The wedding is now over, and it is time for what we affectionately call a “family honeymoon”. Yeah, I know, that sounds weird, I agree! If you would have told me some years ago that when my kids get married we would have “family honeymoons” I would have told you that you’re crazy! But so far two of our girls have gotten married in faraway destinations. Ashlee got married in Finland and we were busting in on their honeymoon within less than 48 hours (they invited us to Kalajoki). This time we have planned a family honeymoon in Bali.
The bad thing about our planning is that it apparently did not include Tristan, our new son-in-law. Jasmine and I talked and planned for a long time before I finally booked our stay in Bali, but I guess Tristan found out kind of late in the game that we are all going to Bali for the week after the wedding. Now, I am not going to tell you whether or not he liked the idea, but suffice it to say that I did not know he had been left out of the planning loop.
Now, I have used www.vrbo.com many times for renting homes and cabins in various destinations, but this time I find this home on airbnb.com. You may have heard many recent problems that have been made public about airbnb rentals. For instance, just the other day there was a story about a young man who was physically assaulted by his airbnb host. Or sometimes it goes the other way where the renters party and trash the home. Needless to say airbnb has not been the recipient of rave reviews and positive media coverage in recent months.
But, I am willing to give airbnb a try even though there are plenty of properties in Bali listed on vrbo.com. Now I will tell you one thing for sure, I do not like the booking process. First you contact the host during which time you can email back and forth and negotiate a deal on the airbnb site. However, all this communication is done under the strict supervision of airbnb. If you type in anything that resembles a website or email address or telephone number or street address they will blank it out.
Once you have negotiated a deal you click to request a booking, and airbnb immediately hits your bank account for the full amount due, which in this case is a big chunk of change. Then the host has 24 hours to accept you or decline you, which if they decline you then you must wait for a day or so to get the money back into your account. That sucks! I had that happen to me twice with another property I was negotiating on. With vrbo.com you make your own payment schedule and agreements with the property owner, and no one monitors your communications.
Anyway, I find this place, which is not exactly where we want to be, but it seems like it will do the trick. It is listed for a total of 10 people, but I send a request for 13 people since I see in other reviews that the home has accomodated up to 14 people before. With 5 bedrooms it should work out perfectly for us. It is pricey. It ends up being about $1000 more than another property that I had been negotiating on. I ask everyone else in our group and we decide this one should be good.
The next few photos are from the airbnb site. The property looks pretty nice.
We leave from Singapore at 09:10 am and arrive just before noon into Bali. It takes a long time to work our way through the Denpasar airport. The lineup for customs is long, but when we finally do emerge into the sunshine we are greeted by two drivers from the villa who will bring us to our new home for the next week.
Before our arrival I had tried to look on google maps where the property is located, but I had a hard time figuring it out. When I had used google earth view to determine what the area is like it had looked really junky to me, which makes me a bit nervous. Is the area really bad? Many of the homes listed on airbnb.com in Bali mention that there is 24 hour security guards on the premises, but this home does not have that. There is no way to know. But as we get closer to the villa I note that the area doesn’t look that bad, at least not to my eyes that have become accustomed to third world countries. Sure there is a dilapitated building here and there, and a trash heap and pile of rubble over yonder, but that’s pretty normal and A-OK for my new non-North Scottsdale eyesight.
At long last the car turns down a very narrow alleyway. If you didn’t know it was there you would certainly miss it. And there is no likely way that you would ever find it unless you had the villa’s driver with you the first time around. Honestly, the car can barely make it through the alleyway, and after several hundred yards stops at a blue painted gate.
This is it! The owner of the Villa, Guy, is there. He is from the U.S. He welcomes us with a few small snacks and a bit of juice, and shows us around the property. He gives us prices on some of his tours that he operates. For instance $55 to $85 for a snorkeling trip. $110 to go diving. $50 to go hiking. Yeah, that is per person…..so in other words if we want to go snorkeling it will cost us $775 to $1105?? Or just to go hiking it costs $650? That’s crazy talk! He doesn’t offer any volume discount.
