Published: December 16th 2008
November 5th 2008
I know what you're thinking - 'what a rubbish title for a blog' (along with 'not another', and 'I hope this is a short one')...well if the above title is good enough for the Lonely Planet then it's good enough for my blog. It's really just the name that we have in common tho, as theirs offers a range of handy travel tips and accomodation listings etc whilst mine just talks b*llox, whilst going on a bit too much about me getting the trots on the Gilli Islands....on the plus side tho mine is of course free...and I've also thrown in Singapore... Singapore
Home of the skytrain and arguably the electronic capital of Asia but as my flight was delayed by a storm (meaning I arrived at 1.30am) my first impressions of Singapore limited to the sleeping on an airport seat...not something you see Judith Chalmers and her crew doing. The plus point about this was that I could check my bags in for my evening flight bright and early the following morning and thus save money on an airport locker. Not something you'd find Judit......hmmmm
Coming from Medan, Singapore couldn't have been more different. Things were clean,
they worked but (unfortunately) were 5 times as expensive.. A trip to Singapore wouldn't be right without buying some electronics and sipping a Singapore Sling, so 'when in Rome' I thought and after I bought a cool speaker for my ipod I went off to sip a 'sling' at the place that made them famous...
Other than that, it was a pretty efficient clean city, a bit like the posh part on GTA3 for all those PS2 junkies (Reevesie...). And there's plenty of pizza places for those fast food junkies (Reevesie, take note). .. Bali
I've heard that the body is a clever thing and if it needs a certain type of food then you will crave it, sugar, salt, fruit, er leeks.... So you can imagine my concern when mine was craving a Big Mac meal when I arrived in Kuta. My body continued this theme for 36 hours..
McDs aside, Kuta was a bit like some of the more touristy places in Thailand, plus of course a haven for surfer dudes so after a few days and a saturday night out with Pernilla (Swe), Hevin (Holl) and a few others it was
Local Balinese Dancing
..and how I dance to 'Dancing Queen'
time for something different... Ubud
This was more for the culture vultures out there - great buildings, local Balinese dancing shows (not that sort) and some great walks (I say 'some', but I only managed 1). It is also the place where there's a monkey park/sanctuary....the word sanctuary implies wounded, endangered or timid to me but all of these they were not. Whilst I waited at the front of the park eating some crisps one of the little sh*ts came right up to me, climbed up my shorts then my t shirt - like I was some kind of human rope ladder - before ripping the bag out of my hands. .. 'sanctuary' my arse.
That evening the local dance show was an hour well spent if only to see the nutter run thro the hot coals with a kind of emu type thing strapped on his back...looked more dangerous than fixing an aerial on a roof....hmmm........ The Gilli Islands
Often called the paradise islands, these 3 are located off the north west cost of Lombok and for the traveller there are 3 methods of getting there. The expensive, the mid price
and the cheap-ster. As the latter consisted of a mammoth detour via Lombok's mainland plus all the stories from the people selling the tickets varied in their description, I opted to pay the extra 8 pounds for the middle option as the boat would only take 3 hrs. I felt a little bit fleeced when when got on the boat and were told it would take 6 hours. But then the rockiness of the boat took my mind off things so I had a lie down....and a snooze.. After chatting to Karsten (Ger) and 'Didgeridoo Dave' (Aus) on the boat ride, the 4 or so hours sailed past (sorry). Gilli Trawangan
One of the good things about the Gilli Islands is that there are no cars/motoribikes, just horse/carts and bicycles...there were however (according to the LP) a few local 'gigalos' who could be quite territorial....it also went on to say that there were no police (not the band) on the island either so we were warned...
On arrival, Karsten and I checked into a place called something like 'Earth Wind & Fire' - the room was fine (cold shower) and also included a breakfast. That night I
realised it also
came with a free chorus of cockerels cock-a-doodle-doing from around 2am, which was a nice touch.
The following day I did a dive with the excellent DM 'Todd' from Gilli Trawangan diving. My sole aim was to see sharks and turtles. Saw turtles, sharks would have to wait for another dive. Well I would anyway. It was then off to the excellent Reggae bar, or Bob Marley cover version bar to be more precise, where we hung out til the early hours.
The following day after the 2nd dive (more turtles) I went to a chill out restaurant for some chicken and chips. I had some mild stomach cramps about an hour after but put it down to the diving or something. A few hours later it became clear that the diving wasn't the reason behind the stomach cramps as the full scale runs set in (hope you're not eating) Uncomfortable as it was I still decided to head out for dinner with Karsten, Christian, Marieka (Ger), John-Yves (Fra) and Claire (Eng) altho when deciding on the restaurant my only pre requisite was that it served bland food and had a toilet close
As the night wore on and drinking water seemed like a pointless exercise as it would shoot straight thro me like a bucket with a hole in it. The night was pretty much the same, altho I felt that I was being goaded by the cockerels who were 'cock-a-doodle-do-ing' thoughout the night. Damn those cockerels I thought as i got up for my 6th cock-a-doodle-sh*t in as many hours. The morning came and a day of not straying far from the bed followed and by the end of the day I swear Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' had nothing on mine. I had to stay in that night and flush down more salty drinks. Oh joy.
After about 48 hrs (and as many trips to the toilet) I had shed some much needed weight and I dared to go to another of the Gilli Islands, Gilli Meno. The quiet one. The island that is, not me, cos I was moaning to anyone who'd listen about me being at death's door. Well that's waht it felt like for me, and them probably. Gilli Meno
This place is ideal for those wanting to get away
Vern, the very big gekko
from everything, including chicken dinners. It's possible to walk around the island in about 45 mins and whilst doing this you hardly see anyone. There were a few beach side restaurants (where you lie down by your table) buy they were pretty deserted. I went along with a book and as is normal in Indonesia I was joined by some locals who just started chatting to me until my meal turned up..this time I was shown how to do a bit of cocunut carving in exchange for a short Rubik's cube lesson.
There was a slight mix up with the boat going back to Gilli Trawangan so I had to 'charter' a boat (check me out) back there. And as I had gone for the expensive option back to Bali I would be getting the speedboat back.. As most had gone on the early one it ended up just being me on the boat, so it was as if I'd chartered a speedboat too. Well, kind of...
As my Asia adventure was coming to a close and I waited for my flight to Oz, I compiled the following lists, so put your hands together for the
Asian Awards: Top Beer
The Fire Dancer
...and how I dance to The Prodigy...
1. (annoyingly) Chang Beer
2. Angkor Beer
3. Bintang Top 5 Experiences
1. Working with Orangs, Sumatra
2. Gibbon Experience, Laos
3. Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand
4. Night Dive, Thailand
5. Tubing, Laos Friendliest People
1. Sumatrans (Indonesian)
3. Cambodians Best Travellers at Speaking English (as their 2nd language)
1. Skandanavians (mainly Swedish)
4. Welsh (just kidding)
There are more photos below