04.12.2012 - 08.12.2012
Day 316 – Tuesday 4th December
Had a really nice double bed with super comfortable covers and AC, one would expect a great night sleep, unfortunately we had to get up at 7 so it all went to waste! At least the hotel had a really good selection of things for dinner, and we both stocked up on food before packing up all our stuff and heading out to the street and picking up a bemo to the airport. Did all the check in bollocks and paid our airport tax, then had a good hour and a half just waiting around in the waiting room watching trashy Indonesian soap operas. Eventually the flight turned up having come from somewhere in East Papua and just stopping off on the way to Makassar, that’s probably why for the first time I wasn’t sat in the emergency seats. I’m sure I’ve brought it up before, but every plane I’ve had in Indo I’ve been put in the emergency seats, I’m guessing they don’t really trust the locals to keep their cool or something, bit of a shame to throw away that record! Either way I spent the entire flight just passed out on the tray table. Got to Makassar and had a 4ish hour stopover, so we had some KFC before being turned away from check in for being too early. Which was a bit frustrating as the departure hall has lots more things to keep us occupied, I had to write the blog though, so I just sat on my bag and knocked it all out. Once we were finally allowed to check in, we went upstairs and hung out in Starbuck’s for the remainder of the wait, where they had wifi, what a luxury! So I uploaded the blog and all the diving pictures, which I hope you guys all enjoyed. After an epic storm and a short delay we finally made it on to the plane and in to the emergency seats, that’s 7 out of 8 for me! The plane was another hour and a half, and after leaving our little island yesterday at midday we finally made it to Bali around 7 this evening. Fortunately the rain hadn’t followed us from Makassar, so we just jumped in a cab and went to Gang Poppies, a famous street in Bali flooded with souvenirs and hotels, being back in Bali is so bizarre having been in such wilderness for so long, streets and streets of English writing and endless American and English restaurants, quite exciting to be back in civilization! We found a really nice place to stay for Dad’s last night as soon as we got out the cab. After showering and catching up with BBC world we headed out for some good old western food, and soon we saw hard rock café and knew that was the place to be! The food was absolutely amazing, had a bloody rare steak as well as really tasty starters, all in all a bloody epic meal, wouldn’t expect anything less from somewhere which cost the equivalent of about a week’s budget for me (for everything!). Really sad to have to say goodbye to Dad tomorrow, and not just because I’ll no longer be getting fed ridiculously well, but we’ve had such a good time not just the diving but the whole experience, the homestay was one of the nicest places I’ve been with such a nice setting. After we left the Andamans back in April we both pretty much agreed that we wouldn’t find anywhere as close to paradise as there, but we found it there on that tiny island in the middle of nowhere! Dad seems to pick the best moments to come out and visit! After dinner we both crashed on the beds well and truly full, and after a bit of TV fell asleep.
Day 317 – Wednesday 5th December
Had to get up even earlier today, can’t wait for all these bleeding flights are out the way and I can just have a proper lie in. After having some breakfast and packing his bag Dad was ready to go and I pulled myself out of bed and we headed off in a cab to the airport. I had to let him go at the security entrance, so we said our goodbyes there and I headed off back in to Kuta as he was on a long journey back to freezing England, couldn’t imagine how I’d react to weather that cold. When I got to Kuta yesterday, I was all excited to be back in civilization and gorge on Western food and speak some English, but driving back in to it in the light of day my view has completely changed. I fucking hate this place, don’t know how I forgot that, but even the 50 metre walk from the main road to the hotel is enough for me to want to get out of here, not only is it trashy, busy and a shit load of hassle but it’s full of bloody Australians as well. So I completely changed my original plan of staying here a few days, instead I had a shower and some breakfast and headed out to the streets to find somewhere to rent a bike for a month. I decided to head back to the hostel I stayed at when I was last here 3 months ago (side note, now makes Indo the country I’ve stayed the longest in) as they were really friendly there. Luckily he had one manual left and it was in pretty good shape given the usual standard you get, and after haggling him down (around £35 for a month) and getting him to pay a mechanics to change the oil I drove back to the hotel. Back when I was in Lombok all those months ago, I was staying with James and Laurie and Niko for a few weeks, James went back to Thailand but Niko and Laurie are both still around in Bali, and my plan is to stay with Laurie for a while. So I packed up all my stuff and hit the road down to the southern peninsula of Bali, Uluwatu, where Laurie has told me about a nice homestay we can go and despite him expecting me tomorrow I thought I might as well go, just to get out of Kuta. That’s a lot easier said than done as this place is a mess of tiny lanes and one way streets, so it took me a bloody age to get out but I eventually saw signs to Uluwatu and made it there in just over an hour and found the homestay thanks to Laurie’s directions. There they asked pretty much straight away if I was Laurie’s mate, and they showed me to our room which is bloody nice, plus this place is at the top of a hill and has great views of the sea all around. First things first I dumped my bag and went to bed for a much needed nap, and after about 20 minutes I was interrupted by Laurie crashing in to the room. So bloody good to see him again, I’ve never been able to go back on myself given the way I’ve travelled and therefore haven’t met up with anyone again, really nice to see him and catch up on what’s been going on over the last couple of months. There’s also a really nice Austrian couple staying next door, so it was cool to hang with them and we all spent a few hours just sitting about shooting the shit. Until predictably they wanted to go surfing, one bad thing about being here is that there’s literally nothing else to do apart from that and that’s not something I do so I might get quite bored if we hang out here too long. After having to walk down 500 (we counted them) steps from the top of the cliff to the beach we found that the surf was shit and so only Laurie went in just to check it out as me Franz and Evelyn (the Austrian couple) hung out on the beach. After a while Laurie gave up and we sat on the beach for a bit longer before making the gruelling trip back up and getting on our way. Me and Laurie then drove to the Western point of the island and watched the sunset as the other 2 went to sort out dinner. We chilled there for a bit chatting to some guys and having some beer before making our way back and having dinner altogether back at the hotel. Hung out there for a while just chatting before going to a bar to see some live music, and turning up too late to see it and pretty quickly heading back as they want to get up at 6 tomorrow to go surfing (fucking lunatics!). As I turned up late today Laurie couldn’t check out of his current place in time so for tonight at least I’ve got the room to myself and I had a nice early night.
