Many things are different in Indonesia, such as buying ferry tickets: Many kilometers before the port, there were dozens of ticket sales points lined up at the roadside for the only available ferry. However, it took us three attempts before someone was able to issue us a ticket. The system was not available at the others😉.

We had to exchange the purchase receipts at the port for the correct tickets, which were issued as duplicates. Somewhere on the approach ramp to the ferry, the copy was collected by another employee. Why make it simple when it can be complicated😊? We were happy when the ship set out shortly afterwards and we cruised slowly from the island of Java to Bali.

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A short bike ride took us to Pemuteran on the north coast of Bali. Here we settled into a bungalow for a while. For two days, David had to deal with the fact that our laptop no longer recognized his keyboard after a Windows update. To solve the problem, we were able to buy a second-hand keyboard from a mechanic, which we are now dragging around with us. I used the time to prepare our equipment for the onward journey to Australia and cleaned everything very thoroughly. To get us in the mood for Australia, we visited a nearby winery, including a wine tasting😉. Apart from that, we only moved around for the daily ride to a small snack bar in the neighboring village.

We were in no hurry to continue, as research into the island’s attractions revealed that there was a steep entrance fee for every viewpoint, waterfall, hiking trail and rice terrace and there was no infrastructure or information on offer apart from access. This shortened our island program to a minimum, namely the crossing with the most beautiful panoramas and (free) rice terraces possible.

The actually short climb through the clove-growing area to Lake Tamblingan took us along a road with either a 0% or 15-20% gradient. We were never able to find a comfortable pace. In one steep section, a very kind Balinese woman even helped me to push my bike😄! Although Bali is overrun with visitors, we were very pleasantly surprised at how friendly and warmly we were greeted everywhere!

Due to the fog and rain on the following day, we decided not to visit the tourist attractions and pedaled to the town of Ubud. While we waited for our nasi goreng that Monday afternoon, David once again checked the status of his visa extension. He was horrified to discover that the process had not taken one step forward, but two steps backwards! The officer in charge requested all the documents again😟. Our angry inquiry to the WhatsApp contact at Imigrasi revealed that a system maintenance had paralyzed the visa platform the week before and the uploaded documents had been destroyed. Back to square one!

The visa extension process had now taken three weeks and we only had three days until our departure to complete it. Without a valid visa, leaving the country would only be possible for the horrendous penalty fee of CHF 600 for the overstayed days, if at all! The frustrating thing about our situation was that we were completely at the mercy of bureaucratic arbitrariness and corruption. Legally, a letter of guarantee would not be necessary and the visa extension should be finalized after a three-day processing time. However, nobody in Bali sticks to either of these rules, because there is a lot of money to be made from impatient tourists. They have to pay one of the countless travel agencies, immigration lawyers or officials to settle their concerns so that they can leave the country or enjoy their honeymoon. We were sure that an immigration lawyer would have solved our problem with a single phone call. We decided not to use these services, not only because of the cost, but also to avoid supporting the thriving immigration industry.

The next morning, we opted to cycle to Denpasar to pay a surprise visit to the immigration office. But David got rebuffed at the information desk. They were not responsible; we would have to go to the immigration office at the other end of the city… What the hell?!
So, we pedaled 20 Kilometer through the morning traffic of the Balinese capital to visit the office in question. To our surprise, David was served quickly and was told that his visa extension would be issued today. We were amazed and relieved when we actually received the visa extension in our inbox two hours later!

This left us time and leisure to enjoy the days in Kuta. Our inexpensive guesthouse was located in the Ballermann district, where there was plenty of white skin to marvel at. No matter how large the skin on a person’s body, the fabric to cover it was usually in short supply😉. Nevertheless, we liked Kuta unexpectedly well. It was a happy coexistence of locals, package tourists, yoga holidaymakers, dropouts and travelers.

After almost half a year in Southeast Asia, we are looking forward to a change of scenery. Despite extensive research, we were unable to find a ship passage to Darwin, which is why we are continuing today by plane to Australia. With thoroughly cleaned bikes, bags and large cardboard boxes on the luggage rack, we pedaled to the airport this morning. As we weren’t leaving until the evening, we were able to pack our bikes without any stress and also take a relaxed approach to the departure formalities. Now we are sitting at the gate, waiting for the flight to Darwin and looking forward to our time in Australia!