Australians and New Zealanders prefer escaping to warmer regions in winter breaks especially during school holidays in June. Most of them prefer the Indonesian Island, Bali for its excellent tourist attractions. The beaches are picturesque, food is sumptuous, people are very hospitable and gifts items are cheaper. We are living in Australia for about 10 years. For various reasons ranging from work commitments , time for getting Australian Citizenship and passports we did not have opportunity for visiting Bali though our Australian friends always suggested for go there and relax.
My wife Rozy had an open heart surgery –replacement of one Mitral and one Aortic valve with mechanical valves in end March 2014 at Austin Hospital Melbourne. It was long overdue and we had to be in a queue in public hospital for a while .This was a serious challenge for the family. For staying beside by wife prior to, during the operation and throughout her post operation rehabilitation period I did not renew my contract in Afghanistan and advised them of resumptions after my wife’s full recovery.
This left me with enough free time to support my wife in her very difficult days. My two sons work away from Melbourne. The newly married eldest son Shahriar had to go to Bangladesh in connection with immigration formalities of his wife. By early June my wife managed to survive the initial difficult period of post-surgery. I cannot explain how difficult and challenging time we two spent from end March till end May. Even our doctor advised to take her for a visit somewhere. Fortunately around same time my frequent flyer Virgin Blue category qualified for a discount ticket. We booked a four day holiday package to Bali. I was a bit reluctant to go as FIFA world Cup Soccer also just kicked off at Brazil and I was committed to cover every match to bangalnews24. But my wife is now first preference. So we planned to spend from 14-18 Th June at Bali island resort.
It was not since 2003 my wife travelled abroad with me .Our last visit was to India – Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmeer, Agra and Kolkata when I worked in Gas Sector of Bangladesh. There were three matches of FIFA world on 13 th June. Holland shocked champion Spain 5-1 , Mexico defeated Croatia and Australia went down fighting to Chile . I watched all matches live on TV till early morning of Australia and sent match reports to Dhaka. After a quick breakfast and hot shower in cold morning I went to a local money exchange to convert Aussie Dollars to Indonesian rupee. The flight was to take off at 14 : 45 Melbourne Time. Our neighbor’s son Chris was kind enough to drop us with our family car to Melbourne Airport. From our place in Ringwood to Tullamarin International Airport is usually an hour’s drive if not stuck in traffic in the city. We started at 11: 45. But Chris relying on his memory and forgetting to pick the GPS lost the way and we had to struggle to find the route to Airport. It took two hours and we reached about an hour before the flight. We had enough time to have proper Thai Food (Sea Food) at Airport Lounge. The flight was full and mostly Australian Families with their school Children choose Bali as their escape.
The Six and half hours flight Virgin Blue International flight was comfortable in the sense that Rozy was relaxed and treated me sharing her great choice of recorded oriental music. The food and drinks of the aircraft also tasted better when I felt that ailing wife was in great mood. We reached Denpasar Airport Bali at around 20: 30 Bali time. From Chilly Melbourne to warm Bali was a pleasant change. The airport visa formality was brief and easy. This was a lesson that Bangladesh must take if it wants to make its tourist destinations like Cox’s Bazar attractive . The very first impression that a visitor get from management of immigration attracts him/her about the destination. Our Holiday Inn Hotel was half anhour’s drive from the Airport. The hotel hosts received us in traditional Balian war .Two cute girls dressed in traditional dress greeted my wife with flowers and offered us both coconut drinks beside the swimming pool beside the reception. It was luckily full moon and pool side was looking gorgeous. We had very packed programs for three days. So after having showers and fixing the internet and TV we planned to sleep early. But Rozy liked the pool side so much that she made me stay there for a while under the mellow moon light.
Bali is an island and province of Indonesia, and includes a few smaller neighboring islands, notably Nusa Penida. It is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. Its capital of Denpasar is located at the southern part of the island. We visited Denpasar. Luckily for us it was peak of the visiting season as traditional Bali Festival just started.
Day one Of Bali Visit:
Unfortunately I had to watch the FIFA World Cup Matches on Internet as Bali TV channel showing the matches live was not very clear on that night. Had early breakfast next morning and were ready for moving around by 9 AM. Our first target was to visit Bali Festival. What stuck us most as soon as we left hotel was the universal craze for soccer world cup. Almost all houses on either side of the road, every business had large flags of their favorite teams. For the Balians it was not Brazil or Argentina. It was Portugal and Germany that appeared to have greater support. Children, teenagers were flying kites made of the color of their favorite teams. The roads were full of motor bikes the favorite transport in Bali.
Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa ("Bali Island") has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong pillar inscription written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD and mentioning "Walidwipa".
We enjoyed some traditional Balinese performances at Bali Festival. Rozy took lot of photographs and made many friends from among the locals. We moved around, photographed with the performers and bought few souvenirs. The guide cum driver was a Muslim and took us to an Indonesian halal restaurant where we had very delicious Indonesian food – mosly fish curries and vegetables. In the afternoon we spent some time in a beach to witness the sunset. Returning home Rozy had a brief rest and then we went to watch the neighborhood in the evening. The tourist town was humming with tourist of many different countries. The soothing luxury of colors and soft appeal of moonlight evening added additional flavor. We had candle light dinner at a restaurant where an Indonesian dance troop was displaying traditional Balinese dance.
To be continued.
BDST: 1452 HRS, AUG 15, 2014