Around march time of 2017, My girlfriends brother was planning a trip around south east asia, travelling from Thailand to Australia for around 6-7 months. As the time drew closer to his departure from the UK I was asked if I wanted to go along with the family to visit him whilst he was in Indonesia, Bali to be specific. Chris, my girlfriends brother; planned the entire trip alongside his travelling partner; Holly. We would meet them at Denpasser Airport, spend time adventuring around the island, stay at 3 different villas as well as spend two days on the Gilli Trawangan islands.
This would be the first time I have travelled further out than europe, would also be the longest journey on a plane (17 hours!) as well as only being my second trip on a plane too! Overall I was pretty nervous about the trip when we started packing, but I was also pretty excited, the thought of the photographs and experiences I would have on the other side of the world had me all giddy the moment we left for the airport. Its still insane to think of it in my head that I was only 4 hours away from Australia!
Both myself and Becky left Southampton around 3pm. we celebrated the end of lectures for a week by going to the local pub for a few drinks before embarking on a hour drive back to worthing where we would stay at her house until the early morning in which we would head to Heathrow Airport. We got in the car with her dad, Marc; and drove back. The sun was starting to set and the sky was all orange. It felt like a last hurrah for the summer of 2017, but little did we know what was actually in store for us on the trip. We all joked about the various things we would do over in Bali, and how we are the lucky few that get to escape the change in british weather from hot to cold in October...
Once we got back, Marc cooked us some pizza and we rested in the living room for a few hours watching Inglorious Bastards. We then had a final run through of our baggage. Within my camera bag I took my Canon 6D, Canon 650D, A multitude of Lenses, a Canon AV-1 35mm Film SLR, and 6 rolls of Film alongisde clothes, a shed load of sun cream and toiletries.
The time had come to sleep, I myself knew I was anxious about the flight over so I decided to stay wide awake; and thus sleep on the plane. I bought my laptop along with me to the house so I sat down and played Fallout 4 for a few hours before we had to get everything ready and leave the house. At 3am our transport for the airport had arrived. We left the house and later left the UK.
Being my first time in Heathrow I was surprised at how large the airport actually was. All the intertwining terminals and huge hangers didn't help the anxiety as we drove into our terminal which housed Qatar Airways, for whome we'd be flying with to Doha, then changing over for our direct flight to Denpassa.
There wasn't really much to say about the wait at the airport, as everyone knows thats flown before its a straightforward yet confusing and super boring process that can take a few hours. After checking in we waited in the seating area for our flight at 7am. We boarded the flight and instantly I fell asleep for a good 2 or 3 hours before lunch was served. After watching the aircraft GPS map for a good 4 hours we started to fly into Doha Airport (Qatar) which was an absolutely picturesque airport surrounded by oil fields and container ships. We had a quick turnaround of about 45 minutes before heading off on our second (and longest) flight to Bali.
After boarding our second flight, the sun had gone down and we were all wide awake after sleeping the best part of our first leg of the journey. The boredom and irritation started to kick in within an hour of the flight. I decided to stop watching the GPS map and instead watch the first series of Futurma, while Marc watched his 7th film and Becky just simply slept. Although we were restless we all agreed the flights themselves were pretty good for the amount we'd payed. We had reclining seats, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a small inbuilt TV into the headrests so we could choose between 200 films as well as TV shows or play games. For whatever reason however I chose to just watch the flight GPS map. Something about it calmed my nerves and put me to rest while I listened to Spotify on my phone.
After dozing in and out of sleep for a good 9 hours over the Indian Peninsular. The sun had risen and we were preparing for breakfast with only an hour until we land in Bali. We all didn't speak much while we were on the plane, choosing instead to just as sleep as much as possible and relax. By this point however we were all excited about the trip, even trying to peak over other passengers to see if we could see any mountains. After a breakfast of potato wedges and omelette we started to descend onto the island.
We landed into Denpassa and quickly grabbed our luggage and headed out into the entrance to meet up with Chris and Holly. They'd both been travelling since September 1st; so they were pretty experienced with the SE Asian culture. The first thing we'd noticed when we left the airport was the extreme heat of the Island. With it resting on the equator it was boiling hot even in mid October. Myself in Jeans, a tshirt and a shirt I was already sweating as we left the airport in a Taxi.
We boarded a taxi and headed straight into the largest city of the Island. We were dropped off outside a large shopping mall within the centre of the city. the mall housed various designer shops and a Starbucks coffee; as well as a knock-off equivalent directly opposite. From there we hopped into another local taxi and travelled an hour to our first villa in the town of Seminyak. We had to endure a lecture by the driver about Uber, and how the business is notorious around Bali and other islands.
We were dropped off outside a gate to our villa. we entered and were instantly greeted by some women, who were cleaners of the place with mango juice drinks and watermelon. They gave us the keys and left us to be. The place was wonderful, with a large pull at the bottom of the garden, a kitchen and a living room which doubled as a garden. Our rooms were also out of the world; with an out door on suite shower and toilet (yes, you could literally take a dump outside with all the lizards and insects) and air conditioning.
After arriving, we all quickly had a dip in the pool, rested and then went out to find a place to grab some lunch. Down the road from our villa was a huge texan/BBQ joint, we all sat down; had some burgers and finally got to taste Bintang, the most popular beer in Bali. famous for its tourist fascination of the drink which is basically an Asian Heineken. After eating, we headed back and had a much needed nap, when we awoke hours later we headed out to Potato Head, a famous club on the seafront which is known for its golden hour sunsets and cheap cocktails.
Once we left the taxi, armed guards stood around the tourist infested beach club, I took my 35mm Camera with me as well as my 6d in hopes of getting shots of the sunset. This was my first time getting cameras out on the trip so I was a little nervous holding expensive camera gear, but once entering everyone and their mothers were packing Canon 5D MkIII's, L lenses and their brand new Iphone 8's.
I snapped some images on my Canon AV-1, then quickly switched over to my 6d as the sun came down (which is the image you see in the banner at the top of this post) This was also 3rd attempt of shooting film in my life as a photographer, so I was pretty excited to see how the images would turn out when I get back to the UK. The camera itself doesn't perform as well in low light as you'd expect of a film camera shooting ISO 100 film (Kodak Ectar) but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
shot on canon 6d ^
After taken some photographs, the sun set and we all sat down around a table to have some cocktails. All of a sudden out of nowhere however a huge spot of rain came down on the beach, it lasted only a few moments before the hot air came back. After a few hours we decided to head to another place to grab something to eat, and then back to our villa where we'd sleep off the lost hours of travelling, and prepare for the adventuring and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that would follow up in the coming days.
(all photographs by Charlie Richards)
Shot on Canon 6d and Canon AV-1 with Kodak Ectar 100 Film)
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