Thursday, 10 November 2016

Bali: surfers, scooters and Aussies

Bali: 4th November 2016 - 10th November 2016

After the nightmare that was the flight to Indonesia (me dying of the worst traveller's sickness I've ever had), we finally arrived in Bali. I was still feeling very rough, but was able to walk on my own, and we got to our hotel in the evening. We were meeting Yael & Bruno (my Suisa who I met in Peru), who met us in the hotel and brought me a energy drink to replace all the fluids that had left my body. It was lovely to see them, but as I still wasn't 100% they left us in the hotel so I could die some more. 

This was the first place that we hadn't really planned or researched anything to do, so we were looking forward to discovering the town. We were originally going to stay a few nights in Denpasar, the capital and the location of the airport. However, we decided to stay where Yael was, and where all the beaches were; Kuta. In retrospect we were glad we did this, as Denpasar was just a city with not much in it, whereas Kuta was more (maybe too) lively and had a lot more going on. The hostel was a nice place a few streets away from the beaches and the main strip, with a really awesome pool, but lacking in fan power so the room was quite warm. 

Loving the pool in Kuta
After rehydrating in the room, we met up with Yael for dinner, buying some antibiotics on the way (well, buying two packs as Bob dropped the first pack somewhere...). They worked pretty well and within 2 days I was pretty much better, and able to eat something.  The main (read: cheapest) food that we ate there was rice and stir fry, which wasn't too bad! The first full day we had in the town, I was still feeling rough so we just did something safe which was going to the cinema (Bob had to see Dr Strange - it was good!), hit up another Hard Rock, and walk along the beach. 

Throughout our week there, with me getting progressively better, we saw Yael some more - Bob had a great surfing lesson with Bruno, visited Ubud, relaxed, and had our first experience with a scooter!! Kuta was a nice place to relax, but as we'd previously been in really chilled, small places (like Weligama which was pretty much just us and the beach), it was very overwhelming. We soon learnt that it's like the Magaluf for Australians, which meant it was packed with overpriced souvenirs, people selling drugs, and lots of drunk teenagers. Not a place I'd recommend really, but it's not bad if you like to drink, sit on the beach and party.

Ubud day trip

So as not much else was going on in Kuta, we decided to have a day tour to a local town called Ubud, which is surrounded by paddy fields and forest. As we quickly found out, Bali/Indonesia doesn't have a great public transport system as most of the population owns a scooter. Bruno told us how easy and cheap it was to rent a bike, so we decided that would be the best option for a day trip to Ubud. Bob had a quick practice on Brunos (which was...kinda successful), and the next day we hired our own from our hostel, for about 5 pounds for the day (and another fiver to top up with petrol). We were going to take the trip with Yael and Bruno, but sadly Yael caught what I'd had, so they couldn't come with us. 

I loaded Google Maps, and we were off. Our first fun part was crossing the highway, which meant crossing 3 busy lanes of traffic twice. I was holding my breath for most of it, but we managed to get across alive, and the rest of the 1 and a half trip was pretty uneventful as Bob's a pretty good driver. 

We did a few things whilst in the town (and the bike made it so much easier to do what we wanted, when we wanted). We started off at the Monkey Forest. This was pretty awesome, and was literally a forest filled with monkeys running around and stealing your food. You could buy bananas at the entrance to give them, and we saw many tourists fighting with the monkeys over the food, as there were hungry, grabby monkeys everywhere. There were signs everywhere that said not to annoy or mess with the monkeys, but we were entertained when an American woman and her daughter blatantly ignored this sign and tried to wrestle with a monkey and got annoyed when it took all their bananas. 

After the entertainment at the monkey forest, we continued our bike trip and checked out a couple of temples. As we were getting hungry, we decided to make a trip to a close by rice paddy, which promised food and good views. It had both of these, and also lots of tourists (standard), and fairly overpriced food. We shared some tasty noodles whilst overlooking the beautiful paddy fields. After having lunch, we set off again for another little bike ride. However, as we found out, the petrol tanks in scooters aren't very big, and we ran out of gas halfway up a hill, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We knocked on a few doors to ask about petrol, but it took about 15 mins for anyone to answer us. Finally, we were told that there was a man selling petrol a few houses away, to we went there. This was petrol, in a bottle, probably filled half with water, but cost about 80p, so we filled it up and promised to go to the nearest station. 

On the way back to Kuta, we stopped off at a Luwak coffee farm, which was really interesting. It was a small farm with a few cages of Luwak (an animal whose poo they use for the coffee). We had a short tour around the farm and were told briefly how they make it, and what other coffee was produced there. After that, we were taken to the coffee tasting area where we could try lots of different types of coffee and tea (including ginger, chocolate and lemon). We didn't try the Luwak one as it cost quite a bit interesting, and I don't really care about coffee enough to try it in the form of animal poo. It was a nice way to spend an hour, and as an added bonus there was an amazing view of some more paddy fields that we looked over. 

We made our way back to Kuta, sunburnt but happy we survived our first scooter trip (although Bob did nearly take my toe off going around a corner). We'd planned to make our way to our next stop, in Java, overland, but after finding out there were no buses there, we booked a fairly cheap flight from Denpasar to Surabaya, and headed there a couple days later (after relaxing in the pool for a day!).

Ciao, Sarah

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