Monday, November 24, 2014

Bali vacation - day 1

19 Nov 2014

It is no secret that Singapore serves as a great base for many people who want to travel around the region. The options are plenty - Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and more. Of these, the Indonesian island of Bali is one of the most popular holiday spots. I think every single one of my friends has been to Bali and over the last few years, I've been asked umpteen times if I wanted to go to Bali. "Yes, but with my parents" has been my standard answer. The reason is simple. Bali once had great trade relations with Orissa (now Odisha) where my parents live (there's even a pompous Bali yatra ceremony every year!), and I knew that going to Bali would be truly meaningful for them. And I wanted to share that with them.

They had not been to Singapore in the last three years. So this time, when they came, I knew this was my chance. It was now or never. I honestly don't know when they will be here next. Mom keeps hoping for a direct flight between us but it has remained a hope for the last decade or so, when the news of a direct flight first came out. I know how painfully slow things move along in India. So Viv and I planned the trip and made all the bookings, all without telling them anything. We had thought of telling them the night before, but we'd just bought my mom an iPad which was getting all the attention that evening, and after that my parents got really sleepy so Viv sent me a message on my phone (yes, he did!) that we could just wake up and say "Pack."

The next morning, my dad was all set for a long morning walk to the beach. I frantically woke Viv and told him that we needed to reveal the surprise now or else we'd miss the flight! So Viv rubbed his eyes, came out sleepily, saw my dad getting ready for his walk and said, "You're going for a walk??? Who will pack the suitcases then?" "Pack the suitcases??" My mum was dumbfounded. "But we don't leave till next week."

"Oh, we are going to Bali today."

For a second or two, there was complete silence in the room. They didn't believe it at all, but then they realised that this is the kind of thing we do anyway and quickly showed signs of excitement. Xena already knew about the trip but had not breathed a word of it to them! So we spent the morning packing, and were soon on a flight to Bali! Xena kept wondering why the plane (it was a budget airlines) did not have a television. Spoilt SQ children, I tell you. :P

I realised that I didn't take any group photos at the airport. But I did take this one of a happy mommy posing in front of the fake but very realistic food at Pasta de Waraku.

The flight was uneventful (well, except for some turbulence which made me panic so bad I clutched Viv's arm like a sissy) and we landed in Bali at about 6 pm. I'd not taken a budget airlines in a while, so I was a little shocked to see a coke of can listed for $4. Well, I suppose they have to find a way to make money.

Speaking of money, I still remember the look on Viv's face when he exchanged money for the trip. One Singapore dollar is the equivalent of 10,000 Indonesian rupiah. No wonder he grinned, pointed at the money and said, "Look, we are finally millionaires!"

I'd heard horror stories about the immigration queues in Denpasar airport, but I got to witness it firsthand. If it took us one hour in the immigration queue during the supposed low season, I don't even want to think about how it is during the high season. A cute little incident happened through, which warmed my heart. A lady was in the queue with her toddler who was wailing away very very loudly. She was immediately whisked by officials to the front of the queue. Such a nice, caring touch.

Finally, we were out of the airport at 7 pm. Our driver (I'd booked him using Facebook!) was there, holding a placard with Viv's name. We reached our villa by about 8 pm, and immediately set out for dinner. It was too dark and Xena was too hungry and cranky for us to go hunting for good local food, so we found familiarity and comfort in the Pizza Hut which was just a few minutes from our villa. The menu was different from what we have in Singapore so it was nice to try out new items. Later, we popped by the nearby supermarket to buy some breakfast items. We were very amused to see all the staff crowded around the TV, watching a version of the Ramayana!

Everyone crashed as soon as we got back. Tomorrow was going to be a packed day! I'd made sure of that.

Click here for Bali day 2.



  • Remember when I was posted at Hyderabad and you landed there in the middle of one night to give a surprise to Mama. Of course, before that, you had told me about this plan of yours and had extracted a promise from me not to reveal this secret to Mama? !!!!!!!!!!!!!


    By Blogger The Gardener, at 10:22 AM  

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