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February 2, 2008 - Kuta, Bali

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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It's hard to believe that I left the house at 2:30 p.m. on Jan 29, and I didn't check into the hotel in Bali until 2:30 p.m. 4 days later. On the other hand, 100 years ago, it would have been about 4 months later until the Bali check in, and yes, I know I crossed the International Date Line at some point, and lost a day that way, or something like that. I was lucky to even get out of O'Hare, we left late, with high winds and snow, so I missed my flight out of San Francisco, tho it was close. I felt bad for someone else who missed the flight, he had a broken back and was trying to get home for Chinese New Year.

San Francisco airport really closes down after midnight, so it didn't look too inviting for hanging out for the next 24 hours when the next flight left, but the big clincher was that none of the seats in the waiting area were benches, they all had arms , so full length sleep would have been impossible. United did get me a slip for a discounted hotel room, it was the Best Western El Rancho on the Camino Real, and a big step up from what I usually stay in. I still had about 12 hours to kill in between hotel check out, and boarding, and could have gone to Fisherman's Warf or something, but I really wanted to get lots of walking in before lots of sitting, so that's exactly what I did, to the point of getting shin splints. But the walking was great - I saw primulas, calendulas, calla lillies, early iris, pansies, all of your cold weather flowers that are supposed to do well in the midwest, but usually get blasted out by too hot or too cold.

The long leg of the trip was with China Airlines, which I've never flown before, so rather than have any expectations, either good or bad, I just showed up, with no expectations whatsoever, and was very pleasantly surprised. This was a jam-packed flight, I was told lots of travelers for the Chinese New Year, so steerage was more crowded than usual, but the bathrooms remained SPOTLESS for all 14 hours of the trip. I don't know if I give thanks to the flight crew, or my fellow travelers, or both.

The plane also had lots of gadgets, like individual screens on the backs of seats, hand held remote controls, and a vanity mirror too, next to the TV screen.
The flight was also late taking off, so they had to hold the Taipei/Denpasar flight, so my bag didn't make the connection, actually I haven't seen it since check in in Chicago, and my little 3 oz. or less carryon things are about used up, so hope the bag shows up tomorrow. I did have a carry on with a few extra clothes, and Bali is a great place to shop if you need things. Got a great looking little black sleeveless dress today, for a measley $8, so that flushes out my temporary wardrobe by about 50%.

Other than travel, what can I say, except I'm here in Bali? It's green and lush and hot and sunny and the ocean is just a block away. My hotel room stinks, literally, its growing mold or something, but I don't want to change, as I really don't want to make getting my suitcase any more dificult than it already is (as of this afternoon, they said that it was in Jakarta, but couldn't get out because of weather) but I hope to get out of Kuta in a day or two anyway, and head inland to Ubud. Bali might be a small island, but I've pretty much resigned myself that there's too much to see the first time to put together a full container. I did find great ikat, though, and the East Timor baskets that I was looking for, so will send a box or two home via the post office sea freight.

Other than my room being dark and smelly, the hotel is ok, it has beautiful grounds, and I guess I've got singing lizards or frogs outside my door at night, its a real love chorus. My guess is that its lizards, as that's what I saw when I was dong early morning yoga by the pool. Plus I'd forgotten to turn off the light over my door, so the lizards like to hang out by the light for easy bug hunting.

Usually I like to learn at least "hello" amd "thank you" in the local language, but the first thing that I learned to say in Balinese is gado gado - its a yummy veg/peanut sauce /egg dish that seems to be on about any cook's repetoire of dishes, even the little holes in the wall that don't offer printed menus.

I'm worn out and it's only 9 pm, don't know if it's the heat, or if I'm still battling jet lag, but tomorrow is Sunday, and not a lot goes on, so will look forward to a foot massage and maybe even a dip in the ocean. Hey, I work hard, but sometimes you've just gotta go with the flow.