The rumors are true: We've traded rapidly declining winter temperatures and unreasonably early wake up calls to toe the factory line for sun kissed beaches and summer time bliss in Bali. It's nearing 3 pm in the afternoon here as we officially declare from our balcony overlooking the banyan and frangipani trees, spirit houses, and distinct architecture of sloping red tiled roofs adorned with stone cut crests : IT'S VACATION TIME.
And no ordinary 2 weeks off to XYZ in summer style vacation either -- no, no. This moment is among the earliest phases of an expansive global odyssey that will carry on for an indefinite amount of time to the ends of the earth and back. We set out with appetites for adventure and exoticism, not having any clear indication what forms (if any) such criteria might present themselves to us in. We explored a number of extremely fulfilling choice destinations in Fiji and New Zealand before coming to terms with the dwindling (read: dwindled) bank account balances that stared us down with frighteningly sobering authority . Our compelling desire to continue living a nomadic lifestyle carried us onward to the south island in hopes that we might scrape together enough dough to tack on another adventure or two once we felt it was time to move on. After a somewhat uninspiring but ultimately character building / finance accruing 3 month stretch working 7 days a week in Blenheim, New Zealand, we have realized that vision of wanderlust in grand fashion.
After our personally designated last day of work at the factories, we celebrated with a conveniently timed company party at the extremely popular Speights Ale House -- a comped Prix Fixe three course gourmet meal with open bar tab to boot. You can bet that we made them pay handsomely for the privilege of having us there. The next morning, we hopped on a bus to Christchurch and then tarried on to Queenstown for a phenomenal (albeit too quick) snowboard session in the Southern Alps. We both fell in love with Queenstown and recommend that our family and friends keep it highly in mind as an alpine adventure destination. The town is refreshingly small and there isn't a bad lake or mountain view to be had from any corner of it. We mainly went down there to use it as a jumping off point for a day snowboarding at Coronet Peak. It may be true that each of us has snowboarded exactly 2 times in our lives prior to this, but I do declare that we held it down and quickly progressed to the intermediate routes -- and one which was listed as an intermediate route but was clearly for the seasoned powder shredder. I mostly complained all the way down this run while Becca effortlessly glided down in her usually graceful manner. It was difficult to keep my eyes on the runs because the views were so spectacular. After our snow capped mountain visitation, we hit up a joint in Queenstown called Fergburger. The Fergburg is easily one of the top "steamed ham" (Simpsons reference anyone?) purveyors in the world at large ( if you dismiss this statement, you haven't been and you ain't ready). Be sure that we ordered hulk-sized double Fergburgers to complement our action packed day on the slopes.
We fled north for Christchurch the day after snowboarding to camp out at the airport there and await our brief flight to Melbourne, Australia en route to Bali Denpasar International. We save money where we can, and one sure way to do this is to sleep in airports whenever we have an early flight out in the morning -- nearby hotels don't ring in cheaper than $100 a night, and our check in was at 4 am : what is the other sensible alternative to posting up in the airport with it's free wi fi and open late food stands? NONE.
We rolled into Bali in the early PM hours of July 30th. Fortunately we had dialed in a place to stay in the area of Sanur, and had little trouble arranging a taxi to take us there for an agreeable price. The strength of the U.S. dollar against the Rupiah here is extremely fortuitous for us, and has enabled us to literally live as millionaires. In fact , when we exchanged a couple hundred bucks to get our feet on the ground , we walked away with almost 5 million rupiah. It's monopoly money, people.
Our "homestay" is in a perfect location -- down an alley from one of the main thoroughfares of Sanur (Danau Tamblingan st.) , quiet yet close to all the action. We've got our own balcony and really nice features throughout the room for under U.S. $20 per night -- this style of room in a first world country , not even considering it's close proximity to a fantastic beach , would easily run you $150 - $200 a night. The whole scale of economy ( see what I did there?) is amazingly favorable to us here; our daily routine consists of free walks along the path ringing the beach, impossibly relaxing hour long massages for $5.50, drinking the milk/juice from fresh coconuts for $1.20 , 660 ml (Tall) beers at a private cabana on the beach for $2.60 each, awesome gelato for $1.20 a scoop, and ridiculously tasty dinner at any number of local restaurants ("warungs") for between $3 and $5 total. And despite the absurd prices, everything is top quality. We had plans to be on an island called Nusa Lembongan right now, but opted out of them because...well, how could we uproot without giving this place it's proper due?
Our next move is to Ubud, Bali's cultural capital, in about 4 days. We'll have plenty more photos and such to post now that we're actually doing exciting and culturally stimulating things -- we hope that anyone reading this blog enjoys it beyond their "obligation" to as immediate family or valued friends. We have a lot to say, and travel is not nearly as gratifying when you can't share it with the ones you love, old friends and new. Stay tuned, share our journey!!!!
Until next time,DW & BC