A Travellerspoint blog

Moving blog over, again.

So guys, Indo is over and I'm back in Thailand, but I thought rather than any more grief I will just go back to the original blog site and stick with that from now.


Enjoy the new updates!

Posted by travellingjoe 20:47 Comments (1)

My last week in Indo...For now

Day 350 – Monday 7th January

Our last day in Gili today, and boy are we both happy to leave, the whole week has been a complete waste of time. Today was no different, it rained all day and we just sat in the room having a movie marathon, had breaks to get food and that’s about it!

Day 351 – Tuesday 8th January

Got up really early this morning feeling like absolute death, not sure what I ate last night but something in my stomach was definitely not happy. After managing to get out of bed the first thing I did was throw up, everywhere. Marcus was in the toilet so my options were pretty limited, first I tried being sick out the window but all I could do was wretch, then the second I pulled my head back in it came screaming up and I projectile all over the place, if that wasn’t too much detail, what came out was black in colour! Marcus has been bloody ill for a couple weeks now, so it’s probably something I caught from him, but more likely food as once it was out I felt fine, and the rest of my morning was spent mopping up the floor of the room. Eventually it was all cleaned up and we were packed, so we paid the bill and ran off before the woman could check the room, doubt she would’ve been too happy with the smell and my less than 100% cleaning job. We got on the boat back to Lombok and then drove down south to Mataram to hook up with Ismael one last time before I leave Indo. Luckily he was at work so he couldn’t force us to stay for too long, plus it meant all his cool work mates were there to chat to. After a couple of cups of coffee to wake up my more than drowsy driver, we headed off to the port and got on a packed ferry back to Bali, never thought I’d say it but I’m actually happy to be going back there. The 3ish hour ferry journey was just spent on the floor of the deck sleeping on my bag. Marcus’ friend from Finland who happens to be in Kuta on holiday is waiting for us, so when we got off the boat we were in a bit of a rush, and Marcus ended up doing a couple of stupid things which a keen eyed policeman spotted and pulled us over for. Unusually the guy was pretty straight laced and rather than asking for a bribe he started writing us a ticket for a court appearance, meaning we were pretty fucked and therefore had to stump up a lot more money than usual to get him to drop it, bastard. Either way we made it to Kuta in one piece and met up with Kata (the new girl) who seems nice, if not a little bit annoying. After they caught up a bit, us 2 headed back to the hotel to get showered and drop off the bags before going to meet her at her swanky hotel where we sat and chatted a bit more. When we went back to our place, we had another bit of misfortune, the bloody key wouldn’t work and the hotel man was sleeping and couldn’t be arsed getting up to give us a spare. Instead we were forced to keep trying until the key snapped in half, just when the guy decided to turn up and charge us for breaking his key, as it was clearly our fault, not! When he came back with a spare key he then gave us a demonstration on how you turn the key back and forth in order to lock and unlock the door as if we’re fucking retards, I almost slapped the bastard!

Day 352 – Wednesday 9th January

Happy Birthday Poppy! Got up just before 12 this morning as Marcus was getting ready to head off and see Kata, something which I really can’t be bothered with as I started to find her bloody annoying last night, funnily enough Marcus feels the same way, but she’s sort of his responsibility so he’s a bit screwed. While those 2 hung out at her pool, I just sat in the room chilling out in my head, feel like I haven’t had any time alone in forever! When he got back we hung around a bit before heading off to Skygarden once more for the all you can eat BBQ at 5, which was as delicious as ever despite the gale force winds trying to blow away all our food on the roof. Once we’d forced down as much food as we could, we went to our guest house to hang out away from these tornado winds and wait for the next round of free drinks to start at 9. When we got back to the club I really couldn’t be arsed with it at all, the place was full of twatty tank top Australians and I had a really bad headache. So after a few drinks I decided to leave those 2 there and just go home to lie down. Marcus ended up coming back around 12 as well feeling really ill, so the 2 of us just watched a bit of TV before he went to bed and I stayed up pretty much all night trying to get back to sleep after my sleep was interrupted by his arrival.

Day 353 – Thursday 10th January

Pretty much only slept a wink last night, so when I did get up the last thing I could be bothered doing was going to meet up with a more than likely hung over Kata. Instead me and Marcus just spent the afternoon hanging around in the garden at our place and getting some errands done. First we went to give in our laundry, which turned out to be quite a mission to find anywhere that wasn’t a total rip off. Then we got some lunch, and spent a while catching up on some stuff on the internet. Kata came round to ours to go out for dinner and as she’s knew to Indo I thought it would be a good idea to take her to this really nice little local place I knew, unfortunately after a 30 minute walk I just couldn’t find it so instead we settled for the first local place we could find, which actually turned out to be really delicious. The rest of the night was just spent sitting around in our garden listening to music and chatting, despite the crazy winds, the weather has been really good the last few days and it literally hasn’t rained, sods law I’ll get to Thailand and it will start pissing down. I bloody hope not! Me and Marcus ended up staying up really late chatting and it got to 4am and we were starving, so we took the true tourist way of ordering a delivery Mcdonald’s to our door, what a brilliant decision it turned out to be!

