Ah Asia. I got to the gate area about 10 minutes before boarding, and there was nary a gate louse in site. I politely sat in the first row of seats near the boarding door, and nobody was anywhere near. There was going to be no fight for overhead bin space on this flight. There was a guy sitting a few seats down who had his own Singapore Airlines personal assistant, and she was filling up his Indonesia immigration card. I caught something about “you must be having people to do this for you as next in line to the throne” but couldn’t figure things out. Based on looks, I’m going to guess somewhere in Northern Europe, but once we boarded he was in economy, so who knows!
Singapore Airlines flight 942
Singapore (SIN) to Bali, Indonesia (DPS)
Depart 9:35, Arrive 12:05, Flight Time 2:30
Boeing 777-200, Registration 9V-SRH, Manufactured 2001, Seat 12A (bulkhead window)
First on the plane, and this is what regional business looks like on a Singapore 777-200:
…bubbles are delivered, and I’m happy.
Brunch looks tasty, and it was a tough call between nasi lemak and dim sum, before I remembered that I’d pre-ordered via book the cook:
Flight was looking about 75% full in business, despite showing completely sold out online. Was looking like I was going to get lucky with an empty seat next to me. Until. Heavyset 30-something guy boarded, holding two small infants, maybe 2 months old, which looked like twins. Yes, I’d booked the bassinet row and know it’s a possibility, but ugh. I have nothing at all against children in business, especially if you’re going to pay to get them there, but be considerate. Seemed he’d upgraded last minute, and his wife was in coach, so he was holding both of them until departure.
Cabin filled up about five minutes later when a delayed connection arrived, and the agents came on board and upgraded his wife as well. Few last minute seat swaps, and the heavens opened up and I was spared. Nice Indonesian woman ended up to me, and I was relieved to have no small children. Until…
She asked me if I had peace in my heart? Did I have the true inner peace which could come from meditation? I couldn’t pull the “no speak english” card because I’d already thanked her for saving me from the children, so I had to cowboy up. Told her I was happy with my spiritual situation, and prefered not to discuss it with strangers…thanks.
Despite waiting for the connecting flight we were off on time, and the crew was quick with the meals. They seemed confused when I told them I’d pre-ordered with book the cook, but found it quickly enough. Mmmm lobster thermidor:
Other than that, the flight was completely uneventful. Watched some tv on the fuzzy screen, landed on time, etc etc. After we got into the terminal, headed straight into the visa on arrival queue. Last time I visited Indonesia was a couple years ago, but at that time the visa on arrival was $10. Now it was $30. Hmm, could be a Bali surcharge, but signs were posted so no questions. They were quick and efficient, sticker in the passport, and soon enough things were sorted and it was outside.
There was a taxi desk which gave a receipt telling you the correct price for your destination, so when you got to the taxi there was no question. My driver was good, appreciated me trying with my three words of Bahasa, and about 30 minutes later we were at my hotel, the Sheraton Kuta, thanks to traffic.
Great upgrade to an Ocean View Suite, and super friendly staff at check-in. Had to wait about 10 minutes for the room to be ready, but small price for a suite upgrade!
Few shots of the room:
I’d found out a few days prior that a friend from flyertalk, DanielW, was also going to be in Bali and he had a temple tour booked. He offered to have me join him, which was awesome because with so much travel planned I hadn’t really had time to think ahead too much. We met at my hotel and soon we were off.
First stop was the Taman Ayun Temple where we wandered for about 30 minutes:
Next stop was the Alas Kedaton Temple also known as the monkey temple. They were oh so cute:
…until this character jumped up my back, sat on my shoulder, and took a giant shit. Ugh. Great…now I was going to smell like monkey shit for the rest of the day, and quite possibly catch Ebola. KIDDING.
We kept walking around the monkey temple, where some spooky bats were just hanging around:
At this point, our “guide” let us know she also had a shop which sold shirts…maybe I’d like a clean shirt? I’m still convinced she had the monkey trained to shit on me as a business opportunity, but in the end I ended up with a cool shirt, so I can’t complain too much.
Final stop on the tour was the Tanah Lot temple for sunset:
After wandering a bit, we sat at the cafe near the temple, grabbed a beer, and watched the sun set:
…my new, fancy, monkey-shit-free, shirt:
Long drive of nearly two hours back to the hotel. Lots of traffic due to Diwali, but eventually we made it around 8:30 p.m. We were both starving at this point, so decided to get a quick bite at the Hard Rock Cafe across the street. Part of being in Bali is taking in the hot mess that is the western tourist scene, right?
Back to the room, and there was a small welcome gift waiting:
Collapsed in bed quite early, and it was time to rest and head on the next day to my 160th country…Timor-Leste!