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Indonesia

Bali - Sanur

BEACHTIME BABY! (well not just yet..)

sunny 30 °C

Welll after all my boasting about heading off to the sunny shores of Bali, I arrived in Denpaser airport to lashing rain. I mean it was bucketing down. My bag got soaked and all the clothes in it were stinkified. (Not that that's anything new!)

Got a taxi from the airport, which took aggggggggggges. The traffic in Bali is terrible! When I thought of coming to Bali, I imagined a beach paradise! I never thought it would have such bad traffic. There were tonnes and tonnes of motorbikes and cars everywhere and it took me well over an hour to get to my hostel in Sanur; a laid back beachy area on the east coast of Bali.

My hostel - the Big Pineapple - was pretty neat. It had a pool in it. (This always attracts me to places, but I rarely get into these fancy pools.. hmmm) There were two nice US ladies in my room and some other heads around the place, but I'd been up for about 30 odd hours at this stage and couldn't be arsed making friends, so just went to bed for a while. :D

Later I had a cheap delicious meal of Nasi Goreng (Fried rice with an egg on top)

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and returned to my hostel with a beer in tow, where a big gang of people were just hanging out at the table. I joined them and waffled away for a while and then they said ; ''You wanna come to Kuta for free drinks between 9 and 10pm?''.
So I said; ''yup''.
And off we went.
There was 13 of us altogether. I couldn't tell ya all their names but there was a nice young chap called Craig, an awesome chick called Amy from the UK, an eager Canadian named Colin and some other mad yokes.

We headed to this place called Skygarden in Kuta. It's a big drinking complex made up of about 7 different bar areas. It was awesome. Like a cheap, cheesy Ibiza.
The free drinks room (the free drinks are only in one room for the first hour) had some terribly cheesy music on in it. There was one song that had the lyrics ''SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTSSHOTS'' and then ''DRINK DRINK DRINK DRINK DRINK DRINK DRINK''..
''Subtle'', I thought to myself... (Ro would have loved this music btw). ;)
Anyways I obeyed the musical instructions and went hell for leather on the free booze. There has been a problem in Bali with Bar operators replacing the alcohol in expensive imported spirits with methanol, but this bar promised that it only used real alcohol. ''Grand job'', says I.
There was even a sign behind the bar that read;
''CHOOSE REAL ALCOHOL - IT'S YOUR HEALTH''.
LOL. :D
So after skulling our free drinks, we tried out all the other exciting rooms and got more booze and danced our asses off for a few hours. Then someone (a wild German girl). had the bright idea of going to find a beach party nearby, so we all piled into cabs and went in search of this (non-existent) beach party.
Our cab driver asked us if we liked mushroom shakes and then told us he did them everyday, which obviously made us feel extra safe with him bombing down the motorway. (Ah here - drive the cab will ye, ye mad yoke).
So he drove us to where this beach party was supposed to be. There was a beach, but no party. So we ended up walking on a deserted beach in the moonlight getting soaked by the encroaching tide! It was actually pretty awesome, but I don't think any of the other birds were best pleased at having left the party central of Kuta to spend money in a cab and end up on a beach with no party on it.
The tide came in pretty fast, so much so, we had to hotfoot it through this fancy hotel to get back to the main road, whereupon there was a half hour of kerfuffling trying to get a cab back home to Pineapple. :D

Next day was gorgeous (YAHOO!) so went to the beach with my new roomie Vipka. It was BEA YUTIFUL. I went for a wander after the beach and got lost. (STANDARD. I live literally 800metres from the beach - how the hell I got lost, is beyond me). It took me 2 hours to find my hostel. HA! I'd already walked the 4km along the promenade earlier on today so was pretty knackered. When I got back to the hostel, it was like deja vu from last night. Everyone was sitting around the table and preparing to hit Kuta again for the free drinks from 9 - 10pm. I was like - eh no thanks lads.. I'll skip this one. So I hung around the hostel and chatted to Craig and a few heads. I saw Ryan Gosling sitting opposite me at the table too. Standard Saturday night in. :D

Posted by squeakylee 04:13 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali drinking kuta sanur skygarden Comments (0)

