|Arya Amed Beach Resort. MsCaroline is there right now in her mind.|
|MsCaroline would be just as happy over here, too. She's not picky.|
So far, this adjustment has consisted primarily of washing mountains of laundry and staring gloomily into the refrigerator wondering why in the world she didn't think to clean out the produce drawer before leaving the country for 10 days. (note: it is hard enough to come home from an excellent vacation without also discovering that shallots can, in fact, become a liquid if they are left long enough to their own devices.)
However, now that the laundry and the vegetables have been sorted, and she has finished
*As is usually the case, MsCaroline's notion of 'hightlights' frequently differs from those of your average bear, but she feels certain that, if you wanted the standard useful sort of information that most people share about their holiday travels, you would not be reading her blog anyway.
Regional Airlines: MsC, MrL, and Son#2 flew to the airport in Denpasar, via Garuda Airlines, the national airline of Indonesia. This was MsCaroline's first experience with Garuda, which had been recommended to her as the
As it turned out, MsC's fears were unfounded, and flying Garuda was a very pleasant experience, despite their user-hostile website. The aircraft was modern, the food was excellent, and there were no livestock present. As a bonus, all the exotically lovely sarong-clad flight attendants namaste-d the deplaning passengers, which, in MsCaroline's book, more than makes up for any number of website deficiencies. MsCaroline would definitely recommend the airline, although she would also recommend that you bypass their website entirely and just go straight to your nearest Indonesian or Korean friend and have them buy the tickets for you online, which will save you a great deal of time and anguish.
Warning: Being a (stupid) Westerner in an Indonesian Airport will cost you: After a
Once the Asia Vu family had paid its fees and been herded to the baggage claim, one would assume that all their troubles were over. In fact, things did seem to be looking up: they were touched and amazed to observe as a small, efficient swarm of porters materialized at the conveyor belt, swooped up their luggage, and rolled it swiftly to the exit security station as part of what looked like a formal security protocol. Being Bali newbs, it took MsCaroline and MrL a few minutes to realize that the porters (each carrying one smallish piece of luggage) were entirely unnecessary(yes, you can put your own bag through the security scanner) and that all of them expected to be tipped generously for the 'work' they'd done in rolling four bags approximately 20 meters through the airport (their suggestion: US$10 per bag. PER BAG, people. Needless to say, it didn't happen.)
By the time MsCaroline and her family
|Darmadede. What a gem.|
|View of the next bungalow's roof from our outdoor bathroom.|
|Outdoor shower +tropical foilage=theoretically romantic. Taken from the loo. Note cat on wall.|
|Tree House in Belize with outdoor shower. Note that only the shower was outdoors.|
On top of this, there was the aspect of the indoor/outdoor bathroom that none of the romantic photos had included: namely, the insects. MsC - although she considers herself reasonably intrepid - draws the line at having to brush spiderwebs and centipedes off the toilet seat before she sits down on it; and she draws a further line at having to shuffle her feet while positioned on said toilet seat to avoid having them crawled on by ants. Whenever she had cause to be seated, she found herself constantly scanning her surroundings so as to be alert to the approach of anything that might bite her, sting her,drop on her, or just generally freak her out. (The slinking feral cat that perched on top of the garden wall and fixed her with its unblinking eyes while she performed her ablutions was actually rather welcome by comparison.) In addition, MsC - although she is not afraid of snakes in theory - nonetheless has a very vivid imagination, and could only imagine what she might find - or, worse, what she might not notice - if she had to get up in the middle of the night to visit the loo. (Needless to say, she did not.)
This is not to say that MsC does not see the potential attraction of the outdoor bathroom. In fact, if one were a frisky newlywed, the idea of some naughty hijinks in the outdoor shower or soaking tub, just a few feet away from one's unsuspecting fellow resort guests, might have a certain flagrant appeal. However, the close proximity of Son#2 and the extremely high insect-to-mammal ratio in the bathroom area neatly squelched any randy thoughts that the outdoor shower might have inspired. Accordingly, after a restless night full of spider dreams, MsC (wet blanket that she is) contacted the main office and requested a transfer from the charming bungalow to two more pedestrian standard rooms. Both of these, while far less exotic, had enclosed facilities, only a smattering of ants, and several resident lizards who bothered no one and seemed to keep the mosquito population in check.
|MsCaroline is not complaining about how awesome this resort was. She just preferred an indoor bathroom.|
It's worth noting that Amed (actually, a collection of 6 or so small villages, all loosely referred to as 'Amed') is extremely rural, and - except for the dive shops, and hotel/restaurants catering to divers and snorkelers - doesn't have much of a tourist infrastructure. It is, in truth, not much fun for shoppers - unless one wishes to shop for chickens or papayas; fortunately, MsC is not much of a shopper, and as long as she had access to cold beer and coffee, she was perfectly happy to forego any retail therapy. As for the rest of Amed, the resorts and restaurants, while adequate and reasonably clean, are designed to provide a place to sleep and a place to eat for people who have traveled to the coast to experience some of Bali's fantastic marine life. The resorts and dive hotels are loosely scattered up and down the coast road, interspersed with fields, dwellings, the occasional restaurant, and the trappings of a rural, mostly agricultural, community.
|The 'main drag' in Amed.|
|MsCaroline is not exaggerating about the rural nature of Amed. This is only a few steps east of our resort, on the beach. It is a chicken coop. Lucky chickens.|
|Bringing in the catamaran after an early-morning trip|
The next morning, after a poolside breakfast, the Asia Vu family made its way to the van sent to collect them by their Dive Shop, and headed off to the first day of their Open Water Dive Course, and the beginning of MsCaroline's Trial By Water. Stay tuned for Part II.
*highly subjective description