Friday, January 25, 2008

Brief Escape from Reality to the Land of Millionaires

And in the that land, I too became a millionaire for a brief moment. I spent it all during my brief stay there. I glad I did for I begun to have a headache from seeing the amount of zeroes on the bank notes!

One of my travelling companion specifically requested that we stay in the tourist area so that everything touristy is within walking distance. Unfortunately, due to work commitment, the previously-mentioned companion hand to rain check and go to a land of sand and dessert.

Little did I know that we were travelling there during a peak season. A week before our trip, I frantically search accommodation. With the help of internet and a credit card, I managed to secure a room before departing to the land of millionaires. I kept my finger crossed and hoped that the website was not a fraudulent site!

In my rushed preparation, I accidentally left my favourite lens – the kit-lens. I had initially pondered how to fit the kit-lens and my newly acquired second-hand lens into my small camera bag. The dilemma of choosing which lens to bring during my walks was conveniently solved by me accidentally leaving the kit-lens.

Day 1 – Sunday 20th Jan 2008

By 9.30am we already had our luggage checked-in and were having an unhealthy dose of fast-food breakfast. An hour later, we made our way to the red air craft.

The flight was uneventful. No onboard entertainment. My little master had brought his PSP along and played it to kill time. Before long, he dozed off. I managed to get a little shut-eye.

Around 1pm I got my first glimpse of this Millionaires Land. Half an hour later the plane safely landed at Bandar Udara Ngurah Rai (named after a local warrior), Bali. We bought taxi coupon from the counter and headed to Inna Kuta Hotel. The first thing I noticed was this ‘bowl’ of flowers on the dashboard. Later I learned that it is sort of offering to their hindu god. While Balinese are predominantly Hindus, they practise a slightly different kind of Hinduism than the one practise in India. The marked different is their caste system. They don’t have ‘the untouchables’.

Another thing I noticed while on the taxi was that the air was somewhat damp. It was like it had just rained. I asked the taxi driver. True enough, it rained on the previous day. According to the taxi driver, normally, the weather would be fair on January (i.e. it does not rain on January).

We reached the hotel at 2pm. We were showed our room voucher (printed out from internet!). I was utterly relieved that the hotel accepted the voucher. The bellman showed us to our room. At RM200+ per night, the hotel was up to the standard. The room was comfortable. Our room was on the ground floor. The ‘back’ door opened to a Balinese garden. The downside of having the garden at your doorsteps is that mosquitoes are part of the ‘package’.

After a short rest, we headed out for lunch. We walked along Jalan Pantai Kuta. We passed lots of shops that seemed to scream “Tourists, come in and shop!”. After what seemed to be a long walk in the hot sun, we settled for yet another dose of fast-food for lunch. The long walk had sort of agitated my little master. He was eager to get back to the hotel for a swim in the pool.

And so, we returned to the hotel and let him go for a dip in the pool. No one else was in the pool. He soon grew bored. He agreed to for a walk on the beach thinking that he could go for a swim there. To his (and ours) disappointment, the crowded beach was dirty! My little master was sensible enough not wanting to swim in the murky water. We walked back to the hotel.

By the time we returned to the hotel, it was already 6pm. While my little master went to the pool, I continued walking in searched of decent restaurant to buy take-away dinner. I managed to find a small ‘nasi padang’ restaurant tucked in between those wooden shops. The price was reasonable. And the food was good.

The night ended early for me. I was already sound asleep at 9am, oblivious the fact that my little master being ‘attacked’ by mosquitoes!

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