Day 16

Day 16- Incheon

Honestly I’m not super positive about the days anymore. Back to back flights with little naps in between while shuffling along with a suitcase you tend to lose track of time. Add in a time zone change and your body clock is majorly confused. I know it’s early morning and I know I’m in Korea.

The very unfortunate thing I’ve come to realize is that changing airlines from Asia Air to Hawaiian Airlines means that in order for you to pick up your bags and recheck them in, you must exit the terminal. The terminal has the shops, the food, the services, the everything.

We grabbed our bags and after a full day of traveling we’re in no mood or condition to leave the airport- even for a hotel. THANKFULLY, outside of the terminal area in the “basement” there is a spa. On Air Spa provides guests with a change of clothes, towels, a warm and cool pool, a wet and dry sauna, lockers, naps rooms, and a lounge for 15,000 won. I misheard the lady at the information desk at 50,000 and almost missed out on this gem.

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I wish I could show you pictures and explain to you fully the amazingness of this spa but they had a very strict no photography policy. And I am one to bend the rules… but I would never risk being banned from this heaven on earth. There’s complimentary shower creams, hair products, face products, even cotton squares and q-tips!

The nap rooms and lounge has flat bean bag like things, mats, and block cushions for pillows. It was worth every single penny to wash up, rest up, and the noisiest thing there is suitcases rolling out as people leave. I would seriously consider bringing this kind of accommodation to Honolulu.

We killed a couple hours here and ate a good meal before we were able to check in to our flight. Almost there 👋🏻

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Day 13 pt 1

Day 13- Seminyak/Ubud

We arranged for our driver from the airport to shuttle us around today for 650,000 rupiah or approximately $50 USD for eight hours. Everything he said ended either in “yes my friend” or “brother.” Can we go here? Of course brother. Is this place worth the stop? Yes, my friend. It was very endearing. He’s in his late 20’s and very chatty when we were up and quiet when we needed some alone time. He would wait in the car and it felt like he put a beeper on us because when we would walk back to the car he would pop up from his seat with his bright red polka-dotted neck pillow and a huge smile. If he wasn’t in the car he was making friends with the nearby shop keepers or smoking a cigarette with old men. He would always keep an eye out for us and make sure he’d beat us back to the car by a few steps.

Our first stop was an outlet mall of sorts. He was as excited as us to look around because as soon as he parked he said “I will come with you. See something!” He was bored after about 20 min but he’d jump up when he’d see us and ask if we wanted to put our new things down in the car. And then follow up with “no rush no rush, look around.”

Back in the car we chatted with our driver. He was anxious to know where we came from, what we do, what it’s like at home, the cost of things, the beaches, you name it. He described life in Bali to be very hard on locals and very expensive.

For example, hotel workers work a regular workweek- 5 days a week 8 hours a day. But in Bali there’s an additional 6th day a week for with a 10 hour shift. And roughly a hotel worker would make $4-500 USD per month. most of these people know Balinese, Indonesian, English, and/or Japanese.

We told him we were looking for a small condo/apartment at home for $300,000 USD and he couldn’t believe it. He said we could buy a small hotel here…

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Ubud seems to be a quaint artisan community, we went through a silver district- very popular in Bali. A woodwork area with lots of furniture, wooden sculptures, rattan cages baskets chairs and tables, intricate doors and hanging pieces. Masonry as well, with large statues and pillars ready made to welcome guests in to homes or temples.

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We visited a batik weaving factory and watched women use wax to hand make designed as well as weave. The prices were quite expensive but they used silk and I assume cotton.

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We also checked out a couple of silver stores on the insistence of our driver. He said he loves silver! The items are again handmade with many pedants available, large rings, bracelets, and earrings. I tried really hard to find something but couldn’t find a piece I really loved and worth the price tag. Most pieces were about $50-100 USD.

For lunch he took us to a place he knew and enjoyed with his girlfriend. A BBQ place specializing ribs 😛 And a coconut because yes.

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I’ll post more about the temples separately since we went to a few. Ttyl 👋🏻

Balinese driving

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Balinese use their horns like warning bells. They even sound more friendly as opposed to a f you. It’s good to see all those in mopeds using helmets, very unlike Thailand. Traffic is pretty bad maybe and seems to be at all hours of the day.

