the "no frills" arm of Quantas and we had assumed that we would have to buy food onboard so Jennifer had made us sandwiches, but apparently as this is part of a round the world ticket we were entitled to a blanket kit and lunch but no drink. They served this at 10:30am - weird as this was a 3 ¾ hr flight landing at 13:15, but ours is not to reason why. Immigration into Bali was "fun", and I use this term advisedly. We were told that we didn't need a visa to enter the country, wrong, you do and you need cash to buy it before you go through passport control. Of course we had spent all of our Aus $ at the airport before leaving and needed an ATM to get Indonesian Rupiah, found loads that didn't work but fortunately eventually one that did where we drew out 1,000,000 Rupiah to tide us over, never been a millionaire before, but it is only about £70! Once through we were then told we couldn't take any food through customs and here we were with beef sandwiches and an apple each which we were frantically eating much to the porter's amusement who was trying to hassle us to carry our luggage. So there we were stuffing our faces when one of the customs guys said it was quite ok and the exclusion was food in bulk; talk about confusing! Anyway once through we, or should I say Bill found Sudi our driver in the mêlée of people waiting with boards; we were up as Mr Bill and Mrs Theresa, certainly not what we were expecting. The drive from the airport was interesting too and afforded us our first impressions of Bali - I think chaotic sums it up, certainly on the roads with loads of cars and even more scooters darting about in and out of the traffic. We finally made it unscathed to Seminyak Beach and our hotel The Oberoi and here things changed completely to a calm and serene oasis. The staff greeted us with Frangipani garlands, Mint Julep drinks and a courtesy that has been lost from Western civilisations. They then escorted to our villas, every detail was explained in the minutiae, and every attention to detail has been catered for, from insect repellent spray to scented candles for the bath, indoor and outdoor slippers, bags for the beach, the list goes on, this place truly is 5*, and the closest we had come to ultimate in luxury since Fiji and Royal Davui. After we had settled in we went for a stroll through the town, ignoring the numerous "toots" from taxi drivers looking for a fare, principally to find Ultimo, the restaurant recommended to us by Trish. The footpaths I must say have a lot to be desired and seem to be destined to trap ankles, legs or in some cases your whole body as there are huge slabs of concrete placed over open drains and many of them are loose, broken or simply missing. This is obviously why everyone uses the road transport be it car, taxi or scooter. Another extraordinary sight was street sellers with what at first glimpse seemed to be bottles of "pee" but were in fact petrol! Many of the scooters were one man business in their own right cooking and selling hot food from tiny trays on the back. Once we returned to the tranquillity of our hotel we sat down to afternoon tea around the pool and watched the ocean crashing to shore - fair onshore wind blowing albeit a warm one. A swim in the pool followed this as the sea has yet again a strong rip and is only recommend to go out to a maximum of waist deep, not easy when there are 4ft rollers coming in.
We decided to eat in the restaurant or our first night here and chose the Plat du Jour, the menu of which was Tuna Salad, Balinese Whole Duck and Crème Brulee but was in fact more of a degustation with Amuse Bouche, pre dinner drinks and finishing with chocolate covered ice cream and apricot tarts. We declined coffee; neither of us are coffee aficionados and "Civit coffee pooh" didn't appeal especially at £23 for the privilege. This for those like it is coffee beans that have been passed through the digestive tract of the Common Civit (poo) and are then washed and ground.... sounds awful. An early night followed yet another day in paradise and sadly a day nearer our imminent return home……..