Bali - Sanur, Kuta, Echo Beach

Kuta & the Bag Snatching.

sunny 30 °C

Myself and Craig had decided to paddle (kayak) out to an old tanker style ship that was stranded out about 800metres off the shore in Sanur. Apparently it had been washed up and stranded on the reef in some big storm a while back. I was tres excited and expected it to be all wooden and romantic and piratey! But instead it was all steel, rusty, holey and fishery - it was still hella cool though. It had a romance all of it's own about it. After this paddle, we had some lunch and a shot of Arak - the local brew. We both didn't go blind so headed back to the Pineapple hostel. The hostel was full today though and had no spare beds so I had to move. I decided to move up to Echo Beach in Canngu. I got a taxi to the Echoland B&B which took ageeeeesssss. God, I'm so impatient! and I hate taxis! They're always trying to get more money out of me - it is wearing!

Anywho, the new joint also had a nice pool (haven't been in that one yet either) and some not super friendly people in it. Booo. I went down to check out Echo Beach which was a beach of black sand (ew) and it had a JCB working on it! :( It was not the nicest of beaches, but it did have WHOPPERLY BIG WAVES - I made a note to tell Craig about this development for surfing purposes.
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I hung out on the black sand for a while before making my way back to Kuta to join Craig and Claudia for a SUNDAY ROAST ALL YOU CAN EAT in Skygarden. NOM .
We didn't do a very good job on the allyoucaneat bit as we were trying to save room for the free drinks at 9 - 10pm. Then we hit the outside bar which played some awesome music. We had some shots, hit the Pirate bar next door, then we had to put Claudia in a cab home as she was plastered. So then we went back to Skygarden for more booze. (So much for my clean, healthy Bali livin').

Later on our walk out of Skygarden, some young whippersnappers on a motorbike zoomed past us and snatched my handbag from my shoulder, half dragging me up the street a bit with them. Ouch. I didn't know what happened. All of a sudden I was on my ass on the road! My handbag had been on me fairly tight, so I got a nasty bruise and cut on my arm where I got trundled along with them. I was still sitting on my ass while Craig had run up the road after the lads on the bike, but there was no chance of catching them. Some locals gathered around and told us to call the police, but I didn't think there was much point. We'd have to wait around for the police, who are so corrupt they would probably charge us for calling them, then they wouldn't do anything to catch the lads, and also there was nothing of importance in my bag - only a few bob. I'd spent all my money on shots anyways!
Earlier I had had my phone in my bag and had gone back to my room to put it in my locker. Phewf! Good move by me! The feckers got nothing! Well except my really nice handbag that I had treated myself to in Beijing. Bastards. Hope they have nothing that goes with it! ;)
Craig was the loveliest gentleman and brought me home in a cab and then had to get the cab all the way back to the Pineapple in Sanur. Such a hero!

my injury
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Posted by squeakylee 04:41 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali bag kuta snatching revelry Comments (0)

Bali - Echo Beach & Canngu

sunny 30 °C

So I spent a while hanging out on Echo Beach - a beach with construction work going on on it, and not the prettiest beach I've ever seen. But it had whopper waves! I met my gorgeous amazing Dutch roomie Sanne - who was a big bright bubble of boundless energy and enthusiasm. I loved her and wanted to be her instantly!
Sanne was hanging around Echo Beach to do a surfing camp on the 5th July. We arranged to meet later for drinks and dinner. Craig biked over to see me and we had some lunch at Echo Beach and then met Sanne and her 2 US dudes later for drinks and chats. The 2 US Guys were from California and had been looking after Sanne and bringing her out surfing with them. We had a grand auld chat and then myself and Sanne bid adieu to the lads and had another beer and some awesome chats on the rooftop of our hostel Echoland. Sanne was wise beyond her years and great fun.

Next day I rented a motorbike - my first time renting a moped/scooter/bike on my own. I was pretty nervous but once I figured out how to start the yoke (after sitting on it for 10 minutes and twisting keys and what not, I had to ask the guy in reception), I had a great time wobbling off up the road and out on the quieter roads of Echo Beach. It felt like THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! It was awesome. Ok so I was only going about 10kph but it was still ace. I ''zoomed'' off around Canngu and biked to another beach 5 minutes down the road. I dumped the bike and then walked up and down a few deserted beaches for an hour and a half before biking back to the gaff.

