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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)

Gili Trawengan, Bali

sunny 34 °C

The speedboat over to the Gilis was awesome. We were on the top deck with a load of crazy Kuwaitis clapping and singing. We all got soaked by the waves splashing back over us! We were soppin'! The journey was cool though. The sea was fairly calm, the sky was gorgeously blue and we had lovely views of Bali as we bounced over the waves to Gili T.
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Once again, as soon as we jumped off the boat onto Gili T, a young man offered us a room and off we went to our new abode - a cool little joint in a nice garden on one of the backstreets. The young staff were nice but the old guy was kinda grumpy - probably cos it was Ramadan and they can't eat, drink, smoke or bump uglies from sunrise to sundown. Bummer! To my delight we couldn't hear the roosters from our room! YAHOOO! Also if we closed the bathroom door, we couldn't hear the mosque either. Ace! (No offense intended but it was VERY loud and was going at 4am and again at 9 am and all through the day. It gets pretty annoying).

Our gaff..

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We went straight to the beach and caught a few rays. Gili T is gorgeous with beautiful white sandy beaches, clear bright aquarmariney water, and clear blue deeper water a bit farther out.

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Gili T itself is a very small island - you can walk around it in an hour and a half! It's full of little restaurants, bars, cafes, homestays, shops, clinics, dive and surf schools and tons of men on the street corners selling you everything else you could possibly need. There are no motorbikes or cars on the island so everyone gets around on bicycles and by horse and cart.

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For the first week, the skies seemed to cloud over in the afternoon so we pretty much had to get up early to see the sun. I was dying to get out in the sun and fill in my farmer tan - i.e. colour in my torso! :D
Craig brought me out snorkelling a good few times the first week. The first time I went out, I was like a coughing, spluttering, panicky octopus but he was very patient and literally held my hand when we went out. :) He is quite the knowledgeable chap and pointed out loads of awesome fish and corally things to me.

He did however have a habit of swimming down and wiggling his hands at the very poisonous fish that hung out in the coral. ARRGH! I was desperately trying to swim away while he was having the craic with the lads. After the first couple of days, I kinda got better at the snorkelling but it still freaked me out when we hit a batch of jellyfish, or when we had to try and get back into shore over the coral in VERY shallow water. Craig told me to fill my lungs full of water so I would float a bit more and not bash myself off the coral. Needless to say, there was a lot of spluttering going on that day.
We did see some awesome stuff underwater though. There was loads of really pretty flowery coral, funky colourful fish and lots of lovely big turtles swimming along. After a few days snorkelling, I started to really like it! It was great fun, once my mask didn't leak, I was sound as a pound. We also got to see the cool Biorocks that the Balinese people have placed just offshore in a bid to encourage speedy coral growth. Just a few years ago, the lush coral reefs off Bali were dying out, bleached by rising temperatures, blasted by dynamite fishing, and poisoned by cyanide. But with the help of these Biorocks, the coral is now thriving on dozens of metal structures that they have put in the bay. The structures are fed with low-voltage electricity, which coral experts say is helping to revive the reef. The rocks are in the shape of flowers, aeroplanes and there's even an old desk and chair down there too. : )
Just as I was getting the hang of snorkelling, the next week the tide was out a lot and I didn't get out much. :/

The rest of our time in the Gilis was spent snorkelling, sunbathing, walking around the island, having a spliff at sunset, having the craic at Tir na nOg with various oddballs, reading, eating at the market, having a few beers and generally having holiday times.

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The time went by pretty fast and once again I had to leave before I got kicked out of the country. I said goodbye to my hero Craig who was staying behind to do his DiveMaster Course and headed off on the speedboat back to Bali.

(I collected my Om earrings on the way back. - happy days!)

