Bali - Our Final Days

Trip Start Apr 11, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, February 26, 2010

The trials and tribulations of being 'all grown up' were fast becoming apparent to Lady Charlotte. The term ‘pay for it yourself’ was something she will have to acquire a deeper understanding of. Her first four days as a mature young lady was stifled by her sultry sexy voice descending into a croaky whisper. This actually brought back some wonderful memories for me, you see my first four days of marriage were blessed with the wife losing her voice – I actually thought that those first four days were how the rest of my marriage would be – a silent obedient obliging wife – silly me!!! Such lovely memories!!

Charlotte did though develop a rather severe cough which degenerated into a rough seal bark. This cough would persist day and night for the first four days of Charlotte being 18. This resulted in two very bleary eyed young ladies wandering around the hotel knowing they came to Bali to get no sleep – but wandering why they were getting no sleep and NOT going out. The girls though were able to drag Charlotte into the humid sweaty streets for shopping expeditions. In between all this, the hotel pool and the sunbathing still got a decent workout.

It was at this time of the holiday that we probably had our only real unpleasant moment of the trip, though it was a moment that would shape the rest of the trip. The three gals were contemplating ‘hitting the town’ for a big night out. The plan was to walk into town have dinner and identify the ‘nightclubs’ that were on the agenda for the night. It was all a rather simple plan. Like all great plans someone came along and stuffed it all up.

Firstly Charlotte’s voice deteriorated further, and sounded like sandpaper on concrete. This made any form of discussion impossible and on top of that her attempts to help her baby brother buy a few pairs of shorts were failing miserably. Secondly, Charlotte was not immune to the women’s curse – you know ‘I have had little sleep so stay out of my way’ curse, that all women are blessed, errr cursed with.  To compound this, every Javanese male between the age of 16 to 30 years old thought it was a good time to pass any and all manner of sexual innuendo at one or all of the young girls. Then there was those Javanese who were trying to sell any and everything and when no word of ‘no’ emitted from Charlotte’s mouth they became like vultures circling a dying prey and just would not go away – no matter how many times you kicked them or WANTED to kick them they would not go away!

It was also at this time Jesse said he was being offered ‘little plastic bags with either pills or green vegetable matter in them’. I then took a bit more observation on the lad and I counted him being approached eight, yes eight times in a 100 metre space with ‘drugs’ of some sort. This was at 7.30pm on the main street of Kuta, not at 4am on some back alley, the main street of Kuta right near where the first Bali bombing took place. So my spider senses were tingling!!

I try and use the resources around me to my advantage – Jess will listen to his sister on the matter of clothing – if I suggest some nice brown Safari Suit with yellow tie or something he just shakes his head and walks away – but when Charlotte suggests something he is all ears – the brown safari Suit was nice you know, and the tie too!! Anyway I asked Charlotte to help Jess buy some item of clothing  and she burst into tears, I get frustrated when girls cry – ‘there has to be a reason ‘ ‘if there is a reason there has to be a solution’ – but apparently not – at times women just …… well ……. cry!! So it was in the best interests of all if we just went back to the hotel and called it a night. So we did.

What it did though was turn the girls off going out – hallelujah!!!

The next day was adventure day. Charlotte croaked good morning and easily made the 7.30am pick up time and why wouldn’t she, she hadn’t slept yet – cough splutter cough!! The two zombies were also on time, though we had to check their pulses first to see if they were the ‘living dead’ or the ‘living looking dead’ – they had pulses, just!!

Our adventure was off to an Island called Lembongan. We had bough a family ticket plus two other adult tickets for this day tour. When I handed out the tickets young Vanessa seemed a little put out when I handed her the ‘other’ child ticket from the family ticket – ‘why am I the child – is it because I’m the shortest’ ‘No, no, Vanessa, it just happened like that’ ‘liar liar pants on fire!!!’

We travelled over to the Island on a large ferry and spent the couple of hours sunning ourselves on the top deck. Charlotte could listen to us talk and not have to give her opinion on matters – she learnt a lot! The girls were going to try an Introductory SCUBA course – but due to Vanessa showing signs of following Charlotte into being ‘unclean’ with the plague we felt it was better to spread the contamination to those above the ocean surface rather than the creatures below.