Day 354 – Friday 11th January

After our late antics last night, we both agreed not to get up early and go to South Bali with Kata as we’d previously arranged. Unfortunately she had other plans and we got a pretty horrible wakeup call from her just after 12. So we got dressed and met her at her hotel and rented a bike which I drove with her on the back and Marcus was on his. The weather was actually really good and sunny today so I didn’t feel too bad about waking up, plus it’s always nice to go back to the Padang Padang area where I spent the whole of December. Other than a stop for some really good food and an ice cream we drove straight to Balangan beach, the only beach on the Bukit peninsula which is supposed to be nice and that I haven’t seen yet. It was really stunning and more so given the great weather, we found a really nice place to sit down and sunbathe, haven’t done that in ages! The sea was a bit choppy and really shallow on top of a reef so swimming in it turned out to be a bit of a suicide mission and I came out with cuts all over, so I stuck to the beach after that and had a much needed nap in the sun. Sure as anything the dark clouds started to approach just before sunset so we hit the road down to Uluwatu beach which always has really good sunsets and looked like it was clear from the rain. But when it started raining on the short drive over there we decided to just turn around and try and beat the storm to Kuta. We did in fact manage to stay dry, turns out the storm was coming towards us all along and the road to Kuta had already been hit, which meant driving through rivers in parts, but at least we stayed dry. Made it back safely, and after showers we met up again for some dinner at a little Chinese restaurant, which turned out to have some delicious food, if not a little bit expensive. After dinner we hung out at our place for a bit, none of us in any mood to go out for our last night given the recent late nights. Once we’d had enough of Kata we played that we were too tired to stay up and sent her on her way and watched a movie. So I’m off to Thailand tomorrow and I can’t bloody wait, as much as I love Indo, the last month has been a complete waste of time and money, I was stuck in a surfer area meaning I couldn’t participate in 90% of conversations, plus I had a motorbike accident which cost me a week of sitting around and a lot of money to repair, and on top of all that it’s been easily my most expensive month in Indo despite the fact that I’ve done the least. Bali is just too god dam expensive with no rewards! Still I’m glad I came as it meant I met up with Laurie again, but in hindsight I might have stayed in Sulawesi for a couple of weeks after I left Papua rather than rushing straight to Bali. Bring on Thailand, can’t wait to get some good weather and nice beaches for a month!

Posted by travellingjoe 04:39 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Back to the Gilli islands!

Day 342 – Sunday 30th December

Another miserable day here in Bali, spent the whole morning just sitting in bed waiting for the rain to stop. After a while it started to slow down a bit, so Me and Marcus went to the restaurant next door wading through the flooded streets. After lunch we went around a bit to pick up a couple of things from the chemist, and then came back to the dry hotel. Luke and Louis were back from surfing by this point so the 4 of us just spent the afternoon chilling out and then went to skygarden at 5pm to pick up the amazing all you can eat and all you can drink barbeque extravaganza for only 3 quid. Once the clouds started to look a bit fishy we left the roof and went to pick up some tickets in advance for The Hobbit so as not to miss it again. As we’re leaving to Lombok tomorrow to spend new year’s with Ismael I have to hand my bike back in as my month of having it is up in a few days. I was hoping the guy wouldn’t notice all the damage from my crash, but he was a fucking eagle and saw it all instantly and got very pissed off. After over an hour of just standing there refusing to pay and saying I’d take it to the mechanic myself we were getting nowhere. He basically wanted to have my passport as deposit for me taking the bike away and fixing it in the morning, but seeing as I have to leave tomorrow early I really don’t want to deal with this and I hate giving up my passport. So we eventually agreed a price of around 50 quid, considering that and the fact that I didn’t even drive it for 2 weeks when I was injured it was a pretty pointless thing to get. After all that annoyance, it was time for me and Luke to go to the cinema. I have to say that I was never really that big a fan of The Lord of The Rings, but I thought this film was actually pretty good, if not a bit ridiculous. Either way I enjoyed it, but was a little pissed off with the fact that they’d run out of popcorn!

Day 343 – Monday 31st December

For some reason I couldn’t sleep last night at all which won’t bode too well with the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve tonight. I woke Marcus up around 8 and after we had our free breakfast, we packed everything up, settled the bill and hit the road east to Lombok. Managed to get all the way to the port in Padang Bai without getting stopped by police looking for bribes which was a bit of a result, and meant we got there in pretty good time. Still we had a bit of a wait for the ferry, so we just picked up some food and I found a bench to finally get some sleep on. The ferry was completely empty and it arrived 2 hours early, one obvious benefit of travelling on New Year’s. When we made it in to Lombok, the inevitable happened and it started raining! We were forced to stop and have a coffee to let it die down for a bit, where Marcus managed to spill the whole cup on his trousers. All in all we made it to Ismael’s in about 8 hours which isn’t too bad. As always dinner was ready on the table and we sat down to eat as Marcus and him spoke to each other in Indo getting to know one another. After all sitting around for a bit and having showers we headed out for the big night, first we stopped off to pick up one if Ismael’s friends then we drove to the other side of the city to Gomez’s house. Someone who I’ve met just as much as Ismael and is a really nice guy who has such a nice house right in the middle of a load of paddy fields. First his Mum cooked us some eels she’d found in the fields and then we were given a whole other dinner and tea and coffee, not really what I was expecting from New Year’s! But after a while I suggested we go get some fireworks and booze, so me and Gomez drove off into the middle of the city where it was fucking crazy. This is what I was expecting from New Years, giant street parties and such, shame all these guys are pretty tame. Once we got the fireworks we came back and Gomez got a friend to bring round some whiskey for us and some local shit, great gift. Then the 6 or 7 of us guys just spent the night sitting around drinking and laughing and playing the guitar and shit. It was pretty fun and given how tired I was it was probably better than partying hard. At 12 we set off all the fireworks and then sat and finished off the drink before heading home around 2.

