Asia | South East Asia | Singapore – Back on the road
Well I’ve finally dragged my lazy carcass out of Australia and have hit the open road again. Having a fab time. Went to Bali first, and all those of you who haven’t been really have to go. Great food, cheap clothes, cds, dvds and pretty much everything else, and really good beaches as well. Started off in Kuta, which was probably a bad idea in hindsight. You’re fresh from the laid back life in Oz, arrive in Bali have to spend half an hour haggling for your taxi out of the airport and by the time you arrive you’re too drained to put up much of a fight when the losmens quote you some ridiculous price to stay.
Quick word of advice, if someone comes up to you and says hello and extends their hand, don’t take it unless you want to be dragged by that same hand 100 metres down the road to look at their shop, and then practically have to leave several limbs behind in order to escape.
Headed up to Ubud pretty soon. Have to say that Bali is the best place I’ve been to hook up with people and travel around with them. Had the most amazing massage in Ubud. 2 hours long, then followed by this scrub then a flower bath. Its called a Mandi Lulur and it has to be experienced to be believed.
Leaving Ubud was probably a mistake, but I really wanted to get up to Mount Batur to do the sunrise volcano climb and I managed to talk the others into coming with me. Ha!!!! Big mistake!! The guy who ran our losmen who was really nice and really helpful said he had a cousin who would drive us up there for the same price as the bus, so we being totally na?ve took him up on his offer.
Now the driver didn’t speak English but knew the name of all the places we wanted to go so off we trekked, visiting temple after temple after temple. So we get 10km from Toya Bunkghar, the village we’re supposed to climb the mountain from, and the driver stops at this hotel in the middle of nowhere and announces that he works there and his cousin owns it. We were all innocently going ‘that’s nice’ and then his cousins appeared and asked us to take a look around. We said we just wanted to get to our destination, but they were quite insistent so we caved and looked around, then they offered us rooms and guides for the trek, but we refused wanting to go where we had paid to, but then the trouble began.
They now said we couldn’t go anywhere as we had only paid up to there. Yeah right!! When I tried to point out to them that we had arranged with the driver the destination they were like, you couldn’t, as he doesn’t understand English, so he started chucking all our stuff out of the jeep. Lars and Jennifer just stood there like total lemons whilst I tried to stop him, so there we were fighting over these bags in the dust.
Unfortunately I lost and we stood there and watched our treacherous driver squeal off into the distance. So now the owner totally blamed me for everything and offered to let Lars and Jennifer stay at his place but I would have to find somewhere else. The total injustice!!!! So there I was blacklisted and he was the guy in charge of the main monopoly of volcano guides, so I was kind of sunk, so we stalked off with me flinging death stares at the complete crook running the place and we ended up hitching a lift on the back of a cattle truck, which 1- did not smell too appetizing and d’you know how hard it is getting into one of those things wearing a sarong (yes I’ve gone native) and with a 30kg backpack attached to you.
So arrived at our destination in totally foul moods and decided we hated the mountain and never wanted to see it again, so hired the first car out of their to go north to Lovina to see the dolphins and go diving. Arrived in lovina at this hotel where the driver went. This is my cousin’s place. He doesn’t know how close he came to being thwacked. Luckily these guys didn’t pass themselves off like the local mafia, and the place was really nice.
All I can say is that there are loads of frustrated singers in Lovina. Whenever we went out we ended up at the bar which had this amazing singer, who never actually got to do his jobs due to an endless stream of Dutch guys and English girls (not me) grabbing the mike from him and trying to amaze us with their talent.
Before we left I decided to go snorkelling. Now those of you who’ve known me for a while will realise that its been about 10 years since I voluntarily entered water, and on my showing then it may be that long again. For a start I was totally hung over from the previous night’s session and we had to get up at some ungodly hour to go dolphin watching before the sun came up before heading off for the snorkelling debacle. I managed to swallow about a gallon of saltwater, which I can tell you now does not agree with alcohol and nearly threw up all over the boat but managed to restrain myself, then I nearly drowned for reasons which are too embarrassing to get into. All in all a successful morning.
But apart from a couple of setbacks, Bali was totally fantastic!!
Now in Singapore which has been added to my list of cities where I can and probably will live. Just going to hang around here and chill until I head out to India