When he tells me the cost I don’t bat an eye. I feign interest in snorkeling for sure. And I think to myself that this guy is a master ripoff artist. We will not be doing any of his tours, thank you very much. We do our own tours…..
After looking around a bit we are a little taken aback by how rustic the house is. The kitchen particularly is quite dirty, and being that it is an outside kitchen has ants running over the counters. But the beds are clean. We divvy up the rooms and settle in for our stay.
This room we choose for the honeymoon couple, as it is certainly the cutest one! They arrive a bit later, and I am sure they will love their room.
Aundrea can never say that I never give her any money……here I just gave her 100,000!!!
The house comes equipped with a nice little motorbike. The problem is that its a kickstart and has manual gears. None of us know how that works, except Hennu, who has driven mopeds aplenty. She gives us a lesson.
There, now Johann has it downpat. Don’t forget the traffic is horrendous here, and goes in the opposite direction from home. Everyone else makes a run for the beach while I stay behind to wait for the newly married couple to arrive. I clean the kitchen…..scrub a little here…..scrub a little there…..
Finally Jasmine and Tristan arrive. They seem happy with their new room, and all is well. They had nearly missed their flight out of Singapore.
It’s getting a bit late. I make some French toast from bread and eggs that Guy has stocked in the fridge. That seems to be sufficient to ease the grumbling stomachs of 13 people. Then Johann, David and I head out by taxi to the Carrefour grocery store that we had seen on our way in from the airport. When we get out to the street we are accosted by numerous random men who offer to drive us places for ludicrous prices. Finally we find a metered taxi and we are on our way.
Carrefour is a French grocery store. I have a story about Carrefour from the year 2000 when we had done a monthlong motorhome tour of Europe. When we were in France we had stopped several times at Carrefour to do our shopping, including purchasing beef. Later that year there was an alert that Carrefour in France had been selling meat that had been contaminated with mad cow disease. Apparently that can hide out in your body for decades and then affect you later……maybe that’s what’s wrong with me…..
Anyway, since Carrefour is a French store of course it has incredible bread. I buy oodles of great bread and everything else that we need in the next day or so including some new dish rags, and a scrubbing pad……that kitchen has me feeling a bit queasy……
The next morning we have a great treat in hand. Our villa includes a breakfast cook, and her name is Made. We pay for the groceries, but the breakfast cook is included. That’s fantastic. She cooks up a storm for us, and I feel like I am in heaven……since when do I get served? Oh yes, on Mother’s Day once a year. Of course, you know me…..I feel bad that she is working for me, so we all pitch in to clear dishes from the table and help with the dishes afterwards.
The morning is beautiful. We have learned that this is prime tourist season in Bali, and that the weather is expected to be perfect during our entire stay. That suits me just fine.
One thing that this house has is some really cool beach sand bikes. We get them out to test them right away. Of course since I am biking with David we keep going and going and going until the beach ends…..which it ends at the airport.
We spend the rest of the day on the beach. We lay our towels down in the sand. I keep eyeing the nice lounge chairs with umbrellas.
Yep, this is the right house. You can see the alleyway here. This big door is the only entrance into the property. You can lock it with a key from the outside. Essentially people could come over the walls if they decided to.
We return to the villa at 7pm to a ready made dinner. We have hired the breakfast cook, Made. I have read in reviews that she makes awesome Indonesian dinners, and we would like to try that out.
Guy had told me that she charges 150,000 rupiah to make extra meals. When we ask her she agrees to 200,000, which seems fair enough to me. That’s about $15 for shopping, cooking and cleaning up. She seems happy that we have hired her, and we are very happy with the food! It is crazy good! We are going to hire her again, I am sure!
When she is done she gives us the bill for all the food that she bought (some food is for breakfast tomorrow) and the charge for making the food. It costs $45, or $3.46 per person. Not bad!
Tomorrow we have plans to do some touring. Guy has arranged for his driver, Kadek, to take us. It sounds like he has rented a larger van for us. Sounds awesome! Can’t wait! I am eager to see more of Bali!!