October 11th and 12th
I know I completely neglected our week in Barcelona, mostly because we didn’t have wi-fi and we were SO busy seeing stuff. I will do some Flashback posts on Barcelona as soon as I can, but first I want to get you caught up on where we are now.
Today was the longest flight of our entire trip. We got up at 7 am to check out of our hotel and get to the airport in plenty of time. Our flight out of Milan took off at noon and arrived in Singapore at 6 am (midnight Milan time), a 12 hour trip in all. I know you’re not supposed to get all excited about a flight, but this was one of the best I’ve ever been on. We flew Singapore Airlines, and boy, do they know how to make people comfortable. As soon as you sit down, before you even take off, they bring you a warm washcloth for your face and hands. They feed you throughout the trip, and the food was excellent.
But the big excitement of the day was movies! We haven’t seen movies for a LONG time, so this was our big chance to catch up. We watched Woody Allen’s latest offering, To Rome With Love, followed by Men in Black 3, and then the quirky and wonderful film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I also started learning a little Spanish during the flight, and I watched a program on Memory and the Brain. (Granted, it would have been better to learn Spanish on the flight to Barcelona, but this was the flight that had the cool interactive learning program as part of the in-flight entertainment.)
We had a 3 and a half hour layover in Singapore and then another 2 and a half hour Singapore Airlines flight to Denpasar, Bali. We snoozed a little on this flight, but not much because they kept waking us up to feed us. When we arrived, it took us awhile to realize that we had to pay for a visa, which really just amounts to an entry fee. We had worked very hard to get rid of all our Euro cash before flying away from Europe, and we didn’t have any American cash anymore. We tried to use our credit card, but that didn’t work, so we had to go get Balinese cash. After finally locating an ATM, we made a mind-blowing withdrawal – 1,000,000 rupiahs! That’s right – one million. There are 10,000 rupiahs to $1 USD, so 1 million rupiahs turns out to be $100.
We were met at the airport by our driver, Made (Mah-day). He was incredibly sweet and very enthusiastic about Bali. He pointed out every landmark on the one-hour-plus journey to our new home. We were both nodding off in the back seat, but he seemed undeterred. We passed beautiful temples, amazing statues, and bewildering traffic behavior (they drive on the left here – nominally, at least). Eventually we wound our way into what Made called the jungle, although I think it is really a rainforest. Surrounded by coconut palms, banana trees, banyan trees, exotic flowers, and beautiful shrines, we knew we had truly left Europe behind and entered a whole new reality. By the time we arrived at our little cottage in the village of Abiansemal (12km outside Ubud), we were smiling and happy and falling asleep on our feet. In our hazy state we worked out that it was 7 am in Milan – exactly 24 hours since we got up to go to the airport in Milan. We met our hosts, Wayan and Ayu, told them how happy we were to be here, and headed straight to bed.
Here are a few photos of our new home for the next month. Let the new adventure begin…