Day 318 – Thursday 6th December
Got woken up this morning by Niko knocking on the door having got back from surfing early and coming over to say hello. Really good to see him again, and we both had a lot to catch up on as we haven’t been texting as much as me and Laurie. After sitting around chatting for a while and waiting for the rain to ease up so we could get some food, Laurie and Franz got back from surfing. Then it really started to rain, almost more than back in KL, not something I want to carry on while I’m here! The 5 of us just ordered some food from the hotel rather than heading out in it and spent the afternoon hanging around here. The rain did eventually ease up and Niko headed off to surf and left the rest of us here just as the storm came back and started pissing down more than before. Franz has to go to Kuta today to drop off his motorbike as the 2 of them are leaving tomorrow morning, plus I want to get my bike looked at as I’ve already noticed quite a few crucial problems. So once the rain did ease up around 4 we all went to Kuta, and pretty much as soon as we got there I lost Laurie and Franz and on top of that the mechanics was closed o the bike owner told me to come back tomorrow and he’ll take care of it all. What a waste coming all that way, then I spent the next hour or so just wandering around aimlessly in the searing heat looking for the other 2 and obviously failing miserably. Eventually I just gave up and drove back home, not before getting severely lost once again on my way out of Kuta and going over 10km in the wrong direction and having to come back through all the traffic to eventually make it back on the right road and back home. Laurie and Franz hadn’t made it back yet, so I hung out with Evelyn waiting for them, when they did eventually make it back they had a load of beer and 2 bottles of rum, and then quickly went back out again to pick up pizzas, so a leaving party is on the cards tonight. Once we started eating the 2 of them told us of their own trials and tribulations in Kuta which mine can’t even compare to, not only did they get lost on the way out too but they got stopped by a policeman and bribed, fuck the police! Once we got all our stories out the way, the 4 of us spent the rest of the night drinking and having really good conversations, shame those 2 have to leave tomorrow as they’re really nice, plus Evelyn is also a non-surfer. Still we had a couple of good nights, and we didn’t get to sleep until around 4 today!
Day 319 – Friday 7th December
Got woken up at 8 this morning after a very short sleep as the couple were on their way and we had to say our goodbyes. For some unknown reason Laurie didn’t want to go back to sleep, instead opting for the 2 of us to stay up watching TV and later go to Kuta to have breakfast and fix my bike. So we just sat around in bed trying to stay awake watching a few hours of stuff before hitting the road to Kuta, and today in order to avoid traffic we decided to take a different route which ended up backfiring horribly! As if Kuta isn’t hard enough when you’ve got signs to follow, we decided to freestyle it and ended up driving round in circles for ages before eventually making it. I dropped off my bike at the guy and we had about an hour to kill so we decided to just walk around for a bit as we both had a few things to buy and we had to get food. Unfortunately the Kuta vibe hit us hard and neither of us could be fucked buying anything, let alone concentrate properly given the whole stressful situation of the place. I also had no flip flops and the ground was boiling and all we really wanted to do was find a nice restaurant and sit down! After looking around for ages for somewhere half decent looking and affordable we finally struck gold and found a delicious Indonesian place which was bloody cheap given the usual Kuta prices. After that meal we got straight back on the bike and headed home back to our nice and relaxed homestay, not before a couple of stops for a chess board (Laurie keeps banging on about wanting to play) and some sleeping pills, in order to have a nap before the big beach party later tonight. So we made it back at 4 both completely exhausted, took our pills and went to bed, unfortunately we didn’t wake up until 11 and by that point it was too late to go out and we were both pretty tired so we went back to sleep not waking up until 8 the next morning, woops!
Day 320 – Saturday 8th December
After having been to Kuta the last 3 days in a row, all we wanted to do today was just sit around in bed relaxing, plus Laurie has a shit ton of cuts from the reef and wants them to clear up before he goes surfing again. So we did just that and alternated between watching TV on my laptop and playing some epic games of chess. Haven’t played that game in ages and both of us are about the same standard, shit, so the games are really even and really tense, we must’ve spent over 5 hours playing throughout the day, and the other 5 hours watching TV. Apart from having an excursion to the supermarket for snacks and going out to dinner, that’s how the whole day was spent, sure it sounds bloody exciting to you guys!