Day 1: Arrival in Kuta, then down to Uluwatu

Trip Start May 14, 2009
Trip End May 24, 2009

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, May 15, 2009

The connecting flight to Bali wasn't as good, for a start it was full, my entertainment system didn't work and I had some little shit kicking my chair the whole flight.  I thought that was a myth, but no, it really does happen. 

On the other hand, we did fly over various Volcanoes sticking up through the clouds, which is seriously cool to see.  Had my entertainment system been working, I would have missed out on that sight, so it's kinda cool when you're forced to look at the scenery.

Airport was pretty simple to process through - get a 30 day Visa, have a chat with the immigration fella, get my bag and go.  It's not often I take any notice of the advice in the Lonely Planet, but I did when getting a taxi - I walked out the airport grounds and got a taxi for half what was being touted at the arrivals area....and that's without my haggling

The Taxi ride to Kuta is the first experience most people have of Asia.  People drive like mentals.  Scooters and Motorbikes drive on both sides, in any direction, with whole families on the bikes.  Cars beep everyone and everything, which I later found out they do as a warning that they are there.  Add to this mix a bunch of Chickens and Cows on the road, and you have yourself a hella of an introduction to Bali.  I loved it.  Hot, humid, busy, chaotic.  An assault on every sense, including your common sense.  And the best thing is, it works.  There are few accidents.  No road rage.  No one driving like a total tosser.  Score 1 for chaos.

I had booked a cheap hotel in Legion, just north of Kuta, not that there is any difference.  Both places blend into one, and it's all the same everywhere - small trade stalls, various posh boutiques, a ton of surf shops and even more Warrung (local food places, cheap and lovely food).  Hand on heart, I loved the place within 30 seconds.  Kuta has itself a very, very bad reputation, one which I think it undeserved.  Sure it's bad compared to the rest of the Island, but it certainly does not deserve it's "Magaluf of the South" tag. 

All the little stalls sold the same thing, which is probably my only disappointment with Kuta.  I wanted more variety, but it didn't give me any.  For four hours I walked around the place, up and down the main streets and little Gangs (alleys), risking life and limb playing with the Scooters and Cars whizzing by inches away.  But I found the same thing - Bintang T-Shirts (the local Beer); car bumper stickers aimed at the millions of Aussies who come here every year ("I Love to Root Fat Chicks", "Up the Bum, No Babies", "Fuck of the Cunt" etc; and lots and lots of fake stuff.  None of it great, but at least there is no denying what it is.  Having no morals I loved those stores, meaning I could pick up DVDs for 60p and a Xbox360 game for 1.  Yes please.  I'll repeat: No Morals.

It was up one Gang where my feet started to die (that'll be the 3 pair of flip flops/thongs I insisted on wearing) that I bumped into two people I know.  My sister Carrieann and Andy, her fella.  I've not seen them since November (on account of living on opposite sides of the world) but it felt very normal to see them.  So I mooched around with them for a while, getting some cracking food and having a few Bintangs to wash it down with.  All for a handful of .  Thank you please indeed.

As late afternoon turned into evening, we decided to go back to their hotel, the very posh Bluepoint Villas in Uluwatu.  So minutes later we were driving down there, in the cheapest hire car in the world.  Half way there and the fuses for the lights blow.  Sparks literally come out of the wires, and they melt.  Since it's dark, you sort of need lights, so with some chewing gum and a bit of violence, we manage to get going again, with side lights and three pairs of very serious eyes looking out.  Top stuff. 

Since they are here to get married, they wangled some great deal on their hotel, meaning they got a huge villa to themselves for a fraction of the normal cost.  It helps being low season too, when the place is half full.  The top floor of the Villa is a few beams and a low wooden guard rail.  It's practically outside - the are no walls or windows.  My bed was up there.  It was one of the best sleeps I've ever had, if the noisiest.  For a start, there was a giant Gecko making a racket all night.  Then around 3am the Cockerels started.  Then the Monkeys in the forest went off on one.  Tell you what though, it beats any 5* room you could throw at me.
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