Katja and Arne's travel stories

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Good bye Puri Santrian

It’s Monday morning 0600 and we are ready for take off. Next stop Lombok, by ferry. The stay at Puri Santrian has be a pure pleasure! The compound is beautiful, the staff lovely, the walk along the beach good for walks at all hours and the surrounding area full of nice little restaurants. Off course you also have all the small sales stalls and massage places. The “vendors” always have a “good offer” when you pass by but they are not pushy or “touching” and accept a no thank you. The drivers and taksis are everywhere and honk every time they see a “prospect”. If you don’t go with Bluebird, which drive by meter (starting price 6000 IDR), we noticed that the running price for “everywhere” is 150 000 IDR that is if your going just down the street or going across the island 🙂
We took yoga classes at the hotel in the morning and the instructor felt a little like Ketut (from Eat, love, pray) and gave us a good start of the day.
When you are up early it’s amazing to see all the stuff that falls down and “stirs” up the pathways and grass. So from dusk to dawn you always hear the soothing sound off brooms, brooming the grounds so it always looks nice.
The hotel also offers 2 happy hours! The normal one in the bar from 1600 to 1900 and, the one I liked :-), buy one and get one for free in the SPA from 0900-1300! So I got myself a 2 hours tension release massage and the 1 hour “free” facial 🙂 The spa is a beautiful house with the nicest atmosphere and really makes you feel calm and relaxed.
We even “got” ourselves a dog while here. It was this black dog that showed up out of nowhere and followed us around everywhere. Lots of dogs all over the place but all friendly (but Nina, not a place for you :-)). There was also this one light colored dog that we found in one of the chair groups outside our room. He was there every evening and when we went by he didn’t move an inch sort of “if I don’t move they don’t see me and then I can stay”. This was obviously his “house” so we just greeted him a good night 🙂
We just said goodbye to the nice “oatmeal” lady that made us oatmeal for breakfast and are now waiting for the buss to take us to the ferry, so tudela, and “see” you in Lombok!

If the pictures are not showing, they will be uploaded later 🙂 so stay tuned!!!
Happy day 🙂





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Mission accomplished

Like Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible we got ourselves a mission today: Send back stuff we over packed! (Dad: Watch out it’s addressed to you. Will arrive in 2-3 months. /Katja).

So how do you move forward when this is to be done? We talked to the receptionist who said:” Nooooo, to faaar to goooooo. Take Taksiiiii!” Humph! As said, mission impossible. So we set out into the street and rented bicycles. The shopkeeper laughed at my size and tried me on what looked like a child’s bike. After some trying out I got one where the seat could be adjusted so I didn’t hit my knees in the handle bars every pedal of the way. With tires as flat as a newly ironed shirt, and fairly un-working brakes we got ripped off in the deal. But we had acquired the needed transportation for the mission.

We pedaled along the beach,

and found it strangely empty at 11 o’clock on a Saturday. Few people on the boardwalk worked out great for us with little to no breaks. We got side tracked on our mission. It’s shameful to admit, but we stopped for checking out tickets to Lombok for our trip there on Monday. As it turned out there where no empty seats on the boat, so the search for tickets was still on.

Not exactly Tour d'France

Not exactly Tour d’France

Pushing through 6 lines of traffic  is no joke here i Indonesia. There are actually some green and red men who supposedly should mark when it is safe to cross. Don’t trust the little green men! As some American states practice “Right on red” do the Indonesians practices something like “If I think I can make it, I take it”. Add to the fact that they drive on the left side of the road and you have many surprises from your blind side. We manned up and dove in, and got out again on the other side. Team KogA was still in play and closing in on the post office.

For finding something in today’s world we often rely on Google. This time, Google map. There is a neat thing in Google Maps 2.0 on iPhones. When you see a map on your phone, you can type in “OK Maps” in the search field and you will get the option for saving a local copy of the shown map. That is a life saver… if it works. I don’t know for what reason, but here it said “maps not available”. Anyhow; already cashed map works as well. So we kept the app open and used it as a guiding. The post office was not where google told us it would be, but refer to my last post on friendliness. People here are happy to help. So we found it. By a detour or two.

