Time to pay the money changer a visit once again. We always used Ladys Travel Agent in Poppies 2 and never got ripped off, they didn't even try to. The guy counts the rupiah out onto the counter in front of you and once it leaves his hands he doesn't touch it again. He always insist you then count it which of course you do. I think a good honest money changer is one who only handles your money once. Be careful of the ones who count it out then pick it back up to give it to you. It's then that they tend to slip a few under the counter without you even knowing it!
I'm now armed with another wad of money and we go shopping in Poppies Lane 2 today, I reckon some of the best shopping in Kuta would have to be here. A bit of everything and excellent for clothes. Finally brought some watches from the sellers our front of Hotel Bounty. Always new style watches and of course the old favourites. Just couldn't leave Bali without another watch or two to add to the collection! Think I paid about 10 aussie dollars per watch, maybe too much for what the average price people pay but I don't care cos I think the watches are well worth $10. Haven't had one conk out on me yet, besides the odd flat battery which is easily fixed. The sellers usually will throw in a packet anyway if you're one of these people that are concerned about spending a couple of bucks in 6 months time when it dies on you! Found a nice bag and after some long hard haggling, brought it for Rp 30,000. I then decieded to grab another one and handed over another Rp 30,000 for it. Well the lady said "no it's Rp 40,000" I said "but I just paid Rp 30,000 for the other one and they are exactly the same". She then said "no it's 1 for Rp 30,000 or 2 for Rp 70,000"........well that sure is a different approach, crazy!
The number of tourists in Bali seem to be on the rise which is excellent news. When I was there in April it was so quiet, probably resulting from the probs in East Timor. Things seem to be getting much better, especially now tourists are starting to realise there is no danger in Bali, perfectly safe!
Yep, you guess it, off to Bounty and Paddys again tonight. The staff see us coming now and automatically start making our drinks as they know what we order, now that's service! Not many locals are out this trip, I've heard it's because they don't want any trouble with the local police. They're the guys that drive around in the open back truck things in the blue uniforms. Apparently these guys are coming down on the locals pretty hard, even if they are doing nothing wrong. To avoid any probs some aren't going out as it's not worth the risk. You'll see these guys doing the rounds during the day too and the locals appear to be shit scared of them being taken off the streets to only god knows where and who knows their fate. I think usually it's a matter of being held in jail until they can find some money (corruption of course) to gee get them out. In the mean time they will sometimes cut their hair off and kick them around a little. I am not just assuming all of this as terrible as it may sound, it does happen.....Although I'm not sure as to exactly what happens, just a rough idea. The locals in Bali are so suppressed and it really jacks me off, it is far far from a free country, the locals are practically prisoners in there own country. I think that could be also why they look at us with a lot of jealousy. They see us tourists travelling to Bali, some of us several times a year and yet they could never save enough to go anywhere. Even if they could it would be one big hassle, not just a matter of applying for a passport and off they go.
By this stage of my trip I have been spending heaps of time with Wayan, the guy who rocked up at my hotel first day. Very nice person (well appears to be) and great looks too which is a bonus! A harmless holiday fling and I'm certainly not the first and only women to do this. I find the Indonesian men to be so kind and polite although I am well aware of the scams they can pull on tourist women, been there and learnt that!
Not much on the agenda today, just chilling out. Gill & Rick, Mandy & Tom leave for the airport tonight, back to Perth for them. So sad saying our goodbyes and who knows when we will be able to meet up again. 4 down and 4 left, me, mum, Jenny & Phill are still in paradise. If only it had of worked out that we all could of stayed the same length of time.
We head somewhere different tonight (about time aye) - Peanuts! The reggae band was playing which was really nice for a change. I don't usually like reggae but these guys also sing top 40 kinda songs with a reggae touch, the results - Excellent!! So if anyone is interested in hearing a top reggae band play, check out Peanuts. Not sure exactly what nights they play but I'm sure it's at least a few nights a week.
