Bali Reflections

Ross and I headed over to Bali for a nice break from fancy Singapore
and to catch some beach lounging. It was a fantastic little side trip
that I’d recommend to anyone visiting in the area. We bought some
tickets for about $200 on Singapore Airlines, and yeah everything
you’ve heard about Singapore Air is true. Everything is just so
professionally done and those dresses that the women wear are amazing.
You could never do something like this in the US, and that fact makes
me a little sad. Clearing customs took over an hour and a half; this
did not make us happy. They had 2 guys to clear 3 planes full of
tourists.

We stayed in Seminyak on Cricket’s recommendation at a place named
Pruri Cendana. It was basically what I thought Bali would be all about
— lush gardens, handcrafted wood buildings, kinda rickety, beds with
mosquito nets, etc. It was essentially what I was looking for, but at
$70 US per night it was a bit much considering other options. However,
we waited last minute to do everything so this is basically the best we
could get.

Everyone in Bali was very friendly and spoke English incredibly well —
better than in Singapore which I thought was very ironic. Stuff there
is also very cheap. Meal and a few beers? $3 US. Speaking of beers, the
local beer there in Bintang and everyone has a Bintang t-shirt on —
especially all of the Aussies. The local liquor/wine is something
called Arak. It was kind of like soju. We had Arak Sunrises at this one
bar and they were quite tasty. I feel like it was the Bali equivalent
of a Hurricane — sweet, sugary, and potent. I had no idea how potent
until Ross told me that Arak can be dodgy sometimes and that people
have died from drinking it.

Not only are Bintang t-shirts everywhere, but Aussies are all over the
place. So much so that everyone thinks that every white person there is
an Aussie. To be honest, it’s a refreshing change that not everyone
assumes you’re American. Overall the Aussies there are OK, but you can
get some loud obnoxious ones — just like Americans.

Monday night, we settled into our room and went in search of food and
drink. Ate nasi goreng and mie goreng at a place named the Bush Post
(or maybe it was Bush Telegraph) which was excellent. Hopped around a
few bars then decided to call it a night. The stretch of road near
Seminyak we were staying on had more than a few places which catered to
ladyboys. It was … odd. Our cab driver told us that Seminyak was
known for this….THANKS CRICKET!

Tuesday was beach day and we hit it running. The beach near Seminyak
wasn’t all that great, so we cruised down it until we found something
worthwhile. That ended when we came to Ku De Ta which was a very hip,
stylish drink spot on the beach. Hip and stylish by any standards. We
could have easily been in Miami’s South Beach and no one would have
been any wiser. If you’re on a date and want to impress, go there for
drinks in the evening. You won’t regret it. But since it was the day
and Ross and I aren’t like that, we hopped in a cab and went to Kuta.
This is where all the action was. We started at the bombing memorial
which was put up to honor those killed by the terrorists who bombed the
original Ku De Ta in Kuta. It was somber and eventually started to
wandered around some tiny streets. We then made our way to the beach —
a gorgeous beach. Got some umbrellas and chairs at the rate of $5/two
hours. Grabbed some Bintangs and settled in. After a while, we started
getting swarmed by people selling stuff and offering massages. To be
honest, it was really annoying. Sometimes they just wouldn’t leave you
alone after you said no. They just stood there pestering you. Not
exactly my idea of peace and quiet. My good Southern upbringing was
maxed and out and I yelled "Vamanos!" to them and they finally got the
picture. I jumped into the warm ocean and blissfully forgot about
everything going on in my life. One thing to note about Kuta is that
there is a fair amount of trash in the water. You’re not always bumping
into it, but you will notice it every few minutes. I walked back to the
chairs and notice that Ross was surrounded by Balinese women. He was
getting a foot massage and a pedicure which looked quite relaxing so I
decided to do the same. It was quite relaxing to be honest. A pair of
cute Taiwanese girls set up shop next to us and occupied our time for
the next hour or so. Grabbed some food for lunch (nasi goreng) and
headed home.

Once I got home, I realized that Ross and to a greater extent, I, were
sunburned. I spent most of the day under an umbrella and with some
sunscreen on, but I guess the ocean wiped it off. Well the Bali sun is
intense enough to burn you quite fast, take note of that. I was also
wearing a linen shirt that day while walking around. Great for the
heat, not the UV rays. Writing this in Tokyo 3 days later, parts of me
are still hurting. Later that night we decided to walk to Ku De Ta for
a drink, but to walk along the streets and not along the beach. This
was a mistake. We asked our hotel receptionist which way to take and he
said it was too far to walk. We thought this guy was crazy as we walked
along the beach in under 15 minutes and managed to get there earlier
that morning. Well, he was right. The beach was a more direct route;
the Bali streets were more crooked than a dog’s hind leg. We finally
made it there, grabbed our expensive ($10) drinks and relaxed amongst
the beauty of the place. The stomachs started to grumble so we headed
back to the Seminyak shopping area for some food. Stopped at an Italian
joint since Ross wanted pasta and tired of nasi goreng. Full meal with
wine, $20. Your dollar goes far in Bali. We were both too whupped to go
partying so we headed back to the hotel.

Woke up late the next morning, applied liberal amounts of moisturizer,
ate breakfast, then headed for the airport. Went through at least 6
checkpoints or immigration stations and paid my 150,000 rupiah to exit
the country. Wait, didn’t I pay for a visa to enter? Whatever, you
gotta pay to leave, too. Had some more beers then hopped on a plane
back to Singapore.

Yes, I did buy a Bintang t-shirt.

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About diqster

r to the hizzle
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