Day 344 – Tuesday 1st January 2013!!

After last night’s late antics, we all got up pretty late today. The wife had breakfast all laid out, and after we ate we sat around getting harassed by the kids. They’re pretty nice but a little bit annoying sometimes and one of them has this really dead eyed stare which freaks the shit out of me. As per usual it was raining buckets, but it did ease up and Ismael took us on a drive around the countryside with his friend, Lombok is so god dam beautiful and it’s so cool to drive around and see all the little villages, shame that it has to rain every 5 minutes! We took shelter in a little local coffee place and sat there chatting for a couple of hours as the monsoon pounded around us. Marcus started telling me about this really cool island in Thailand which has barely any tourists and is really cheap, plus it’s no longer rainy season there. It really got me thinking about it and how it would probably be a good idea to get out now, I do love Indo but with the rain it just makes it a bitch to travel, living as I have been recently just staying in one place is OK, but the fact that I want to move around and see lots in the North West over the next couple of months it would start to get really depressing. After a bit more driving around we stopped at Ismael’s friend’s place where he gave us some food and told us a bit about all the fighting fish he’s cultivating in jars all over the house, had no idea fish could fight, but it really doesn’t surprise me that it’s something they bet a lot of money on out here. Once we were done there we visited Ismael’s Mum’s house (1 of his Dad’s 3 wives!) and hung out there chatting with his Mum, Dad and sister. After a while, his brother in law also called Ismael turned up, not sure if I’ve mentioned this guy, but other than being a supposedly ex crack addict he’s fucking hilarious. He offered to take us out drinking with a couple of mates, Ismael refused to go which felt a bit worrying, but the people all turned out to be friendly if not a bit fucked up, plus they gave us a load of free booze which is always good. Hung out there for a couple of hours just shooting the shit before going to see some other friends who seemingly ran a meth lab in the back of their house; they kept asking us over and over if we wanted to buy some. All a bit of a weird night, but still a good laugh!

Day 345 – Wednesday 2nd January

We got up just after 10 today as we will be driving over to the Gili islands and we had a few things to sort out before we go. As Laurie had such good things to say about the place and Marcus having only 10 days left it seemed right to go there for a few days and party away his and potentially my last week in Indo. We had the usual breakfast and once all our clean clothes were dry we packed up our bags, said goodbye to the mute wife and hit the road. First stop was Ismael’s market as he wanted to show it to Marcus and it meant we could see all the guys again to say thanks for the other night. We were kept there for a while as Ismael banged on about coming back to stay with him or go out in a couple of days, some people just don’t let up! Don’t get me wrong he’s really nice just a bit pushy. Once we escaped we hit the road up to Bangsal to catch a ferry over to Gili Trawangan, we took the monkey forest road which is always fun as you can life at all the monkeys, and here Marcus’ great story of when he was staying with a family who had a pet monkey who just sat in a dark room all day sucking himself off and the looking guilty when a human walked in. Made it to Bangsal when the worst storm hit and we were stranded with no boats leaving anytime soon which meant a 2 hour wait just sitting around on the floor waiting for the seemingly endless rain to ease up. By about half 5 they were happy to send some boats out, and after a pretty rocky and soaking boat trip we made it! After getting a bite to eat we went back to the same hotel where me and Laurie stayed a couple of weeks ago as we knew she’d give us a good price. Once we got some dry clothes on we went and hung out in a bar for a bit before hitting the legendary night market for some of the best food I’ve had in Indo, definitely my favourite thing about this island. Due to the weather and the long day, we took it easy tonight and watched the 6th sense rather than go out, first time I’ve seen it and have to say it’s a bit overrated!

Day 346 – Thursday 3rd January

Got up nice and early today to make sure we could get our free breakfast from our nice guest house lady, as the place is empty and she doesn’t want to hang around all day waiting for us to get up. Sorry to go on about it, but the weather was just as bad as usual today so we pretty much spent the whole day hanging around our room watching movies. Really shows just how little there is to do on an island when it isn’t sunny. We did go to the internet café at one point to check on flights for me to go to Thailand, turns out it’s a lot more expensive than I was predicting and actually not a straightforward mission as air asia no longer run the flight which I came here on. I just need a day to think about booking it really but given the weather here I’m sure I’ll be going. Had some dinner at the night market, still not really meeting anyone here, when me and Laurie were here the place would always be packed with fellow young travellers, but at the moment that really isn’t the case, and I’m sure Marcus is beginning to have enough of me. After dinner we went in search of some bars which looked lively and most importantly did good happy hours, but it was all pretty fruitless and in our true lay fashion we ended up giving up and just going back to our room.

Day 347 – Friday 4th January

Got up to an unusually sunny day, good signs for lounging on the beach! After some food and a bit of TV watching to wake up, the sun had gone and the usual grey clouds were back! Still we went to the beach as we’ve got fuck all else to do and being cooped up in our homestay is getting pretty dull. Marcus took his guitar and we went off and spent the afternoon just hanging out there watching the world go by. Once we got bored of just sitting around there we went and got a bite to eat before going to a bar and having a couple of beers while we stole their wifi to book tickets. Going to Thailand on the 12th arriving the next day, and despite the tickets being so expensive I’m bloody happy to have them booked and it will be nice to get a change of scenery after spending the last 4 months in Indo. After a bit more hanging around we went to the night market to get some food and alcohol. And as per usual we were left sitting drinking alone in this seemingly empty ghost town. The last few nights the reggae bar on the beach has being looking really packed with their live music so we decided to spend the night there. Unfortunately tonight the place was completely empty save for a few Russians and this crazy old drunk Australian woman who wouldn’t leave us alone. Turns out there’s a big party down the road at Rudy’s bar, which is a fucking shit hole, plus the music was abysmal and there was a ratio of about 95% dudes. All in all it really wasn’t worth waiting around there and it was already surprisingly late so we just went home, hoping tomorrow will be a bigger success.

