Bali back then and now

FIFTEEN years. It’s been that long since I stepped foot on the Indonesian island of Bali. It was time to see it again.

Then. Kuta Beach circa 1999

Back then it took about eight hours to get to the neighboring country’s top tourist destination from Davao-and consider this the shortest time. This was the very first of my solo trips.

Back then there was Garuda Airlines servicing the Davao to Manado route, I can’t even remember the frequency, which took off at the old airport terminal, one of the most impressive airports in the country in terms of design. Leandro Locsin was the architect.
Then: The old Davao airport designed by Architect Leandro Locsin. (source: wikipedia)

Taking off at 2PM, the plane flies to Manado for a brief stopover before heading off to Surabaya to change planes. The art-filled airport made the layover interesting. Denpasar in Bali, the final destination, was reached by 10PM. Bali would be a weekend visit for me, short I know but I made the trip worth it.

Then: The first of my solo travels & I was already doing selfless back then. This one with an instamatic camera. THose were the (fat) days… LOL

Back then I was 15 years younger, charged with energy and had millions (of rupias) in my pocket. I dropped my bag at the hotel (I can’t recall which one, ugh!) and immediately made my rounds of Kuta. Yep, I had a quick meal in some fancy Italian joint and had a drink at the most popular club in the area, which was, sadly, bombed a few years after.

A couple of hours of sleep was all I needed and started early the next day. I booked a car for less than a million in the local currency, I think, which was equivalent to P500 for eight hours. It was a quick stop at some famous temples and it seemed an eternity to get to Ubud, the destination for art where I scored the puppet I sought for and a painting from a small gallery.
Then, In some carving village on the way to Ubud. (look at that fat face LOL)
Then. On the way to Ubud, stopping by one of those temples- 1999
Then. This temple, what’s its name. it has been too long.
Then. In an art gallery somewhere in Ubud. Standing before the piece I took home back in 1999

The final day was spent at the beach (where I can recall there was a bungee jumping platform along the shore) and shopping in Kuta. I didn’t how far my feet took me, all I can remember was I reached Hard Rock Café at night where I caught a Pinoy band playing.

Then: one of the popular joints in the island. Can’t remember how far it was on foot from my hotel, which I also can’t remember.

Honestly, Bali was a blur. Even with the few photographs I have, I can’t piece the images together. How I wish I took loads of shots but a 36-shot roll of film plus developing was a bit costly- back then.

Recently, when avid surfers Kim and Nikki asked if I wanted to go with them to Bali, I said yes. The plan was sealed with a ticket on hand and the blessing of Agoda that they accommodations will be provided in the island.

Now. In the island to surf, Nikki & Kim with India. I said YES! when they asked me if I wanted to go with them.

Today, it’s easier with the direct flights from Manila, which cuts the travel time to half, more if you’re coming from Davao since a day is needed to connect to the red eye flight departing for Bali or the PAL flight which departs at eight in the evening.

My version of Business Class on a red eye flight. 
Well, hello there again, Bali!

Bali’s new airport is impressive, far from what it was before, small, single level and mostly made of wood. Today, the newly opened terminal is huge, modern adorned with Balinese aesthetics and can rival the airports of destination spots across the globe.

The new airport’s arrival hall
The immigration area.
Tourist information standees like this all over the baggage claim area.

Now. At the arrival area in today’s Bali
Exit to this vertical garden on columns. How fabulous!

The garden & the dividing wall. The exterior of the arrival hall before exiting to the car park. Seen from the second level where the departure area is.

A closer look at the archway.

Cascading greenery, that’s the airport parking area.
And the airport gates.
The departure hall check in area.
Travelers pass through the Duty Free hall after immigration for last chance shopping.
The clock tower at the pre-departure area of the new airport
And the fast food & dining area at the pre-departure hall.


Fifteen years after the most recent visit, I step on Bali soil again. I was excited to see the place again, retrace the steps I took in 1999 and maybe put the pieces of the puzzle together again. But then again, my memory is not as sharp as it was back then.
Now. Was this here back in 1999?
Now. The palm treee-lined highway give a so-tropical vibe to the island

The moment the car cruised along Bali no memory of old place registered. Well, maybe it was time to make new ones. With friends with me this time, it will surely be a memorable one, and these memories can easily be documented in this digital age. Thirty-six shots back then? How about hundreds this time.

Getting into the island vibe…again.

For more photos about this story, & other travel & lifestyle stories, visithttp://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com/

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 03, 2015.


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