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GJ BLOG

A personal adventure travel blog

Epic fail on the baggage carousel lottery

Christian Anderson

The Low Cost Carrier Terminal at KLIA is a scruffy, poorly designed collection of concrete boxes - you can get a coffee and something to eat, but very little else - large swathes of the bag-drop and check-in area don't have air-conditioning, and even at 7am things are hot and humid. But, this is still one of my all-time favourite places - LCCT sits at the centre of Air Asia's spider web reaching across the continent. Yes boys, that's Air Asia - hands down the world's best looking air hostesses - uniformed out in fiery red pencil skirts which make Emirates cabin crew look as if they were pitching for frumpy aunt. Air Asia's departure board is one long traveller's fantasy - Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya, Yangon, Vientiane, Trivandrum, Banda Aceh...  And for Sir today, Bali with Nasai Lemak for breakfast on the way (they even do good quality dirt-cheap in-flight food). 4 hours later, filling in a lost baggage form at Ngurah Rai International Airport, I'm loving Air Asia a little less...

Into Kuta sans North Face duffle, it would be two nights in this tropical Blackpool, sleeping in two very different hotels. Sitting towards the beach end of Jalan Benesari, Hotel Lusa is a jumble of low-rise bungalows with a Battenburg-cake-pink central tower mimicking slim Balinese architecture, surrounded by a fab little pool. A mixture of backpackers, Aussie surfers and Indonesian families pay 155,000 IDR a night for a clean, spacious fan room with cold (i.e. hot) water, a balcony and a pancake/fruit/coffee/juice breakfast, with a side of free wifi.

Nothing wrong with this, but losing my baggage for the first time threw me off kilter more than expected and the next morning I decided that, if my Komodo plan was disappearing through the hole in my mosquito net, then I'd at least go out bling style, so said goodbye to Hotel Lusa and flipped over to the old-school Kuta chic of Poppies' Cottages - $90 USD - not exactly traveller roughing it, but improved my mood no end. Poppies sits within a walled courtyard in the midst of a jumble of narrow lanes in the heart of Kuta. Outside is noise, chaos and diesel fumes; inside is peace, quiet and another world. Expensive, but just what I needed.

Things picked up almost as soon as I checked in, beginning with an emotional reunion with my lost bag - the combination lock opened, but nothing stolen (actually quite insulted by that, I thought I had some nice boardshorts). Then, down to the Perama office to book my boat passage back from Labuan Bajo and managed to get onto a Transnusa/Aviastar flight out to Flores for 870,000 - expensive, but a nice chunk down from the 1 million I'd been quoted. So, 24 hours lost in Kuta. If I'd tried a bit harder, or been 20 years' younger, I might have enjoyed it a more - I'm sure there's something to love about the place, and I know there's a lot more to Bali than this. Next time...