Dear Diary

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July 17th 2008
Published: August 7th 2008
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MONDAYI was told by the more experienced travellers that Kuta is the arm pit of Indonesia and to save international travellers face, we needed to get our bearings and move on. Today I went to the beach of Kuta to have a long rest in perfect sunshine. I laid down, creamed up, headphones on. Closed my eyes, 45 seconds later the sun went in, it stayed in for a silly long time, felt something brush my thigh then my arm then laughter could be heard. I opened my eyes to find seven Korean men crouching around my shy body. Chief Korean photographer aged around 55 wore backward NY peak cap, white socks, brown sandals. He directed his motley crew on how to stand, crouch or kneel for optimum holiday voyeur snap shot, all without my consent. I slipped off my headphones, told them to “Get the freak away” They bowed and bowed again, like those nodding dogs you get free when you buy home insurance, their heads hung low saying 'solly, solly', one man got his wallet out to pay to have his picture with me. I screamed at them and covered myself up with a very sandy sarong. This kind of personal space invasion happens a lot here.

02.41 am A fight broke out between a couple in next room. She screamed in rough hoarse slurred tones which indicated vast alcohol consumption and hormone imbalance. She hated him, he hated her. She told the entire floor we shared of our hotel that he was "a bastard wanker who treated her bad". He told the upper floor of the same hotel that "she was a drunken embarrassing whore". She then told the whole hotel that "she will N E V E R sleep with his sorry arse again, she would rather die". He told the whole hotel that "this was fine by him as he had plenty of other offers and could really do without all this shit." She screamed so the hotel next door could hear, that she "was sick of his lies, his cheating, and his other women". He shouted to everyone in Kuta district for her "to get out of his face and leave if she was not happy with their arrangement". She stamped her feet and screamed that she was sick of being the 'other woman' and second best to 'his wife'! He said he was sick of women, period. I got up and curtain twitched and I saw for myself she was an unsightly sight, half undressed! The man locked her out as he had paid for the room, she had no choice but to compromise after the security man put his foot down and threatened to call the cops if she didn’t shut up. She slept out in the communal balcony on two rattan chairs pushed together and for the rest of the night she mumbled curses to the man inside. They were gone by breakfast time.

TUESDAY Very excited to find Marks & Spencer in Kuta town, not seen one in months, I needed a new bra, the under wires from both my current bras have finally come out, I cannot feed them back in any more, it is a hopeless situation. This is very bad news for my body’s gravity. Sadly this great English establishment failed in its international sizing, obviously thinking local Asian, tiny, flat, 5 ft customers and not long term fuller, taller market, the biggest size I could find was 32 C which was no good to anyone. Wanted to cry like a teenager, which was the last time I fitted into 32C bra.

Tuesday Night I'm a prude when it comes to hearing other people having sex; on occasion unfortunately it is part and parcel of the nightly order of being a hotel, motel, hostel tenant. Thankfully it doesn't happen that much but when it does! 'Bang bang, moan, moan, my god, my god'. I always wince at having to endure this carnal intrusion, I cram two sets of ear plugs in so tight that I risked a middle ear blow out, further buffing sounds with emergency pillows piled up on head, clamped together by along sleeve t-shirt. Suddenly it was over, 16 minutes in total, finally the connecting walls were back to normal, post coital silence is a blissful sound at 03.56 am!

WEDNESDAY Deep within the crutch of Kuta beach, life is good. There are miles of golden sands free from litter, clearer sea water with biggish waves to surf, no scary visible sea creatures to comment on, the sun is consistently out the whole time with little cloud. There are no beggars especially those with soul destroying deformities, no naked children pulling at your conscience for money with those feel sorry for me eyes burning into your wallet. The kids here are well dressed, friendly and happy little people. There were beach sellers but they don't seem to linger within personal space making you feel irritated, I heard of no thefts or muggings or bar brawls. I did not get a single whiff of a fight but I did not hang out in bars all night every night so I’m not saying this does not happen, but I'll tell you why this might be to do with all this Bali Hindu religion they practise 5 times a day. It is not only the best deterrent for the local people knowing you will come back as a black watch beetle or crunchy cockroach in your next life (Jam Blog ) if you do bad to another. But I feel tourists actually respect this as it is a visible life force everywhere here.

Beavis & Butthead moved in to the room next door. Barely of legal age grunts, drunken groans and the distinct smell of pot was absorbed through connecting walls, along with the endless noise of rubbish dated techno from their mid 20th century CD player. I'm sorry to be a spoil sport, maybe it’s my age, but I had to tell them to “SHUT THE F**K UP” at 04.39 as it was now my third night of no sleep.

