First Two Days in Bali
Photos and story by Daniel Dreifuss
After my long layover in Hong Kong, I was excited to finally get to Bali. I boarded the four-hour flight from Hong Kong to Denpasar with ease, excitement and a feeling of relief that I was almost there. I enjoyed the movie Concussion on the plane, a movie that didn’t get the street cred it deserved.
I landed about 15 minutes early and quickly moved through customs, waited for my bag and headed out to the pick-up location where a driver that Katie had arranged, named Made (pronounced Ma-Day), was waiting for me. The crowd of drivers holding up signs with names of arriving travelers was overwhelming, so it took me a few minutes to find Made holding a yellow card with my first, middle and last name (decorated with a rainbow and clouds). I was sure it was drawn by Katie or some local kid. The airport was a giant cluster fuck, with hundreds of people with surf boards, back packs and large rolling hard cases moving to the outside where we waited for our drivers to retrieve theirs cars to pick us up. The space was too small for the amount of people. Made showed up and, a few honks later, we were on our way out.
As we headed out of the airport the first thing I noticed was that scooters RULE the road!! “Motorbikes,” as they like to call them here, passing us on both sides, 150 cc scooters with three regular-sized people and even scooters with kids on them. (Smash and Roy, there was no reason to sell your scooters. Reagan could have road on them with you guys!) We began our journey to Kempang Kuning.
The road there was insane. I have never seen anything like it before — cars passing scooters, scooters passing cars, honking, cars parked half on the sidewalk and half in the busy street, dirt piles with no cones or anything in the middle of the road. This was a real-life, never-ending scooter rage rally. After two hours, I made it to the hotel and found Katie!!!! Wooooooooo!!!
The hotel, Kempang Kuning, sat on a hillside overlooking the Bingin Beach, a popular surf spot. It had an infinity pool with a stunning view of the beach below. In the distance there was a large resort with what looked like an overcrowded beach. The beach below had mostly surfers and a handful of travelers getting tan and enjoying the warm water. The home stays and hotels — stacked onto of each other — lined the coast. Restaurants and a few bars were against the sand.
The first night we walked from our hotel to The Walnut Tree, a popular traveler spot. We drank some Indonesian wine, and I had a veggie burger. Katie and I caught up and headed back to the hotel after the meal.
The next day we walked to the ATM for cash. Katie needed sandals so after five shops she decided on a pair. We enjoyed fresh juice from a vegan healthy eating spot. Then we headed to the beach. We walked down a steep set of steps, picked a spot and relaxed. I enjoyed a beer as I watched the water and the people. Dogs ran around and played in the water and sand.
As the sun set, one of the restaurants set up tables and two grills right on the beach. Customers were able to choose squid, tuna, snapper or prawns, and they grilled them for you. So delicious! I got a tuna and Katie had a very large squid, served with a hot green salad, diced garlic and pepper. After dinner we retreated to our hotel and enjoyed the pool before heading to sleep. Katie went out to The Walnut Tree for some drinks.
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