Day 348 – Saturday 5th January

Had the usual routine in the morning before we hit the beach for some afternoon relaxing. We went to the bar which has bean bag chairs on the beach, fucking genius idea and hung out there just reading for a while, before it started raining of course. Luckily there was a little shack with a roof in the bar and some comfy cushions so we stuck around there for a couple more hours playing the guitar. After picking up a pizza we went back to the room before it started raining again. God my life sounds so bloody exciting at the moment! Watched a movie went and had some dinner and interestingly enough bumped into this Italian girl who was here last time I came, fun little reunion there. After we had our food, Marcus stayed at the market to use the internet to skype his brother and I went back to have a nap before we went out. Marcus ended up being gone for about 2 hours which meant a bloody good nap for me, but it was all for nothing as he was feeling really ill and just not in the mood to go out, so we just chilled out at our place for the rest of the night.

Day 349 – Sunday 6th January

Another boring day, no need for me to write about all of it. Long story short, it was all the same bar spending some of the afternoon updating the blog. Didn’t go out again tonight as I had a really bad headache that I could barely even stand up! All in all been a pretty slow week on this island, in a weird way sort of looking forward to the hustle and bustle of Kuta Bali in a couple of days.

Posted by travellingjoe 20:58 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Christmas and my Last days in Bali

Day 336 – Monday 24th December

Such a weird feeling that it’s Christmas Eve, starting to feel like I must just have a complete break down on the big day tomorrow, or it might just come and go as usual! Once I eventually got up, I just chilled with Marcus, as he’s still ill and Laurie is out surfing there’s not really much else for me to do other than just sit in a hammock all day, such a hard life. Today I had to write the blog though which I’ve been putting off for ages, so that was a bit annoying, but after a few hours of picking it up, putting it back down and watching some South Park I finally managed to get up to date on the last 10 days. Once I’d finally finished and Laurie was back from surfing the 3 of us decided to head off to Kuta to hit the club for the night. After stopping off for some food on the way and hitting some of the worst traffic I’ve seen here in Bali, we finally made it to ‘Skygarden’ the big club in the centre of town around 9ish. After knocking back as many free drinks as we could (only served between 9 and 10) we partied the night away. It’s actually the first time I’ve been to a club in Indo, and apart from all the Australians all over the place the whole feel was identical to the rest of Asia. Either way we all had a really good night, and I decided not to drink as we had to drive home later which made it quite an interesting experience. After a few hours Marcus started to feel like shit again so we left the club and drove back home on completely empty roads which was pure fucking luxury given the usual state of the drive from kuta to Padang-Padang.

Day 337 – Tuesday 25th December

Christmas day! It’s weird to be having Christmas in a hot country, I’ve had a lot of Christmases away but never in tropical weather, to be brutally honest it just feels like another day and not really Christmassy at all. Laurie was off surfing this morning and Marcus was still ill so I went on a drive to find a nice restaurant to have some lunch and I found a really nice place where the woman was super friendly and jolly and even put a candle on my table for my Christmas lunch of fried chicken and rice. Once I got back all the lads had made it back from surfing and they had good news that they’d found a place for us to have some Christmas dinner later on. We made plans to meet up at half 7 and the 3 guys went for an evening surf as Me, Laurie and Marcus went to Padang beach to hang out and then went to Uluwatu cliff to watch a pretty spectacular sunset. After all showering and stuff we headed off to get some Christmas dinner, Marcus still wasn’t feeling up for eating so it was me, Laurie, Pete, Johnny and Louis who went. After telling us they’d run out of roast beef the guy seemed to magic up 5 portions and dinner was served, one of the weirder ones of my life, it consisted of; roast beef, potato salad, cold pasta, egg and some random vegetables. The beef was really tasty and everything else was a bit bizarre but we were given a free beer so all was good. It was really nice to just sit down in our big English groups and reminisce on what Christmas should be, talking about watching toy story and drinking and eating good food and things, all in all a really nice experience. When we got back home we all went off to different places to get some internet and skype our respective families, good to see that the Lodges seemed to be chucking all Christmas tradition out the window as well, they were having risotto and steak for dinner for crying out loud! Really nice to speak to everyone though ad every time I see the house and food on skype I always get a yearning to go home! After that, me and Pete got a couple beers and sat up chatting for a while whilst everyone else finished off their family time, then everyone headed off to bed for some more surfing tomorrow.

