Getting to Bali: Friday 7 September 2012

9 09 2012

My sister and I flew Garuda to Bali, leaving Perth around 2:15 pm and landing at Denpasar some 3 and a bit hours later.

The flight was uneventful — both for turbulence, and passengers. The average age of passengers by estimate was about 50, so the Australian yobbos I expected were few in number, if present at all. That was a the first pleasant surprise. The second pleasant surprise was the quality of the meal we were served. We both had the beef and rice, which was a lovely spicy beef rendang. Yummo. One of the most flavoursome airline meals I’ve ever had — most airline food is bland in the extreme to cater for every possible taste. The Diet Coke I had tasted quite different to the Australian version — possibly made with different water or with a different sugar source?

The only downside to the fight was the two toilets for about 160 people in Economy. At one stage the queue to the loos snaked at least halfway down the plane. The decision for me (a first-timer to Bali) was to go to the loos on the plane an hour or so before landing, or wait until we land and punt that the loos at the airport would be clean, assuming we didn’t have a long wait at immigration and customs, or wait until we got to the resort (possibly another hour from the airport). I opted to stay in line and wait my turn.

We had left early and therefore arrived early and as we were the only plane in, clearing immigration and customs was super quick, which means Mum and Dad and the driver weren’t there to meet us. We waited about 15 mins or so for them to arrive — we had no way of letting them know that the flight had been rescheduled, so we didn’t really expect to see them when we landed. It was about 27C and just balmy. The smell of incense wafted through the air, but no other less-exotic smells common to many Asian countries.

By the time we left the airport, it was dark and so I had no clue where we were going (except for the map in my head).

My parents’ 2-bedroom apartment at their timeshare resort is quite lovely — at least, what I could see of it in the dark. The apartment is really spacious and both bedrooms have en suites. Everything is spotlessly clean and very Western. Even on the drive to the resort I was surprised by the amount of Western chains I saw — KFC, Macdonalds, Starbucks, Burger King etc.

We had dinner at one of the restaurants in the resort — the ‘Jacaranda’. I had beef rendang (again!), with extra chilli as it wasn’t spicy enough; my parents both had sizzling sweet and sour pork; and my sister had satay sticks. We had the most delicious fresh fruit drinks with dinner — mine was mango, papaya and pineapple (AU$2 each). We also shared a large creme brulee between the four of us at the end of the meal. The total for all our meals plus drinks, plus dessert cane to AU$40 — for four people.

My first impression of Bali — lovely weather, very very clean, no smells except the occasional wafting of incense and frangipani, and quite Western.

Other notes:

Garuda check-in weighed our carry-on bags (which my sister and I had carefully packed so that we didn’t need to go to baggage claim!). It seems there’s a 7 kg limit, and we were both a tad over, so we had to check our bags anyway. Reason — a 10 kg bag falling out of an overhead locker would really hurt someone. My response? And a 7 kg bag would do as much damage falling on your head!

Also, only those flying Garuda Business class can access the lounge. Garuda doesn’t have its own lounge at Perth International Airport; it uses Qantas’ lounge. I’m a lifetime member of the Qantas Club and my sister is also a member of the Qantas Club, but we couldn’t use the Qantas Club as we were flying Garuda Economy. You can’t even buy a day pass (effectively a 2-hour pass), like you can with Alaskan Airlines and other US airlines and Virgin Blue in Australia. Qantas/Garuda are doing themselves out of money by not allowing you to purchase a day pass (both Alaskan and Virgin Blue has a $30 one-day pass — easy money for usually 2-3 hours access!).



2 responses

10 09 2012

Three things come to mind:

1. Your regular Coke would taste different if they’d used cane sugar. No idea what they’d use in Diet Coke, tho! 🙂

2. VERY important thing to make note of for my own future use… STARBUCKS! 🙂

3. Another very important thing… frangipani. Or, as we say up here, plumeria. My favorite flower in all the world. So pretty and so differently colored in Bali than in Hawai’i!!

I am insanely jealous, you know! I think my vacations this year will likely be in Boston. In the cold… you know me and cold… brrrrrr! 🙂


4 10 2012

V Australia no longer offers single entry paid lounge access to their lounges:
I’ve had the same issue with carryon in BNE; but by security before lining up for the security lines (i.e. after you have any chance to put some things into your checked luggage, if you have some). On one trip, the security person made me repack some of my luggage into another bag. When I got into the Qantas club, I just repacked it all into my wheelie bag …

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