After a $100 taxi ride to the airport, we went to check in for our flight, a bit worried about the weight of our luggage and bike boxes, especially now that we had the trailer. The guy at the check-in desk asked for our onward flight tickets from Bali, we said we didn’t have (or need) and onward flight, explaining what we are doing. He explained that there was no way he could let us board the flight without an onward flight, or a visa / letter declaring that we had permission to enter the country without an onward ticket. Bugger. He suggested that we go and buy a flight from Indonesia or postpone our flight for a couple of days and contact the embassy to arrange a letter. To postpone the flight would have cost 225, plus accommodation and no guarantee of a response from the embassy. So we headed to the flight centre and explained our situation. We booked the cheapest flight we could find from Indonesia to Malaysia that was fully refundable, only it wasn’t full refundable as none of the airlines do this. Explaining our situation to the guy helping us, he said he could cancel the flight tickets as soon as our plane took off and refund the money asap, but that from a $900 flight we would only get back $700. With no other choice and very little time, we paid the money for our non-existent flight and headed back to the check in desk with the flight confirmation in hand. This was turning in to an expensive morning!
Our luck changed though and the lady weighting our bags seemed not to notice that 2 of them were 2.5kg over and even when the bikes came in at 30kg each she didn’t say anything. She even checked her guidelines on the weight allowance, for what seemed like a very long time – both of us holding our breath waiting for her to change her mind and announce that she had made a mistake. But no, were were not charge any excess baggage fees. I for one was pleased - I’ve lost a stone in weight on this trip, so surely that counts for something! So we made the flight and arrived in Bali at 1.30pm after 6 hours.
The humidity hits you as you step off the plane. Woo, it was hot and sticky. After wrestling with bags and bike boxes into the centre of Melbourne, we had already decided that this time we would build the bikes at the airport and cycle out. I did a bit of a recce and found a shady spot on some grass, away from the main exit/entrance. It took us about 2 hours to build the bikes, with a range of spectators throughout. One guy was watching Chris, puzzled at what this third little wheel was a all about. When Chris attached it to the bob trailer and then attached it all to the bike, the penny dropped and he clapped his hands, smiling, he came over to have a closer look, grinning from ear to ear. It made us laugh too, he’d obviously been sat there wondering what on earth Chris was doing.
By the time we loaded all the bags on we were both dripping with sweat and thirsty. Nearby was a little place selling drinks and food to the bus and taxi drivers. We decided that we would go there rather than the tourist stalls right outside the airport doors as we would get a better price. We immediately got chatting to two of the bus drivers (driving tourist buses) and one of the guys spoke good English. He said he wanted to go to England to see the snow, because he has never seen snow! We got a few tips and practiced a few phrases before his Chinese passengers arrived and he had to dash off. Chatting to him put us both at ease and we relaxed. We got on the bikes and headed for Kuta, just down the road…
Cycling into Kuta was an adrenaline filled experience! Zillions of scooters, cars, men on bicycles with large bins either side of them, people everywhere – it’s a complete free for all. The roads are narrow and bumpy, people just ride on the pavement if the traffic stops, everyone beeps their horn all the time, it’s crazy, but exhilarating! The scooters/mopeds are the crazy thing really, some wear helmets others don’t; small kids, really teeny tots sit in front of their parent holding on (or not!) – I saw 4 people on one, toddler, dad, mum and baby, amazing. Yet no one goes very fast as it’s too busy – we can cycle at almost the same speed, so the danger is reduced. People come alongside waving saying ‘hi’, how are you?’ ‘ where are you from?’.
We managed to find our way to Poppies Lane II and find a place to stay for a couple of nights.