1st Birthday Drink
How are you all? Right, I know you are all busy people, well apart from Banj and Cerri (if you don’t know them, you will next blog) but it would be GREAT for us if you would let us know what’s happening in your world. Even if you have nothing to say, just say hi. I’m not sure if anyone apart from our families are reading this anymore and we tell them everything on the phone anyway….. Are you in the shadows of the blog? Come out into the light and say hi………
So, we were in Ubud last time I wrote. We spent the day out and about on the moped and first stop was the much anticipated Monkey Forest. We rocked up at the forest and paid to go in, about £1.30 each, entered and were greeted by lots of, as expected, of monkeys. The forest had walkways which were full of monkeys and tourists it was, at times, hard to distinguish the difference between them! I took a few piccies for you all to see…After the Monkey forest we headed to this so called sacred temple thingy, which was about 25km away from Ubud.
On my right is a volcano....on my head is a massive helmet!
We jumped on the bike and headed over there. Now, it was a pretty hot and sticky day in tropical Bali, so we had the sun screen all over, glasses on and helmets, the only thing that was keeping me cool was the breeze when driving along. After and hour or so we got to the temple and parked the bike at the top of a 200m road. The road down to the temple was lined with little wooden market stalls, all selling sarongs. Kate had read in the book that you need a sarong to go into the temple area. We walked down the road and got asked numerous time if we wanted to buy a sarong, we said no about 100 times until we got to one stall and Kate thought we had better get one after a lady said “3 for 10”, now 10,000IRP is 66p and with that we thought yeah lets do it. So Kate went to one stall and I went to another, we were both being dressed by these old ladies in sarongs and my old lady starts saying you pay the same price as your friend…Ok I thought, 66p is cheap. So
In the Temple. Not happy about the Sarong!!
we both opted for lovely blue sarongs, had them around our waists and then I get out the 10,000IRP to pay and no no no, the old lady says, 10Euro’s!!!!!WHAT, your having a laugh!! I hand back the Sarong and walk off, Kate smiles for a few seconds and follows saying he has all the money sorry…..what a bunch of robbing old ladies. I know it’s not much, but for us it’s the principle. So, after walking another 50 paces to the front gate we pay 6000IRP to get in and ask if we do need a Sarong and the ticket seller said we do. So, we walk past another stall and decide we need to get one, so without any messing around I say 50,000IRP for 2 (£3) and pick to blue ones, she agrees, we walk off literally 10 paces and round the corner you can rent a sarong for a small donation for the day. I hate being ripped off, I didn’t even want a bloody sarong, I’m a towel kind of guy, what am I going to do with a sarong? Put it over my bikini bottoms!! I was peeeeeed off with these crafty old ladies…….So
in we go to the sacred area, I’m not enjoying it, Kate’s telling me to cheer up, I don’t much as it’s so hot and sticky. So Kate had a walk around, told me there was a nice waterfall, but she too admitted it was a bit of a let down, we walked back up the really steep hill and did have a good view of a rice field but it was super hot…..Is the temple worth a visit?? No not really and if you do go, take a towel or wear long trousers!!!
When we got back from the Temple and Monkey forest we dressed up and went out for a duck dinner. A local restaurant that has been running since 1994 and is renowned around the globe for the mouth watering, fall off of the bone, duck and host (a local man). We went into the modest restaurant and sat down, we of course ordered the duck and then waited whilst it was being prepared. The host/owner was a Indonesian man in his 60’s, slightly “over the top” host, he even put a second cushions under our butts prior to sitting down. Anyway, he told numerous
jokes, of which the punch lines got lost in translation, however Kate didn’t fail me and laughed at all the wrong times, leaving him with the suspicion that we didn’t really understand his broken English. So eventually after many jokes and travel advice the duck came out. It was good, not amazing as all the reviews had said, but good.
So after spending two days in Ubud wondering around we decided to go to explore the island further. We got a bus over to Padangbai (pronounced - PAD - ANG - BYE). Now being back on a bus my old faithful sick bands were back on the agenda. I slipped them on, and off we set. We picked up a minibus load of other tourists and headed into the sunset. We arrived and we needed to find a place to stay, now this place is fairly small, not touristy and only has a small choice of hotels. We opted for the Padangbai Beach Bungalow’, they were great, modern, clean and very central, they even had an infinity pool, but no wi-fi L.
