We are finally leaving Bali! It is around 9:00 p.m., and Vikki and I are waiting in the terminal at the airport to catch our 10:30 p.m. flight out of Bali which will, after a brief one hour stop in Kuala Lumpur, continue on to Doha, the capital of Qatar. From there we will be catching a connecting flight to Amman, Jordan shortly after noon tomorrow. As such, we have a lot of flight mileage and time in transit generally ahead of us before we arrive at the starting point for this next leg of our trip. Given that we have a little while before we have to board our flight for tonight, however, now is the perfect time to quickly recount the events of today.
Because it is inadvisable to dive within 24 hours of flying, as this puts you at a much higher risk for decompression sickness, we could not dive this morning. After a leisurely morning in Jemeluk, our driver who had taken us from Ubud to Tulamben on Wednesday, Made, came to pick us up at around noon to take us to Bali’s airport, a drive of several hours. While we did not plan on doing an epic sightseeing trip en route, having covered already most of the sights we wanted to see during our marathon day of sightseeing in eastern Bali this past Wednesday, we nevertheless opted to utilize Made as our driver again in order that we could make a couple of select stops.
While we had visited the Water Garden at Tirta Gangga during our original drive to Tulamben on Wednesday, we had arrived there only at around dusk. Furthermore, as we by that time this past Wednesday had become saturated with sightseeing, we both felt a second look at Tirta Gangga during the light of day wouldn’t hurt. Therefore, as we neared Tirta Gangga, we had Made stop. Here we went back into the Water Garden for a brief return visit. While still nice, I have to say I preferred the look of the place in the late afternoon after it had cooled somewhat. The absence of any shade whatsoever here made our walkthrough today a short one. Within 10 minutes of our arrival here, we took off again.
Thereafter we proceeded to travel to the village of Ujang to check out the main tourist highlight we wanted to see on today’s drive: Ujang’s water palace, Taman Sukasada. Built in 1921 by Anak Agung Anglurah, the last raja of this region of Bali - Katangese - , Taman Sukasada is comprised of a lake surrounded by gardens and a small palace in the center of the lake. It is still in the process of being renovated, but when in the eastern part of Bali, it is worth a stop-off to stroll its grounds. Much of the grounds here offer little cover from the sun, however, and given it was both very hot and humid today, we spent only around half an hour there.
We had planned to do a fair bit of last minute souvenir shopping in Denpasar and go back - as better informed consumers regarding price and quality levels of a couple of things which we wanted to pick up - to several higher end handicraft stores we had visited during our first visit to Denpasar, but we had overlooked one important fact. Today is Sunday! As such, the stores we wanted to visit were closed today.
After visiting the Water Palace in Ujung, we had driven for several hours without a break to reach Denpasar. However, here we now were, at about 5 o’clock this afternoon, and everywhere we wanted to visit was closed. We therefore had some time to kill. Vikki and I spent a little while wandering around the produce and flower market at the Pasar Badung, but we wound up going back to our rendevouz point with Made some two hours early to continue on our way to the airport. En route to the airport we stopped at a roadside café, but the lack of any air-conditioning there made conditions in an internet cubicle intolerable. Thereafter, we had Made drop us off here at the airport at around 7, some 3½ hours before our flight. And so here we find ourselves, at the start of another long trip.
While I’ve enjoyed Bali, the increasingly hot and humid weather that accompanies the onset of the rainy season has made me ready to get out of here. Bali has great food, a rich culture, a pleasant ambiance and reasonable prices to boot, but I would advise anyone coming here to time their visit so as to avoid the warmer times of the year here. It can get really hot and muggy here!
Next stop: the Middle East!