Leaving Tom and Jo's flat (which they had kindly allowed us to use while they were gallivanting up in Edinburgh) and coming out on to the Essex Road to catch a 38 bus, it could have been any other trip up to see the bro's. But clutching various important documents and dragging our suitcase behind us, we were definitely not going to watch the Arsenal! Instead we were going to pick up the rucksacks we had prepared before the wedding and head off into the big wide world to have adventures!
After swapping stuff between various bags, boxes and saying many farewells, we shouldered the bags containing our lives for the next 12 months and begun the first leg of our journey – getting to Heathrow where we were meeting parents for more bon voyages, which meant sitting on the Northern line for over an hour. Checking in took a bit longer then usual as we decided to make the first use of the gifts our incredibly generous family and friends had given us, and splurged on an upgrade from our Economy seats to the next class up. We met Becky's mum and dad, my mum and Carol in the bar for a last round of farewells and the obligatory jokes about not having forgetting anything! All too soon though our flights appeared on the board and we made our way through security to Departures.
Boarding the plane we were pleased to see that the upgrade had been money well spent – much larger seats, plenty of legroom for me and priority food service made the following 12 hours pass in much more comfort than either of us had ever experienced on a long-haul flight! Good food, nice wine and some good films on the entertainment system (the Avengers!) made for a nice evening before the lights were dimmed and we tried to get some sleep.
Sooner than I expected we were descending into Singapore to change – we had a few hours to kill so wandered around the various duty-free shops, picking up some rum and vodka (Indonesia has punitive rates of import duty on spirits and wine so this was obligatory!) After a cigarette in the outdoor terrace (soooo humid!) it was time to check in for the next flight direct to Denpasar in Bali. After getting as far as the plane door we were dismayed to have the pilot come out and instruct everyone to return to the terminal as there was a fault with the plane – we were only delayed for about 45 minutes, but nerves had kicked in and we wondered if the driver meant to meet us at Denpasar would still be there on our late arrival.
Thankfully he was, and in no time at all we were in an air-conditioned car and on the road for a 3 hour drive right through the centre of Bali and on to the north coast. After passing through the built up areas (neon lights, Circle Ks, and seemingly-suicidal motorbike drivers!) we hit the mountain roads and began to climb. In the dark it was difficult to see much out of the windows, but we got a sense of winding roads, hairpin corners and sharp drop-offs on one side. Eventually the climb changed to a descent and we were soon back on the coast and pulling into Spa Village Tembok, our home for the next seven nights.
As we pulled up we wondered if anyone would still be up at this time to check us in. We needn't have – as we stepped out of the car our bags were removed from us and we were ushered to a comfy chair, given a drink and two beautiful Balinese ladies removed our shoes, washed our feet and got to work on our neck and shoulders with a relaxing massage. Once over, a member of staff showed us to our room, where we were delighted to find that the chef had thoughtfully left us a plate of chicken sandwiches. Once these were devoured on our little balcony we investigated the room, finding plenty of space, lovely little notes from the staff and a ensuite bathroom where someone had prepared a bath for us filled with little pink flowers. After a quick wash to remove the travel grime we crashed out on the giant bed strewen with soft pillows and fell fast asleep.