March 27, 2017 – Taipei to Bali
Bali Airport (Denpasar International Airport)
I cannot handle taxi hecklers at the airport. When I arrive at an airport, I get so stressed out when there are 20 people following or asking me if I need a taxi. Since we arrived the day before Nyepi at around 3pm, the fares we were being offered were not the prices I thought they would be. I went to the taxi stand and they said 250 (all Rupiah in thousands) Rupiah (IDR) . The regular price is 120 IDR! I wandered around looking for a better price and we just weren’t getting it. We ended up going to the information stand who told us to find the public taxi but we couldn’t tell where that was. Then we ended up finding an airport worker who spoke English and we were asking her when another driver interrupted and I poorly negotiated 250 for our ride to Seminyak.
I always get so flustered by the taxi drivers offering a million prices. Too much of a shock just after landing. I can’t handle it. I need to learn to just book a taxi in advance so I don’t stress out when I arrive places in the future. So not worth saving a few dollars. I never seem to learn my lesson. I personally can’t handle haggling when i first get off a plane. Fact of life. Need to accept it. I should’ve just booked with the hotel.
Trans Resort Bali
By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was around 4pm. This hotel is massive especially compared with the rest of the neighboring area. There is nothing as grand and beautiful as this hotel nearby. We entered through the front gates where there was a security check – they scanned the car and checked the trunk. Once we got in, we were warmly greeted. There were porters who carried our bags in, staff who provided us a lemongrass ginger drink, cold towel, and a yellow frangipani flower placed behind our ears.
The entire hotel was impressive – from the amenities to the service. Everything was wonderful. Since the Ogoh Ogoh celebration was starting around 7p, we decided to wander a bit to prepare for tomorrow, Nyepi Day, a Day of Silence. Many things were already closing as people get ready for the festivities before the day of self reflection, but luckily we found a grocery store open nearby. They had a great selection of tropical fruits! We picked up some mangos and pineapples and a bunch of other snacks. On our way back to the hotel, we found a hole in the wall across the street from our ginormous palace-like hotel entrance. We had some nasi uduk, mixed rice with self-selected sides like curry chicken. My mom was obsessed with finding the familiar curry taste that she grew up eating from the Indonesian shop next to her childhood home in Taiwan. We also had what some may call as the national dish of Indonesia: nasi goreng, Indonesian fried rice mixed with shrimp paste, tamarind, chili, chicken, and prawns. It was amazing. Indonesia’s spices are so good.
Ogoh-Ogoh Festival / Ngrupuk Parade
After dinner, we rushed outside to watch the Ogoh-ogoh festival. This festival is held every year in many villages before Nyepi Day. Balinese people strongly believe in having balance between good and bad, positive and negative energies. These rituals and ceremonies are used to cleanse the negative energies, to re-balance. The day before Nyepi Day, they perform this “external cleansing” by parading around the Ogoh-ogohs, demon statues which represent negative energy from living things and then burning them. On Nyepi Day, they perform an “internal cleansing”, where many people fast and mediate.
We headed to the village temple where the festivities were about to begin. Right outside were statues of huge giant monsters. The Ogoh-ogoh tradition is apparently fairly new (started in the 1980s) and most of these demon statues are made by the creative, younger generation. It’s said they started this practice to give young people something to do before Nyepi Day. Other than the Ogoh-ogohs, there are also performers and dancers that put on a beautiful show. As a spectator, we were stuck in this sweaty crowd because of the ridiculous Bali heat and humidity. Sweaty bodies against sweaty bodies! It was pretty gross but the celebration was really interesting. We left just before they began parading around.