The process on the post office it self was quite easy, but Indonesians love receipts. Forms needs to bee filled out, and the don’t come in triplets but in layers as thick as a phone book. I lost the numbers of times the clerk stamped when we passed 6. But what a service. He actually sowed our packages in to protect it. By hand. No plastic wrappers here. Total amount came to 468 thousand Rupiahs which is to say about 250,- NOK.  We think it was somewhere between 4 and 5 kilos we sent back home. And we still have something that will not last long, but is not worth the fair of sending home.

Post office Selfie

Post office Selfie

From there we dove into traffic again, but found smaller roads with better with and lower heart rate. Back to the start, and handed back to bikes in the same condition, but with two sore buttocks.



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It’s getting into the afternoon here in Bali. Friday night is about to start and there is slightly more traffic than usual. Like everywhere else in the world. Some things never change.
We have booked us on a climb on Mt. Rinjani next week. Some 3750 meters is to be challenged and conquered. More on that later.

This post is written on a free wifi spot at Bali Galleria. A shopping mall where Katja is roaming free while I enjoy a deep chair and reasonably decent wifi. Everybody wins. But what I wanted to share today is the Balinese friendliness.
We are up and about around 6 in the morning for our training session. Be it running, yoga, tabata or intervals in the sand. This is the time the local community starts their day and we meet a lot of them. And everybody smile and greets you. A “hello”, “god morning” etc. are common amongst them. And as we venture a bit off the beaten path and moves in more residential areas we are greeted by smiling people coming out of house or on their scooters. And it all feels genuine. And it feels good!
Some of my American friends will think me strange to write this, but Europeans in general and Norwegian in particular do not act this way (except when meeting trekking in the mountains or on a boat on the fjords). I like it, and hope to be smiling as well- even though my face may be contorted into something strange at the end of my tenth interval. Good thing there are no mirrors out there.

Even the boats smiles in Bali

Even the boats smiles in Bali

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Dive master Katja

Third day of diving is a charm. Katja got another instructor and got down to 4 meter for about 5 minutes. That is way deeper and way longer that we thought would happen just a day or two since. Hazim was a great instructor and after getting Katja under water for a few minutes he was my diving buddy for 2 more dives. It is just great to dive with locals who know so much about the flora and fauna, as well as the specifics of the dive site you’re on. We dived on a wreck, and saw a submarine who is used as a tourist attraction. It runs a round under water so non-divers can get down and see the corals and all the fish.

I have written a review of Bali Diving for TripAdvisor, and highly recommend them to anyone who are to dive out of Sanur.

This morning we have done 30 min run and 80 min yoga. It’s time for breakfast. 🙂


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Another day in paradise

Katja after tiis mornings 10 sprintsLiving together with Katja is all about the benefits. Among them getting an early start on the day. (You may read that section with or without an irony filter). Today we got up at 5:50 and started the day with some interval runs on the beach during sunrise. It is fascinating to see the world awakening, even with clouds obscuring the actual sunrise. The feeling of a rising sun is one that really brings energy.
After these sprints on the beach it was yoga time. The hotel offers complimentary yoga five days a week. 80 minutes looking like a fool, in the shadow of a man 1,5 times my age. I learned a new phrase today:”Kiss your knees if you can…” Yep, try that with straight legs. I’m about as flexible as an old willow myself, and kept a good distance between knees and lips. Who knows where these knees have been anyway?

Katja is off for a diving course today. She is testing to see if this is something she could like. (Edit) It turns out she does not!
Tomorrow I will join in on the dives as I sorely needs to re-freshen my skills. I have not been diving since Fiji in ’98. This will make for a great test for underwater filming with the GoPro. The internet at the hotel is utterly crap, so I doubt that I’ll be able to upload any videos from this location. Time will show.

