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Published: December 10th 2012
I left Balangan after the rain had let up and drove myself back towards Canggu. I stopped for a luxurious breakfast at "Chocolate Cafe" because no one can resist a cafe by that name. Then it was a brief stop for more surf wax and then all the way down the now familiar roads to Surfing Dorms. I dropped my stuff off, said hello to Zach and Dan who were both still there, and hit the water. It wasn't a great session but there were only three of us in the water most of the time, me, Buck from Montanta, and another American who had just arrived in Bali. I surfed for a couple of hours and then ran back to the dorms to change and get ready for my riding lesson, which was wonderful as always.
In the evening I met a couple of our new roommates who were from Portugal and one of them who was an osteopath spent the next few hours being put to work fixing everyone's various aches and pains. I had him take a look at my shoulder which it turns out is just hurting because my muscles are too tight but this man had magic fingers and really knew his stuff. And he was kind enough to spend like three hours working on his vacation, and for free. The boys went to go drop Dan off to get his taxi to the airport and I went to go sample some of the local Thai food which was not as great as I had hoped. I came back to the hostel and there was a bit of confusion because Zach and I had both extended our stay for that night, and paid, but now we were being told that a bunch of people were going to show up and there wouldn't be enough beds. We didn't actually believe that anyone would show though, so it was unfortunate when around midnight, when I was already in bed, that a whole mess of people showed up to claim their spots. I ended up sharing a double sized bed with Zach and getting half my money back the next day and it all worked out in the end. The next day I got up SUPER early and went surfing but the swell had dropped and it was super busy in the water with people scratching to get on even the tiniest ripple. I went back to the hostel, then blogged, picked up my laundry from the day before, ate, packed and taking even my big back this time made my way to Kuta.
I spent my day in Kuta running errands and getting ready for my trip to Lombok. The first thing to do was stop in at Granny's Hostel and see if they had a room for me. The dorm was full but the air con four bed suite had a spare so I took that and dropped off my stuff before going into town. As I made my way through the usual traffic I caught a glimpse of a bunch of police officers pulling people over at a checkpoint but the crowd was too thick! I couldn't get away! I tried but I was surrounded and had to pull over. I took the advice I had been given previously and took out my key and put it away so that I had control over it and then got out my license and registration. I don't have an international driver's license and when asked about it I just said I don't "have it with me." This did not make any difference, I was led over to the man standing at the side writing out tickets for people which seemed way more legit than I had been led to believe traffic stops ever were. When it was my turn to talk to the officer he asked me about the international license which I said again I didn't have "with me" and then I pointed out that the only reason I was driving into Kuta was to RETURN THE SCOOTER and so the only thing between me and not driving illegally was him. He asked me how long I had the scooter ("2...days..") and if it was my first time being pulled over, which it was, and....then he let me go! WITH A WARNING! WHOOO! I did NOT expect that to happen at all! I was so relieved! I quickly took myself where I needed to go and parked, not planning to drive that much more around Kuta if I could help it. The rest of my day is pretty boring after that incident. I bought myself a ticket through Perama to Lombok, which was annoying. I asked for pickup at my hostel which they said they could do, then said they couldn't, I would have to be there at 5:45 in the morning instead, SO that we could make stops to pick up other people on the way (arguing about this didn't work). Then it wasn't possible to buy a ticket to Kuta, Lombok because I was only one person and it was a two person minimum so I had to buy a ticket to Mataram instead for only slightly less. Then it was running up and down the alleys of Kuta to do the rest of my preparations. I picked up my brand new board bag (which I had ordered on my way into Kuta the day before), I bought books to read, got a massage and a pedicure, returned my scooter and paid for the damage (100,000r) and arranged to have my board for longer than the original month I had rented it for (through the scooter renting friend of the guy I had rented my board from because the shop was closed and I was leaving the next day). After an exhausting day I then had to walk back to Granny's because I was too stubborn to get a taxi, stopping along the way for dinner where I met a woman from New Zealand leaving in Serangan who invited me to come surfing with her when I was back in Bali. Then I grabbed some food for the road the next day and was finally back at the hostel, where I ordered my taxi for 5:30 or so in the morning. And, with all of my shit together and all that effort to make sure I was really prepared to go to Lombok the next day, I went out drinking until 3am or something ridiculous. It was terrible decision making. I got about an hour of sleep (maybe) and was woken when the taxi was already there, so I had to throw all my things together at the last second, settle my bill, which was in a bit of dispute over how many beers I had bought there and how many I had bought from the minimart next door, then throw my stuff in the car only to realize once we were on the road that I had forgotten MY SURFBOARD! Then it was back into the hostel through the back, grabbing the surfboard, shoving it into the car and begging begging begging the taxi driver to drive faster because I really needed to make the bus since I had already paid for the ticket. Make it I did! And then I passed out and slept until we got to Padangbai, where I bought myself breakfast and a ticket to Kuta for way too much money when it turned out that a couple of people were going so they were going to run the bus. I was too cheap to buy a fastboat ticket so the next four hours or so were spent on a wooden bench of the public ferry, sleeping, eating cookies, and reading my new books. When we finally got to Lombok around 2pm it was only to get into yet another minibus which, after 20 minutes or more dropped the three of us going to Kuta off at the side of the road to get into yet another minibus that would take us to our final destination of the day. I slept and read through most of this journey as well. When we got into Kuta it was around 3 or 3:30 and the German couple I was with spent the next hour or so visiting a number of hotels and accomodation that were way outside of my budget (I didn't mind since I wouldn't have been there without them). I waited until they found a place and then had the bus driver take me to a cheap hostel which was full, but was willing to recommend another homestay down the road run by an American guy and his Indonesian wife where they were able to offer me a room, including breakfast, for a reasonable amount. Now the entire time that we had been inspecting hotels, this man had been following us around trying to rent me a scooter. I hate when people do that, but he had been following for over an hour, and the scooter was in really good shape and had a bigger engine than most and the woman running the homestay said she couldn't get me a better price (45,000/day even though that was way more than I had paid in Bali), so I went with it and took the scooter for the next five days at least.
At that point I was pretty much set! I had a place to stay, a scooter, my surfboard, everything I needed! I spent the rest of the afternoon settling in and reading on my porch and then got dinner at the warung around the corner with Miles, another American and Jaffar (spelling unknown) and then checked my email and had dessert across the street at another cafe, where I ran into the two Germans I had been travelling with that day. Exhausted from traveling I crawled into bed shortly after that and read until I fell asleep.
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