Before I left for this Bali trip I organised to meet up with an Indonesian guy (friend) who I'd met on Internet and been talking to for 6 months. Well he turned up at Paddy's tonight, recognized me straight away (I'd sent him a pic). I was so blown away to meet him after chatting on ICQ for so long. He just arrived in Bali today as he moved back to Bali after living in Dallas for many years. He is shocked at how much things have changed but sure he'll slip back into things real fast. We'd been talking about Bali for so long and now we both meet in paradise, but lucky him gets to stay there!
We go for a walk up to Adhi Dharma Cottages in Legian, trying to suss out a new hotel for our next trip. Barong is fantastic but it's nice to have a change, time for somewhere new as I've stayed at Barong on my past 4 trips. We were impressed with Adhi Dharma, they showed us one of their standard twin rooms. Very plain and simple but nice, rooms quite a good size also. Location is good, suits me being up on Jl Legian, close to all the night life :-) I have heard you can get many good packages there too which of course is another reason to give it a shot.
Macca's for lunch, not often I eat Macca's in Bali. Was nice and all but would prefer rice and noodles any old time. Actually I've eaten so much Indo food I'm surprised I'm not looking like a damn noodle! Some people tend to miss good aussie food in Bali, but not me. Although you can usually find aussie style food on most menus, doesn't mean they cook it the same as we would though! I always get a real laugh when reading the funny descriptions on menus of our style food, and then a bigger laugh when it gets served. Usually something totally different from what your expecting! For example each day the hotel has a board out by the pool advertising a lunch special. One day they had written "1 pieces of sausage in 2 piece of bread bunds" what they were trying to say was "hotdogs". That is just one example but you see many humorous things like this around the place.
A short afternoon nap and it's time to party again.....yee haa!! This is just the best place to party, so much atmosphere and would have to have the yummiest and cheapest grog of all time! Our bemo guy we catch from Bounty to Paddys is such a classic. He's been waiting for us every night about the same time (midnight) until we stagger out of Bounty and want a lift to Paddys. Poor guy thinks it's xmas as we give him Rp 10,000 for the ride and we all know how close Paddys is to Bounty (probably not even 1km) Money well spent as he's a great guy, with little English and all as he can do is laugh his head off at us pair. He puts us in the car and turns the music up full ball and off we bop down the road, I reckon he probably blares the music so loud to block our drunken talk out! We brought him over some little koala teddy bear things to hang from his mirror and he loves them!
My ICQ Indo buddy is at Paddys again tonight so we have a great time partying with him. Wayan is getting a bit ticked off with us but there is absolutely nothing for him to be jealous or worried about. These Indo guys don't seem to comprehend that western girls can have guy friends and be JUST friends! Geez I'm glad I ain't an Indo women, although their looks can be quite stunning. Seems the tourist guys think so too as it certainly isn't an unusual site to see a tourist fella with an Indo chick. Same with tourist chicks and Indo fellas, guess opposites really do attract! Anyway 3pm comes and it's time to head home and rest the weary head!
Went down to Matahari at Kuta Square this morning. Found the sellers, especially the timeshare people to be more hassling down this end of town. Oh well they are just out there trying to make a buck like the rest of us, even though it is in a very different way! Anyone who uses Revlon New Complexion Foundation, it's worth a visit to stock up. Only approx 10 aussie dollars which is less than half price, the counter was packed with aussie girls checking out the range, me and mum being 2 off them!