The Island was pretty enough but overall was disappointing for thrill seekers like us. Snorkeling was ONLY allowed under strict supervision and in an area about half the size of a football field. The depth of the water was waist deep. The beach was rocky with coral pieces all over it – not pleasant to walk on – the ocean of course was HOT, so no relief was ever found going in that. As you would expect for wild adventures like us, this was all a yawn. Di and I occupied ourselves reading, working on our tans and bitching about all the other nationalities walking around – the usual suspects came off the worst – Russians, etc – but all races were treated equally and were fair game in the bitching department.

The kids, the four of them, amazed me and all took delight in going for rides on the Banana Boat. This was the first time they had actually gotten on the Banana Boat, previously this type of activity was considered ‘lame’ and not worthy of ‘ones so cool’, but whether it was the boredom or whether it was the medication or simply the effects of the plague, the kids did it several times. The trick of course was to see if you could tip it over and fall with spectacular style into the ocean. 

The lunch provided was nice, we actually beat the rush and was there before the Eastern Europeans realised it was being served – once they realised it was served, they went at the food ‘like Russian tanks steamrolling through the streets of Budapest’, everything and everyone was blasted out of the way – line what line!!!!!

We finished the Island stay with a trip out in a ‘Submarine’ underwater viewing submersible -thingy! It was good and we got a clear view of the rubbish that was being dumped on what little coral was left living.

Then it was on to the ferry for the trip back. The ferry was docked next to a pontoon with a water slide on it, we had not paid for this particular adventure, but Jess went over and had a few slides down – any boy with a female audience gravitates to showing off – or at least trying to show off, he went down backwards, forwards, up-side-down, in-side-out, …… get the picture and the girls gleefully cheered him on. 

On the ferry trip back it was obvious Vanessa was joining the ranks of the undead, Sabrina though was as chirpy as ever. Once back at the hotel the time had crept on to 6pm and the thought of getting ready for dinner was ‘all too much!!’ So it was pizza for the kids and I took Di out for Dinner – just the two of us.

The next day was a rest day, the kids were looking worse; Charlotte’s sign language was getting better and she now had learnt positive things not just negative gestures. The attraction was to stay at the hotel rather than venturing out into the streets, such was the fact we were now ‘over’ the Javanese salespeople and bargaining for everything and anything. Vanessa slept a lot during the day, and the other kids were more interested in watching the dollar movies they had bought on the laptop than anything else. It was a quiet day.

When we woke the next day, we did not realise that this would be our last day in Bali. Charlottes cough was worse, if that was possible, Vanessa was paler, if that was possible, Sabrina – well Sabrina was Sabrina, if that was possible and Charlotte uttered the words – ‘I have had enough, I just want to go home!!!’ We had two more nights, we had been there for twelve and the girls for six, was the feeling mutual??? Yes, the girls were tired of being kept awake all night – they had shopped, done a few touristy things and had fun, so yeah they were happy to go – we were insured – Di was like a dog with a bone – straight on the phone to Australia to get us on flights home – an hour later, all six of us were booked on a flight leaving at 1am the next morning – yes 1am!!!!!!

That gave me thirteen hours to get my ‘Bintang Singlet’!!!

Jack Bauer had 24 hours to complete the mission, Ethan Hunt just had an impossible mission to complete – me, well I had an impossible mission to complete in 10:54:34, 10:54:33, 10:54:32, 10:54:31 ………….

I raced into the hotel room and in true Rambo-ish manner I got dressed for action! I pulled on my imitation Polo shirt - slowly for effect, pulled the imitation belt tight to keep up my imitation shorts, I fitted my imitation Nike Baseball cap at just the right angle, and then casually slid the imitation Ray-Ban Sunnies on to my crooked nose, I straightened the sunnies, I straightened them again, I straightened them again, I straightened …..  I was ready for battle!!! I grabbed my reading glasses to show I meant business!! 10:45:02, 10:45:01, 10:45:00, 10:44:59……….

