Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Pre-Wedding Errands in Kuta

After a day of shopping in Ubud, Angela and I had just a few more tasks to complete before our big wedding day in Nusa Dua. We had arranged appointments at our respective consulates to receive our certificates of no impediment to marriage, as well as a meeting with our wedding company a couple days before the big day. Also, despite much frantic browsing in Ubud, Angela still hadn't found a wedding dress, so we needed to do some shopping in nearby Kuta.

We took a private car from Ubud to the consulates in Bali's capital, Denpasar, then later to Nusa Dua in the extreme south of the island.
Our driver picked us up from Ubud in the early morning and drove us south to Denpasar.
After an hour or so of maze-like roads and forest temples, we arrived in Denpasar in time for our appointment at the British consulate. It was a stressful time, as the consulate had encountered some problems receiving our payment, which caused long delays. We had an appointment booked at the American consulate in a couple of hours, so we paced up and down the waiting room biting our fingernails and praying that all this bureaucratic protocol got sorted out smoothly.
Thankfully, both appointments went as planned and we each received our certificates of no impediment, allowing us to marry. Phew! The next step was getting a photo taken of the two of us, for use in the marriage certificate. Once this was taken care of, our driver drove us to Nusa Dua via a tollway crossing the sea to the Bukit Peninsula.
We had an appointment with our wedding company where we met with our coordinator, Luna, and ironed out some final details. The wedding company operated from a beautiful mansion owned by the company's boss.
Reading over the marriage vows.
Finally, all the planning was sorted, and the only thing left to do was some last-minute shopping. First, though, we needed to settle into our new hotel. Angela's parents had kindly used their Marriott gold member points to provide us with a room at a local Marriott for seven nights. It was located in Nusa Dua, an area dominated by expensive hotels and luxury shopping malls. The roads were pristine, surrounded by perfectly-cut grass and gorgeous statues. After months of staying in cheap hostels and guesthouses, all of a sudden we were residents in the Beverly Hills of Bali.

Our home for the next week: the Courtyard Marriot. This place was absolute paradise, and we can't thank Angela's parents enough for putting us up here.
Checking in.

Our room was spotlessly clean, spacious, with the warmest, snuggliest bed in the world, excellent wi-fi, and a shower that was hot and high-pressured (when you've travelled in Southeast Asia as long as we have, such simple pleasures suddenly make you feel like royalty).
We also had a balcony overlooking the hotel swimming pool.

We went shopping at nearby Bali Collection, an outside shopping area with restaurants, spas and fashion stores.
Angela tries on a potential wedding dress.
Back at our hotel at nightfall.
The next day, still lacking a definite wedding dress, we headed to Kuta to see if we could find one. Our wedding would take place the next day, so this was our last chance!
Kuta is probably the most touristified area in Bali, dominated by a long golden beach popular with surfers, and tons of bars and clubs filled with drunken Australians.

We went looking for a dress at Beachwalk, a well-designed mall close to Kuta beach.

A flip-flop vending machine.
Angela tries on another dress. Could this be the one?
Exploring the mall some more.

Drinking cocktails by the sea.

Once Angela secured a dress she was happy with, we explored Kuta some more. Honestly, we weren't overly fond of this place. It seemed like an overly grimy tourist resort completely devoid of the cultural and historic beauty we'd found elsewhere in Bali.
As if the drunken aussies and dirty streets weren't already bad enough, there were these bumper stickers and t-shirts everywhere that said things like "WANT MORE GRUNT FUCK A PIG" and "WHAT PART OF DEEP-THROAT DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND."

Doing some mock-surfing since we didn't have time for the real thing.
As a result of fights, drunken accidents, STDs and a bunch of other issues, tourist deaths happen fairly regularly in Kuta. This Ground Zero Memorial bears the names and nationalities of 202 people killed in the Bali bombing of 2002, which took place in Paddy's Pub at the exact spot where the memorial now stands.

Angela ended up finding a dress she liked at Kuta, and arranged for a hair-and-makeup appointment the next morning. With most of our preparations out of the way, we returned to Nusa Dua and relaxed that evening, excited for our big wedding day.

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