Published: June 30th 2012June 30th 2012
So I have issues with the behaviour of Australian tourists in Bali, as evident from my last retroblog. A few months later I found myself again in Bali transitting through to Sumatra with Mum. Before we left I agreed to her wishes to see Bali again after 20 years since her last visit on the condition that we did not stay in Kuta. I would rather be shot by a firing squad of dwarves so I get kneecapped over and over again and eventually bleed to a horribly painful death than stay in Kuta.
So we stayed the first night before our flights to Jakarta and Padang at Nusa Dua. A compromise. And I had to go to the Bali Safari Park because mum wanted to cuddle a baby orangutan and have her photo taken - why not? She is 66 and im sure she has sat through many things with me that She didnt want to do. And this she booked through my sister, the travel agent, who refused to speak to me for being headstrong, irresponsible, unaware, incompetant and not having the brains to book everything the nice safe way through a reputable agency. Sighh..anyway she got her
commission on the tickets to the Safari Park.
After arriving late at night we didnt get to see much of anything...I had booked at the bali tropic, it had an ocean and mum wanted a beach so it would do for a couple of nights...except.....we woke up in russia. No honestly, we were. The signs around the hotel were in Russian. The massive big breakfast barn on the beach had lots of russian and european food like ghoulash..for breakfast. And big fat sausages with saurkraut. Lots of jolly Russian men in their late 40s, early 50s maybe with lots of Russian women with lots of plastic surgery and makeup and high heels....for breakfast.
AND they ate their bloody breakfast in Bikinis and high heels. I was trying to behave myself and not comment on the girl who wore silver heart shaped heeled pink plastic stillettos with her crocheted g string bikini for breakfast when Boris her boyfriend squeezed himself behind mum in the crowded barn giving me a perfect view of his fat hairy bum cheeks oozing out of a lycra gstring. At first I thought one of the squirrels had been unfortunately trapped between his cheeks and
was about to call PETA when I realised that pelt there was all Boris. I wouldve vomited on purpose but i am 46 years old and my mother was present so I just kept the fruit I was eating down.
Now come on. Stop this. Now. Refer my earlier blog on Australians in Kuta. Seems the russians have invaded Nusa Dua and they are loud proud and determined to get leatherized by the sun before they leave. If leatherized is not a word, it should be. The Russian tourist is the Australian of Nusa.
Id had enough. Mum had never had a massage in her 66 years so I suggested we go for a walk and find somewhere - I really am an evil child. There are things you cannot put a price tag on and hearing your mother innocently inquire if this is a shop where they do happy endings is.....priceless.
Having got over laughing through an entire 60 minute massage mum wanted to buy bathers before sumatra so we headed off to some place recommended by the hotel for shopping..yes shopping for bloody russians and australians. High end factory outlets set amongst starbucks and restaurants.
$95AUD for a selangor pewter bali monkey souvenier that fitted in the palm of my hand or a nice silk caftan for $375AUD.
Needless to say we bought nothing and I skipped across the road, hailed a taxi and got us into part of Nusa Dua that looked less..russian. A warning to travelling ladies. There is a lady in a shop down an alley down beside a restaurant who was once Idi Amin's torture development officer. Never mention the words bikini and wax in nusa dua, dont say you werent warned.
We retired to rest my poor nether regions and because mum was tired of my newly developed Russian accent. At the booofeyyy that night the hotel offered the music was nice and .. Russian. The butterfly shaped swimming pool was full of drunk russians, with showercaps on their heads. In the pool. I have to admit on some of the russian women this was a testiment to the flexibility of plastics as apparently the Amy Winehouse Beehive is the hot look at the moment in Russia. I wanted to do that slapping dance, but im not sure if thats russian or not. Slapping a Russian still in
a bikini now loudly enhanced by 45 scotches by the pool today would have made my day..so I went to bed instead.
We spent the next day at the Safari Park, which I must admit I did enjoy. I havent been there since diving Lembongan about a decade ago so it was nice to see my favourite Elephant, Selfi, who I once rode still there and looking reasonably happy. We posed with the baby orang (there are four babies, they take turns due to the stress of the huge volume of tourists) and I couldnt help but give him a kiss on the mouth when he looked me in the eyes holding my hand. Hey Cuz, its alright little fella. The genes stirred. I value that day for that experience alone and seeing the wonder on mums face. We found more Russians at the safari park, and russian signs, and russian dishes on our package tour that included lunch. I developed a russian accent again and undertook the aussie pass time of "Taking the piss" when a bunch of Russian bodybuilders walked in to the lunch barn, er Restaurant. These were the sons of Boris - just like our Aussie schoolies except with more bling and different accents. The girls who accompanied them had shorts on with their bikini tops but fkn ugly shoes. Terrible.
