Tag Archives: JetStar

Bali!

Bali…”full of culture and blissful beaches” according to Lonely Planet. More importantly “where Liz Gilbert found ‘Javier Bardem’, solved her stresses, found love, and completed her year long journey of self-re-creation”. I really wish I’d come before Eat Pray Love became a hit…even if I am guilty of quoting and referring to it as a comparison benchmark for my own travels. That does NOT mean I don’t like it…it just means that visiting a Wayan (or medicine woman) is 85 dollars instead of an offering, same with Ketut or other ‘medicine men’. Yoga is 10 dollars a class on a 10 punch pass…not really that much cheaper than home…and I would actually invest serious cash in a sign that said “no thank you, I have a sarong already and I don’t need a taxi” in Balinese.

First I may interject and include a paragraph on ‘getting to Bali’….Jetstar was actually sweet….they still nickel and dimed on food, but I had an entire four seat row in the middle to myself, got free movies, the flight attendants didn’t have poles up their behinds, and made the extra effort to get my bags stored while I explored Sydney on my 8 hour lay over. First, do not EVER take the 400 from airport to Bondi Beach…it is a 2 hour journey….secondly, I didn’t realize until I met Simon in Bondi Junction for lunch (right near the old Xmas flat) how much Sydney had become a second home. I only spent over a month there….but I had spent that much time in Peru and never missed it like I do Sydney….Perhaps it was realizing that stepping into Bondi Jct I was familiar for what would be the last time in 8 months…or the fact that I understood what everyone was saying…or the fact that I had a juicy steak and didn’t doubt that it was in fact beef. Perhaps the fact that upon landing I had incoming phone calls, met with Simon and my relative, Eva for a coffee at le Pain Quotidienne…or the fact that I didn’t even have to check what train to get on….or the fact that my lingering accent has aussies in Bali asking where in Australia I’m from…but although I am ecstatic to be in Asia, I am having an unexpected longing for the carefree times I had in Oz.

Beyond that Bali definitely is full of culture, blissful beaches, and a sort of appreciation for the every day blessings. I started out in Sanur…nicknamed as ‘snore’ by LP, but the hub to ferry to Nusa Lembongan and subsequently the Gili Islands. Quite frankly it was a great place to start…everybody else I’d met had a mad hate on for Kuta, and Sanur was kind of like an Asian less ritzy version of Mexican resort strips. I was there about 20 minutes into the first monsoon rain when I decided to peace out inland instead of island bound. I’ve just spent 4 months drinking on beaches….I wasn’t about to pay to take a ferry ride to tourist-ville to not even be able to enjoy the beaches….had I come straight from home, I’d be there preying on the 2 hours of rainless, still sunless heat…but I didn’t.

While in Sanur I did manage to watch a cremation, buy a sarong for said cremation, eat local food….asked for chillis….shouldn’t have asked for chillies…, swim, and eat a hawker stall dinner while playing chess on the beach with local kids. I also met a sweet half Asian half dutch lady from Germany who made me believe that in my middle age I will look okay with blonde hair…

Anyway, I set off to Ubud on Perama bus. A tourist shuttle about 1/3 of the price of taking my own taxi. (which is like 4 dollars instead of 15). Might I also point out…you will get the BEST exchange rates IN Bali…don’t exchange before arrival…and if you are from Oz they have Commonwealth atms EVERYWHERE… I arrived in Ubud where I had a homestay booked for 17 a night (150k Rr) when a man named Nyoman told me he had my own cottage for 100k. Tempting, I kept walking…then he caught up to me on his motorbike…I hopped on to look at the place….I figured I could always jump off so it was obviously less sketchy than hopping in the rapist car in Kings Cross…. The place is great! Suartha Pension homestay is the name….I was able to bargain him down on a weekly rate probably cheaper than anywhere else in town and I get breakfast every morning, which is a plate with Cora style fruit, eggs, toast, and Coffee. I’m happy. So I’m here in Ubud for a week, chilling, yoga-ing, meditating, hunting down local specialties from hawker stalls, and avoiding technology (with the exception of today’s calm everyone the F down, I am alive wifi connection and this post), while I bliss out in what feels as quaint, accepting, and homely as Byron Bay…and we all know how much I loved Byron Bay.