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If possible the driving here is even more insane. Two lanes suddenly means three cars side by side and often a bike lane with mopeds. Cars are still straddling center lines, mopeds overtaking on the left and the right sometimes simultaneously, and no one bats an eye with all this frantic movement. If I ever saw tailgating this would be it. Honk you’re getting to close toot toot thanks for moving from the center to the left honk watch out honk what are you doing honk coming around this corner honk moped you stupid honk don’t try to merge here honk honk do you need a taxi. It’s almost comical how often they use their horn. We’re really not at our full potential America. And truthfully we haven’t seen any accidents and haven’t be that close to being in one either. Although our driver said there are a lot of casualties since sometimes as many as 4 people on a moped… and as young as 8 or 9 driving mopeds as well even though the law is 17.

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Our driver also said that police only ever pull over international drivers, never local because they want to fine them and line their pockets. He said the corruption is very bad here.

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Taxi or taksi drivers and cars are rampant here. I would say more than half of the vehicles on the road are metered. And the honking is nonstop. I think they do it to tourists who are walking to alert them that they are available… I think. Either that or Michaels got really nice legs because I know it’s not me.

Sidewalks are uneven, mismatched, and definitely not for the elderly. Rolled curbs are also the norm since roadways are so narrow that drivers are often pulling over to let another pass or avoid a slow moped. I’d say the two lanes are equivalent to a lane and a half that were used to in the US. Maybe only 12-15 ft wide? Probably also why the standard car looks about the size of a Toyota Carolla. No one ever seems openly upset at being cutoff or having to let another through despite all the noise.

We hage a full day of driving ahead so I will update will more photos and experiences!

Day 12

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Day 12- Seminyak/Amed/ Tulamben

5am head start from Seminyak to Amed which we estimated about 2-3 hours travel time to the northwest coast of Bali. Our driver was on a mission and got us there in a little over 2. It was similar to the road to Hana with its twists and turns, narrow driveways, honking, and overtaking.

A quick breakfast and brief scuba orientation and the next thing you know were stuffing our bodies in a size too small bodysuit. “Oh don’t worry it’s better once you get wet. You’ll be fine.” Yeah. Tell that to my thighs. Though I’d have to grease up to zip up. Then a weight belt. Then a vest with all the contraptions and I swear a 45 lb oxygen tank later were headed into the water.

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But it was more than worth it. During our time down there I even contemplated getting certified. The instructors were very patient and very honest that your immediate instincts would be to surface.  But they really encouraged breathing and relaxation techniques to overcome that. The water was clearer than Thailand (but still not as nice as Hawaii) but the fish diversity and coral really made up for it. We couldn’t really take pictures since we needed to focus on breathing and swimming but it was so much fun. I was skeptical at first and then anxious and then excited.

After our day underwater and exploring the remains of the USS Liberty, which I was told didn’t have a super exciting combat story since it was a cargo ship. But it was beached due to damages sustained from a Japanese torpedo and later lost to sea because of activity from the nearby volcano, Mount Agung. Can I get a fact check? In any case, it was crowded with scuba divers checking out the ship and the fish and gaining underwater experience. We even saw a couple of turtles. So yeah, I’m now into scuba diving.

The drive back was much less exciting and much more crowded. Seriously, I though traffic was bad on Oahu  Balinese take it to a whole new level… 3 hours later and countless beep beeps later we arrived alive.

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Shower and a taxi later we got to a fancy French restaurant (also note taksi are minimum 30,000 rupiah 🙄 which is close to nothing but still) . The kind that serves food in four bites and takes 30 min between courses. But hey, this is what we saved for!

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Day 11

Day 11- Kuala Lumpur/Denpasar

Early early morning as we navigate the massive airport here in Kuala Lumpur. 7am flight to Denpasar, Bali on Malindo Air. This has got to be one of the nicer and cleaner airlines we’ve flown so far. Flight attendants wear crisp white tops and bright beautiful geometric skirts and perfect hair. The aircraft is newer and for only a 3 hr flight were surprised there’s a screen on every seat.

A free meal of vegetarian curry and naan, I mentioned to Michael there was only a vegetarian option. The flight attendant overheard me and said oh it’s really good though. I said I was okay but idk bout him, jokingly side eyeing Michael. She just replied, it’s always the guys right 😉 I couldn’t help but laugh. Then she discretely offered him her crew meal of noodles which of course was way better!

