Monday, January 8, 2007
Woke up bright and early for our 11 a.m. flight to Denpasar (Bali). Weekday traffic wasn’t so bad and we arrived at the airport before 10 a.m. After checking-in we settled at the waiting area where the kids interviewed their Lolo about his younger days. Flight was delayed for more than 30 minutes and I was surprised to see the number of people who were waiting for the same flight, most were locals.
We arrived at Bali at around 3 p.m. (time’s the same as Manila) and we ate at KFC while waiting for our ride. We arrived at the Ritz Carlton Hotel at 4 p.m. and after check-in we surveyed the grounds – and I thought the stuff in magazines are just mock-ups. They’re real! As you enter the hotel the infinity pool looks like its part of the sea, and the vast horizon just brings a sense of peace and the realization that you are on vacation (haha). We went 172 steps down to the seashore and took some photos. I could barely make it back up and had to take some stopovers. We then stayed at the sunset garden and waited for the sun to set.
Dinner was at an open air restaurant, much like Puerto Galera and we had yummy seafood. After dinner we tried out the hot water pool a the resort. It was quite hard getting in the water since it felt like it was boiling, but one gets used to it after a while.
Kuya woke us up early to prepare for our day at Waterbom. I was panicking quite a bit since I had to check my mail. Good thing there was an internet café beside McDonald’s and I managed to send and check my mail.
Waterbom is much like Splash Island, only better. The resort was very clean and there weren’t that many people, most were Japanese and some Australians. We enjoyed the river rafting and had Gabby pull us around and around. I wouldn’t forget almost drowning in the water spouts that was all over the place. Kuya forced me to try out the Boomerang, it’s a huge slide where you go through a long, spiraling tube and then when you go out in the open one goes through a vertical drop slide and then slide back up (like a roller coaster) and get thrown down to the edge of the slide. Whew! It was a good thing I partnered with Patricia and our weight slowed down the raft a bit. I also tried the Macaroni Tube with Miggy. It’s a long, winding, spiraling closed slide where you almost go 360 degrees around the tube. I screamed my head off, but what was really funny was this guy who went ahead of us and he was screaming like a banshee.
After a long day at Waterbom we had dinner at Pizza Hut across the street and went back to the hotel exhausted from the day’s activities.
Breakfast was drive-thru at McDonald’s since we had a long list of places to see. We first stopped over at a theater to watch a portrayal of a legend and then proceeded to a batik place which showed how batik stuff gets done. An hour and a half trip through the rural area of Bali brought us to the “Tagaytay” version of Bali. Kintamana is a big volcano with three craters. We were lucky to get a glimpse of it and take photos since after 15 minutes clouds engulfed the whole area including the restaurant. JC commented that it was like we were in heaven.
After lunch we traveled once more and reached Tanah Lot at around 4 p.m. Tanah Lot’s a beach place with a majestic temple built on a huge rock. There were also several cliff areas which we surveyed. There were quite a number of animals on showcase – birds, bats and a Holy Snake (and no, I didn’t even try to check it out). Did a little shopping and managed to buy a mother and child stone sculpture for a really good price.
I think the crew at McDonald’s thought it funny we always had breakfast there. Checked my mail at the same internet café and then wolfed down a double cheeseburger. Oink! Oink!
We then went to a beach resort for our boat ride. The boat we rode had a glass bottom and there were a lot of different kinds of fish – from small to big. I think the fish at Boracay were much prettier though (and Nemo was there!).
We were quite disappointed at the turtle place since there was only one big, 40-year old turtle. The snake gave me the creeps, but Miggy was quite happy to have it placed around his shoulder. I just settled for the tucan, but got quite scared because it almost bit my fingers since it wanted the bread I had on hand. The bat was definitely stinky!
After lunch of babi guling (lechon) – which isn’t anywhere near our local lechon – we went to Kuta to have our hair braided and had some Starbucks. Dinner was at a quaint little place at Kuta. Yumyum! Mom and Ate Joy did some 5-minute shopping and then we were dragged back by Kuya to the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
McDonald’s forever! After breakfast we took a short roadtrip to Ubud, THE shopping place in Bali. Equivalent to Divisoria, I couldn’t believe how inexpensive the paintings were and ended up buying 5! I think having them framed would be more expensive! Got some stuff also for pasalubong, but was a bit disappointed I couldn’t find a shop that sells stone sculptures. I had to buy a new travel bag to fit in all the stuff I bought. Wonder how I’ll manage to bring home to Manila the paintings I bought. The heat made us give up shopping and we then went back to the city and had lunch at… McDonald’s! My gads…
Dinner was at the beach place were we had dinner on the first day. We feasted on grilled fish and pusit. At around ten we proceeded to Hardrock Café Bali. How I missed the Pinoy entertainers! I think what sets our Pinoy entertainers apart from all the others is the talent and the ability to sing foreign songs clearly. After bearing through the first set we left to have coffee, but Starbucks was unfortunately closed already. Our taxi back to the hotel cost 60,000! Rupiah, of course haha.
We all woke up late. Miggy and I had our breakfast at the Ritz’ b-fast buffet. I didn’t eat much, but I liked the coconut and banana milk (the only beverage available I’m not allergic to!) and the siomai was good. Miggy had waffles and bacon. After breakfast Mom and I with Kuya hurried back to Kuta to buy another bag. I managed to haggle some masks from 60,000 to 25,000 each. I guess I got some of my Lola’s haggling skills after all. The prices of the paintings though were exorbitant and I just walked out of the shop. Seeing all the stuff sold I realized that the Bali merchandise sold back in Manila are a rip-off.
After a super late lunch at the airport we sat and waited, got delayed, waited and got delayed again. We made it back to Jakarta in time for the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve mass.
I always get homesick when I spend the Christmas holidays outside of the country. It always feels sad and surreal, like it’s not Christmas. Aside from the lack of décor, sparkling and twinkling lights what I miss most is the warmth and joy surrounding the country during Christmas (it’d be better minus the traffic!). Mom was in tears after the Christmas medley singing. We always take singing our Pinoy Christmas medleys, believe me, sing it in another country on Christmas eve, you’ll be bawling by the end of the song.