Taxied it back up to Legian, too lazy for walking any further. Speaking of taxis I must say blue is definatley the way to go, the drivers are usually more friendly and the meter goes on. Some times though we found we had to wait a while to hail a blue one as they always have passengers in them. In the meantime the locals see your obviously waiting for a cab and every other coloured cab is flashing his lights at you plus people on the street are in your face with "transport, transport, you wan transport?". I will never go with a white taxi, the drivers are rude and crazy and they never seem to have enough change at the end. We actually took our chances and caught a white cab one night and it was a ride from hell. I mean all drivers in Bali are crazy but this guy took the cake. He was driving so fast and delibratley swerving all over the road then slamming on his brakes so we'd go flying forward. He though it was real funny but at the time we didn't! Also just want to warn people about those new taxis you'll see around the place. Sometimes blue and sometimes maroon, the taxi's are nice and mod, drivers seem ok but I was a bit concerned one night with the central locking system they have in them. We'd gotten to where we were going and whilst mum was looking though her money to pay him I went to get out. Well I couldn't, all the doors were locked through his central locking. Once mum had paid he unlocked it and we got out. I understand he wants to make sure your gonna pay him first and not do the runner but it could also work against your favour. You never know, could come across a not so nice driver who could lock all the doors and wham bam your stuck in there until he's ready to let you out, perhaps a little dangerous. Since that night we never got in another new cab, especially after a few drinks!
Jen & Phill left tonight, time to wave off some more great friends in the transfer bus. Not a happy time at all, for us and probably especially them as after all we are still here but they are the ones leaving paradise. The pool bar sure quietned down a lot as it practically became there second home. They used to have so much fun spending time talking to other guests and mucking around with the bar guys, I'm sure the barman are going to miss them too.
A few kids at Bounty Bar tonight, dancing away on the podium enjoying the music and certainly not shy. So funny to go out in Bali and see kids in a club, no way would that happen here in Oz aye! Actually most nights we'd spot a few kids at Bounty having a great time but not drinking of course. They just don't seem to have any age restrictions in Bali. Parents must be stoked about that one as then they can go out for a couple of hours and have a good time and so do the kids. Midnight ticks around and time for Paddys, now time for some serious partying! Each night we would start of at Bounty only because I love the drinks there, also gets happening a bit earlier and a good place to warm up.
Rang Ken from Bali Street Dog Foundation and organized to go out for the long awaited visit today. Tried to find the same taxi guy as last time so he'd know where he was going but to no avail. Get a new guy and he says he knows the place but I'm sure he doesn't, turns out when we got closer he didn't know. Luckily I started to remember the way so I directed him and we were there in no time. Get led in once again through the many woofing dogs and into Ken's office for a chat about the programme. A really nice guy who took his time to speak with us about their work. Basically these guys are relying on volunteer vets to come over and to go out with them to desex as many dogs as possible. The conditions they must work under is terrible, out in the open banjars of villages but the success rate is really high and seems to work well. No vets there at this moment so they are limited in what they can do, I think some more are due to fly in at the end of the month. Spewin I missed them as I would of loved to have seen the hands on stuff. The foundation also provides training for local vet students in a quick and easy way of desexing so eventually some of the local vets can help out more. Apparently the local vets are trained rather differently from western vets and it's essential they know how to do a particular type of quick, small and easy desexing as they can't always get back to the dog to take stitches our or whatever. This foundation also treat any sick or injured dogs and find homes for many unwanted puppies, they actually had a litter there when I visited, absolutely gorgeous!
Also got to meet the famous dog "Tripod" who they featured on their documentary on the Today Show some months ago. Tripod was brought in with an injured leg, assumed he'd been hit by a car. The vets had no choice but to amputate his leg so now he only has 3. He's doing really well and gets around just fine, such a lovely friendly dog who was licking us every opportunity he got! These dogs really are normal dogs when shown love and care. Also met more very other healthy and happy dogs, so good to see. The work the fund do really is fantastic and such a huge task, they deserve all the support and credit they can get. It was sad to leave Ken's place but also very relieved in knowing the work they are doing, about time some is doing something, long long overdue and I know these guys are gonna make a huge difference, they already are!
