Your Visa, Mr. Bond

Thunderbirds are GO! We get the green light to pick up our visa extensions. We scoot on down to immigration, thankfully, no traffic violations required this time & it’s all smooth sailing (installing that 20 foot spinnaker on my scooter, finally paid off).

Gusti meets us there this time, now all we have to do is pickup our passports and…have our picture taken and out fingerprints electronically scanned! What??…yessiree Bob šŸ™‚ That’s how they do things here.

Still, could have been worse. Thank god we didn’t end up like the guy next to us, who endured a full body cavity search, DNA swab AND bone marrow extraction! And he wasn’t even applying for a visa extension, he was just delivering the mail!

So, now that the espionage is over…we’re official, long-termers. What a crazy little island, but you know what, with all it’s quirks and perks, we like it šŸ™‚

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Cloak’n’Dagger

We organised our visa extensions yesterday, in what has to be, the most dodgiest experience we’ve had on this island. Real Cloak’n’Dagger type stuff.

I’m surprised we didn’t have to wear sunglasses, hats, trench coats and use password phrases like, “a wet duck, flies at night”…well, maybe we did, but it was all in Indonesian. Here’s the run-down…

Our friends give us the number of a lady to call in immigration that can help process our visa extensions, quickly, without having to queue up for hours and without getting ripped off. Some people use agents to help them and are charged Rp. 1,000,000 (about a hundred bucks), when it should only cost about Rp. 400,000 (around $40). The idea being that they still take all your stuff to be processed, and they pay immigration Rp. 400,000 and pocket the rest themselves.

So, to avoid that, we go straight to the source. Unfortunately, she only speaks Indonesian, so we need our Balinese friend (and quasi-Aussie family member), Gusti, to call her up for us and find out all the info we need. Gusti makes the call, sets up an appointment for a couple days away.

TWO DAYS LATER:

The streets to Kuta, where we need to meet up with Gusti, are blocked off for a re-enactment of the Bali Bombing at the Memorial site. The only way we could get to Gusti, is to scoot down the wrong way on a one way street along the beach, then cut back in down a side alley. We’re swerving around people, riding on the footpath, people yelling at us for going the wrong way, very Bourne Identity.

We get to immigration, and we wait out the front while Gusti calls her again, but instead of going inside…we have to meet her round the side of the building at the staff entrance. She asks how we got her name, we reveal our contacts, she takes our passports and Gusti’s I.D. and disappears into another building to make photocopies. Then, we give our money to Gusti, he goes in and pays her the money (Rp. 450,000 each), then tells us he’ll pick up our extensions next week and bring them to our house. All done in under 5 mins. No queuing up and no need to even go inside the freakin’ building!

So whether she processes our extensions for Rp. 400,000 and keeps a meagre Rp. 50,000 for herself, or processes them without a fee and pockets it all herself, is strictly a…needs to know basis. And it’s probably best for us, that we needs NOT to know.

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Getting’ Our Rocks Off!

What an amazing day! Took Heather for High Tea at Biku.

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Then we piled into Alan’s faithful Merc Chariot, “George”, with Alan, Gary and their own holidaying friend, Kaz, and drove up to see the incredible Kecak dancing in Uluwatu. A traditional story dance told atop an open auditoriumĀ on the cliff tops of Uluwatu, overlooking the enormous Indian Ocean (that’s ocean as far as the eye can sea),Ā and combines a cappella singing/chanting with amazing costumes and fire dancing. And watch out for marauding monkeys,Ā who will grab whatever they can get their speedy little hands on.

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Stopped off for cocktailsĀ at theĀ Rock Bar,Ā which is located in the tiny “state” of theĀ Ayana Resort and Spa. I say, “state”, because you need a GPS just to navigate your way up the driveway. Let me put it this way, you could fax an architect’s plan of a building from the front gate to reception and by the time you get to reception, the building would already be finished! And whoever thought to build a bar into a cliff face over the ocean, was either mad or genius. It is absolutely spectacular and there’s even a personal elevator to take you down the cliff to order your drinks!

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Finally, we capped the night off with a huge Seafood dinner at Gekko, in Jimbaran Bay. You can sit right on the beach until…the tide comes in! Then you have to grab your stuff and high-tail-it to higher ground!! (Which we did). Fortunately for us, we got a fantastic 45% discount because Alan and Gary know the owner which was really funny in comparison to the Rock Bar, in that, our huge seafood banquet for 6 people at Gekko, was actually less per person, than ONE COCKTAIL EACH at Rock Bar!

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Jumped the gun…

 

Fellow Adventurers,

As you’re probably aware, there were recently two posts published prematurely (these things happen at my age…apparently), which you would have received in your inbox but then, the link would have been broken. The issue has now been rectified, ie: I buggered up and posted instead of drafted before I had my pics and videos up!

Anyhoo, the problem has been fixed and the previous two blog posts are back on the site, complete with pics and videos. You can go to each one individually by clicking on each link, or just drop by our blog where you’ll find them for you viewing pleasure.

Kuta Carnivale

Bechtold’s on Safari

Happy Viewing šŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Bechtold’s on Safari

MIX Three cups of Dr. Livingston, half a teaspoon of David Attenborough and a dollop of Steve Irwin…and you have the recipe for the Bali Safari & Marine Park, with your three intrepid explorers…Larry, Curly & Mo.

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This is one place you can really get up close and personal with some of the rarest & most exotic species on the planet. A quiet and well mannered Australian, I hear you ask? Admittedly, rare but not entirely exotic, no…in fact, I speak of rare endangered animals such as Sumatran Elephants, Orangutans and Siberian Tigers, just to name a few. A lot of these you can actually touch and others you’re just thankful there’s glass between you no matter how much bravado you think you can muster.

Kudos to Heather, for really exploring beyond her comfort zone & getting intimate with many of the parks inhabitants, including some animals as well.

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Kuta Carnivale

So, what do you do the day after an earthquake?…Celebrate at the Kuta Carnivale!!

Just to allay any fears anyone has about earthquakes in Bali, check out these pics & ask, does this look like panic to you?

Honestly, the quake lasted about 20 secs max, and as you can plainly see…it’s business (I mean, paradise), as usual.

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