Monday, August 14, 2017

SE Asia 2017 - Day 0 (8/12-13/2017) - Transit to Bali

"Today" was all about getting from St. Louis to Bali.  My route was StL -> Atlanta -> Incheon/Seoul -> Denpasar (Bali).  Things started with a 4:15am wake-up on the morning of August 12, a Saturday.  I had scheduled an Uber for a pick-up for a ride to the airport in the 4:45-5:00 time window.  Things started off pretty smoothly, and I had no issue making my 7:10 flight.  I chose to check my big backpack as luggage (for free, since I had an international flight) instead of carrying it on as I normally would; this made the journey a lot more convenient, and my bag made it to Bali without issue.

The rest of the trip was (thankfully) mostly uneventful, as my biggest complaints would be a lack of vegetarian meal options on Korean Air and a sore butt from all that sitting.  I had a couple of hours in Atlanta before my 14 hour flight to Incheon/Seoul.  On that flight there was no vegetarian option for the first meal (I chose the bibimbap option and picked out the beef) nor the snack in the middle (the kind flight attendant brought me a couple of bananas to go with the peanuts).  The third meal had a vegetarian pasta option, though it wasn't very good.  I also managed to last the whole flight without going to the restroom, which is probably not the healthiest thing to do.  We flew up northwest through Canada/Alaska and back down southwest across eastern Siberia, chasing the sun the whole way (i.e., it was always light out), though landing on Sunday afternoon after crossing the date line. 

During my 2 hour layover in Seoul I found out that the airport offers free transit tours for passengers with long layovers - I was researching for my return trip, during which I would be there for about 11 hours.  Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 five-hour tours to Seoul were already fully booked for August 28, and the only one with spots open would return too late for me to make my flight.  Instead I reserved a spot on one of the 2-hour Incheon temple tours.

The flight to Bali took a little more than the scheduled 7 hours, as we had to go into a holding pattern for about 15-20 minutes.  Once again there was no vegetarian meal option on the Korean Air flight (I chose the fish one and picked out the fish), but the snack had a margherita pizza stick option.  I expected the airport to be pretty empty when we landed after midnight on August 14, but it was quite the opposite.  After making it through immigration and picking up my bag, I exited to find that there were plenty of taxi drivers clamoring for passengers.  After getting some cash at an ATM and playing hard-to-get with a few drivers, I eventually settled on one that offered what seemed to be a decent price (relative to the others) to get me to the Jayakarta Hotel Bali (I got him down to 220,000 IDR, or ~$16.50, but paid him the 250,000 he offered).

The winding drive to the hotel took a little longer than I expected, though was still probably less than 30 minutes.  The hotel clerk had a little, or maybe quite a bit of, trouble processing my credit card during check-in, but eventually his coworker figured it out.  It was close to 2:30am by the time I made it to my room.  I was pretty tired, so I didn't spend too much time settling in before crashing.



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