Day 338 – Wednesday 26th December

Had a usually dull morning this morning, can’t even remember what I did other than just sit watching the world go by. Once Laurie made it back from his morning surf, me and Marcus decided to join him on the afternoon surf and we all went to Green Bowl beach with Luke and Louis. The beach was really nice to just sit and relax and there was actually some sunshine for the first time in ages seemingly, unfortunately there were no waves though so we didn’t get to see the guys showing off their mad skills on the water. Either way me and Marcus were too preoccupied trying to hit on this really hot Indonesian from Jakarta who was sitting on the beach next to us, our plans were foiled though as the local women wouldn’t leave us alone trying to force us to pay for a massage from them. I did manage to get a good free 10 minute massage before they eventually left me alone after telling them a million times I didn’t want one! After surfing we met this German surfer and hung out with him for a while, can’t say it was too interesting as him and Laurie seemed to just have the same fucking chat you here every 10 minutes in this place about the quality of the waves, don’t know how they don’t get bored. By the time we got back it was already time for dinner and although Marcus and Laurie were being lazy I managed to convince the other guys to go out and so we went to this little Mexican restaurant which is supposed to have really good food, and is widely spoken about in the sufer community. And fuck me was it good, I got an amazing rare barbequed steak and an assortment of Mexican condiments like refried beans and stuff, absolutely delicious. The last few days I’ve been so bored of Indo food, so I think for the next week or so at least I’ll be eating a lot more Western food as Bali is one of the few places where it’s actually good. Whilst we were eating it started to rain bloody heavily so we were stranded in the restaurant for a good couple of hours just waiting it out before eventually heading back. Once we got back everyone was wet and tired so they all went to bed, and me and Marcus being the only 2 not constantly worn out from surfing just stayed up for a while chilling.

Day 339 – Thursday 27th December

Laurie wanted to go to Kuta today as he’s only got a couple of days left here and wants to stock up on a few things before he goes to Australia, so once we were all up, the 3 of us headed off for some lunch. As Kuta is a shit hole there was no need for all of us to go, so Marcus decided to stay behind as I kept Laurie company on his little shopping adventure. As per usual the traffic was fucking horrendous and once we eventually made it to Kuta after a seemingly endless drive, we sat down and had a drink and decided it best just to go back to Padang ASAP. When we made it back it started raining so we couldn’t head out for dinner and instead just chilled in the garden outside the room listening to music and reminiscing about our time together. Eventually we went out to get some food quite late and then hung out a bit more watching the full moon before going to bed.

Day 340 – Friday 28th December

Today we’re going to Kuta to spend Laurie’s last night there before he gets the flight the next morning. So our first few hours just consisted of all hanging around chatting and packing as slowly as one could pack when you’re not in a rush to leave somewhere. Luke and Louis are coming with us but Pete and Jonny are going to stay here so they spent the morning just stealing all my films and tv shows from my laptop. Once it eventually stopped raining and we settled our bill we got going on our 5 bike convoy to Kuta, all arriving here separately as we have our own little ways to dry and dodge the traffic (none of which actually work!). At the big club they do a really good deal of all you can eat barbeque and free drinks between 5 and 6, and as it was already just past 5 we rushed off to cram in as much free drink as we could. The food was by far the best meal I’ve had here and I managed to eat enough to feel sick and knocking back the beers as fast as we could didn’t help. So all in all we all felt a bit sick and had stomach pains so we went back to the hotel to lie down for a couple of hours before the next round of free drinks started at 9. When we got back to the club we met up with Pete and Jonny who’ve come down for the night, and we all sat there pounding back as many drinks as we could in the hour we had. Once the free drinks were over, everyone went to another club and Me, Marcus and Laurie stayed in Skygarden for the rest of the night. The 2 of them were completely trashed and making absolute fools of themselves, and eventually Laurie went too far and he disappeared out the club so I went to look for him to make sure he was OK and let him back in to the room where he passed out on the bed instantly. My night was cut a bit short which was a bit of a bummer, but Marcus stayed to party hard for the rest of the night and he still wasn’t back by the time I went to bed at 3.

Day 341 – Saturday 29th December

Couldn’t sleep at all last night, our hotel is right on the street and all the bars seemingly stay open all night playing shit music, plus Marcus never came back which was really worrying as when I left him he was in such a state. We all eventually made it out of bed and Marcus still wasn’t back and wasn’t picking u[ his phone so we were all a bit worried but there was literally nothing we could do so we headed off to shop for all the stuff Laurie couldn’t be arsed getting the other day. We left Louis and the key back here in case Marcus did manage to find his way back. Luke has been staying in Kuta for months so luckily he knows his way around pretty well and he showed us to all the surf outlets where Laurie picked up some trainers, a couple of t-shirts, a surfboard and some fags to sell off when he gets to Oz. When we finally made it back after a very hot and stressful afternoon, Marcus still wasn’t back! But in his true Finnish spirit he did turn up all calm as anything with a girl on his arm, cheeky bastard, he managed to bag himself a local! Considering the state I left him in I was just in utter shock, not to mention the fact that she was only 18 and bloody hot! Either way we had no time to waste and Laurie had to get all his shit together and me, him and Luke drove off to the airport just after 5 leaving Marcus to look after his bird. Got to the airport and had to say my goodbyes to Laurie, I’ve met a lot of cool people along the way but Laurie is levels above all those people, he’s so nice and just such a fun guy to be around. I’m so happy that I managed to hook up with him again after we spent those 3 weeks in Lombok together way back when. If I was gay I’d probably go for a guy like him (or Ned), gonna miss you man, and hopefully see you again at some point. Poor bastard has to go back to the real world and work over in Oz. After all that emotion we came back here and all of us went out to get some food from a place round the corner. In true Indo fashion it started to rain hard as we sat down and we were forced to drive back in the pouring rain. As none of us can be fucked going out tonight we thought it might be a good plan to go to a cinema so we drove to the nearest one where they weren’t showing anything anytime soon, then drove all the way to the one out of town where they were all sold out, then came back to the original one and they were all sold out for the late showing. What a fucking waste of like an hour and a half driving around like headless chickens looking for a bloody cinema on a Saturday night. Luckily it was almost 11 meaning time for the United game, so the 3 English guys (Finnish people don’t seem to grasp how good football is) headed off to a sports bar and watched an average United display with a better than average goal from Van Persie, fucking legend! Came back and went straight to bed, long bloody day!

