Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Denpasar...

What I didn’t tell you in Thailand was that I had been trying to get in touch with Erin for a few days to see when she would get in to Bali, and hadn’t heard from her.  So when I landed in Thailand I had a voicemail from her asking me to call.  I called and found out that her flight back from Flores had been cancelled and she was doing her best to get back but I might have to be alone in Bali on Sunday.  That didn’t seem like that big of a deal because Bali is touristy and full of hotels and taxis.  I am a brave independent traveler, remember?

So I didn’t stress too much about it.  I managed to finally get about 2 hours of sleep on the floor near the check-in area for Air Asia.  I was so tired by that point that I slept soundly until the desk opened at 4 am.  I checked in, went to the bathroom sans giant backpack, flew through security and got onto the plane with very little hassle.  I called just before we took off, and Erin said that she was on standby but she would leave me a voicemail telling me where I should go and what the plan was. 

When I landed in Bali I didn’t have any voicemails.  And I discovered that although I appeared to have service, I couldn’t make any calls.  My phone was also dying.  After customs I found myself exiting not into a lobby area, but to the outside.  So I calmly walked to an ATM and got money out, and then went to a food stand where I found an outlet, bought a water, and sat down to figure out what to do.  When I sat down I looked at the amount of money I had gotten out, and did some quick math.  It appeared to me that I had accidentally taken over a thousand dollars out of my account.  But that couldn’t be right?  Right?  When my phone was charged it still wouldn’t make calls.  This was the point where I started to panic a little.  My phone had given me a message that I needed an additional code to make calls in Indonesia, so I started asking people but they had no idea what I was talking about.  The security guys at the airport told me I needed to take a taxi to Denpasar and go to the phone office.  So I was stuck in Bali, could not contact Erin, and had possibly taken way too much money out of my account.  I could go stay in a hotel but then how would I tell Erin where I was?  But I did not cry, nor did I start going around yelling “Is anyone here American or Australian?” 

I went to a wartel (a place where you can pay to use the phone), and the girl was very helpful in suggesting how I could dial on my phone but nothing worked.  She said I could use the phone for 8,000 Rupiah a minute.  I didn’t think this was much, but given my 2 hours of sleep the night before and my mild panic I was in no state to do math.  I took a quick walk around looking for other options, and finally came back to the wartel and agreed to use the phone there.  I was pretty sure 8,000 Rupiah was less than a dollar, so that was fine.  I called Erin and she picked up!  She asked where I was and I said I was in Bali.  She said, “I’m in Bali too!  Where ARE you?  I’ve been looking for you for an hour!”  Oh thank God.  I told her I was in a wartel near the taxis and then proceeded to ramble.  I was so relieved I almost forgot to pay for my phone call, and dragged my stuff out to a bench.  Within 5 minutes Erin and her friend Andrea had found me.  They also assured me that I had taken out around $100 from the ATM.  Stupid zeros and decimals always get me. 

Anyway, we took a taxi to Kuta where we checked in a hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon at Kuta Beach, relaxing and catching up.  We had sushi for dinner, walked around looking at shops (I bought some amazing Indonesian pants that are my new favorite thing), and finished the night off with a drink on the beach.  Then I slept in a bed! 

In the morning Andrea left really early to fly back to her school.  Erin and I had breakfast at the hotel, got amazing massages, and then flew to Surabaya.  From Surabaya we took a bus to Ponorago, and then a taxi to the school, where we were going to collapse into bed.  Instead, when we got there we found out that there was a bonfire happening!  So we went to that and then collapsed into bed around 10 pm.  


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