I raced out into the steamy tropical day, the sweat was already dripping, it was going to be a long hard day, but I was ‘up for it’. I darted into the first clothing market looking for clues and a possible starting point for my quest, The Javanese looked at me, and they could see a desperate man who would stop at nothing to get his prize. Then one foolhardy Javanese man took his life in his hands and said "You want buy Bintang Singlet – very cheap!!!’ The bastards how could they torment me like this??? It was at this moment the Ray-Bans slid over another bump on my nose, I whipped them off in frustration, and sheepishly put my reading glasses on ……… and behold, I could see………..I had hit the mother lobe, Bintang Singlets surrounded me, my gob dropped open and I did my best impression of a ‘stunned mullet’, ‘Struth’ I said – ‘I have been a flaming Galah!!’ The Bintang Singlets were hiding in plain view, 10:39:52, 10:39:51, 10:39:50, eerrr well forget that shall we, hiding in plain view, eeerrr must learn to wear the glasses if I want to see things. Oh well quick barter from 100000 rupiah to 20000 rupiah and I had my ‘Bintang Singlet’, now I would be socially accepted by any and all in Bali. I bought another four Bintang Singlets for the kids – Di was simply not posh enough for a Bintang Singlet’.

Running out of the market with my prize, I dodged around ‘Bintang Singlet’ seller after ‘Bintang Singlet’ seller, I clamoured over, under and through stalls selling nothing but ‘Bintang Singlets’ – no wonder everyone you see is wearing a ‘Bintang Singlet’, but I have mine now!!!!! On the way to the hotel, I stopped at the supermarket; I needed to eat lots to give me that rounded ‘Bintang Singlet’ look.

I ate, I gave Jess his ‘Bintang Singlet’ and we had a couple of father and son photos to treasure our first Bintang singlet together. 

Then it was grab the girls and off to the pool, to join the other ‘Bintang Singlet’ socialites. Di watched on with growing green envy!!

The main pool of the hotel you may remember had a pool bar in it. You swim up to the bar and sit on underwater stools and you drink your Bintang beer in the water whilst wearing your ‘Bintang Singlet’. True ‘in’ people will sit like this from sun up to sun down, sitting in the water drinking Bintang beer after Bintang beer, never moving, never having to move as they were at the pinnacle of their existence. Personally I did not like swimming in this particular pool and found it warm, in fact I found the water temperature to be hot, and besides that it tasted funny, and besides that my ‘Speedos’ seemed to wither and die in the pool, and besides that the water was a funny colour and besides that the water smelt like a Siberian Brewery. I guess the warmth of the pool was due to the body heat coming from the socialites; let’s face it these guys were ‘Hot’ and we were going to join them – because we had our ‘Bintang Singlets’ ON!!

The water was delightfully warm and the sun reflected from the waters yellow surface straight into our eyes, so of course we just had to wear the $3 Oakley’s with the $3 Boardies to compliment the $2.50 Bintang Singlet’. We had made it, we were there, Utopia, the first sip of Bintang was, well actually it was just okay, I don’t really like Bintang beer it is too sweet, in fact it is a ‘girly’ drink, but still it is the image that counts. I looked over at Charlotte, cough, splutter, cough, and could see her ‘Bintang singlet’ was beginning to fray around the edges and the stitching was breaking, our skin was burning – not from the sun, but from the water ….. I looked around and all the other people seemed unaffected, they just drank their Bintang and drank their Bintang and drank their Bintang, and ….. one Bintang beer was enough, lets go.

That was basically the holiday, the flight back was horrendous – Charlotte the poor dear, coughed and coughed – the other people on the flight never complained, but they gave her some frustrated glances. I don’t recommend a 1am flight from Bali. 

   Charlotte was diagnosed with ‘whooping cough’ on her return to Sydney. Vanessa got sick but not to the level of Charlotte. Sabrina, well Sabrina just did more Sabrina things, Jesse got off the plane and played Football, Di was hit by the female lack of sleep curse, I just wonder how long it will go on for, ‘yes dear!!’ Me, I will not be seen dead in a ‘Bintang Singlet’ again.

That was Bali, next…………..

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