I left you last on Phuket as it was my last evening there and the sunset was spectacular, a fitting farewell to place that I will return someday soon.
Soomai, my local travel agent gave me a ride to the airport to catch my flight back to Bangkok. My Bangkok driver-Mr. Wat greeted me at the airport for the transfer to the Shangri-la Hotel. One thing I can say about these drivers, they are a luxury- worth the additional money as the convenience far outweighs the extra monies required for the service. A nice smiling face to greet one is most preferable to some tout yelling Taxi!
The Shangri-La is on the opposite side of the Chao Praya river from the Peninsula Hotel and is quite elegant in its own right. I am told the only better one is the Oriental Hotel, which I will reserve for one of my future trips to Thailand, preferably with someone very special in my life. Another soaring hotel and my room on the 23 td floor afforded great views of the river. As it was late afternoon, I just chilled watching the excitement of the boat traffic on the river. The next thing I knew, it was midnight and room service is the only civilized ritual that I havent indulged in lately. After a order of Pad Thai and Minced Pork, I was asleep in no time.
Unfortunately, I needed to arouse @ 6:00 AM to catch my car to the airport to catch my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, enroute to Jakarta, Indonesia. As I cashed out at the hotel, I asked them to reserve a room for me at the Shangri-La in Jakarta. Done!
It is ludicrous to fly north to Hong Kong to transfer to another flight going south, past Bangkok to get to Jakarta, but that is the law of the airline jungle and the One World airpass. Upon arrival in Jakarta, I had to apply for an immediate VISA and I noticed the person on line in front of me going to the Shangri-La hotel as well. We shared a cab, a Canadian educator here on a very progressive high school exchange program with various Asian countries. Fascinating program where Asian students can study in Canada and Vice-versa. In addition, Asian students can earn their diploma from an accredited
Canadian program in their home country. Good guy, experienced traveler that had many good tips about Jakarta and points south-toward Bali.
Grand hotel, this Shangri-la, but I didnt get much sleep as I wanted to get going to Bali in the morning. As I was upgraded to Executive level status in the hotel, there was very helpful concierge services on the special floor(s) for Horizon Club members. Membership has its priviledges!!! They booked me a flight-subject to space available on a flight to Bali, so I had to dash to the Jakarta airport to claim my ticket. I managed to get to the airport in time for boarding and I am waiting for the flight. In addition, I booked a return ticket, arriving back in Jakarta in time for my onward flight on 17 April.
As I entered the waiting area for the 11:00 flight, I was handed a cup of Instant noodle soup. All I do is add hot water and I am nourished for the flight? This is no frills-Adam airlines style!
So, I am off to Bali, I will have to secure lodging in Kuta or nearby for the next six nights. Life on the road isnt bad! Bali promises to be an extension of Phuket, albeit in a more elegant setting. The anticipation of these exploration is an adrenaline rush that has but a few equals in my estimation.. My next posting will be from Bali soon! Journey well!
It is now 4:00 in the afternoon and I have arrived in Bali. Walked to a hotel desk in the airport and asked for their hotel rates. It is off-season, therefore I have the pick of the place. I chose the Hotel Santika and went on an inspection tour. The deluxe room was very nice and at 70 dollars, an incredible value. I asked to upgrade to the Garden Bungalow room for $100. Big spender, but this place is astonishingly beautiful. Two pools, two restaurants, six acres of gardens, right on the beach and a stupendous room. This is what a beach setting is all about! The grounds are incredibly lush, the flora is verdant and prolific in every direction. The beach is narrow, but thirty steps from my room! The room has a sitting area and a bed area with a separqate room for bathroom and an outdoor shower that is walled for privacy. The shower are is about 20×10. It is simply spectacular. I was actually pinching myself as I walked throught the room. Happy hour starts soon and I must be there on time. Morre from Bali-soon!
posted Wednesday April 2007