30. December 2007
Jakarta – Bali
We did it! We really thought we would have to swallow the $300 we spent for the tickets to Bali. We had been unable to make contact with the airline via phone or email when we changed our plans and extended the stay in Australia. They had a full refund policy if contacted 24 hours before the flight. We had 24 hours but what do you do if you can’t get a hold of them? So, in Australia we resigned ourselves to the fact that we might just loose our money but would see what we can do when we get there. So, instead of sleeping in at our comfy IBIS hotel, we got up really early (5:00AM) to get to the airport for the 6:50 plane. We went to the office and told them our situation and that we did notify them about the change in plans well in advance (via email). Of course, their records didn’t show any of that and after a long back and forth (over an hour) we finally got them to pay the full refund in cash. Over the course of one hour, we went from “no” to “ok, but you have to pay extra for the new flights” to “you have to pay the 50% late cancelation fee” to “alright here is the full refund”. That was a pleasant surprise, I guess they saw that we weren’t going away that easy. The people here in Jakarta are extremely friendly and all in all it was a very pleasant experience dealing with the airline people. In fact the core problem was one very similar to one you would often get in the US. The representative that needs approval from a supervisor but the supervisor isn’t around to make the needed decision. The same “best strategy” applies: be persistent and encourage the individual you are dealing with to get in touch with someone who can make that decision. Once that happens things often get resolved really fast, just like today. What a lovely cultural bridge between USA and Indonesia in the customer service sector. Just Kidding, but Alex and I walked away from this experience with a happy fuzzy feeling of having saved $300 bucks that could get reinvested into massages and other bodyworks.
But the adventure wasn’t over, since we still had to find a hotel in Bali and locals had told us it is about the worst time to go w/o reservations to Kuta Beach in Bali. And sure enough they were right. We had tremendous luck that the hotel we asked first had one room for the first night but nothing there after. I mean, it was New Year’s Eve. We booked it and used it as a base to find a place to stay for the other days. After a little rest we set out on the quest for a room: we must have checked out 20 hotels but all were booked full. Some laughed as we asked, others looked authentically sad for us. Our last attempt was fruitful: we found this neat little hotel that had a cheap room available…better than nothing we thought and took it. Next were drinks: water melon margarita for $2.50. On our walk back to Samsara Hotel we walked by a massage spa and couldn’t resist: we had arrived in the world of $7.50/perhour massages. And yes, the traditional Balinese massage that incorporates long strokes, stretching and reflexology was amazing.
The One for Henni and Wolfram: Still love this Coke?
A very wet New Year’s Eve
The sounds of tooting horns and excitement of the night’s activities was already well under way in the morning. We were less excited about the room we had found the night before so the lovely staff found us another room – far more expensive, but it was New Year’s. We made our way there and let’s just say – it was less than 2 hours before we were sitting again at Samsara, so grateful to be back. The other hotel was huge, under construction and in an area close to Cancun than anything we had yet seen. We checked in, even changed rooms, even left to get lunch, in it was during the walk, that it became clear. As luck would have it Samsara had a opening; we would jest have to wait until 6pm tonight. No problem.
We spent the rest of the day playing, Patrick practicing his surfing skills again, while I watched the activity on the beach. We splurged on an okay set menu dinner before heading out for the night. After exploring the super clubs, we figured the beach was maybe the place to be. At around 11:15pm we started the long walk and kept coming across people walking toward us. The masses kept growing as we got closer – “Rain” someone shouted as we looked perplexed on. What’s a little rain we thought. At the corner to reach the beach, the heavens opened and let go their fury. The rain dumped as if to remind us that we are certainly not in charge. We watched from our protected spot for a while until we decided to brave a run to the roofbar across the street. With dripping hair and clothes, we tried to keep the humor – I wrapped myself in a white table cloth while Patrick played music on his newly acquired horn.
We waited out as long as we could and then started the long and wet walk back. Now of course the clubs were overflowing with people looking for a good time. Happy New Year – cold and looking like drowned rats! But laughing – what an appropriate way to start the new year.
Lazying in Legian
The first few days of the year were full of surfing , massages and window shopping. We scootered all the way up into Legian and Seminyak, the classier areas away from Kuta, where the architecture and options begin to show high design and high prices. Full of swanky people and places, it was the perfect place to indulge in eye candy. We found the place we would stay on the way back from Ubud, the night before heading to Singapore. One afternoon was waited out the rain in rooftop Italian restaurant and enjoyed a really good Pizza Margharita. Afternoon rain showers bring about all kinds of fun unexpected activities!
The One For Andreas: Intl' Reading Cricle