October 1 marked the beginning of the National Holidays in China aka Golden Week. This date marks the founding of modern China. It is also the time in which the entire country decides to visit the monuments and capital cities. Like, you know, Beijing perhaps. My language teacher recommended either leaving China completely or staying in our house. Apparently Beijing during Golden Week looks something like this. Since Chris had time off work and the kids were off school, we were happy to oblige. For our first foray outside of China, we chose Bali. It seemed like it would have the best combination of beachy fun and interesting opportunities for cultural exploration. It also has some of the best weather this time of year when Thailand, Vietnam, etc. are firmly entrenched in their rainy seasons.
Our journey started with a 9 hour flight that left at 2 am so I was a bit nervous about how the kids would do. It was on a budget carrier where they didn't even serve food and there was NO in-flight entertainment. Fortunately, they were too tired to protest much and slept much of the time on the way to Bali. When we got to the island, security was tight and it took a loooong time to get through customs and immigration. We inadvertently planned our visit to Bali for the same time the Miss World finals happened on the island -- and right before the APEC convention, which is attended by numerous heads of state and important officials. In fact, the airport was due to be closed for several days and we just missed getting caught up in the closings and stuck in Bali. Gosh, that would have been heartbreaking;)
We actually spent most of our visit lounging around the beach and pools at our hotel. We agreed before we left that this would be a "chill" vacation versus an "explore" vacation. I will admit to getting a bit carried away in excitement when confronted with lots of things to see and do. Hong Kong was really fun, but really exhausting so we were trying to move at a much slower pace in Bali. We did spend two days looking around the island so that gave us a bit more of the flavor of the place. I'd love to go back and stay inland away from the beach areas so that I can explore more of those parts of Bali.