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Published: December 12th 2018
We see signs in the bar telling us that the hotel has a “no straw policy”. This comes as a bit of a surprise as most of the drinks we’ve been served here so far have come complete with thin plastic tubes that seem to fit the definition of the word straw, at least where we come from. That said both Issy and I have commented at various times over the past few days that our straws have split as we’ve tried to use them, and we’ve then had to revert to the time honoured method of lifting the glasses to our lips. I wonder if the hotel has managed to develop biodegradable plastic straws and these are then considered to be consistent with its no straw policy. I think that the world’s oceans would be pleased to hear about this, particularly the parts around the large plastic garbage island that is reportedly floating around somewhere in the middle of the Pacific. I’d thought that one of the great problems with plastic was that it took about ten thousand years to break down, and that the phrase biodegradable plastic was considered to be a contradiction in terms. If the Sofitel is
Swimming pool rules
I would have hoped that if the top left hand rule was applied then the top right hand rule wouldn’t be necessary, but maybe I’m getting old. I fear that the bottom left hand rule may be just a tad too subtle for your average five year old.
able to cash in on its discovery maybe it will be able to reduce the exorbitant prices of some of its cocktails. Biodegradable plastic straws that break down a bit sooner than ten thousand years hence would certainly be of great benefit to the environment, but I think the current versions which split well before your drink gets anywhere near the bottom of the glass might need a bit more work.
Issy wants to head back to Bali Collection for a manicure and pedicure. I manage to convince her that my finger and toe nails are already perfect, so she generously grants me a pass to go and do whatever I please for a couple of hours. I think she might also be planning to have another massage. I think she might becoming addicted to massages. I wonder if massage addiction is a real thing, and if so what the cure is. I think that at least part of it might involve not coming to Bali.
I use my leave pass to walk south along the beach. Soon after passing Waterblow I spy a large Chinese national flag which looks to have been only very recently planted into
the sand. I think that in colonial times if you wanted to lay claim to a large tract of Africa or indeed to the whole of Australia all you seemed to need to do was to row up to the shore and plant your country’s national standard on the beach. It didn’t seem to matter that the locals were already there, and blissfully unaware of the colonialists’ unwritten flag rules, this was just the way things were done. The Chinese government seems to have been hard at it recently building islands in the South China Sea. I wonder whether this has all become too difficult so they’ve now decided it would be easier to just row up to the beach somewhere instead and lay claim to an existing island, in this case Bali. I wonder if they’ve just claimed Bali, or the flag in the sand means that they’ve claimed the rest of Indonesia as well. There are thousands of islands in Indonesia. I’m not sure whether the colonial flag rules are clear on whether planting a flag on only one island is considered sufficient to lay claim to the whole country or whether each island needs to be claimed
individually. Either way I don’t think that the Donald will be too happy when he hears about this, and I think that now might be a good time to leave here before the nukes start flying.
The seascape changes as I move south. It is now a bit windier, there seems to be less reef and more surf, the beach is much wider, and there are a lot fewer trees. There also seem to be a lot more Russian tourists. I hope they’re not here because they’ve got wind of the Chinese flag planting exercise and don’t want to be left out when the world’s superpowers come to blows over Bali. Come to think of it I think that the Russians might have slipped down the superpower rankings a bit in recent times, so maybe their citizens really are all just here for a holiday.
I reach Pura Geger temple which is perched on a hilltop overlooking Geger Beach. It is apparently an important Nusa Dua cultural landmark. Signs tell me that I can only enter the temple if I’m wearing a sarong. I don’t seem to have one handy so I walk around the outside of the
temple wall instead to try to get some better views. The path gets very narrow and overgrown and progress becomes a bit of a struggle. The path is also right next to the edge of a thirty metre high cliff and I don’t think it will end well if step a few millimetres off the edge of the path and crash onto the rocks below. I’m glad Issy isn’t here. The views from the clifftop in both directions are excellent.
I’ve arranged to meet Issy at her massage centre at Bali Collection, where by now she is probably keeping the establishment in business. I take a seat next to her as her manicure and pedicure are completed. The man sitting in front of us has his feet in a tank full of small fish whose job is apparently to relieve his feet of any dead skin. I ask him what it feels like. He says that it tickled a bit at first, but then he got used to it. Issy tells a slightly different version of the story. In her version the man squealed loudly and wriggled his feet so vigorously that the staff needed to intervene to stop
him from squashing half the fish. I wonder what these fish are. They must be carnivorous, so maybe they’re apprentice piraña. The manicurist tells us that the fish in the next tank are a lot bigger and more aggressive, so presumably they’ve reached the next stage of their apprenticeships. I wonder at what stage they release them into the Amazon. I hope they release them into the Amazon and that a few of them don’t accidentally get snuck into the waters off the Sofitel. The manicurist goes on to tell us she had to take the man’s partner’s feet out of the tank mid-session because she had a wound that was starting to bleed. I assumed that this was for the lady’s safety, as the apprentice piraña had started to smell blood and were in danger of munching into one of her arteries, but it seems that I am mistaken. The manicurist goes onto explain that they weren’t worried at all about their customer but held serious concerns for the health of their precious fish. It seems that human blood is very bad for these fish. I think that this might blow my apprentice piraña theory.
I go for
a dip in the sea in front of the Sofitel. The tide is now a lot further in than it was yesterday, so swimming is now feasible. The downside is that the sea urchins are now a lot harder to see in the deeper water. Maybe it’s no surprise that I seem to be swimming alone here while the hotel pool is packed.
We head out along the beachfront to look for somewhere to eat. On the way we pass a Chinese wedding reception in full swing. The bride is decked out in a full length dress that seems to transition from black to white from top to bottom, with a purplish tinge in between. There only seem to be about a dozen guests. The speeches are in progress, and one particular gentleman seems to have a very firm grip on the only microphone. We eat and come back past the wedding again. The same gentlemen who had the microphone before still has it, and he’s still talking. I leave Issy at the hotel and head off to take some night photographs. On the way back to the hotel I walk past the wedding again. It’s now about three
hours since we walked past it the first time, and the same gentleman is still going with his speech. More amazingly, most of the guests still seem to be awake. Our speechmaker now has hold of a pink panther doll which he seems to be taking every opportunity to drape over someone’s shoulder, and whenever he does this there is raucous laughter from all the guests. Whilst I can’t understand a word of what’s being said, this certainly seems to be a very entertaining wedding, and a far cry from some of the stodgy shows we’ve had to endure back home. I wonder if all Chinese weddings are like this. I resolve to add “get invited to a Chinese wedding” to our bucket list.
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