Posted by travellingjoe 05:45 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Little holiday to the Gili islands

Day 326 – Friday 14th December

Got up nice and late today and Laurie was already long gone surfing which meant that I no longer had my little errand boy to get me some food, nor did I have any money left to be able to go to walk to the shop and with the ATM as far as it is I was stranded alone and hungry in my room, can’t wait to be able to drive again, it’s just so necessary around here. Once Laurie did make it back the 2 of us sat and had some food and chatted to the owner about our plans for the next couple of days. We’re going to visit Ismael (Laurie’s Indo mate who we stayed with way back when) over in Mataram Lombok and then as it’s Laurie’s birthday on Wednesday we’ll potentially go to the Gili islands, a group of small touristy islands on the North West coast of Lombok. I also finally managed to weasel out the wifi code from the owner, he always bangs on about it not working and his son having to use it for homework so he normally refuses to tell me. But finally I’ve got it and I was able to upload the blog and catch up on a few TV shows. After a bit more hanging around we went to get some money out and settle our bill here for the last 10 days, so annoying when you leave it that long to pay because it’s always a much bigger bill than you expect. Then we went and got some dinner, and after a bit of a miscommunication Laurie didn’t bring any money as he thought I was paying, and I didn’t have enough for the both of us so he was forced to drive all the way home and back again, but it all got sorted out eventually. Then we came back home, packed up all our stuff, cleaned the room and went to bed.

Day 327 – Saturday 15th December

Got up bright and early for our road trip this morning, and after packing and lazing around a bit we eventually got going just before 10. We took it nice and easy on the drive and stopped for some food on the way as well as stopping not once but twice for stupid fucking police road blocks. The whole thing is such a joke they just stop every tourist and if you don’t have an international licence they give a whole speech about how they’re going to fine you a crazy amount of money and then take you to court, uh-oh! Then they all come out with the same bullshit line of ‘I can make this much easier for you, give me x amount’ and then after a bit off haggling we managed to get away with only a couple of quid, bloody corrupt bastards. Anyway after a 2 and a bit hour drive we made it to Padang Bai on the East coast of Bali and hopped on a ferry, not before getting yet more questions form police at the port. The boat took about 4 hours plus an extra hour waiting outside port in Lombok for a space to clear up, which is a ridiculously long time when you look on a map and see just how close the 2 islands are, that’s just Indonesian transport I guess. Got off the ferry and went on the short drive to Ismael’s house, where dinner was already on the table. It’s so nice to be back in Lombok, one island that I know and love a lot, the countryside as well as the people is just brilliant and we both just got a really good feeling on that drive to Ismael’s. After dinner we played around with his 2 kids for a while before heading off to hang out with a couple of his mates, and spend the rest of the night sitting around drinking with everyone. Really fun evening all in all, and it’s just always nice to hang out with locals, plus we got back in time to watch the United game against Sunderland, another good result.

Day 328 – Sunday 16th December

Got the usual nightmarish wake up at 4 am from the bloody mosque down the road this morning, one bad thing about Lombok! Sat in bed a bit longer before getting up and getting some breakfast from the mysterious wife, whose name we don’t know and who pretty much never speaks. After giving her our washing Ismael took us to see some land he’d just bought outside of Mataram, considering the fact that it’s only about 20 minutes outside the city the place is in really nice surroundings with rice paddies all over the place and lots of other cool scenery. Seeing as he’s already got a house in a good place, this land is purely for his own amusement to do some planting, plus it’s on a slope so he couldn’t really build a house. We just sat around there for a bit as he signed a few more papers with his lawyer and the owner whilst having some coffee. Once all that was sorted and he’d sufficiently shown off we hit the road again and went to see one of his mates who owns a fish farm, can’t emphasise enough how nice the driving is around here, seeing all these really cool villages and beautiful countryside, something I’d never see without knowing Ismael. Anyway, we made it to the fish farm and they were just preparing the wood fire for some lunch while we sat on their little verandas overlooking the water and all the fish below, so peaceful. Plus it started raining like mad and it was just the best place to chill at that time. A few more of Ismael’s friends came to join us after a while, a couple of which I’ve met before, and we all sat around drinking some of the local booze while eating some bloody delicious fish. After lunch we hung out a bit more managing to all have a good laugh despite the language barrier. Once we’d all had enough, me, Laurie, Ismael, Gomez (work mate), and the other Ismael (brother in law) went off, first stopping off at Gomez’s house to meet his family and go into the jungle around him as he needed to cut down some palm. After that Ismael showed us his old house which was just down the road and he still hasn’t sold it yet, with that and the land and his current house it’s pretty obvious this guy is a bit minted as it’s very unusual for an Indonesian to own so much. We left Gomez’s and went to a public swimming pool to cool down, the place was effectively a big man made reservoir and it was so refreshing, plus there were loads of local kids hanging around and we fucked around with them for a bit just chucking them into the pool and things, all really fun. So lucky that we know Ismael as he just keeps taking us to all these cool places that we’d never find otherwise, plus he’s invited me back for new year’s which should be a good laugh. After that we went home and had a shower before having some really good food for dinner and chilling out with the kids for a couple of hours and going to bed for a much needed early night.