After a long day it is great to get out on the town and have some fun. Peanuts tonight and they have a band playing "Crazy Horse" another great band indeed. The times we've been to Peanuts we've really enjoyed it, some great bands and also some normal DJ music. Not as busy as the other night we went but they still attract a crowd, especially the when band is good which they always seem to be. The talents of some Indonesian bands is incredible, if only they were given an opportunity to get there music out in the world.
Paddys till close (3am) then we are feeling rather charged so head down to the Bounty Ship (Bounty 2). This club even has air con! After Paddys everyone usually heads down here, doesn't get going until 3am onwards. They play all dance music and drinks are similar to the ones at Bounty Bar (Bounty 1) as they are owned by the same company. By the time we got to sleep this morning sun was already coming up, certainly isn't the first time that's happened though! Sign of a good night if you ask me, also a sign of a not so healthy feeling day to come. Oh well I say make the most of it as next week when I'm back in Oz I'll be wishing I was back in Bali partying again!
Chilled out today, only to leave the hotel once to stock up on water and ciggy supplies. Cigarettes are just so cheap. I was smoking a local brand "Kansas" for Rp 35,000 a carton! that's even cheaper than Duty Free! Mum was into the Dunhills which were a little more Rp 50,000 a carton, but still a cheap carton of cigarettes. Any smokers travelling to Bali I'd recommend you just buy them there and not even bother with Duty Free, unless of course you prefer a certain brand. They have heaps of local brands as well as Dunhill, Longbeach and Marlboro, not sure exactly what else.
Just spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel. We try to think of somewhere different to go tonight and decide on Bali Rock as had been told it was really happening these days. Was disappointed with it, quite and the band wasn't good at all. Atmosphere pretty sleepy as well. They didn't have their usual rock n roll music like they have on previous trips, so guess it's picked up a bit. We stayed long enough to drink one of those drinks that come in the duck container and gee they are good, guess it was worth visiting just for that! Then off to Peanuts and the reggae band was on again and they seem to be really popular, I can see why, I love that band! Continued the party down at Paddys and down Poppies Lane we stagger back to Barong.
Just want to say we never had a problem at all walking home each night from Paddys down Poppies Lane 2. I'd heard reports of this being a little dangerous, maybe we were just lucky I don't know. To tell the truth though I'd feel much safer walking down the streets at night in Bali than I would in my own home town.
Starting to feel down as only a few days left to go now. The goodbyes have already started today as we go out to the Turtle Farm to say goodbye with my step mothers parents and family. We have a talk although very little due to the language barrier. We have no probs speaking with the rest of the family that work there as they are young and educated in English, they are great bunch of people and they are very entertaining to sit down and have a laugh with. The glass bottom boat ride to the Turtle Farm is the highlight of the trip, you even get the option of some snorkling on the way. The boat driver will sit and wait until your ready to leave and then will take you back (the price of the tour includes this). We don't actually do the full on tour complete with boat ride anymore though as they are family and we visit often, it's just a matter of walking there for us. At the Turtle Farm you will see many turtles in a fenced of section on the waters edge. You are welcomed to go in and touch the turtles if you so wish. You will also see a couple of snakes, a bat, some gorgeous cheeky monkeys, a large lizard and a few stray ducks, birds and dogs walking around the place. The staff will take their time in answering any questions you may have regarding the animals. You are also encouraged to take lots of photo's with the animals so make sure to bring the camera! Anyway mamma cooks us lunch, noodles and friend egg which is full on traditional way, not restaurant food at all but still rather tasty. They then bring us out some bird eggs to try, no way not for me I choose to munch on the peanuts! Mum tried the little speckly eggs and said they just tasted like normal chicken eggs. It's getting late so we say our goodbyes till next time.
Time to hit the sack for an arvo nap ready for our 2nd last night on the town. Have to get that quick sleep in otherwise no way I'd make it out considering each night we have only been getting about 3 - 4 hours sleep! We do the Bounty Bar thing and order heaps of there famous 2 for 1 cocktails, gee I'm gonna miss them! We want to leave but still have a big drink left so the bar man is kind enough to make us take away. Yes that's right, he tips our drinks into an empty water bottle and off we go to Peanuts! Walks into Peanuts complete with drinks and doesn't seem to be a problem at all, although they are probably a bit annoyed as that's one less drink we buy from them. But big deal because it's only 1 less, after all we are gonna buy a lot more there!