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Craig biked over to Echo and we went (me on the back of his bike as I didn't know if I was ready for the rambunctiousness that is the Bali Highways) to Tanah Lot (land in the sea) - a lovely old temple that sits on a large rock just off the shore. Tanah Lot is supposed to be the work of the 15th-century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island's beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.

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We crossed a small patch of sea to get over to the temple, paid the Holi Man and got blessed with rice and drippy stuff. Then we mosied around and sat watching the sea til it was dark. There was no sunset but it was pretty beautiful. We biked it back to Echoland and met Sanne who had arranged for us all to go to Seminyak to meet the 2 US Guys and their pals for dinner. So off we went -with not a clue as to where we were going. The blind leading the blind.
We nearly got there so many times but once we got to where we thought the lads were, it started lashing rain, so we camped out in a pizza joint for a while. Then grabbed some food in a cheaper place nearby. Unfortunately after another hour of biking around, we still hadn't found the lads and then Sanne got a text to say they had gone home! ARRRGH. It was a hilarious disaster of an evening but we had a good nighttime tour of Bali and then had a beer on our rooftop!

The following day Sanne moved to the gaff where the US lads were and I decided to rent a bike again and try moped myself across the highways of Bali to meet Craig in Sanur. I thought it was only fair to give him a day off scooting and so off I set. I was going ok actually, manouevering myself in and out of the crazy Bali traffic. (No easy feat!) Anywho I pulled in to check my GPS and make sure I was going the right way (I wasn't) and then when I started up the bike again, I accelerated and braked at the same time and lost control of the bike. The back wheel whizzed out from under me, I fell over, whacked my chin off the ground and the bike fell on top of me. OOOPS. It wasn't sore or anything. It was mostly my pride that was damaged as lots of little Balinese people had witnessed my incompetence!! A small woman came over to help me pick up the bike and I took a few minutes to calm myself and steel myself to get back on the bike again and head back into the highway traffic!
So off I went again on my journey - probably not the easiest place to learn how to use a moped really - the Bali Highways - but sure where's the fun in learning somewhere easy. ;)

It took me bleedin ages to get to Sanur. On the way a policeman flagged me down and asked for my license and registration. I said I didn't have one. (I didn't) And he said I would have to pay a fine of 300,000. I said I only had 100,000 (I had this ready in a separate fining pocket - they fine foreigners so often, ye need a separate 'fine' purse) and paid the man. And off I went again. Another half an hour later, I found the Pineapple Backpackers joint at last. LOL. It was 4.20pm. I'd left at 2.30pm. BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Anyways I met Craig and we went for some nosh on the beach, before he had to chaperone me back across the Balinese Highways to Echo beach - IN THE DARK. It was certainly challenging. So much for giving poor Craig a day off motorbiking round the island. ;)

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FUNTIMES! :D

Posted by squeakylee 04:59 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali beach tanah lot echo canggu echoland Comments (0)

Ubud, Bali

sunny 33 °C

So I wasn't sure if I wanted to leave Echo Beach but fate intervened and brought me to Ubud.
An American couple I'd chatted to a few days earlier had said they were going to hire a driver to bring them to Ubud and I could jump in with them.
I hadn't seen them in a few days though so wasn't sure if they were still going, but lo and behold they appeared at 11.30am and off we went. They were a lovely couple, both teachers and great fun to chat to.
The journey to Ubud lasted aggggesss, the driver was the most careful (see slowest) driver I've ever witnessed. I think he was trying to make the journey seem longer so we'd think he was worth the extortionate 300,000 rupiah fee.
Still it was most pleasant and I didn't have to go on my own so yahooo!

