We had stayed at the IBIS hotel near the airport last night as we had an early morning, getting up at 4.00am for our 7.00am flight. Not a bad flight, a little bit of turbulence, but over the 6 hours from Brisbane to Bali it was good.
We arrived on time and joined the customs queue for people with disabilities, children or age 60+ so we got through in 10 minutes. We found what we thought was our luggage belt and went to pick up our rucksacks - both saying to each other, they seem very light and there was nothing in the top section, so assumed somebody had stolen stuff. However, when we opened them the contents didn't look familiar. Turned out we were a) at the wrong luggage belt and b) two people travelling on a different airline from Brisbane to Bali had exactly the same rucksacks as we did!
We got sorted in the end and our driver was waiting for us in the arrivals' hall. It is a good move to get a driver as you save all the mayhem of taxi drivers pestering you to use them, not knowing how much you should be paying etc etc. It was a 30-minute journey to the town of Sanur and our little hotel with just 5 rooms surrounding a small pool. Perfect for a couple of days, although a little outside the main hub.
Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands and we were just going to visit two. Whilst most of the other Islands are Muslim, Bali is 83% Hindu and houses thousands of Hindu temples all over the Island - I know Dan is thinking "I hope Heather doesn't want to visit all of them". Bali is also known as the Island of the Gods.
There is a lot of interesting history in Indonesia, including Bali. The Dutch controlled Bali from the 1840's until 1949 and Bali was also occupied by Japan during world war II. There were several suicidal attempts by the Balinese to defend themselves from the Dutch assaults, rather than surrender. Bali also has a mountain standing at over 3000 metres called Mount Agung, which also happens to be a live volcano, plus the most active volcano, Mt Batur. So, tough and hardy people.
So, back to our first stop in Sanur. We spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool and we went in to town later with the driver provided by the hotel. He dropped us off at a bar we had researched overlooking the sea and had a happy hour from 5.00pm to 7.00pm. We made the most of that and then walked home which was 40 minutes. The main street in Sanur is wall to wall restaurants, bars and shops - most of the bars and restaurants seemed quite empty, either because we were going home early or it is low season now due to being in the middle of the monsoon season. However, we were still tired and ready for an early night.
The next day we had arranged with the hotel's driver to take us on a tour of the southern part of the island. It was a religious holiday and was lovely to see all the locals in traditional dress and visiting temples with their offerings. It is a huge part of the culture here to place offerings (twice a day) in certain places - we have seen them on pavements, shrines dotted around everywhere - our hotel has two shrines. There's quite a story about this twice daily, and sometimes more, ritual but I'll leave it up to whoever is reading this to look it up if it's of interest.
Our first stop was the Culture Park and the huge statue of the God Vishnu riding the great Garuda, standing at 120m - it could be seen from the airport. There were various other large statues set in nice grounds, so made for a pleasant 2 hours despite the heat and humidity.
Next stop was on the coast at a town called Uluwatu to visit Uluwatu temple on its cliff-top setting 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean, dating back to around the 10th century. 100's of monkeys also live here - they are believed to guard the temple from bad influences. Our driver warned us to look after glasses, hats and Heather took off her necklace. They are happy to take anything that is not attached to you.
We got back to out hotel late afternoon and enjoyed a swim and some relaxation, choosing to have a simple homecooked meal of omelette and salad for dinner rather than go out on the town. Oh, and a couple of G & T's from our duty free stash.