Sunday, February 2, 2014

Losmen Cempaka

Due to both the bad wifi in Java and the nature of places-to-stay in Bali--I haven't found any real hostels; it's all "homestays" that have cheap single rooms--I didn't book ahead for anywhere to stay after leaving Yogyakarta.  Bali is enough of a tourist destination that there are plenty of places to stay, at varying levels of quality, anywhere you'd want to stay, and it being the off-season, I wasn't really worried about finding a place.  Upon arriving in Kuta after sharing a taxi with three other travelers (a Finnish couple and a French guy) from Denpasar, I followed the advice of Lonely Planet and struck off down a street with several listings, knowing that where there was one LP-listed hotel, or losmen as they are called here in Indonesia, there would be plenty of unlisted ones.  I wandered down Jl. Poppies II, one of the tourist drags, crowded with losmen, restaurants boasting western food, and souvenir shops with increasingly obnoxious proprietors, and of course the guys at every corner repeating the same chorus, "Transport?  You need transport?  Taxi?  Lady? Yes transport?" that would very quickly be grating on my nerves.  

After a bit of wandering, I found the place listed in Lonely Planet, but typically they were full already, but as I expected, there were plenty of places around.  I ducked into one across the street; they only had fan rooms left, and as I was nearly soaked through with sweat from carrying all my belongings through the afternoon heat and humidity, I decided to keep looking.  The guy from that place, though unasked, appointed himself as my helper and drug me into the neighboring places of his friends, since he couldn't help me.  The next place, like his, only had fan rooms left; the second was too expensive, but the third finally worked out.  They had an air-con room, albeit with only a cold-water shower, but that didn't sound like a problem as hot as I was at the moment (why does going somewhere hot always sound like such a good idea when it's cold at home??).  

The rooms of the Losmen Cempaka ran in a line down either side of a green jungle of a courtyard, with a temple like shrine across from me.  Each had its own tiled section of porch out front, and the air conditioner was so new it still had a tag hanging off.  The bathroom was a little odd as half the floor was covered with a layer of white rocks, but I figured that just made it interesting.  For my two nights in Kuta, it turned out to be a comfortable and cool oasis.  

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