As soon as we got out of the car in Ubud, a man said "room?" to me and I said "yes please!"
Off we went to this cute little homestay just off Monkey Forest road. The rooms were gorgeous and I had a lovely cool balcony that overlooked a fabulous yard full of (feckin loud non-stop-crowin) roosters, trees,flowers and motorbikes! There was also a lovely family temple in the yard too, and the man of the house was hard at work painting masterpieces in the yard entrancee.
The price for the room included free tea and coffee and breakfast, and was right in the middle of town. Whoop. Score.
I realise this pic is sideways. Can't fix it. Sorry!
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Ubud is a cool place. It's the cultural capital of Bali, and art, singing and dancing are all mightily encouraged and supported here. The streets are full of little galleries, museums, Bali dance stages, cool clothes shops and funky souvenir shops stuffed with awesome lamps made out of coconut shells, glittery mosaic mirrors, little painted elephant candle holders, big willy bottle openers, stubby beer holders, lovely wooden furniture and much more. I wanted everything!
I resisted the urge to splurge and went for a gorgeous lunch - a tuna salad served inside a pineapple. Man it was delicious.
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I went to all the nearby temples and the palace, which took all of half an hour, then mosied in and out of the little galleries. Ubud also has loads of cool gross weird statues everywhere. These quickly became my favourite things!
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Ubud also features in the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love. I read the book while I was here. It's alright like. A bit ghey but kinda cute.
One man's interpretation of the book below.
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Later I met the German girl next door -Katya (I kept calling her Jennifer) who was a grand chick to chat to.

In the morning I had an awesome yoga class at the Yoga barn and met another cool chick called Claire. After yoga, Craig came up to Ubud, once again braving the Bali highways on a moped, (hero), and we went to the Monkey Sanctuary. I don't really like or care about monkeys that much so this sanctuary was spectacularly underwhelming for me. The park was tinchy and the monkeys were jerks. One of them bared his big fangy teeth at Craig and leapt off the bridge straight at him. Craig got the shock of his life and nearly fell off the bridge. It was pretty scary and then pretty fookin funny. (Only cos the monkey missed!) so yeah, monkeys are generally jerks in Asia.

Monkey sanctuary
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Later we went to Petulu to see the famous Heron migration. Every night at 6pm, thousands of big white herons fly in to Petulu to roost in a big tree. :D lol. We biked out to Petulu, and sat in a small warung overlooking a swampy rice field, had a beer and watched the birds fly in. They arrived in dribs and drabs and sat on each others' heads in bids to secure the prime roosting spots. The owner of the warung gave us a go of his binoculars so we could assume the role of true bird spotters. I felt like a right nerd, but it was pretty cool to watch them all come in. I was glad we had been advised not to park under that tree though - bird poop central!

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Check out this awesome car and its facilities...

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Next day I had a shit yoga class with some mentaller of an instructer who was way too antsy to provide a calm yoga environment. I felt extra bad too as I'd brought Katya along (after telling her how good it was yesterday) and it was her first ever yoga class.
We met Claire again at yoga and after a quick breakfast, they agreed to let me bring them on a guided walk near the river and rice fields. (Practise for my new tour guiding career).
Welllllll I don't think we quite made it to where we were supposed to go but we did pass some lovely rice fields, a load of people rafting in the river and we crossed a cool bridge and tons of steps, that we soon had to go back down and over. :). We walked for four hours before treating ourselves to a delicious lunch and then met up later for beers and to watch the Lyons v Wallabies match.

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The following day mysel and Germany went to the Neka art museum which was cooool and I got a full body massage later which was pretty nifty.

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Ubud is awesome and I would go back there again in a jiffy. It's not great to walk around due to re traffic and shit pavements, but that's the same for all of Bali really!

Posted by squeakylee 06:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged art fields rice barn yoga ubud galley Comments (0)

Padang Bai, Bali

What's all the fuss about??

overcast 30 °C

Craig wanted to come to the Gilis too before he started his two month Scuba Divemaster course so we agreed to meet in Padang Bai, which is the departure point for the Gilis, and hang out in PB for a while. But really there was literally nothing to see there. It was a bit disappointing as we were told it was a cool place to hang out for a day or two, but the beach was dirty and there was feck all to do there so we decided to get straight outta there and booked the speed boat for the next morning.

I left my silver Om earrings in the room there. Doh! :(

But here's a few pics from the dock of the Bai. Arrf. ;)

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Very rare banana fish
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Posted by squeakylee 07:27 Archived in Indonesia Tagged to do all bög zip padang bai meh Comments (0)

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