And the suckling pig yesterday was fantastic. We passed a warung earlier on the day where we were told they would serve it. It was filled up with Aussies when we got there and we were the last to get anything of the little pig. But man was it good!?! We were told by a cab driver that suckling pigs was earlier reserved for greater events, but that now you could get it every Sunday. I guess that says something about the development of Indonesia.
As does the number for smart phones among the locals. It is more common than not to see people using their smart phones for Facebook and other apps. Easily done while driving a scooter or bicycle. This might explain some of yesterday’s info about traffic accidents.

Be safe, have fun, stay frosty.

The next days dive sites

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First day on Bali

So we are finally here. After years of planning, saving money, getting all together… The Asia Tour is up and running. What a feeling.

All in the bags.

All in the bags.

The packing has been close to a nightmare. With restricted space due to backpack sizes (thank god) we have packed and unpacked for days trying to get it narrowed down. I ended up with 16kg and Katja a touch more. Given the fact that we are to climb some mountains that will give us temperatures as low as 0 degrees Celsius we had to pack gloves, sports underwear, cap, mountain boots and sleeping bag alongside shorts and singlets. Oh, and don’t forget the sportswear for running. And a few kali sticks and some training knives. And I got it down to 16kg. Me proud, me still has lot of baggage. 🙂




We came in to Bali yesterday afternoon on the new section of the airport. It was opened in 2013 and (fun fact) it took 1 year to build. 1 freckin’ year. In Norway we are building an add on to our main airport as well. I do believe it is schedule to take 4 years. Getting in to Indonesia is not so hard. It requires Visa for travelers from Norway, but as of 2005 you can get Visa on arrival. Norway is among the 52 countries that are on this list of countries who can get that. As immigration control are as slow as for entry to the US it is a question of whether one wants to get quickly in line by getting the Visa at home, or end up at the end of the line. We used appox. 45 minutes in line for getting through immigration. And we had our Visa ready to go. Indonesia practice rather hard punishment for different crimes. Among them 5 years in prison for messing with immigration papers, and the death sentence for drugs. Those pills you found in old aunty Margareths medicine cabinet is maybe not something you would want to bring along.

We stay at a hotel called Puri Santrian in the Sanur area. A great place picked by Katja for one specific reason: It has a separate part for “no kids”. What a treat. An own swimming pool is available for us as well. Thanks to Lisa for pointing this out for us. So far we really like it here.

One of the pools

One of the pools

Getting around in Bali is done by taxi here in the more populated areas. It is possible to rent scooters, but the way people driver here makes it a daily miracle that more don’t die in traffic.In three months during 2011 so many as 758 people died in traffic related accidents in Bali. (Link here)  These are  horrible horrible numbers, and should make it an easy decision to use taxis versus driving. In Bali the taxi industry is regulated so that the Blue Bird Taksi company is the only one you can really trust. The following is from about.com on the subject:

In Bali (just as in Jakarta) taxis are divided into two types – Bluebird taxis, and everyone else. Bluebird taxis have earned a reputation for being honest dealers in the often-corrupt taxi industry. Non-Bluebird taxis, on the other hand, are known for dirty tricks – not using their meter and taking roundabout routes, among other things.

Bluebird taxis are light blue, with a bird logo enclosed in a rounded diamond, and “Bali Taxi” emblazoned on the side.

From experience we can confirm that this is the case. Use Blue Bird if possible, always demand to use the meter, and don’t believe anyone who says it is cheaper to get “fixed price”.

As for our day we started out with at 10k run on the boardwalk along the beach. We went out at 7:15 and it was already quite crowded with locals getting busy setting up shop as well as some religious ceremony going on.  Most people in Bali are Hindu and we had no idea what they where celebrating (or if they even was celebrating), but they were all dressed in white and it was clearly a family thing.

Lunch at local warungFor lunch we tried one of the local warungs, or cafes. We tried between us chicken and fish baked in banana leaves with rice and vegetables. It was just great. Now it is dinner time, and we will head out in search of suckling pig. It is easiest to get a hold of that on Sundays. More on that later.