Saturday, October 20, 2007

Getting to Bali



Monday morning on about 2 hours sleep, I departed Miami at 7 am for Atlanta. I then flew from Atlanta to Los Angeles, where I had a 5 hour layover and lunch with some friends. At 5pm LA time, I got on board my EVA Airways flight to Taipei. EVA has this "upgraded" economy class where you get a business class seat and economy service for about $200 more than you pay for a coach trip, let me tell you for a 14 hour flight it was well worth it. Sitting in coach for more than 8 hours is really no fun at all.

So after all that flying, watching movies, sleeping and reading (this is the benefit of serious long haul flights - you have time to do tons of things, I found it very handy on business trips and I was not subjected to deciding "do I sleep or do I work?") I finally arrived in Taipei. I had a 10 hour layover so I booked into the transit hotel. Call me chicken but I'm not about to camp out in an airport I have never been when traveling alone. Anyway, so Taipei airport is like a serious luxury shopping mall. You have Prada stores, Hermes stores, more duty free perfume stores than you can count, liquor stores where you get a lounge chair and a free taste, relaxation rooms with massage chair loungers, free internet and I could go on and on and on. Incidentally, you can also get on an airplane and fly all over the world.

A very surreal place, especially at 10pm where the stores are still open but there are virtually no passengers around. Except for me, of course, looking like a corny American with a backpack, jeans, sneakers, hoodie and my ipod. (God I feel so weird looking like that. I have been traveling since I was in the womb due to having parents in the airline industry, so I have always been used to traveling looking somewhat put together. Very strange.)

I finally went back to my hotel and got some sleep as the next morning I had another 4.5 hours to fly to Bali.

The next morning, I got up, got my Starbucks (no tacky American comments, please!) and headed to my gate. Once again, I had the super economy class. For my friends in the airline industry, the seats were in the nose of a B747 (which is the best airplane ever made as far as I am concerned), and the service was on par, if not better to the premium classes on a number of other international carriers I have flown. EVA was really a pleasure to fly. We flew over the Philippines and Borneo and finally made it to Bali.

To get through immigration was 1.5 hours, no joke. Somewhat like arriving in Johannesburg in the morning when ALL the other flights arrive, the place was jammed and the lines were not moving. My hotel was supposed to send a taxi or something but apparently we had a communication breakdown and I ended up bargaining with a pseudo taxi driver to get me to my hotel.

My driver complained endlessly about the traffic, which according to him was bad because everyone was coming over from Java for the Ramadan holiday, and they just CAN'T drive. Interesting, wherever in the world you go I think locals complain about others coming to their cities and messing up the traffic. It was quite a drive, there are hundreds of mopeds or scooters on the road. You see whole families on them and the little kids are quite amazing. Very cute in their tiny helmets and sitting between their parents legs. I can't imagine too many American kids behaving this well. We drove past rice paddies and little towns on 2 lane winding roads. I finally got to my hotel after sunset so I did not really get to take in that much. Suffice it to say that what I did see left me suitably impressed.... but more about that in the next post!

8 comments:

Greg said...

Glad to hear you made it in ok. Looking forward to hearing more a/b your adventures.

SLY said...

Greetings From America.....lol....
We missed u sooooo much..... Your trip is so amazing. Definetly a life changing exeperience. Just the travel alone with the stops and layovers is crazy but fun. Please, we need pictures..... I never heard of Bali until u introduce me to it. I thought bali was bally's gym...lol.... I said why is Christina going to leave her job to go to a gym called Bally's......lol.....
Now u got me researching and hopeing to visit there one day.......
we all love you and miss u much.......

SLYNICE

Anonymous said...

Well, my S.A. Princess..I am very happy to hear that you have made a giant step forward into your horizon. I know what you went thru for all those years, and I am sure your new endeavors will be rewarded. I wish you the best of luck and happiness in the future, and "Thanks for the memories" and the Flying Tigers...All the best
Tom

Anonymous said...

FINALLY! We've been waiting to hear about your journey....keep us posted & take lots of pics. Be safe! -Kiki & Rob
p.s. Rob is curious about the wave situation...

clive said...

Ok, we know you got to Bali but we need to see photos,read the estaurant reviews,hear about the surfing and the place you are staying now!!

Carmen said...

I CONCUR WITH CLIVE!!! Where's the UPDATE????

James said...

I can't believe Sly Nice wrote that... Too Funny!

Glad you're having fun - We miss!

MagicBrad said...

Wish I was there!

I was in Ubud a few years back and I hoped to get there again this year to do some research on living there for 3-6 months out of the year. I want to semi-retire there, and operate a spa/retreat promotion business.

"MagicBrad"
http://www.MagicBrad.com