I stepped out of the Ngurah Rai International Airport in a groggy daze. It was past 8:00am and I only had an hour of shut-eye. I will not delve into the logistic nightmare that forced me to push through with this trip alone. After all, this is Bali – the destination-of-choice for many soul searchers and solitary wanderers, intentional or otherwise. I’m sure the sensory overload will provide the adequate distraction.

Well, as it turns out, I won’t be completely alone. Prior to leaving yesterday, I learned that a cousin from Melbourne is here on weeklong holiday with her family. Other than that, I ran into a college colleague on the same flight. He’s on his third visit and this time, he has close friends in tow. They were kind enough to let me join their initial commute.

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The provincial capital of Denpasar reminds me so much of home. If I were to go into specifics, the street corners near the airport feel like Las Piñas and parts of Bacoor. In wasn’t until we reached Kuta when I finally felt transported.

It was early, so the district was still enveloped by a “morning after” vibe. Upon drop-off at my colleague’s hostel, I decided to Legian to search for my hotel on foot. Save for the running engines, the silence was almost eerie. Most of the establishments haven’t even opened yet. Luckily, the stroll didn’t take too long. Soon, I found myself in Jalan Poppies  II, where I’ll be stationed.

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I must say that I made the right choice with Hotel Bounty. The lobby exudes with the fragrance of incense, the staff is very welcoming, and the architecture is sublime. I’m loving the traditional vibe. I can actually spend my entire trip lounging around here and still say I had an authentic Balinese experience.

Its location is also ultra-convenient as it happens to be beside Beachwalk Mall, which, as its name indicates, is right across the beach. There, I rendezvoused with my vacationing Melbourne-based relatives.

Over lunch, they shared that Bali is the Aussies’ nearest default exotic destination – notwithstanding that it still entails a 7-hour flight for Easterners. Well, that explains why they’ve taken over the hotel pool.

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It’s a happy coincidence to see Katrina and her family here, of all places. The last time I saw them was when they visited Manila for a reunion back in 2011. Their youngest daughter, Carla, wasn’t even born yet. Now, I finally got to meet her for the first time. Much as this is a solo trip, it’s comforting to know that I have family in the area.

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Nap time for now; I have to recharge before I do more exploring. Later!

 

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