Tuesday, January 21st
Tuesday morning was a bit of a blur, getting last minute things packed, saying goodbye to a few last people at Dipulau guesthouse, and getting a ride to the airport with Jim. He runs the guesthouse, but we didn't get a chance to talk much with him as he was out of town for most of the time we were there. His Kijang was at the shop, so we loaded up our bags into the back of a small pickup and headed into town, Naomi sitting in the front, and me parked in the bed with the bags.
At the airport we found out that they weren't checking people in yet for our flight, so we sat in the airport lobby and chatted a bit with some Papuans headed out on a flight to Wamena. People here are so friendly and just want to chat to someone, even if there's a language barrier. Smiles work no matter where you're from.
After half an hour or so, we could finally check in, and headed upstairs to the gate. I wrote for a bit while Naomi caught up on Facebook and Twitter. Having a cellphone with an Indo data plan has been so very useful here. The time passed quickly, and we were soon on our flight. Leaving by air gave us a great overall view of Sentani that we missed on the way (too cloudy), and we were soon gaining altitude to make it over the mountains. The first leg to Timika was only about an hour, and we enjoyed an in-flight breakfast of sweet rolls and rice (wrapped in banana leaves). We were't allowed to leave the plane during our 30 minute layover but it was short enough that it didn't matter. We were soon in the air again, and out over the water. The seats felt a bit more cramped this flight, possibly due to the rather large passenger sitting between me and the aisle, so I chose the easiest option and napped off and on for most of the flight. The cabin space on Garuda flights is not designed for 6 foot tall passengers, so I ended up sort of awkwardly scrunched toward Naomi in the window seat, but I was able to still get a bit of sleep in.
Our descent toward Bali gave us a great view of the surrounding islands, and we couldn't wait to get on the ground and into this next part of our adventure. Our bags came out pretty quickly once we were on the ground, and we caught a taxi to our hotel. Naomi had booked us a villa at Rama Beach Resort in Kuta, which is only 5 minutes from the hotel. After checking in and leaving our deposit in US dollars (glad I brought some with me), we got to see our place. It's absolutely delightful! The resort grounds are not huge, but all the villas are secluded and private, and just gorgeous. Our room has a huge bed with curtains around it, a great bathroom with a nice big tub and a shower that actually has water pressure (a change from the first week), and it's own private swimming pool in a little courtyard outside. So very nice, and worth every penny! The price we paid here is what would get you a normal, boring room at a 3-star hotel in any city in the U.S.
We spent the rest of the day enjoying the pool, the delicious hotel restaurant, our room, and a bit of the surrounding area. We walked down to Kuta beach (not stunning, but not really what we came here for, so that's OK), and then browsed some of the shops in town. Dinner at the hotel, and back to the room for a bit of blogging and then bed. So much looking forward to exploring, relaxing, and enjoying all this free time with my amazing wife!