Down to Paddys into the Jam Jars and onto that dance floor, funny how after a while you don't even seem to notice how hot it is, must be all those drinks! Back at Barong and Wayan and I feel like a bit of swimming so in we jump. The pool guy comes over and kicks Wayan out the pool as he is not a paying guest. How bloody rude is that, especially considering we had a large room for 4 people anyway so really he was paid for! If Wayan had of been another tourist they probably wouldn't of even looked twice. Anyway Wayan insist we don't argue the point (even though I felt like it) and we both get out the pool. Oh well I'm sure we can find better things to do than swimming anyway!
Today we went back down to Sami & Suzi's to drop our pic off for the forum album. No forumers again but we were probably a bit early this time. Sami & Suzi are really hospitable people who seem to love us forumites! For those of you who don't know Sami & Suzi's it's just a small place on Kuta beach which sells drinks, you know like the sellers with their eskys. It has become a meeting place for people who use the Bali Travel Forum.
Finally caught up with Pam from the Bali Street Animal Fund, she called me back after many messages I'd left on her phone, she is such a busy lady! As we leave tomorrow time has run out to actually go visit her at the shelter but I am lucky enough to talk to her on the phone for a good hour or so, and this lady sure can talk! Firstly I want to say Pams dedication in helping the street animals of Bali truly is amazing! She has a heart of gold and puts the welfare of the dogs before anything else. Pam runs the feeding programme for the fund which requires her to cook up large quantities of food every day which then goes to her off sider "Herman" who is a Javanese guy with a great love of dogs believe it or not. He gets on his motorbike everyday at 4pm with container loads of food and feeds as many stray dogs as possible. I left my 20kg at reception which she picked up later that day but unfortunatley I was not at the hotel when she came to collect it. Pam is so grateful for anyone who brings over food so if your heading over and have spare room in your suitcase some dog food would be much appreciated by her and especially the dogs!
As well as feeding Pam also organizes vets to desex as much as she can. If volunteer vets are short it makes this task hard but she still then does her best with a few local vets who offer their service at a low fee. I was shocked to learn that for each female desexed that reduces 150,000 puppies and that's just for 1 dog! So this whole desexing idea is working really well and I believe it's the only way to truly improve the situation. Pam also provides medical attention and protection for the many dogs who need it. At one time she is known to have up to 50 dogs in her home, not in cages either they are quite welcome to make themselves comfortable in her home wherever they so wish. Now that is dedication!
When Pam isn't cooking, feeding and treating dogs she is out in the schools of Bali volunteering her time and services in education the children about love, care and respect of animals, something every local needs to learn about but weather they take any notice or not is a different story. Pam's doing everything possible in her power to help these poor creatures and she's doing so well. She has really bad days when animals are lost due to sickness which is heartbreaking but she also has many good days when she can save them too so guess those kinda days make it all worth while. She has such a huge job on her hands although she still manages to shine through. She really does have a heart of gold and I will continue to help her in anyway I can and hope others will too :-)
2 of our dear Indonesian friends come to visit at the hotel this afternoon, husband, wife and baby daughter. She is now 1 years old and last time we seen her she was 6 months. Gee kids grow up fast don't they, too fast. She as beautiful as ever and so quite and well behaved like most of the kids in Bali seem to be. We give her some toys and she cries at first, seems to be scared of them! Guess she's not real familiar with toys. After about half an hour she gets a little more daring and proceeds to play with them, then the smiles and giggles start coming, they were worth a million dollars to see her happiness! One of the things we brought her were bubbles as many people suggest these for the local kids and she loved them. A bit of talking and heaps of photos later and it's time to say goodbyes once again. We see them off in the lobby and they hop on their motorbike baby and all.
