Tuesday, May 6, 2014

24 Hours Door to Door

Actually, by the time we got out of the airport it was closer to 30. Hours.  In airplanes and airports.  One thousand people got off planes at Denpasar Airport in Bali, and there were about 6 customs agents.  Gotta love it.  Or not.  

But Bali! Even the name conjures up tropics and mystery, steamy jungles and turquoise beaches.  The reality, we realized as we left the airport, is somewhat different.  Traffic:
with rules we could not begin to comprehend.   Notice there are 4 people on this scooter?  Do. Not. Drive. In. Bali.  You will die. The horn either means "Oh yes, by all means pass me," or "Huge oncoming truck that you cannot see."  They know the difference; we do not.  Ditto the flashing lights.  And the lane markers?  Just decorative.  Sidewalks? Nope.  

Hire a driver.  Preferably Drivers With Distinction.  And say hello to Dean from us.  And Norman.  They were incredible, great drivers, amazing tour guides.  We'd pile in the car in the morning and say "What are we doing today?"  and we were constantly amazed.  More on what we did later.

There was a fountain that looked like the Fountain of Apollo at Versailles - if the horses had all been on meth.  Which might help you navigate the traffic.
The villa was gorgeous, built for tropical living.  Big decks:
Huge open hallways...
...and living rooms.
Big airy bedrooms with mosquito nets.  If you get one, get one with two entries.  We used it, we didn't really need it.  But it added to the exotic tropical ambience.  Especially fighting to get out when we had to get up in the wee hours (and you know why they're called the wee hours).

A huge kitchen with the most amazing chef, Wayan, and her assistant, Ketut.  Who was also in change of the gorgeous gardens.

Balinese use only four first names.  Depending on birth order you are Wayan (#1), Made or Kadek (#2), Nyoman (we called him Norman - #3), or Ketut (#4).  If there's a fifth child it is Wayan Balik - Wayan again.  Our Wayan cooked for us - breakfast every morning, luscious tropical fruits and Bailnese coffee (ready when we got up the stairs, and she knew how each an every one of us liked our coffee.  Or tea.  We are so spoiled!)  We had toast with strawberry jam, scrambled eggs from the chickens that woke us each morning (it's a great way to wake up!) and bacon.  I do believe we ate all the bacon in Bali.    
And Wayan cooked us dinner every night, the most delicious things.  Satays and Balinese chicken soup, whole fried fish and the freshest vegetables.   All with interesting seasonings.  I'm looking for a Balinese cookbook...or maybe just a Balinese cook. 
And so many cozy corners where you could curl up with a book, or just stare out the window.  Listen to the birds in the trees, to the occasional tropical downpour hammering on the roof, to the Gamilan music from the temples nearby.  No Wifi.  A serious problem for some, but I think I may have finally learned how to relax.  Wonder if it will last?

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