24th April 2012 – Kuta, Bali.

24th April

The island tour was great fun – after a wake-up call from our taxi driver at 7 a.m. (I think he wanted to make sure we were definitely still coming!) we set off at about quarter to nine (after waiting for said driver to turn up – he was stuck in traffic!)

We started with a Balinese dance show which was a bizarre and wonderful mixture of traditional storytelling and slapstick ‘look at this, the monkey has a penis, hahaha’ – we eventually concluded that it’s like Shakespeare, the most accurate historical interpretation is as crowd-pleasing entertainment, and if monkey willies are what pleases the Bali tourist crowd then who are we to judge?!

We spent the rest of the day driving around the island at breakneck speed, overtaking trucks on blind corners and scattering crowds of mopeds at every turn, and stopping at various places – a wood carver, a batik (fabric-dying) factory, rice paddies, a silversmith, a coffee maker where they have a… herd? pride? insert collective noun here… of Lowoks, which are little weaselly animals who eat the coffee beans and then poo them out (their signage used a much more elegant term) and they’re collected and made into coffee. So Chris had a Lowok-poo coffee, and we sat in a very picturesque spot overlooking the jungle and tasted different coffees and teas. Lovely!

We also went up to the volcano and had a totally overpriced and not very nice all-you-can-eat lunch with the most amazing view – we were sat at a bar on their balcony, overlooking the volcano. Very cool!!

Lunch at the volcano

We got chatting to a guy next to us who is a firefighter and was one of the team who responded to the Sari Club bombings. He told us a few very harrowing snippets. The bombings happened 10 years ago, but are still very much in peoples’ minds here – they get mentioned a lot, and there’s a huge memorial in the middle of town, right where the Sari Club used to be. Very poignant to see it right in between all the loudest bars and clubs, and remember how crowded it always was, and what absolute devastation a bomb there must have caused.

Sari Club bombing memorial, Kuta, Bali.

Today we had a totally lazy day by the pool, which I absolutely loved and Chris tolerated very well! We lay in the shade reading till we got hot, then swam, then sat in the sun till we were dry, then did it all again, and ordered drinks, and ordered lunch, and didn’t move from our little spot by the pool all day. Heaven! I can’t remember the last time we spent a whole day doing nothing.

Fish pedicure

This evening we went out for a wander, took my backpack to be fixed, found a book-swap stall and swapped my finished book for a new one, bought some mozzie repellent as we’re both getting bitten, wandered past a fish pedicure place on the street so stopped for half an hour of foot-nibbling (bloody weird till you get used to it, then lovely!) and had dinner in one restaurant, then dessert in another, and wandered around the back streets looking at stalls and soaking up the atmosphere. Then we bought a few beers at the supermarket and have come back for a lazy evening drinking and chatting on our balcony.

We seem to be telling everyone we meet that we’re on honeymoon – it’s so exciting! Starting to look forward to New Zealand, now, as well – we’ve been reading our Lonely Planet, and have booked our first couple of nights’ hostel in Christchurch, so we’ve got somewhere to stay while we look for a campervan.

Having a lovely time, anyway!

Monkeys at the temple in Ubud

Dinner on the beach in Jimbaran

Choosing fish in Jimbaran

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