I’m really digging the ‘home stay’ situation. I have helped making the daily offerings that they make to put on steps for the gods, learned some Balinese, got breakfast in bed, my own room, and actually feel like I’m staying here, not visiting. It will also be really cool for the upcoming Balinese New Year (My third New year in 2013!!) called Nyepi….basically the day before is insane festivals and the day of is complete silence, and everything shuts down. The only people allowed outside of houses are the Nyepi police who patrol the streets to ensure everyone is observing the holiday…even foreigners!

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$500 whoopsies…

So I will say that I definitely am at fault…but I will say that I have a dickhead travel agent I’m not pleased with at the moment either. Basically her email to me said “Here is the ticket for your flights to Bali on Feb 25″…and my notes from our meeting say Feb 25…So, I booked everything around the 25…So on the 24 I go to double check my flight times…and surprise! Flight was at 6am on Feb 24…

My travel agent from StudentFlights neglected to do anything to help me reschedule my flights…NO student flights locations answered their phones. I went to the Auckland airport (I was flying Auckland to Sydney 10 hour lay over then Syd to Bali) where every flight to Sydney was over 900 dollars…On the phone JetStar said there was nothing they could do…

My AMAZING friends Jen and Marissa were on it from Canada…Marissa does scheduling for work and was able to get in touch with Jetstar and get me a muchh cheaper…but not that cheap…transfer til Saturday…so One more week in Auckland in food and hostels, change fees, and a new flight from auckland to Sydney…

It makes it quite entertaining to me that I have been going out of my way to save 40 cents on yogurt, and one mis-read equals half a grand… Definitely not a mistake I’ll be making again…*Eye roll to self, finger to Student Flights*

I will say on a side not Flight Center has been amazing for trying to help me with my RTW itinerary and were the only ones here trying remotely to help me out even though it wasn’t their error.

Jetstar and Cairns

JetStar
They get their own post because in general I found my latest airport experience to be fascinating to say the least.
First, I didn’t get asked for ID…not even once. Not to check in, not at security, not to get on the plane. Convenient? Perhaps…Settling? Far from it.
Second, ‘in-flight entertainment available’ really means pay 10 dollars for an iPad you can play on…and for everyone else, too bad so sad. There isn’t even a shared TV or music.
Third, don’t wait for your free refreshment to kill time. A soft drink, water, coffee, or tea will cost you $3 and pretzel snacks $4.50. I guess I should have taken the free sprinkled chocolates after all.
Bonus: Their flight attendants wear orange blazers…ew.
That is all.

A Sweaty Mess called Cairns…
I don’t think I’ll be working out here because my body has been tricked into always thinking it’s just worked out. Sweat. All. The. Time. Better yet, it’s supposed to get hotter here. November is like our April/May…I will be avoiding Cairns at all cost as soon as I leave a few days from now. As for work there seems to be stuff on Magnetic Island and Airlie beach so I’ll have to check that out, as for now I have 4 more days to get a good bronze on.
As for the creatures of ‘tropical Queensland’ there are flies that pee on you and give you little red spots. There are also fruit bats…NOT fun to discover when trotting home from a Halloween party. And I’ve legitimately been told to stay away from the lagoon because of the crocodiles.
On the theme of the Halloween party… I arrived in Cairns Wednesday morning with the intention of having a lazy lay around day. I was promptly informed that there was a Halloween party happening at the hostel that night and in an attempt to make travel buddies I decided I had to go. Everyone had already started drinking at noon, and costumes were being built. Most of the men went in drag, most of the girls random costumes that were clearly selling for cheap at the local holiday store. 2L of wine and a few glasses of punch later I was speaking to the French at ease and confidently shouting in my newly developed aussie accent. I also won a balloon popping contest with another Canadian girl and face planted trying to pick up a corona case to win a trip to the barrier reef.

On the bright side, Nomads Cairns is a GREAT hostel. Clean and the people are lovely. Huge kitchen which really helps saving funds. SO MANY GERMANS.