While doing research for our trip through Indonesia we had made contact with Chris, an Englishman, and his beautiful Indonesian wife, Endang. They are from Surabaya on the island of Java, Indonesia, which is where we are headed next. It just happens they are coming to Denpassar to see relatives, so we will meet them here. We'll also meet some of their relatives. Although they don't live in Bali, they visit often enough to know the place well and are good people to show us around. They are staying around the corner from us at the Kuta Town Houses. They have a large two bedroom, two bath, pool side suite with a large kitchen/dining and living room in a modern hotel. Their suite looks like it would cost an arm and leg, but the rent is less than we'd pay for a cheap room at the Holiday Inn back home. They drive us to a beach side restaurant in the north of the Legian area on Legian 66. Here we also met Ende's niece and her expat Aussie boy friend; both really nice young people
. Later that evening we walked the short distance from their Town Houses to the Bounty Night Club. Most of the people at the Bounty are college-aged Australians. The recorded music is loud with a head vibrating base. Every song sounds the same and unintelligible to us. But the kids seem to be having a great time worked into a frenzy by laser lights, alcohol and some possibly, we're told, by ecstasy. We got kind of a strange feeling though when we found out that Indonesian nationals have to pay to get in but we, as foreigners, did not. Then when some swarthy young men came in wearing backpacks Arvid was concerned. If someone wanted to wipe out a bunch of westerners and avoid injuring many locals this was the place. A security officer took a too quick look in their bags and put them behind the bar. The best part of going to the Bounty was leaving. But as Chris said, if we hadn't gone there then we couldn't say we'd been to Kuta. We ended up back at Chris and Endang's suite and had great time getting to know them better. We didn't get back to our room until after 3 AM, so it had been a long day. We've agreed to meet Chris and Endang again tomorrow and see even more of Bali.
Feb. 14, 2007
We meet Chris and Endang again shortly after noon
. We are doubly happy because yet another couple we'd been in contact with is joining the four of us for the day. The second couple is Luhur and Yanti. They're both Balinese. Yanti doesn't speak any English that we could tell, and she barely spoke all day, even to Ende. But she is a real Balinese beauty so she didn't have to say anything, just smile.
We finally get out of Kuta as Chris took us all south to the beach at Nusa Dua for the afternoon. Nusa Dua is an upscale resort area which is starting to be developed. It's a gated community with its own black uniformed security force. We visit a Hindu temple on the sea side. Luhur and Yanti are Hindu, and Luhur explains to us the significance of what we are seeing. Ende is Muslim so we have an interesting cultural mix in our little group. In the afternoon we go to Jimbaran Beach for a huge seafood dinner at one of the beach side restaurants located at the sight of the 2005 bombings. There are about a half dozen of these restaurants in a row. All have about the same fare. As you come in the front of the restaurant you see tanks of crabs, lobsters, shrimp and fish. This also is the kitchen area and you can watch while your choices are grilled over burning coconut husks. The air is thick with smoke. After you've made your selections, and paid, you pass out the back of the restaurant to tables set up on the beach and wait to be served
. Dean and Endang's niece join us again here. We've pulled three tables together but they can barely hold all the plates of food brought to us. This was a real feast for the eight of us and we couldn't finish it all. The bill, including drinks, amounted to only about $55 US. Riding back to the Kuta Townhouses with Chris made us glad we had not rented a car in Bali. As Chris drives further and further into central Kuta the streets get more and more congested. Then the streets turn into alleys barely wide enough for the utility vehicle. Pedestrians can make better progress then a car here. Whenever we meet another car coming from the opposite direction one or the other has to back up until one car can pull slightly into a driveway just enough to let the other pass with inches to spare. But we finally reach the Townhouses and finish the evening there. We have Chris to thank for the last couple days. He's an old Southeast Asia hand and gave lots of useful information about travel in the area. He's an old British colonial type and refuses to adopt native customs, such as speaking the local language. He says if the natives don't understand his English he just repeats himself louder.
Feb. 13, 2007