Thank christ we left for Sumatra the next day.
3. Uluwata and Reflections on Russians
We had a late night flight back from Sumatra and a couple of days as I wanted to break up the travel for mum so booked at the absolutely lovely Abi Bali Villas. On our 5 hour stopover in Jakarta on the way back Mum had asked where we were staying..I grabbed my Ipad and booked when I saw the words secluded and isolated. Yes. No more Russians or Aussies! We werent dissappointed. Other than mum having a gall bladder attack and not saying a word while I slept because....she didnt want to end up in a balinese hospital..better than a balinese morgue mum!..it was blissful. A beautiful peaceful hotel with not another person in sight, thanks to the design of a small pool for every four villas seperated from other villas by beautiful gardens.
As we were in the Jimbaryn area I suggested we go to Uluwata to check out the cliffs and mum wanted to have dinner at Jimbaran like she had 20 years before. Uluwata is beautiful, except for the ''bloody naughty monkeys''. Of course we were approached by a guide who wanted to accompany us with a stick incase of monkey attack and every other seller of useless crap such as laser pointers and bintang tshirts. Now the laser pointer may have been a good idea to shine in a bloody naughty monkeys face if the need arose, but im not sure of the reaction of the monkey so opted not to purchase anything. We paid our temple entrance and sarong rental fee and went walking around the temple and a short way along the cliffs themselves only to witness the naughty bloody monkey jumping on the aussie twenty something guys back..much laughter until the monkey and his mates were having a tug of war over the cap he had on his head while the monkey held a death grip on his sunglasses. Sick of dodging bloody naughty monkeys and having our walk stopped every few minutes so some Russians could cluster together and have more photos taken every few steps Mum asked if I was ready to make an escape. It was about then that I discovered not only is my mother an awesome detective, but also a cunning theif. She lent over and whispered in my ear.."Do you think if we head that way we will have to give the hired sarongs back? will anyone notice? I think I want to keep it". While she was creating a cunning diversion of a well behaved Aussie pensioner I was sent to organise a get away car. Sarong heist accomplished off we went back to the peace of the hotel before a beach dinner on Jimbaran beach. Mum had done this 20 years ago, when there were a handful of fishermen with iceboxes - now there are restaurants, touts and commissions. We wandered along the beach trying to choose a restaurant listening to sales pitch after sales pitch before settling for the least smoky place we could find to eat incinerated lobster.
Theres no denying Uluwata and parts of Bali are beautiful. Theres no denying its an island at terrible risk of losing its culture. The sex workers are meeting supply, the hoteliers are meeting supply, the Aussies and Russians are creating lots of demand. Demand fueled by the Aussie Cashed Up Bogan and cheap airfares, the Russian new money and perfect package deals, saurkraut included.
Mum left Bali a few days before I did. I dropped her off at the airport and against my will thanks to a text message from Giant reluctantly headed into Kuta to try and find plain white tshirts. I have mentioned this issue with Kuta and Tshirts. Singlets with no class slogans predominated by the word Fuck. I walked past a Tattooist and peered in at three Aussie ladies in their 40s offering support for one of the Bali mummas having her foot tattoo'd. Its become as much a part of the Bali experience to come back with a tattoo as it is to return with a lost night and a bintang tshirt. I wondered how long before every third saggy titted housewife from Vladivostok would return from a week in the sun with a bali tattoo and beads in their hair, just like their counterparts in Rockingham Western Australia.
I walked up and down Kuta looking for plain white tshirts and after the 49th you come in my stall, you please buy, you scratch lucky ticket you win big holiday, hey lady gaga!!...what the? did you just call me Lady Gaga??
I snapped dismissively in bahasa at that and kept walking about ready to turn into non peaceful hippy happy traveller so knew it was time to get the hell out of Kuta. I turned a corner and walked up a busy laneway to grab a taxi back to Jimbaran and spotted the classily named Fuck U Up Bar with its neon mushroom logo. At ten o clock in the morning three Aussies ..or maybe they were Russians..hey im about over everything by now ..stumble out and start histerically laughing at the daylight. Mushroom selling dude leans against the wall opposite and gives me a smile and a nod. Here we go again.
I was supposed to leave the next night but my flight was cancelled, in fact it was never going to take off, a fact known to the airline 3 months in advance due to the extensions to denpassar airport. I didnt even receive a text msg to let me know I was leaving the awesome Abi Bali to spend half a night in an airport queue of disgruntled passengers and the other half bunked down at the Mercure Kuta. I wondered if I was russian if i wouldve been billeted at the Mercure Nusa Dua. One size fits all.