THURSDAY Bali cremation ceremony on Kuta Beach were they scattered a thousand rose petals on the sand, they also scattered human ashes into the sea, but the ashes drifted my way down the shore line, I was already brave enough to be waist deep in the raging sea while contemplating where to run when the next aggressive wave hit, when some dead persons remains hit me, all grey and clumpy, which stuck all over my body and made me silent scream like I was in the midst of a bad dream.
Thursday night. Room next door was vacant, silence.

FRIDAY Continuing on with my questions and answers on life & death.
I read a book 'Tuesdays With Morrie' by Mitch Albom. This little book was small in reading size, but huge in story. A great book about a real man Morrie Schwartz, who was dying of a terminal illness; it is about his observations and epiphanies which he shares with his former student Mitch Albom. I cried throughout. So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half asleep, even when they are busy doing things they think are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things.

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, to your community around you, to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Morrie Schwartz

Noticed a couple of senior citizens smooching on beach, they appeared to be in love. It turned out they were 63 and 66 years old from Bristol on a holiday to celebrate one year of being happily together. One of them widowed 3 years before, she lost her husband after fighting four years of cancer. The other survived a messy divorce after 34 years of marriage. They were both silver surfers and found each other on the internet. I asked what their secret is, they said this: “Don't look back. Forgive those who have hurt you and live every day as if it’s your last!” Thus proving it’s never too late for anything. Life goes on regardless if you choose to stay miserable or get out there and find that thing called happiness that has your name on it.

SATURDAY Went on a tour.
Our guide confirmed about the belief of a useless life of an insect and many more fascinating Bali Hindu customs regarding reincarnation. I asked why Bali Hinduism is so different to Indian Hinduism.
He explained that our globe has only one World Ocean. There is only one God; this is represented by this one world ocean. That one big ocean is broken down in to smaller divisions: Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Arctic, Southern oceans. Each one of those oceans is our main religions who worship the same one God, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, that is then broken down in to smaller groups of seas, bays, rivers, gulfs, straits, these are the smaller divisions of those 5 religions, groups, parishes, cults, sects. For example Bali Hindu and Indian Hindu would be the Zambezi and the Ganges that are part of the same Indian Ocean, but it can break down again as for example the Zambezi also has smaller divisions such as Victoria falls and Chavuma falls, this is the understanding of all the sub divisions within one smaller religion. But we all worship the same one God who is again the one big ocean. In answer to my original question Bali people, history and customs are just different to Indian people, history and customs but we are all part of the same sea. I told the guide about Southern Vietnam's religion of Cao Daism where since the 1920's they had adopted all the world’s religions and practise under the same temple as one, the guide had never heard of such a thing and thought this promising.

Went to another temple called the elephant caves Goa Gajah in Bedulu. There were no real elephants there but it was a place to worship Ganesha the Elephant God. If I was menstruating I had to tell them at the gate and would not be allowed in as I would be considered too dirty, I was not menstruating so I went in. Within one enclosed carved out tunnel cave there were three massive stone penises called lingas, they were to be bowed before and the Goddess of Fertility was to be worshipped by childless couples. The shape of the cave was that of a female womb with a long canal that divided at the end like a capital T, this unique lay out had been seriously thought out by the three Gods of Gynaecology, Gods of Geology and Gods of Architecture.

SUNDAY Even when you don't have a job and travelling the world, Sundays are still Sundays, sleeping in, doing the washing having a nice fat lunch. A day of rest, where I don't think of anything too taxing. This place had everything apart from Wifi or cheap internet, but what the hell. We both liked it here, it is interesting and alive, and right now it served our needs to recuperate. So Kuta being the arm pit of Indonesia is really down to a personal interpretation.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. The Buddha

Met Commissioner Z under the cover of darkness at a secret location McDonalds in the airport, we had over stayed our visa by one week to watch the kings cremation which was a semi crime in these parts. We handed over the silly amount of back hander cash; he stamped our illegal over stayed visa and passports. We flew on to Malaysia that night.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23



seen through different eyes
Kuta sunset.Kuta sunset.
Kuta sunset.

Stu boogie boarding.
A childs creamtion vesselA childs creamtion vessel
A childs creamtion vessel

they loved the sea, so wanted to die by the sea.

7th August 2008

One God One Ocean
Wow. Blow me away! What a beautiful concept: One God represented by One Ocean broken down to Individual Oceans broken down to Seas,Bays,Rivers,Gulfs,Straits, etc. Wow. I love this concept. I will have to give this MUCH thought. Thanks for sharing all that you do Claire. BIG HUG. BIG LOVE. MAC
11th August 2008

Hee hee hee, I have big smiles reading the latest installment! Oh and I have come to the conclusion the sunsets in Bali are the best in theworld! Much love, xx
12th August 2008

rong sufferlng ingrish
darlings, you are amazing, all that night noise and still you stay upbeat and cheerful, bring that spirit back to england, you will need it, am in the cotswolds, heating on, log fires, wet dog and pub doing fine, it could be much much worse, make the most of your stay out east now love youxxxxxxxmiss p

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