We’ve spent quite a lot of today catching up on sleep – we woke up early and went for breakfast, then thought we’d have another hour in bed, and when we woke up it was 4pm! I think it’s not just the long flight catching up with us – it’s also the busy few weeks we’ve had with the wedding, and work, and getting our lives packed up and ready to leave for three months! It’s a strange but very welcome feeling to have no To Do list running around our heads!
Anyway, once we woke up, we went for a walk down to the beach and walked along almost the whole length of Kuta beach, watching the sunset. There were hundreds of people on the beach, I think just there for the sunset, because almost everyone disappeared as soon as the sun went down. We were a bit taken aback by the amount of rubbish on the beach, and in the sea – I’d forgotten about it, but actually I remember when Jess and I were here 10 years ago, we used to hardly ever swim in the sea – we’d lie on the beach, but then go to a hotel pool to swim.
We walked back up through little side streets to Jalan Legian, the main strip. We’d gone out last night and walked most of the way up, and even at 1 a.m. it was still buzzing – there are more big nightclubs and bars than I remember, and where the Sari Club used to be there’s a huge memorial to the victims of the bombings. There are hundreds of mopeds screeching up and down at the time, and packs of guys on every corner shouting ‘transport?’ as you walk past, and hundreds of shops selling the same T-shirts and sarongs and hats and handbags. It’s dirty and chaotic and the pavements are full of holes and everyone seems to smoke – and everyone is so friendly, and there are little banana-leaf offerings scattered all over the pavements, and everyone seems to be having such a good time. It feels very familiar to me, and I’m feeling so relaxed here, and really enjoying showing Chris around.
We walked through the ‘posh’ bit of Kuta this evening, with all the air-conditioned surf label shops, and thought it wasn’t nearly as much fun as Jalan Legian and the hundreds of little street stalls. We did find a little shop with a man making surfboard bags and backpacks, and we’re going to go back there later this week with my backpack, to see if he can fix the broken zip.
We had a quick drink in the hotel bar last night and realised that imported spirits are ridiculously expensive, so every time we’ve stopped for a drink today, we’ve shared a local Bintang beer. It’s more expensive than I remember – 30,000 rupiah for a large Bintang, which is just over £2. I suppose it has been 10 years since I was last here, and my memories of how cheap everything was might be wrong anyway! We had dinner at a restaurant on Jalan Legian and paid about 40,000 Rupiah (£3.80?) for our meals.
Tomorrow morning we’re up early as we’ve arranged for the taxi driver who drove us into town from the airport to come back to take us on an all-day tour of Bali – itinerary to be discussed as we go along, but I think we’re starting with a Balinese dance show, then the Monkey Forest Temple, then the volcano and rice paddies, and the batik factory, silversmiths, wood carvers etc… Should be a really fun day! We walked past a fish pedicure place on the street tonight and didn’t stop as we were trying to get to the beach for sunset, but tomorrow we might go back and have one. Also on the list is a massage on the beach – although little massage shops seem to have sprung up everywhere since I was last here, so maybe we’ll have to try those instead!
We’re having a wonderful time already and just feeling so happy and relaxed. I’m writing this in our room, in a minute we’ll wander down to the bar to use the free WiFi to post it, and then maybe go for a quick swim – the hotel pool is lovely, and although we didn’t get round to it today, and won’t tomorrow, the next day we’re going to spend some time lazing around the pool and having a few drinks at the swim-up bar!