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August 10th 2011
Published: January 20th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

After what was a thrilling and easy 2 weeks with everything being organised for me, I was released into the big wide world.. well almost.
Lynn, Betsy, Bella and I all shared a taxi to southern Bali and Lynn, Bella and I went shopping, then for lunch and to the local beach near where Lynn was staying, before I jumped in a taxi for Echoland Hostel near echo beach in Canggu.
This place was exactly what I needed; it was a quiet, modern hotel/hostel with friendly owners and close proximity to a beach with restaurants, surf and sand which wouldn't look out of place in a sandpit.
My selected accomodation consisted of a 6 bed dorm room which was barely large enough to contain two 3 bed bunks and 6 lockers with a bathroom attached to the back. Initially there were only 2 of us in the room, me and a young German lad called Nick, and after chatting for a short while we decided that, in the evening, we would venture out and experience the nightlife of Kuta.............
After getting dropped in the wrong area, Seminak, and having some dinner, we wandered around for about half an hour and decided to cut our losses and get another taxi.
We finally made it to the main strip in Kuta about 10pm
Kuta was the Malaysian equivalent of Magaluf. It was a street with nose to tail traffic running down the centre (mostly taxis) with bars and clubs either side. Every bar had touts outside attempting to draw as many punters inside with scantily clad women and happy hour deals which often lasted most of the night. I've got to say that the mixture of overly loud repetitive dance music, the regular offers of drugs and motorbike taxis would not make it my usual choice for a night out but, seeing as we had gone to some effort to get there, we decided to have a laugh and make a night of it!......... After visiting almost every bar, drinking what must have been an excessive mix of beer and spirits (I get carried away occaisonally as some of you already know) Nick and I returned home about 4am after I had been awake for roughly 22 hours.
The next day I was awoken at 9:30am by the hotel owner to discuss with the divemaster some diving plans we had touched on the day before. I was not quite all there as I was still half asleep and went back to bed for the remainder of the morning straight after the diving chat.
Surprisingly, when I awoke at midday, I had no trace of a hangover (which is very unlike me!) However Nick was a different story altogether; He spent a majority of the afternoon in bed and was not his usual happy self for the rest of the day.
Needless to say that night was a quiet one!
The following morning began at 6am as I had scheduled a 3 dive trip with a group of Malaysians from Kuala Lumpar which is one of my travel destinations so I had plenty of questions for them..... It was a very good job they all speak excellent English as my Malaysian consists of the overlapping pleasantries I have learnt from the Indonesian language, Bahasa.
Dive 1 was at a site called Manta point which is a cleaning station where many Manta Rays visit to be cleaned by smaller fish before returning to their deeper habitat. During this dive was where I noticed that my eyesight is not as good as it used to be as I almost missed a sighting of a 2 metre wingspan manta. :-) It was a very impressive sight in addition to the various corals and other marine life.
Dive 2 was at a site called Crystal beach named such because it was just off the coast of a pure white sandy beach. Crystal beach was a less enjoyable experience, one of the girls in the group had a bit of a moment and ended up at almost 40 metres which is nearly 10metres deeper than the allowed depth with our qualifications. We followed her down to get her to a reasonable depth but I think the whole experience had scared her as she wasn't acting secure for the remainder of the dive...I was glad for that dive to be over as that incident put me on edge for the rest of the dive.
After dive 2 we stopped on crystal beach for a traditional Indonesian lunch consisting of rice, chicken satay and spices wrapped in a banana leaf to keep it all together..... mmmm, just what I needed after that tense dive. On a side note, there was a girl from another boat that I had to mention, I thought to myself there's something odd about her but I paid no attention to it and got back on my boat for the 3rd dive - turns out she was, in fact, a he!
Anyways.... on to the 3rd dive..... I think it was called something pinacle.
The girls did not dive the 3rd dive as the one who had the moment was not feeling well so the 3 of us guys and the guide went down.
During this dive, which was a pretty standard dive, I was at the point of thinking to myself that, although diving is generally relaxing and fun, I wasn't sure whether my heart was really in it anymore and that maybe I should be spending my spare time with my other hobbies......... at the moment I was given the reason why I enjoy diving...... I spotted a sea turtle effortlessly gliding through the water and spent the next 5 minutes chasing it! It was very cool!
The next, and my final day in Echoland b&b, I have labelled a "WHY NOT?" day and I suggest to those of you who read this blog to have a "why not?" day as it was an extremely freeing experience.
I met some more single serving friends the night before and every suggestion that day was answered with a "why not?"
That day we went to the beach, I attempted to surf using only my body but ended up with sand everywhere, we went to the temple on the sea called Tanah Lot and had dinner overlooking the temple from a cliff edge, we stopped to pick up beer on the way home and, upon returning, decided to strip off and jump in the pool....... Why not?!
The remainder of the evening was spent chatting on the roof terrace eating various snacks we'd picked up whilst trying the different ales from a Balinese brewery! Thanks to all my single serving friends from Echo beach for a very cool few days!
Next off to Gili Trawangan.............


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