Sue P's just back...

Well about two weeks ago and I have only been able to bring myself to write my report. I am depressed I am not back in Bali.

My hubby and 3 kids ages 11,14 &16 and myself flew out a few days before Xmas flying Garuda. Must say there does seem to be a bit more leg room and I liked how your tables did'nt move back on you when the person infront of you decided to recline their seat. The down side, the service was lacking, we saw no alcohol been offered although I must admit it was a 8am flight. The positive we did leave and arrive to Denpasar on time. I arranged for our hotel Adhi Dharma Hotel to pick us up. Cost 55,000rph per room which for the 5 of us was less than grabbing a taxi from the booth. In short our stay at the hotel was great. The room was always cleaned thoroughly, fresh linen all the time, airconditioner worked to perfection, hot water all the time and with good pressure. The pool always looked spotless but it's a shame they only have 2 pool bar chairs as some louts damaged the others and they have been removed. There seemed to be adequate pool lounges and they also had 3 sets of tables and chairs which were ideal when you wanted to eat. They have a great Happy Hour. 11am - 4pm Bali Hai Beer only - large 9,000rp and 7,500 small. There sister hotel (the cottages) have happy hour from about 5pm-8pm at about the same price. I was surprised that if you ate in the resturant or went and purchased your drinks at the resturant bar you were not charged the 21% tax but if you got anything from the pool bar (including ordering a meal/snack) or got room service you got charged the 21%. American Breakfast was a steal for 18,500rph. Alot of the morning we went up the road towards the Barong and paid 7,000 - 7,500rph - great value.

I was really surprised how quiet it was. We felt very safe there. We met some wonderful people at our hotel and caught up with a few who regularly post. Shopping at most of the department stores was good value. Sales! Sales! 20%, 50% and even 70% off. Sometimes we seemed to be the only tourist on the floors. Bali is really suffering from the lack of tourism.

Our hotel had a compulsory New Years Eve dinner. Cost us $50ea and would recommend if you can get out of paying, do so. Value wise it was'nt worth it. The menu consistered of mostly indonesian food and not much variety. My kids are'nt fussy eaters but there was'nt much for them to choose. The entertainment was very cultural. We left the evening venturing into the Bungy Jump grounds and letting off our stash of fireworks. Typical Balinese workmanship. Most fizzed out or come close to having them explode on you. Nevertheless we had a great time. Went from there down to the beach just before midnite to bring in the New Year with the locals. Just had time to find a spot on the sand and it bucketed down with rain. It came hard and fast. Stayed until about 1.30am singing, dancing and having great conversations with locals and other tourist. I certainly will remember this New Year. Made our way to our hotel and stayed in the pool until 3.30am. The hotel does'nt seem to mind as long as you keep your nopise down and don't disturb the hotel guests.

As this was our 7th trip to Bali and our 2nd for the year we did'nt do too much touring. Went up to Lovina and most of the sights going up one day but was not enjoyed by all due to the over indulgence of alcohol. I must admit it's the first time I could'nt eat breakfast. My better half was crook as a dog and when he watches the video he'll remember exactely. Kids decided to film him everytime he was sick. It's terrible but I laugh about it all the time. The trip to Lovina was long and was'nt as exciting for the time you spend travelling. Went to Denpasar a few times and did the usual shopping. Went to Tootsies in Sanur and some people may disagree with me but her prices are'nt competitive anymore. I have been a shopper at Tootsies for quiet awhile but her prices have certaining risen since our visit in April. I was surprised how little stock she had in her shop. Usually you can't move for clothes/shoes etc and other shoppers. I found the shop in Poppies Lane 2 on the bend after the Indah Beach hotel towards the beach the cheapest. If you ask for the best price she'll give it to you. Singlet 10,000, kids board shorts 17,000, ladies tops 15,000 just to name a few. Also got QS quilt for 160,000 and No 2 bag for 20,000. Warung 96 and the resturant on the otherside with a pizza oven were always good for a meal. Smiley Laundry just up from our hotel did excellent laundry for about $0.20 an item.

Our trip home with Garuda is a soar point. Got dropped off just after 7.30pm for a 10.20pm flight. Still waiting at 2am with little to no communication from the Garuda or ground staff about the delay. They ended up bring out some cooldrink for passengers that were hot. They ended up giving back our immigration cards and we had to have our passports and cards cancelled and were told to go to the front of the airport to go on a bus to a hotel. Sure enough we were accommodated. There were 236 passengers on our flight and most of us ended up at the Risata Spa Hotel. I believe it is only 3*** but I tooked at the mini bar prices and thought it was 5*****. The hotel gave us a snack and went to bed to be rang at 6am and told leaving at 8am breakfast between 6.30-7.30am. At 8am were then told to come back at 11am for a 2pm flight home. Eventually got picked up by bus at 12.40pm and boardered the plane at 1.45pm. Then about 2.30 an annoucement comes on that sorry 10 mins, we have to get out 2 baggage as passenger not on flight, about 40mins later only 5mins now have 2 passengers to come on flight. At 3.50pm we eventually taxi out. The two people who boarded the plane were hissed and bood, poor people. By this stage all the passengers had had enough. The plane staff did little to help the situation, people were getting cold and thirsty and instead of coming around blankets and drinks trolley in hand, they decided to answer each bell in turn. After the fact we did find out that Garuda would arrange a 3min phone call back home for you, and they were not all that upfront about what you were intitled to as most people did'nt have any money on them and certainly no local currency. Cost me 160,000 for a phonecard at the airport and A$50 for food and drinks for the starving family.

In all we had a wonderful time and been the wet season did'nt effect our holiday at all. It did rain on about 4 days but mostly during the night. There was one day that it did poor down for about 2hrs during the day.

Sue P 1/2002