Posted by squeakylee 22:23 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sunset bali beach surf holiday gili t Comments (0)

Kuta, Bali

Back to the scene of the crime...

sunny 32 °C

So my speedboat back was pretty awesome. I sat on the top deck, but the boat was so fast, the wind was hurting my face. (1500 horsepower according to the young fella who sold it me!)
So I moved downstairs and despite the waft of diesel every now and then, and the IMMENSE bumping up and down over the waves, I didn't even feel queasy! SCORE. The girl in front of me used up at least 5 plastic bags with her puking though. :/
Made friends with an NZ gal who was staying in Poppies Lane in Kuta (where I had been the victim of a Benny Hill style bag snatching a few weeks ago). I followed her to PL, then hopped into a cheaper guesthouse nearby and got a grand auld room for 100, 000 rupiah, where I could hear the dulcet sounds of ''who's f&ckin tonight? who's f*ckin tonight whup whup'' from one of the nearby bars in the background.
Ahhhhhh bliss. :) To be fair, it was better than Roosters crowing!! :D
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I headed off for an exploration around Kuta and had some lunch. It's a busy place with tons of restaurants and bars all along the strip, and in turn tons of people trying to sell you stuff. The constant touting makes it a bit annoying to walk around and I decided to go for a lie down in a darkened room for a bit. I had thought about going back to Skygarden at 9pm for the free drinks hour but thought it probably wasn't the best idea (knowing me and my willpower, or lack thereof) to go drinking when I had a flight the next day.
So I stayed in and drank diet coke while listening to the free Kidz Choonz in the distance. WILD.

As it turns out, I could have gone drinking, as I got an email the next morning to say my flight was delayed by 4 hours.
DOH! I had purposely bought the earlier daytime flight so I wouldn't have to arrive in KL at nighttime ... sigh....
So since I had extra time now, I enjoyed my whopper breakfast of a banana jaffle and sippie cup of coffee...
(A banana jaffle is a TOASTED BANANA SANDWICH!!!! it is AMAZING. Why Have I not had this before? ??? )
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and then packed my bag and went for a long walk on Kuta beach - which was lovely!
Although the beach was by no means devoid of touts either.
One dude selling surf lessons wouldn't let go of my hand for ages as he tried to sell me a lesson.. it was getting quite uncomfortable and a bit weird after a while.. :D I saw a white guy surrounded by about 6 young Balinese women getting every inch of him massaged and fluffed on the beach. He saw me looking, beckoned me over and gave me the thumbs up sign. LOL. I thumbs-upped him back and legged it!
Went for a walk in the mall nearby and then hung out in Starbucks for an hour before thinking that I may as well head off to the airport. (There's not a lot to do in Kuta if you're not shopping, drinking or sunbathing).

view from the mall
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I retrieved my bag from the hostel and wandered out of Poppies Lane.
A local man approached me and offered me a lift on his speedy motorbike.
I thought about it for a minute and then said ''sure why not''.
''I'm heading to the airport'', says I.
''cheap price'', says he, ''wait here''.
So out he came all Easy Rider stylee on his tiny moped and handed me a helmet.
Now I forgot to mention I was wearing my 11 kilo backpack on my back. (ok it's not that heavy but it's heavy enough!) I totally forgot about this until we sped off down the road! Every time he accelerated or went over a bump, I had to hold on for dear life for fear the weight of my backpack was going to drag me off the bike and plonk me onto the road.
It was a brown trousers, white knuckle ride... The sweat was drippin off me and I said a prayer to Shiva (we were back in Hindu land), that I would actually survive my last day in Bali. (I've had more injuries in Bali than I've had my whole trip!)
It was however the quickest journey ever and for that, and my survival I was grateful. Small mercies. ;) I handed him back his sweat-covered helmet and wobbled my way up the road to departures..

Bali airport is pretty boring and there are not enough seats for everyone to sit on. I ate a dodgy sandwich on the plane as well and felt a bit rough the following day...

Posted by squeakylee 17:56 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali airport ride from motorbike kuta hell Comments (0)

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