Our trip to Bali

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When Ashton and I first met, she bought me a book filled with the world's most amazing Islands to visit. The first Island listed in the book is Bali. We didnt give it much thought. Fast forward a few months, and an invitation to my cousins wedding arrived. They live in New Zealand, and the wedding was to be in Bali. I think we thought about it for all of 5 seconds before RSVP'ing YES. It was an opportunity to visit a new country, for Ashton to meet family she'd only heard about, and it was on an island. Sold.

We checked with a few travel agents in the hopes of finding an amazing deal and when those werent forthcoming, we did the reservations ourselves. We booked accomodation in Benoa (next to Nusa Dua), then Ubud (where the wedding would be) and then our last few nights would be in Seminyak.

After a mammoth 24 hour journey, we arrived at Denpasar Airport where we were met by a driver to take us to the Aston Bali Resort in Benoa. It's a beautiful hotel, in a quiet area on the South East side of the Island.

We settled in and went straight to sleep for a few hours, before exploring our immediate surroundings and then cozying up on the beach for pizza.

We spent five nights at the Aston Bali and during our time there, we relaxed poolside, visited Kuta to get a taste of the local markets, tried various Indonesian restaurants, did an Old Town tour ( Blog post here) and visited Nusa Dua.  The stretch of beach the hotel is located on is popular for its water sports - We joined in on the action with a speedboat ride and some time on the JetSki's.  We gave the para-sailing a miss since you had to land right next to the cement Jetty.  Everyone seemed to manage, but I don't think we were brave enough to risk it.

A huge highlight of our time in Benoa was that my father and his brother were re-united, and we got to spend plenty of time with my cousin Tersia and her husband Owen.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Thailand a few years ago and what stood out for me on that trip was the amazing nature of the people.  Bali was very similar in this regard.  Hard working, warm hearted, humble people that get on with things, with a smile.

I think everyone in Bali owns a scooter - it seemed that way every time we wanted to go anywhere - There were hundreds of thousands of scooters on the road.  The traffic really is crazy when you get closer to the city.

Since there was so much to see and do during the trip, I've split the posts, here are some photo's from Part 1 :)

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Every day the tide goes out, and the sand bank creates a mini-island.  The locals paddle out and place an offering on the sand bank:

This Lady sweeps up the reeds that are washed ashore to the beach in front of the Aston Bali - daily.  I don't think she speaks English, but I asked if I could take her photo and she agreed:

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