Published: May 4th 2011March 17th 2011
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Guys we must also apologise about the delay in posting. A crazy last minute decision brought us to Australia. We have been living in Perth for a month now, and the motivation has been at an all time low to catch up on the blog. Trying to settle back into a normal routine is terrifying enough without reminiscing over better times.
Thankfully with the pleasure of hindsight you can enjoy this blog more so than if we'd written it at the time! Looking back on a trip you always find the fond memories overshadow the darkest of times. And our time in Kuta really was a mixture of both the high times, and the very very low.
So back to the story..
if you remember the last entry we had just arrived into Kuta, Bali; a place highly recommended to us by our Italian friends back in the Philippines. The journey had been long and exhausting, we had spent the past four days and two nights on the road/in the air, and were excited to find somewhere to call home for a few days. As we squeezed ourselves and our packs through the tiny tight bemo doorway into the bright sun of Kuta, our expectations couldn't have been higher. And at first glance we were rewarded. Boutique stores alongside souvenir shops lined the streets; the excited chitter chatter of tourists mooching around. We momentarily felt we were not in Asia, but at a holiday destination in Europe as we strolled past paved several arcades and boulevards, spying signs such as Quiksilver, Hard Rock Cafe, and Starbucks. The main strip along the beach was nicely decorated with a temple style wall, which we suspected was not just a statement, but a safety net of reassurance for those people still living in Kuta who survived and can remember the terror brought by the tsumani a few years ago.
We immiediately realised that prices
were not cheap here as it is a popular family destination for Australians, so we headed into the famous backroads of Poppies and Poppies II to find something more within our budget. We looked around two or three places and saw the telltale signs of bedbugs, and even though some were beautifully landscaped with pools and gardens, we just couldn't stay with bedbugs; it was a shame. We eventually found a beautiful place which was a courtyard-style exclusive looking development with an ornamental pool. Despite the pool being really dirty and unusable the hotel were not willing to give us a discount on the price. We finally agreed to 165,000 a night and settled into our clean looking room.
After showering we headed out to have a look around the town. The 'old' Kuta is strangely made up of many grid like backstreets (some paved, some not) which are lined with shops/ stalls/ hotels/ beauty parlours etc, and is really quite charming. Hawkers and hagglers entice you into their shop using both words and brute force, all selling the same junk. You will leave Kuta after a day's shopping not being able to count on both hands and feet
how many times you have turned down a massage/ magic mushrooms/ taxi etc. We couldn't come to Kuta without a trip down to the famous beach which reportedly has beautiful silver sands. However, we were a little more than disappointed to find that the sand was grey and black, there was litter everywhere, the sea was dirty, and we were harassed on the beach more than in the town (you want surfboard? massage? etc etc).
After the beach we headed back to shower for dinner. The temperature at this time of year is hot hot hot with a very humid ambience. We decided to check out Bamboo Corner for dinner which had also been recommended to us by our good friends. Now this restaurant (which has now changed names slightly but we cannot remember what it was called) was brilliant if you are looking for cheap grub. Meals in Indonesia we found were typically small everywhere, even at this place, but this restaurant had real bargain prices. After eating we headed back to our room after hearing that evening entertainment in Kuta doesn't really start up until around midnight. We had read that Kuta was the party place to
go, and were expecting a beach lined with bars and socialising. Well this was not the case. Apparently there is a lot of predrinking in hotels but we didn't get the chance to find out. As we ran back to our hotel at the beginning of a rain storm, we had no idea of what was to come. The rain became torrential and we watched from our room in horror as the mud track (and only access to our hotel) flooded. Knee deep.
The weather coupled with our exhaustion meant that we decided to take an early night. However, pulling back the bedcovers we spotted some black telltale splodges of bedbugs. A further inspection under the pillow had Luke jumping back in fright as we saw a live bedbug leap. It stopped and we examined it- comparing it to a picture we had found on the internet- there was no doubt about it. A complaint to reception was met with exasperation yet we were shown two more rooms where the receptionist brushed away another live bedbug, and there were splodges on both of the beds. The road outside was flooded but we needed to leave- we know the damage
that can be caused from staying in a room with bedbugs and we had seen the bodies of people who have suffered. One traveller we met had been bitten over 270 times all over his body, and this was not an out of the ordinary occurence as we would regularly see people in the street who looked like they had measles.
We waited for the rainstorm to pass, then exhaustedly headed into the street with our backpacks. Luckily only the back end of the road was flooded- we could escape down to the front by walking the really long way around. And we did. Avoiding dog turds and rats in the badly lit alleyways we really were treated to the best of Kuta. It was around 10pm when we left our hotel. By 3am we found ourselves at our ultimate low sitting in the reception of a posh hotel complex where the room price was over 350,000 rupiah a night. We had agreed to pay this price as we had come to the end of our tether. We had trudged around the flooded streets checking every hotel, peeling back the sheets with trepidation and half closed eyes. And each
and every hotel had rewarded us with bed bug stains. There was simply no getting away from it. So we were at the posh hotel agreeing to pay the price, and guess what? There were bloody bedbugs. We sat in reception as the security guard napped under the stairs, planning our next move. We had had had enough. Literally. We wandered back to the beach front where fortunately our good friend Ronald helped us out in our hour of need and let us kip under the big M until 6am.
Still dressed from the night before we headed back to our first hotel to try and use their wifi, needing to find out how to get the hell out of this place without paying the earth. The wifi was not switched on, but they did have a lovely sundeck which we camped on for an hour or so like homeless, before the sweltering sun forced us to move on. Fortunately the first internet cafe had opened its' doors, and we were through them, searching for somewhere to go. After studying wikitravel we panicked that nowhere really took our fancy- what were we doing here? We decided on Sanur- a
safe choice, a resort for the older generation- and headed there in hope of bedbug free accommodation.
We must say that Kuta is really great for shopping and had a great touristy atomsphere to it, but it is not a place we would like to sleep in. Later on in our trip we met a lady in Denpasar who worked at the Marriott in Kuta and told us it was full of bedbugs, so we would never have found anywhere!
There are more photos below