Plans for upcoming mini vacation/immigration office run booked…We’re attempting to make a tedious task an enjoyable experience…

A beautiful beach scene from a stop halfway through the four to five hour harrowing drive.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

A coconut husk becomes an interesting find on the beach.

This particular Sunday morning with the household help off, we lazily lingered in bed, reading email, checking FB and drinking Tom’s delicious French pressed coffee. Six days a week we get up earlier, shower and dress (in swimsuits), exiting the bedroom earlier for the two Katuks to make the bed and clean.

On Sundays, alone the only morning all week, we find ourselves experiencing a day almost similar to our old lives, minus the physical copy of the Sunday paper, the possibility of family or friends visiting and the constant energy expended in cooking, laundry, household maintenance and repairs, and yard work or snow removal.

Eliminating all the above tasks and here, we’re left to our own resources; a daily walk on the beach or in the neighborhood, quietly staring out at the sea, preparing our daily post while often engaged in idle chatter.

Statue shop on the highway from Denpasar.

As I prepared today’s late post, Gede stopped by to say hello, the second morning in a row, giving us an opportunity to ask him questions about things we’ve seen on the beach that are yet unfamiliar.

Yesterday morning, Gede also stopped by after a week away visiting family in Lovina during the Hindu holiday. The 10 days of reverence and celebration was quickly coming to an end. He’d returned from almost a week in his home town of Lovina spending time with his family and friends. 

The time for us to visit Lovina was fast approaching (a two hour drive each way) where it’s necessary to begin the three day process required over a period of five days, applying for and hopefully receiving the 30 day visa extension. For new readers, we’d completed this same process during our last stay in Bali a few months ago.

Many shops in Denpasar sell decorations for Hindu holidays.

Over these past few months Tom’s been somewhat angst ridden about this lengthy process. While in Singapore for a week, starting at the end of June, we didn’t have ample time to apply at the Indonesian Embassy. 

At the time, we had to leave our passports for a few days at both the Vietnamese and Thai embassies. Shortly prior to the Mekong River cruise and subsequent trip to Phuket, it was more important to get the required visas for Vietnam and Thailand.

I could tell his angst continued while we were in Phuket, occasionally mentioning the dreaded process of driving four hours a day for three of five days. Aware of his angst, one day an idea popped into my head…Why don’t we book a hotel in the resort town of Lovina, starting on Monday, checking out on Friday while we take care of the visa extensions while staying in the resort town? 

We were surprised how well the decorations held up after it had rained.

If we had a rental car for the five days, we could drive back and forth to the immigration office from the hotel as required on Monday (drop off documents), Wednesday (photos and fingerprints) and Friday (pick up visa extensions).

Doing so could make the dreaded experience a fun adventure even though we’d have to spend a total of three to five hours at the Immigration office. Finding a rental car and hotel proved to be a tricky proposition when the weak WiFi signal easily inhibits online searching. 

We knew we needed Gede’s assistance in finding both a rental car and a hotel with his vast knowledge of the area. We hoped to find a hotel close to the immigration office, but with “maps” not working well, finding a good location nearby was cumbersome and time consuming.

Driving in Lovina is not unlike driving in Denpasar, a usual 10 minute trip could take an hour or more. A hotel with a close proximity to the immigration office was a must.

Statue shop on the highway from Denpasar.

Gede easily solved both concerns. First, he explained we could rent Egon’s van that sits in our garage unused most of the time for US $15.17, IDR 200,000 a day for a total of US $75.86, IDR 1,000,000 plus fuel, certainly no more costly than having a driver take us back and forth.

Secondly, Gede suggested some hotels within five minutes of the immigration office.  We opened the link on our site for enabling us to review the details of his suggestions and to search for prices and availability. The hotels he suggested didn’t appear to have availability. Leave it to Gede to figure out a solution.

He called the top rated, closest hotel and speaking in either Indonesian or Balinese, he was able to get us a booking, we’d never have been able to get on our own.  Plus, he negotiated a rate savings of US $50, IDR 691,125 per night for a total savings of US $200, IDR 2,636,500. The nightly rate he’d arranged is US $130, IDR 1,713,725.

On occasion, we’ve noticed vacant land for sale.

With four nights in the hotel, we’ll spend US $520, IDR 6,854,900, plus the rental vehicle and fuel at around US $100, IDR 1,318,250 plus meals estimated at US $50, IDR 691,125 for four nights at US $200, IDR 2,636,500. Breakfast and free WiFi are included in the hotel’s rate.

For the grand total (minus the cost of the visa extensions), our four night mini holiday will cost an extra (over and above what we would have paid for transportation) an approximate US $720, IDR 9,491,400. 

Is it worth the extra expense to reduce angst?  Absolutely! Besides Tom will be more at ease doing the driving himself. I get this. Also, it becomes a part of our time in Bali, we’re anticipating with enthusiasm instead of dread.

Balinese design on business.

First thing in the morning, two weeks from tomorrow, we’ll be on our way.While there, we’ll take and share photos of our accommodations, dining, the beautiful beaches in Lovina and sightseeing between trips to the immigration office.

Thanks, Gede. No words can express how much we appreciate your help in booking the five star hotel in Lovina at such an affordable price and spending time helping us figure this out!

Have a fabulous day filled with sunshine.

Photo from one year ago today, September 11, 2015:

These are the sizes of the aubergine we purchased at a farmers market in Savusavu, Fiji on the day of our arrival. We had a big hiccup that night which may be read here.

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