Karla and Julian, Guildford, Perth, Western Australia. So there we were, flying high above the clouds and finally making our descent into Singapore’s Changi Airport. It had been a long, long trip.Helen had watched 7 movies in a row and I’d watched The Greatest Showman and tried very unsuccessfully to sleep. We disembarked and headed for our connecting flight to Perth. Changi Airport is not exactly small. It took us 35-minutes to walk to our boarding gate and we were only in Terminal B. Onto the next plane and off we went. Another 5 hours flying time. By the time we got to Perth, we were red-eyed and shattered. Ahead of us lay Julian and Karla’s wedding. Karla’s dad John met us at the airport and there was plenty of chat as we set off immediately for a recce of the venue and surrounds. John was an impeccable host and there was nothing we could have asked of him that would have been too much trouble. Drive here, drive there, point out this landmark, point out that landmark, meet the wedding planner and so on. Finally he dropped us off at his next door neighbours Anton and Heidi (whose kids weddings I’ve shot in both Cape Town and Perth). Bit of an extended family this bunch. Hugs, kisses, woohooos and all.
The next 2 days were a whirlwind of activity with some sightseeing in Fremantle, a braai with Ant and Heid’s and their marvelous family, dinner with John and Karen, a visit to Caversham Wildlife Park and an e-session with Julian, Karla and their dogs. Then, before we knew it, wedding day. We went off to shoot Julian and the boys getting ready and then it was back into the car to photograph Karla and the girls at the Rose & Crown in Guildford. Cool, calm, collected. Off to the church, married, all good. And then the fun and games really began. We headed down to the Old Midland Railway Station. Now. If you want to put hairs on your chest, if you REALLY want to test your photography metal, try and shoot a wedding. It’s not a straightforward exercise at tthe best of times. But now add some kids into the equation – small kids. And to finish off, throw in some dogs as well. And good luck, you’ll need it. So there we were, Karla and Julian, bridesmaids, bestmen, dogs, dog handlers and kids – all in a place that I’d seen for a few minutes 2 days before. Time to sing for your supper Warrie. Nothing like a challenge you know. And so I sang for my supper as we launched into the bridal shoot with the sun setting faster than a dipping Frisbee. The dogs behaved impeccably, the kids were legendary, the bridesmaids and groomsmen came to the party in between sips of beer and Karla and Julian rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion. See. Easy. Walk in the park. No stresses and strains. Then it was off to the reception for a super evening of speeches and dancing. The staff at the Rose & Crown were fantastic – happy, interested, engaged and attentive – the way it always should be. As for the guests – a well-behaved bunch this – until the music started that is. Then it was like World War III had begun as they flung their bodies around the dance floor with Julian definitely manning up and leading from the front. Good stuff all the way. The following morning arrived and Hel and myself had to very sadly say our goodbyes to our fine Perth friends and their wonderful city. Onto the plane we jumped, destination Bali. Scroll down for some pics I took in Bali as well as my thoughts of this incredible place and its people.
The moment you step off the plane at Denpasar International Airport the heat sears up through your slip-slops and slaps you on the forehead. It redefines humid. And there are a LOT of people from shuttle and taxi businesses waiting to pick up travellers – it’s just signs with names on everywhere. The Balinese are amazing folk. They are friendly, kind, gentle, humble, loving and caring. Everyone greets you. Everyone wants to know who you are, where you’re from, why you’re visiting. And everyone wants to sell you something. And every taxi driver will tell you it takes 20 minutes to get wherever it is you’re going. But it doesn’t. It takes an hour, or an hour and a half to just travel a few kilometres down the road, aircon in overdrive. The traffic is manic, cars and scooters everywhere. You crawl along, the hooting coming at you left, right and centre. No amount of pre-Internet planning can do this place justice – here, you have to live in the moment and take it as it comes. Fantastic stuff. So for 7 days, Hel and myself hardly slept as we walked the streets of Uluwatu, Kuta, Nusa Dua, Ubud and Seminyak. Interacting with the people, bartering for clothes, chatting to all manner of locals. I need to make this short or we’ll be here all year, so here’s a brief summary of this fantastic place for those of you thinking about going there…
Uluwatu: Not bad. Maybe a bit too isolated from all of the action. If you want to chill and get away from it all, then happy days. We stayed at the Klapa Resort which has great views of the ocean, a wonderful swimming pool and a fine breakfast. Dreamland Beach is about 3-minutes walk from the hotel. Excellent submerged rocks to clout your big toe on. Fine beach bar with good pizza and cocktail specials.
Ubud: Spread over quite a large area. Really good for visiting temples, rice paddies, coffee manufacturing. Outstanding shops and markets if you’re willing to explore. We hired Nowa Arnawa from https://www.balitourcharter.comHe’s an absolute legend. He has so much knowledge on the various areas and is just a beautiful human being. Nowa is a complete MUST if you’re going to Bali. Call him the day before you want him as a guide and it’s job done.
Nusa Dua: Fabulous. Great if you just want to park off in the water like a hippo. Some properly expensive hotels on the beach that us South Africans can’t afford, but hey, it’s good to look and wonder ‘what if’ anyway. Great water sports. Most of the sea images below were taken there during sunrise. Nusa Dua is also home to the Bali Collection which is a fairly big and spread out shopping centre. Lots of places to eat and plenty of Bintang beer which you’re going to need in the heat.
Kuta: Just manic. Lots and lots of hotels, restaurants, pubs, shops, Discovery Mall, Waterbom Bali, markets. Loved it bigtime. It’s busy, busy, busy, but it’s good busy and will keep you enthralled and entertained all day long.
Seminyak: Definitely our favourite place. Again, you won’t be at a loss for markets. Bintang beer on the beach, restaurants on the beach, umbrellas, great body surfing and home to Potato Head Beach Club with it’s (not cheap), but brilliant cocktails and incredible vibe.
That’s the very, very short version anway. We left Bali with so many really good memories and decided that we just have to try and go back at some stage with the family in tow. Amazing place, it really is. And that was that. Back onto the plane, back to Singapore, back to Jo’burg, back to Cape Town, back home, still a water crisis. But it didn’t matter – the kids were waiting for some gifts. And life goes on. Marvellous really.
And finally, thanks once again to Nicci Hayden from Travel Counsellors who once again, booked everything from our flights to boarding passes, to hotels and more in her usual wonderful way. There’s no one in the world I’d ever use other than Nicci (and I’m fussy that way). You can get hold of her here: firstname.lastname@example.org