Day 329 – Monday 17th December

Got up nice and early this morning as I needed to extend my visa before we had to head off to the Gili islands. Now that I’ve got my 6 month social visa, I have 2 months free (which runs out in January) and I have the option to extend it for 4 extra months, but I need a ‘sponsor’ to effectively take responsibility for me. In Indo there are lots of people who will do this for you and charge you for the privilege, but Ismael is a mate and will obviously do it for free which is so useful. So we filled out all the forms and had the usual long useless waiting around before finally being able to hand it in. After that we left him and drove up along the coast to Bangsal, I think it’s called and got on the 30 minute ferry to Gili Trewangan, the biggest of the 3 islands and infamous for parties. After walking around aimlessly looking for a cheap place to stay we gave up and sat on the beach for a little bit before getting some advice and finding a really nice cheap room. Once we settled down and showered and got changed we hung out on the beach for a bit before eventually going out for some dinner at the night market, which had some absolutely amazing food. On top of that the place was flooded with travellers, something which I haven’t witnessed since leaving Thailand, really nice to just sit down and have a chat with some random people. We found a really cool group of guys and stayed with them for a bit before they went off and left us with literally the most annoying Australian guy, luckily we managed to ditch him and went to the big club for the night where we met up with another group of really nice English guys who we sat around drinking with for a while before partying the night away inside.

Day 330 – Tuesday 18th December

Despite not getting back until 3 last night Laurie woke up at 7 this morning and sat around chatting with our neighbours as I had a really nice lie in in our king size bed. Once I finally made it up, I had the really nice free breakfast and the 2 of us sat around for a while listening to music. After a while sitting around our place we went and chilled out on the beach, as its low season at the moment none of the bars mind if you use their beach chairs, and some even have bean bags which makes for a nice relaxing time. After spending the whole afternoon on the beach we went and had a beer at one of the restaurants where we met a French Canadian, and due to the late exploits of last night, we decided to just take it easy tonight and sit around chilling with him playing some cards. Unlucky for him a huge storm hit and he had to walk all the way home in it as we got stayed nice and cosy at our place.

Day 331 – Wednesday 19th December

Today was Laurie’s 23rd birthday! After having a nice long sleep, the 2 of us got up and had a really good breakfast before chilling out at our place and having a couple of really intense games of chess. Then we got a text from Ismael saying he was coming to visit us for Laurie’s birthday, he’s really nice and all but he does try and scrape in a bit too much, but he’s done so much for us there’s no way we could say no. So we sat around waiting for him and then picked him up at the port with his friend, luckily he came with a big bag full of the local wine and a big bottle of good whiskey and one of his mates. After finding them a cheap place to stay, we took some alcohol and got some snorkelling gear and went to chill on the beach for the afternoon. The snorkelling wasn’t very good, well nothing really is after Raja Ampat, but it was fine to spend the day doing something, and Ismael’s mate was a cool guy. After a few hours hanging around there we got a pizza and sat and had that on the beach before all heading back for showers and getting ready for the big night ahead. We took all the booze and went to the night market for some dinner, there we met these 2 English guys; Pete and Jonnny who Laurie had been surfing with a couple of times back in Bali, and the 6 of us sat around drinking and playing cards. Which was pretty funny as the 2 Indo guys just couldn’t seem to pick up the game, despite it being ridiculously simple, I guess it’s just a cultural thing. Once we’d finished all the booze, we left Ismael’s mate behind (as he was being sick) and the rest of us went to the club. As Ismael’s a Muslim it wasn’t really his scene but he seemed to have a good time just sitting around watching, plus Laurie was absolutely hammered which is always fun to watch. After just dancing around for a little while I bumped into an Indian guy who I recognized, at first I thought it was the guy who we met in Raja Ampat and stayed on our island for a couple of nights, but then I realised it was Aravin, a guy who I met way back on my second night in Beijing. Back then, me, him, Job (really cool Dutch guy) and Lee (British guy) had an awesome night where we found a crazy reggae bar in the middle of nowhere at the back of a drive in cinema, and then the next night we found a really nice jazz bar overlooking a lake in the middle of Beijing. Those were 2 of my bet nights in Beijing and unfortunately both Lee and Aravin left the next day never to be seen again, so it was a bit of a shock to run into him after 8 months, let alone be able to recognize him and remember his name. The 2 of us had a lot to catch up on so we sat and had a few drinks chatting and just generally feeling mind blown about the whole situation, I mean it’s just ridiculous how stuff like this can happen in such a big world. Luckily Laurie was preoccupied with some local girls so I wasn’t just ditching him, and me and Aravin had a really good night, as did Laurie and Ismael. Around 4 it was time to leave and Laurie was absolutely paraletically drunk so I was forced to pretty much carry him home, a hard feat for a 6ft plus guy who’s pretty built! Got back and the 2 of us passed out, all in all a really good day!

Day 332 – Thursday 20th December

We both woke up this morning feeling like absolute death, one of the worst hangovers of my life, bloody Aravin buying me drinks all night! Somehow Laurie mustered up the strength to go hang on the beach and meet some new people as I wallowed in bed. The original plan was to go back to Bali today, but in this state neither one of us was in the mood and so we’ve postponed our departure to tomorrow. Once Laurie got back, the 2 of us spent the afternoon just relaxing at our place complaining about how shit we felt! Managed to make a move around 4 and get some food, then we just came back and watched a movie and played some cards. By that point it was dinner time and we had both pretty much recovered so we went to the night market for some food, where we met up with this cool Italian girl who we’ve been seeing every now and again over the last few days, then after dinner the 3 of us just sat chilling on the beach chatting. I’m really undecided about this place, on one hand it’s cool to be with so many travellers and have nice places to go at night, but on the other hand compared to islands I’ve been to before it’s a bit tacky and the beach is less than average, plus it’s pretty expensive to be going out every night. Either way it’s definitely nice to not just be in a bloody surfer community where I don’t have a fucking clue what they’re on about and why they all insist on getting up at the crack of dawn. After hanging with that girl for a while me and Laurie came back and watched a movie before hitting the hay for our 7:30 wake up tomorrow and the long trip back home.

