Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Years Eve Bali

Yep, another blog about Bali. This time New Years Eve. I can promise you this for 2012, there will be at least 2 more posts regarding my adventures on the Island of the Gods.

This year, I decided to spend the New Year in Indonesia but not in Jakarta, as I have already done that and so to keep everyone happy, Bali.
We flew on the Friday with Air Asia (click here for that story), stayed at the Masa Inn in Poppies 1 for 2 nights (click here for that post) and had a thoroughly good time.

Currently Bali Airport is undergoing a huge redevelopment. This means everything is going to change. So walking out of domestic departures, everything has changed in appearance, lots of white fencing and limited signs and the inability to turn right. So we followed the throngs of other people and headed towards the international terminal. We were looking for our driver as we had pre-booked a car for the rest of the day. Eventually we found the driver and had to walk through the international departure and arrival area into the only pick up and drop off zone, which was unsurprisingly total chaos with security guards blowing whistles to prevent people from stopping, which they did, regardless of whistles. Tourists, touts, sellers, taxis, guards and god knows who else all milling around to either get in or out of the airport.
I consider myself lucky as the taxi queues for both domestic and international where huge and seemed never ending. Anyway, we eventually got into the car and headed to the hotel to check in quickly and then off out again. We landed at 1.05 and got to the hotel at 2. Traffic and the airport slowed us down.

We were going to meet some old friends of mine from England who I had not seen for over 5 years. They were staying in Kuta as well. They had been travelling through Australia and New Zealand and were spending their last 3 weeks of their travels holed up in a 5 star hotel resort in Kuta.  The Ramayana. Very nice it is too.

After meeting and greeting we whisked them off into the traffic where stayed still for a while and then moved out of Kuta and head to the Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort in Jimbaran. The Rock Bar is simply lovely, and well placed to enjoy an afternoon and early evening of gazing across the sea and to watch the sun set. We arrived before 4pm with the idea that it would not be crowded like the last time we visited in November. How wrong we were. The queue was already 30 people long and so by the time we got to go down to the bar itself it was 5.30pm. Cloudy and warm, the place was great. Cold beer and good company, we watched the sun set and enjoyed our time there immensely.





The mountains were visible in the east and the sunset in west made for a beautiful view all round.

By the time we left it was already dark and so we headed back into Kuta at a snails pace. The traffic itself was either crawling along or a dead stop. I have seen Kuta loaded with traffic but this was the worse yet, I guess it being at New Year, it did not help things along.

The next day after a sleep in, big breakfast at Swell in Poppies 1 and then coffee in Starbucks Kuta Bex, we headed to meet our friends again. Mark and Jeanette at their hotel and then spend the day with them. We sat about in the Ramayana Hotel and it was truely a nice place to stay. Clearly out of reach of our budget but nice none the less.
Having been asked what our plans were for New Years Eve, Mark and Jeanette presented us (Yovita and I) with free tickets to the Hotels New Years Eves party, free cocktails on the beach, all you can eat Buffet and midnight cocktails  which was a complete surprise and a really nice thing to do. We said yes.
Heading out of the hotel we ended up in a bar for some lunch time beer at the Discovery mall before walking back to Kuta beach in the rain and arranging to meet later.

It had started to rain and managed to keep raining all afternoon, which was OK as we were in our hotels taking it easy. We had agreed to meet Mark and Jeanette at 6 in order to get on with the free cocktails and so umbrella up we headed from the Masa Inn and off for a night of great fun.
At the Ramayana, we met up and then we were escorted through the traffic and then to the beach where the hotel had fenced off some of the beach, put up some tents and handed out free cocktails.The rain had stopped and the event was very nice. It ended with a traditional Balinese dance of some sort which well was ok, if a little baffling to watch.


The view again of the mountains was fantastic, I have never seen them so clear before and the sunset and creases in the clouds also was interesting to me, perhaps one too many cocktails before dinner!

The Balinese Dance was again a very strange affair with the men all chanting and waving their hands. The women were beautifully made up and looked amazing. The monkey god looked fairly annoyed and so the tradition dance continued until someone killed the evil god and cheered. Then we went back to the hotel in a big swathe of western tourists, like some great big bule parade, watched by the locals in bemusement and probably huge amusement.

Back at the hotel we were crammed into lots of round tables, each with a waiter or waitress and we got on with the hat wearing and eating. The food was amazing, lots of fresh seafood, salads, fruits, meats, veg and so much of it, The queue for the food seemed  never ending  but the quality was fantastic. I gorged on quality beef, huge prawns and crabs, pork, satay, oxtail. The deserts were equally good. And so after about 2 hours of eating and ignoring the cabaret show and power outages we decided to head to the beach to see the new year in.

Well all I can say about that was. WOW.Getting to the beach was fairly simple, however on the beach was thousands of people milling about as the biggest and wildest firework show went on over and around us. It seemed everyone had fireworks and wanted to be better than the person stood next to him or her. There was in the distance professional firework displays which were amazing but the locals and their desire to light up the sky was simply better. We stood in the same spot for 2 hours watching the fireworks of all shapes and sizes go off around us. The noise and lights and colours was tremendous.




 Whilst the fireworks were amazing so was the light show from the mobile phones!!! As everyone was videoing the event. We all got carried away that we missed the announcement for new year as the beach erupted into what seemed a war zone with the amount of fireworks being let off in huge quantities everywhere.

Eventually we left the beach and then fought our way home to sleep off the nights entertainment. From the main shopping street at Kuta, past Hard Rock to Kuta Bex and then up Poppies 1 was awash with revelers and party goers. It took an hour to get through the streets to the hotel.
As new years go it was different, sober but most enjoyable and with fantastic company  made the evening and seeing in 2012 so much better. So thank you for that.

If you want to sample some of the fireworks and noise they produce, the clip below is just 30 seconds of the 4 hour plus marathon of fireworks on Kuta beach.


Enjoy






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