When we arrived in Denpasar International Airport we were happy to see that immigration was almost nonexistent. You don’t need a visa and the officers check your passport and usher you through. A nice start to Indonesia.

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The taxi drivers on the other hand. Oh my. So aggressive. I had researched online to expect to pay about 80k rupiah to the general area of our hotel. The first driver who approached us said 215k and I said what?! She looked a little scared and offered 200k. And I said no. She then went down to 180k and I left. Little did I know… we walked down a ways and the next driver approached and said 300k. I said no and he tried again 250k. At this point I was wondering how good my research had been. The third driver the most persistent started again at 300k. I said no way inside was 180k. I was trying really hard to get it down to 150/160k and he’s rattling off oh airport parking, oh petrol, oh this and that. I said I’m not paying for parking! (That’s what I read online, don’t get suckered into paying all their fees). In the end he gave up and said okay 180,000 rupiah which is under $14 USD for a 30 min trip. Essentially I was tired and irritated over probably $6… but no one wants to feel taken advantage of! I think Michael felt sorry for them. My inner Chinese lady at the market came out today!

Times Michael could murder me and my mom would forgive him

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Michael: do we need a visa?
Amara: nah I don’t think so
Michael: did you check?
Amara: 😅
Michael: amara…
Amara: I think I asked sandy…

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M: how long is this flight?
A: oh like four hours
[doesnt account for time difference]
*six hours later*
M: Amara…
A: we’re almost there, we’re almost there

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M: where’s our hotel?
A: I don’t know

M: how far is it?
A: I don’t know

M: how are we getting there?
A: I don’t know

M: how much is it?
A: I don’t know

A: I just wanna throat punch you
M: Try me. I will drop kick you right now

And my favorite…

M: amara, where’s Malaysia?
A: 🙃
M: how are we going home?
A: what do you mean?
M: are we going back this way?
A: yes
M: why didn’t we fly to Australia then home? It’s much closer… and easier…
A: hm 🤔
M: hm 😠
A: never occurred to me…
M: never occurred to you to look at a map?!
A: 😅

Day 10

Day 10- Ao Nang/Kuala Lumpur

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Okay for real, our last time in Ao Nang and bye bye Thailand.  I feel like I’ve been saying that for three days. Everything to see or do here is water oriented and I think we’re about waterlogged right now. We’ve swam, snorkled, been on the long tail boat, and kayaked so I think we hit all the main attractions. We missed Phi Phi Island due to the unpredictable weather but I imagine it’s like the other 82615183 other islands we saw. So last night we caught up on some Netflix français. Merci beaucoup Vanessa! PSA: remember to log out of your account.

So a quick brekkie, massage, lunch, shuttle, airport. Again the shuttle was about 30 min late but we got there in the half the time because the driver was driving like a maniac. Like Thailand maniac so US suicidal… can’t complain for 300 baht!

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Asiaair you sneaky bastards. Prebooking seats, meals, baggage, etc is clearly all the rage. You cater to those who preordered food first then go back along the aisle to sell the remaining meals. You repeatedly announce the ‘hot seats’ are for your premium guests. We get it 😂 we’re being cheap!

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Bout an hour and a half south we arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ok. DMK, Thailand airport was ghetto. BKK, Thailand airport okay okay not bad 😉. Krabi, Thailand airport uhm did I miss it? Chiang Mai, Thailand airport o-k. KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA WHY ARENT WE TALKING ABOUT YOU? There’s literally a sign that says, ‘a mall with an airport’ and I think that’s pretty accurate. It feels like we’re in a full shopping mall with food courts and everything. We barely left the airport to check into a rinky dink hotel for the night. I’m exaggerating. The hotel is perfectly fine it’s just not like what we’ve been staying at (shout out to Sandy for choosing the best of the best for like $30 bucks a night!).

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Seriously I think we’d come back just to shop. Not to mention our USD to Malaysian ringgit is pretty damn strong. About 1:4 so if you get the chance, I’d say save your shopping for SE Asia. Wishing I really did leave more room for shopping 😛 Then again those baggage fees will blindside you like a linebacker when you don’t check beforehand haha whoops…