We spent out first afternoon familiarising ourselves with the place, as I said it’s a small
Kate in her new beach wear!!
place so within an hour we had seen it all and got some food, we planned to get a moped for the following day so we could get out and explore. So the next day, for the second time in Bali, we were on a moped. The lady we hired off was a little worried when I told her I didn’t have an international driving licence, as she said it was illegal and the police could pull us over, but then she said “Just give them 10,000 IRP and it’ll be OK”. We know the police will take bribes here as I have read the book Hotel K (the Bali prison) and spoke to other tourists who have told us about giving them money for their own pocket then they never go ahead to get the official fine for the government! So off we went with Kate now nervous on the back and I must admit I did seem to spot more police than ever on the journey but we were fine, no fines for us that day!!
The ride was brilliant, we took ourselves up to Mount Egung which was fantastic to see a volcano so close up
and Kate said it bought back her Geography lessons learning how people live on the side of, and at the bottom of , volcanoes because the land is so fertile. So her teachers were right!! It really was quite beautiful the sights we saw of the rice terraces, mountains, hills and it was all very green as it was the end of their rainy season. We then drove up to Amed a small town which we had heard was stunning. It was very nice, we stopped for a drink and then carried on a windy road along the coast back to Padangbai which took about 3 hours, but it was great as we were totally in the country and going past really rural local houses and through tiny villages. This was not on a tourist route and so we really felt this was the real Bali. Local women and children ran out of the houses and shouted hello, with huge smiles on their faces and big waves, it felt wonderful smiling, waving and shouting hello back. You might be thinking, I wonder what Hello is in Balinese and how did Matt and Kate know that was what they were shouting
- well Hello is Hello in Balinese!! Very useful!! We have learned how to say Thank you in Balinese which is Teri-Mikashi (a bit like Terri McIvor ha!!). When we got back to Padangbai 5 hours after setting off we were feeling full of joy from Bali’s scenery and what we had just been part of, we were now walking like John Wayne but it was well worth it, a great day.
We chilled in Padangbai for two days before leaving and heading back towards the south of the island.
We have both had our Birthdays this week (9th May) and Char did too so Happy Birthday again Char!!! Thanks for all the messages, birthday cards and presents. We had a great day, we went to the beach, had a surf then had a birthday bar crawl, skyped loads of people at home and then went out for a Mexican meal….great birthday in Bali.
During the last week or so we have changed hotels a few times. We just like to mix it up a bit. We are currently in a hotel which has the toilet and shower in the actual bedroom. Well, to be fair a
We got there the wrong day for the free beer
fairly flimsy shower curtain does separate the area but in the same room all the same!! Cosy!! If anyone is reading this and thinking of coming to Bali, then we can recommend the Green Garden Hotel and also the Taman Ayu Hotel (room/toilet in one!).
We are really enjoying Bali and have seen some wonderful sights but I think our favourite past-time so far has been the 1 hour full body massages (Tom Orch, you would be loving the massages), we have really spoiled ourselves with them, maybe even over indulged a little. The problem is, for £3 for an hour you can’t really go far wrong. We always to choose a different spa every time to give everyone a chance. It’s almost like we are massage connoisseurs, once we finish the massage we like to break down the pros and cons of the one we just had with each other, the oil was cold, she wasn‘t the firmest, my girl was sniffing etc. We just had another last night and they moved the towel off Kate’s bum and then the girl said “I like your bum” to which a shocked Kate replied “thank you but it’s a bit
white” she then slapped both cheeks and said
I quote “Big White Bum”….very funny, that was a pro for me, but I think a con for Kate!! They hardly speak any English, but they managed big white bum…ha ha ha.