Day 333 – Friday 21st December

Got up bright and early this morning feeling a little bit worse for wear, had our breakfast and packed up our stuff and got on the boat out of here just after 8. Got to the other side, picked up the bike and drove back to Mataram and to the immigration office where I had to pick up my passport. As per usual there was a lot of pointless waiting around, first for them to find my papers, then a bit more, then I had to go into a back office and have my fingerprints and picture taken before finally getting my newly renewed passport back, now I’m safe until the 5th of February. After that we went to go see Ismael so Laurie could say his goodbyes and we could get some lunch. We ended up staying a bit longer than expected as a storm hit half way through lunch and we had to wait it out, fucking typical! Once we did eventually get going, I was finally deemed fit enough to drive, such a luxury having had to sit on the uncomfortable back seat for so long, and the 2 of us got to the port in Lembar safe and sound if not a bit wet. Here we saw a couple of lost travellers and after a brief break in schedule we sorted out some transport for them to get to Kuta before getting on the ferry. On the ferry Laurie sat listening to music as I caught up on my diary, something which I never let slack but over the last 5 days I kept forgetting to do, don’t even want to think about how far behind I am on the blog, sorry guys! After the ridiculously long 4 hour journey we made it back home to Bali, and after a quick 2 hour drive taking turns and stopping off for some McDonald’s (something Laurie hasn’t had in a decade due to moral issues!) we made it back to our place here in Padang Padang. Not only was Laurie’s Finnish mate (he met him about 5 months ago and he just arrived in Bali today) there but the 2 English guys from the night of Laurie’s birthday and 2 of their mates were at our guest house. Having been the only 2 here for over a week before, it was nice to finally have some company! Plus Laurie’s Finnish mate, Marcus, isn’t a surfer so I finally have someone to waste my days with and he seems like a pretty cool guy with a good traveller mind-set. All of us then spent the night having a few beers and getting to know each other before another very late night.

Day 334 – Saturday 22nd December

All the surfer crew got up at 6ish this morning, I really don’t understand how Laurie does it, he barely sleeps more than 3 hours most nights just to go surfing every bloody day! Either way it means I get the whole bed to myself and I really needed to catch up on sleep so I did. Once I did get up, Laurie had made it back from the morning surf and he’d brought some lunch with him (he’s too good to me!) and we sat and ate that before they all went off to surf again. Unfortunately Marcus wasn’t feeling too well so I was stuck alone just watching TV in my room trying to put off writing the blog as I know how far behind I am. Once they all made it back from the surf we all sat around chatting for a while about ‘how good the barrels were’ and what not before it was time for dinner. Then me, Laurie and Marcus went to eat round the corner and catch a bit of the Arsenal game. When we got back, Laurie went to the internet to catch up on some things, but having not yet written the blog I decided to give it a miss, forgot to mention the internet no longer works at our guest house which is a right bummer. Anyway, me and Marcus sat watching Forrest Gump, such a nice feel good movie which I haven’t seen in way too long. Plus there was a giant storm going on right in front of us as we sat nice and dry on the balcony. Once Laurie made it back, he went straight to bed as did Marcus as he’s not feeling too well so I just sat and watched TV for a bit.

Day 335 – Sunday 23rd December

Laurie decided to put off going surfing early this morning and instead got up late and the 3 of us sat around and had some breakfast together at the guest house. Once we’d eaten he rushed off to surf as he was getting some withdrawal symptoms! Then me and Marcus drove off to Kuta as he wanted to rent himself a bike for his last 3 weeks in Indonesia. This was the first time I rode my own bike properly since the crash, and it’s not in too bad a state, but the front wheel is really wobbly and it’s a bit of a bitch to drive when you’re going fast, just got to hope it holds on and I don’t have to end up shelling out for it, but it’s likely that the guy who rented in to me will notice all the scratches and make me fork out. Managed to get to Kuta in good time as there wasn’t so much traffic as usual, and after sorting out a bike and a couple other things we hit the road back to Padang Padang, only getting lost a little bit, much better than usual! By the time we made it back it was already evening and everyone was back from surfing and gearing up to get pissed and go out. Having already been to the surfer bar they’re going to quite a few times now, and it always being shit I really couldn’t be arsed and Marcus was too ill to drink, so with Laurie we all went and hung out on the beach watching the sunset, before Laurie had to go and get lashed. The 2 of us stayed there for a while just watching the moon and stars, god my life is sounding really gay at the moment! It was really nice though and the beach is really cool. We hung out there for a while then came back to have some dinner and sit and watch the United game in one of the restaurants. Don’t really want to say much more on that subject! After that we went to meet up with all the guys at the bar, and the whole place was way different to how it is usually on Sundays, I guess it’s the busy Christmas period. But the place was completely packed, with good music and everyone was having a really good time. It was a bit too late to start drinking and given the state of our entire group we had a lot of catching up to do, Laurie especially was smashed. He did manage to bag himself a little lady friend, not one he’ll want to remember for a long time, desperate times call for desperate measures I guess. Fortunately he managed to get her in and out in time for me to go to bed!

Posted by travellingjoe 02:07 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

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