Bali ’08August 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Posted in Travelogue | 2 Comments
Tags: Bali, Indonesia, Travel
Thursday. Flight to Bali. Only had three hours of sleep (you can guess what I’d been up to the previous night), which really wasn’t helpful at all. Took a taxi to the airport- my second visit to the LCCT, I think. The first was for the Sarawak trip way back in February. Don’t think I need to say anything about the place, do I?
3 hour flight to the island. I didn’t even know where it was, besides the fact that it’s Indon land. Turns out it’s halfway to Australia…
Landed at the Ngurah Rai airport. With the airport seemingly next to the ocean, we flew quite low, low enough for me to wonder whether a leaping swordfish would crash into the engines and down us… fine. I’m blowing things up again. It probably wasn’t that low… probably.
Guh… my memory is a little hazy. Day one was spent wandering around town. Streets here are narrow and everyone just constantly honks- taxi drivers honk to get passengers (there are no stops for them), and everyone else just does it to either warn others of their presence, or to get the immediate world to acknowledge it. KL is pretty much heaven compared to the streets here.
Little Hindu shrines are everywhere. Bali is supposedly the artistic capital of Indonesia, and these shrines are certainly prettier than all those we have- frightening monstrosities of little statues and whatnot. Brr. They kinda remind me of those Gremlin movies.
Balinese food. According to a guidebook we found, the only authentic Balinese cuisine is… ‘babi guling’ and some sort of roast duck, both of which have to be ordered one day in advance. Then again the book was published about 10 years ago, so there should have been some progress, right? Not. Almost every restaurant’s ‘Indonesian food’ section listed Nasi Goreng, Mi Goreng, Sate (Satay)… damn. What’s so Indonesian about that?! Worse still, Western food was all over the place. Steaks. Crappy looking pizzas. Spaghetti. Quite a few were owned by Australians and whatnot. That’s right. Lay the blame on them.
Day two- we’d booked a tour of some ‘artistic spots’…
had to wake up early in the morning. I got up around 5am- one hour earlier than planned. No ill-effects yet. First up- a Barong dance somewhere. Right. Somewhere. There aren’t really any cities, and the towns all seem so close to each other, so… never mind. The ‘auditorium’ was rather pretty. As for the performance, I quote some brochure: “…the standard play of good vs. evil…”. Yadda x 3. Maybe it was the music, but my eyes came close to shutting down throughout the performance.
Uh… next came a visit to a batik gallery. Nothing we don’t have in M’sia. The driver was odd… he kept saying stuff like “I have batik, wood-carving…”… I? I suppose he thinks he’s the island’s guardian spirit. All hail van driver. Wood-carving ‘centre’ next. Lots of sculptures- I notice that the human statues made here are more… shall we say, human, in a certain sense compared to their Greek or Roman counterparts- pointy phalluses and the like. Wooden bottle-opener phalluses are sold in almost every souvenir shop.
Next up, place called Ubud. Pretty little town. There was a monkey park there- Guardian Spirit told us that the monkeys there stole people’s glasses. Not the best place to be for us then, with three spec-wearers amongst us. Wandered around a crafts market. Had tea. Moved on.
After that, a painters community. I’ve never really bothered about amateur artists. Things have gotten even worse since Rome, where I’ve pretty much had my fill of high art… these generic mass-producers aren’t even… worth comparing too. Let’s just ignore them.
Off to lunch. I was quite dead by then. Guardian Spirit took us to this seemingly nice restaurant… where the prices were in the range of 75000 rupiah for a plate of nasi goreng. Screw you. I tossed the menu across the table and voted that we leave.
Passed by a nice place we hadn’t been to on the way back to the hotel. Kuta beach, just a short walk away from our hotel. Slight traffic jam. Frightening incident that considerably lowered my opinion of Mr. Guardian Spirit- at one point, there was a horse-drawn carriage in front of us. The jackass kept honking at them, and kept nudging the van forward… bloody fool seemed like he was trying to force them off the road. Wonder if he was mad that we’d made him lose out on his commission by not eating at the restaurant he ‘recommended’ (not to mention not buying anything from any of the places he took us to).
Went back to Kuta beach. Plenty of shops there, and a food court with more local food. Sat on the beach for some time. Time spent walking, looking, eating, drinking. Nuff’ said.
Um. Day three, the final day. More walking around town. There’s not really much to do on Bali, being an island- unless perhaps you do the volcano hike and stuff like that. Went back to the hotel and crashed. Got a pretty good haul from some second-hand bookstores… some Japanese manga for just 10,000 rupiah, or RM3.70. And well. That’s pretty much it. More walking around after that.
Thursday morning- supposed to wake up around 5am to get ready for our 8am flight- but the alarm didn’t ring and we got up around 6. Van had already arrived. Didn’t even have time to… make time. Good thing everything was packed the previous night. Made it in time. Home. Much-needed sleep.
Too lazy to upload to more than one site, so here’s the only photo album you’ll ever find.