As mentioned, we have been eating a fair bit of food recently, a favourite of mine is fish, so I have been chowing down on the odd piece of Tuna. However, we felt we wanted to give something back to the fish’s friends we keep eating so we offered them dinner on us, literally. We had a spa treatment which basically involves Kate and I putting our feet into a large fish tank, waiting a few seconds and letting all the little fish eat the dead skin off our feet. It was quite an interesting experience, especially as we were doing it in the shop front window facing out onto a busy street. We had many tourists coming to look at our feet and watch the fish eating, it felt like we were the new tourist attraction in town!! (See pics)
We have also been shopping ‘till we’re dropping over here, there are 100’s of shops in Bali
offing you everything form handbags to handguns. We have been thinking about the cold weather we are about to encounter in New Zealand. For me I’m really looking forward to this cold snap, but I think Kate whilst really looking forward to NZ would sooner be in the Sun. We didn’t pack at all for the 6 weeks over there and we have a lot scheduled in with Ben and Cerri, from Skydives to Skiing and thus Bikinis and flip flops wont cut the mustard. We have bought a few things here, but as is often the way Asians like to barter over goods. We are the worlds worst ever at it, we generally over pay but we have been trying hard. We both have our strengths, I like to try and ask for a fair price “non of this bartering” and hold strong on a reasonable price, I offer a middle price and refuse to pay anymore. Kate on the other hand has a different stance, for example we have been looking for dresses for her to wear in Vegas, she found a nice one (after looking at every shop in Bali), tried it on and it fitted like
Get away driver
a glove, well now it was time to ask the price. They always over inflate the price massively, so Kate asks and the lady says 200,000IRP (£15.33), which is in fact is ridiculous in Indonesian terms but they always try their luck. So Kate being one to really want a bargain counter offers 20,000 (£1.50) thinking that they may meet in the middle somewhere around 100,000. Well with that offer the lady grabs the dress off Kate, puts it back onto the rail and ignores both Kate and I until we leave the shop!!! I think the offer may have been insultingly low or she just didn‘t like the look of us, either way we retreated to the door empty handed! I have bought a few fake t-shirts and knock off Nigel DVD’s using my hold firm on the middle price technique and Kate has got a few things also.
One thing I must mention is the fact that both Kate and I have been quite avid readers since being away (not like us normally). We have both read numerous books and one in particular we have just both finished reading is called Hotel Kerobokan. It is all about
the goings on in the notorious Bali prison. It really scares me to think that it is so easy for a tourist to make a small mistake and they could end up in a cell for the rest of their life. More often than not it is the fact that the tourist has a small amount of drugs on them that gets them incarcerated, however it’s very easy for someone to plant something on you. We even got our backpacks cling wrapped at the Perth airport as there are stories that the Balinese baggage handlers plant drugs into your bags so we are being extra cautious. Some travellers are much more laid back thinking it will never happen to them but after reading about Scapelle Corby (google her) it seems it really could happen to you.
Whilst here we have had numerous drug offers whilst walking the streets. I think they generally offer to males as I must have been asked a hundred times. The most common offer that gets whispered to me is “Mushroom boss”, I’m sorry does that come with anything? I thought, but soon realised it was the offer of magic mushrooms. One particular chap would
ask me night after night if I fancied mushrooms, well in the end it sounded so temping I had mushroom soup as a starter when I got to the restaurant that night!! One random thing which will really mean nothing to most of you, but something to some of you. We were having a drink on our birthday evening and I looked across the road and saw the infamous Simon Gallimore, very random.
So to sum up our time in Bali it would probably read something like this.
B - Bread Talk, Bintang beer & bartering
A - animals, arak (drink) & Australian tourists
L - lassies (drink), lovely locals, & loungers
I - insects, ice Cream & Indonesian Cuisine….and squatting toilets, thank god I‘m a guy!!!
So now we are back in Oz and on Tuesday we fly to New Zealand meeting Banj and Cerri en-route in Melbourne airport. Really looking forward to the next 6 weeks together with two brilliant friends, it’s like our own little caravan club in New Zealand (Inbetweeners caravan club!!)
Some non-interesting facts of our trip so far:
Number of days away to date: 223 days
Countries visited: 5
Distance travelled - 45,110km
Different modes of transport used - Plane, Train, Sleeper Bus, Mini Bus, Bus, Car, Campervan, Moped, Bicycle, Boat, Cyclo, Tube, Canoe.
Our Favourites so far….
K= Kate M=Matt
K - Vietnam
M - Vietnam
K - Adelaide/Brisbane
M - Undecided
K - Whitehaven Bay (WhitSundays)
M - Esperence (South West Australia)
K - Lobster (With Paddy and Dee in Mui Ne, Vietnam)
M - Crispy Seaford noodles (Hue, Vietnam) (no offence Paddy and Dee)
K - 12 Apostles (On the great Ocean Road Australia)
M - 12 Apostles
K - NYE Sydney
M - NYE Sydney
K - Drinking with Rig in Arlie Beach
M - Being on Ramsey Street
So, that’s all from this weeks edition. Don’t forget to tune in next time for the caravan club special edition. Don’t forget to let us know what’s happening your end.
Matt and Kate
x x x
P.S - Just to let you know the much “hated” sarong has come in useful in the last week or so. We chucked
out our towels in Bali as the hotels supply them, we however forgot that the hostel in Perth does not. The Sarongs are now our bath towels for the next few days and Kate is giving hers an airing as a scarf when its dry!!!
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