I have been waiting to be able to say ‘this is our Just Back Report’!
We flew into Perth at around 5.15am this morning.
The flight was hell for a whole new set of reasons.
Previous ‘hell’ flights have involved many screaming children, many smelly nappies/feet, feeling like a sardine in a can, but last night’s hell was all new and totally, stupidly self inflicted.
We really messed up with the return flight, completely overlooking the fact that we were going to be leaving in the earliest of early hours of the last ‘day’ of our trip.
When we returned from our ‘non’ holiday in Queensland in January which saw us, most of the time, trying to outrun flood waters and when we weren’t doing that, being marooned due to flood waters or stuck inside watching the deluge which would later become flood waters, we decided our meager six days in Bali just weren’t going to cut it.
We brazenly logged on to Air Asia as soon as we returned from Queensland, found a cheap flight returning four days further along than our originally planned return and hit the ‘confirm’ button.
Seconds later we realised the reason the flight was the only cheap one remaining was because it departed our beloved Ngurah Rai at 12.30am on that extra fourth day we were so excited about!
Yep, we lost a whole day, because we were over-excited and desperate.
Anyway, the departure time was later altered to 1.30am, just one and half hours into our longed for fourth extra day.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Oh well, we learned the hard way (and I hope I have prevented anyone else from being so hasty!)
Now, back to our second last day (which really was our last day).
We checked out of Desamuda and they dropped us down at Hotel Pearl in Jl Double Six.
We had already booked for the whole three (four) extra days when we extended our trip, but loved Desamuda so much we decided not to leave until they kicked us out (they had no rooms available for the 16th, even though we were going to be leaving at around 10.30pm on the 15th!).
Anyway, bless them, they did their best and were genuinely sorry they couldn’t help.
So it was off to Pearl, where we spent the afternoon, relaxing and had our longed for and much anticipated final dinner at Restaurant Pearl.
Every little bit of the Pearl experience was wonderful. The room (deluxe) was perfectly lovely for less than $100 per night and the dinner, superb!
I won’t go into details, because, believe it or not, I find food writing tedious and I don’t seem to have the ability to describe the delights we experienced in a way that sounds in the slightest bit enticing!
Needless to say, we were treated to a wonderful night.
We sat outside, dined on absolutely delicious French cuisine, had the honour of the (cute, but young enough to be my son) chef, Jeremy’s presence for about 5 minutes and our Hatten’s sparkling white actually performed more than adequately when supped from the very same glasses we drank Veuve from in August last year (at $200 a bottle)!
Yes, I will again, for the last time (I promise), recommend the Hatten’s white sparkling, as spoken of many times previously!
Make sure it is icy cold and now I’m thinking it would be a good idea, if you wish to drink it and experience optimum pleasure, take your own champagne glasses to Bali!
They seem few and far between and I’m sure all you connoisseurs know how important good crystal is to your drinking pleasure! Just sayin’.
Now, where was I?
All good. I think good value.
If you are staying at the hotel, there is free WiFi, but you pay for bottled water. There are also no complimentary mossie coils or spray, so pop straight up the road to Bintang and stock up on them (and water) as soon as you arrive.
The grounds are beautiful and peaceful.
The pool is small but adequate for the number of rooms/patrons.
We’re not talking five star here, but for the price, adequate and if you haven’t been spoiled by a huge private villa with it’s own pool for twice the price, then you will love Hotel Pearl (sorry, am I doing a review here?).
I know some of you wanted to know.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time.
We had a lovely chat with out taxi driver.
They always say the same thing – ‘You are my first customer. It is very quiet’.
But, you know what? That’s exactly what our taxi driver here in Perth said too! Anyway, Peter and I decided early on our trip that we would always give IDR20,000 to our taxi drivers (sometimes the fare is only IDR7000 and that is outrageous, less than $1.00?!).
If it was more than IDR20,000 (which was rare for us. We never seemed to go far) we would add at least IDR10,000 (just over $1.00).
When we went to the airport, we paid double, so it cost us about $5.00 more than the meter was reading!
Honestly, I think it is so easy to forget that we are rich compared with most people in Bali and if we can bless them with $5.00 then that is a blessing to us, really. Again, just sayin’.
By the way, our taxi fare from the airport to our house in Perth was $54, so let’s keep it real!
We went through the usual rigmarole at Ngurah Rai airport.
The only thing that upset me was that they took our two cans of Lavender Scented Raid!
Yep, apparently Raid isn’t allowed to fly.
Neither was our can of Rid which we took there last time, brought home last time and took again this time (the world’s most travelled can of Rid).
But yesterday, Rid was taken away from us, along with Raid, never to be seen again.
I will keep trying though.
Last time Rid and Raid were allowed to fly, so I don’t know what they have done wrong in the last eight months, but I hope by next time they will be back in favour with the powers that be (maybe I’ll just try one can though).
We bought last minute (overpriced) souvenirs and had one last divine reflexology massage for our feet.
We then made our way, momentarily blissed out, to the departure lounge, out to the bus, sat there being gassed, while the bus idled (warming up?) and eventually were driven to the plane and allowed to board.
I’ve already mentioned the flight.
OK. I hate flying in the first place but by that point I was hallucinatory due to lack of sleep (no magic mushrooms involved) yet unable to sleep in the public domain of a half filled plane where everyone was asleep (apart from the hosties).
Actually, I am now too tired to continue with this story; the story of the things that were taken away at customs to be fumigated, the story of the taxi driver who was a misery (when he said it could be worse, I confirmed that thought for him by saying he could be a taxi driver in Bali!), the story of MacDonalds for breakfast, the story of a couple of hours broken sleep and the story of not wanting to go out into the dry heat, the relentless sunshine, everything about being back, the story of not wanting to go to Coles, so my brave man Peter went out for supplies, the story of still feeling Bali but no longer being able to see her. The all too familiar story of reverse culture shock.
The phrase that keeps repeating over and over in my head ‘I don’t want this’.
The story of plans beginning for the next trip.
The story of planning our retirement in Bali.
So here we are back in Perth.
I’m sitting at our little breakfast bar.
I look at the clock and it is 10.52pm.
This time last night we were on our way to the airport, hearing the stories of the taxi driver’s family; his two sons in high school and his wife, who works in a shop, and how he came from West Timor 20 years ago (why didn’t I move to Bali 20 years ago?).
It all feels like minutes ago.
Tomorrow is a full day of adjusting back to the people we were 11 days ago.
On Monday, the transition will be complete.
Too bad if it isn’t.
We have work to do and we have a holiday to save for.
Guess where we’re going?
Thank you, everyone who came along for Bali Escapade 2011.
Will there be another 2011 adventure (dare I hope?) or will we all have to wait until 2012?
Time will tell!
Wishing you all wonderful Bali (or Japan) escapades.
May the joy of experiencing another culture, another time and another place fill you right up and sustain you in your everyday endeavours, wherever you come from and whatever you do!