Simone’s First Impression
Flying into Bali was quite a shock. I was expecting more of Hawaii or even Fiji. Some hotels lining the beaches and lots of open green land. What I saw out of the plane were tons of houses, all close together and as far as I could see! It was quite a sight. The airport was also not what I was expecting large and modern and all enclosed, unlike many other tropical airports. After smoothly going through the Visa on Arrival (VOA) line, then immigration and lastly through customs we were in search of our driver to take us to our hotel.
The 30 minute drive to the hotel was total chaos and I had to keep reminding myself that the driver was used to it all. Two lanes were made into three car lanes with people driving down the middle and scooters coming at you from every direction. It was quite an experience and one we are sure to see more of. We were like kids in a candy store as we looked from side to side at all the people, signs, statues and offerings. It was all just amazing!
Our hotel for the first 3 nights in Sanur seems to be a nice one, although most of the staff don’t speak much English, they are all very friendly. Dinner came out to a whopping $12.50USD for 2 meals, a large beer and a large bottled water at our hotel and right on the beach. I think we are going to like this place!
Jason’s First Impression
As we left the airport and drove down the streets, I was totally content in the back seat of the car with a local at the wheel, not driving for only the second time since we had left home. I like driving, but Bali is a whole other animal and completely chaotic. It was taking every bit of strength to hold my laughter in as I watched Simone wonder if we’d even make it to the hotel, let alone explore this place. Organized chaos, that is the streets of Bali in a nut shell. At first glance you can’t believe your eyes. There are cars using a lane and a half in each direction, (on a two lane road) with scooters zipping by, using up any remaining piece of real estate available. With each person missing the other by only inches and sometimes less, you are constantly waiting for someone to get wiped out. These scooters don’t just have one person on them either, there are multiple people, we’re talking two, three, four and the occasional fifth person squeezed in there somehow. How can you fit that many people on a scooter? Easy, when two or three of them are little children and at least one of them is strapped to mom with only a cloth that you or I, well you, would use as a scarf. Many of them are hauling supplies, furniture, whatever they have to. But there is the organized part of this chaos that calms any nerves down when you realize that they’ve got it all under control and that their not getting upset at one another. If traffic were like this the U.S., people would be in fistfights and getting shot at every other intersection, but these people are happy and just going with the flow. The culture here is amazing, the people are very friendly, I can finally afford a beer again, I don’t have to eat like I did when I was in college (Top Ramen and microwave dinners over the past couple of months) and we’re on island time. Could this place have exactly what I’ve been looking for in a travel experience? We’ll find out, but so far so good.