Now it's time to hit the clubs of Kuta for the very last time :-( night starts off rather dreary as we know this is the last time we'll be able to do this in quite a while. but we make sure it's a big night as we want to go out in style! Kazza comes out tonight as well to party hard since it's our last night. Bounty first for the warm up then onto Peanuts. Met some cool aussie girls there, it was there last night too so we were all in the full swing of things. Stayed at Peanuts for hours and then started walking down to Paddys. On the way I came across this dog curled up sleeping on the street with no one at all to care for him in site. I'd seen this particular dog a few times at night and he was in terrible condition with very little fur left. Anyway I knealt down to him to share a few kind words, well the poor thing slowly lifted his head up and looked at me in the eye with the saddest face I'd ever seen. Well the tears started coming and all as I could do was get up and walk away. I was really upset now, just the thing I didn't need to top off our last night - NOT! Had a quick look in Paddys and went home rather early. Something about this dog really got to me and I will never ever forget that sad look on his face. The last night in Bali is always depressing enough without that happening too. Well we kept our rule of partying every night, still don't know how we survived it but we did and I can't wait to do it all again next trip!
Not a good day at all, the holiday is almost over and we have to get on that plane bound for Oz tonight. Run around today doing a few last minute things such as picking up shopping and stuff. Also picked up some photos we'd put in to be developed only to be told our film had got stuck in the machine which means only a few turned out. Aaaaaargh, so angry but nothing we an do as the film was totally ruined with no chance of saviour. Sad a few more goodbyes to our friends on the streets and in shops etc.
The time I always dread arrived, packing the bags! Took me hours and hours to get it all together, not that I'd brought a lot but because I was so depressed about leaving. In the end it all just got chucked in literally and the zip just squeezed shut, the bags are buldging and the clothes inside are screwed up but guess it don't matter anymore as back to work uniforms tomorrow!
Wayan insist he comes to see me off at the airport but I decide against it, airport goodbyes are the worse and if he was to come I don't think I would of got on the plane! So after a while he understands (I think) and we say our goodbyes at the hotel, heaps of hugs and tears later and he's gone perhaps never to be seen again. I never intended to begin a relationship with someone before I came but it just happened. Guess now it's a matter of emailing and hopefully meeting up next trip. I know what some of these guys who frequent the clubs of Kuta are like so I'm a fool for getting as involved as I did. Oh well too late now, I mean it started off light heartedly but didn't quite end up that way! But I do refuse to be one of these women who walk around with the rosie coloured glasses and believing those all famous words "I love you and am just waiting for you".
Kazza comes around to spend the last hour or so with us in the room, she's feeling really sad also that we are leaving as once we go she has no one else except her boyfriend of course. She is happy living in Bali but also misses her aussie friends dearly. After all she lives and works with Indonesians, in her face very hour of the day and it tends to get to her sometimes. The locals are top people and all but after a while I think they'd send you a little crazy. Man they've sent me a bit crazy and it's only been 2 weeks, it's a good crazy though!
6pm comes around before we know it and it's time to check out of the room as our transfer bus is awaiting. I have never walked through the hotel so slow in all my life! Kazza comes to the airport with us and her boyfriend meets us there later. Don't you just hate that hanging around departures at Denpasar airport, such a long depressing couple of hours wait! Our plane is running late so more time to wait, just hoping some miracle happens and we don't have to board the plane, wishful thinking aye! Planes due to leave in about 1 hour so think it's about time we headed inside. Mum and I both hug Kazza and all three of us in tears, her boyfriend standing there thinking we're probably all mad or something.
Sit in the boarding lounge for ages feeling sorry for myself. I look around and everyone is talking and smiling about their time in paradise. I don't know how they can be looking so happy after all they are leaving, I'm sitting there with such a long face not wanting to speak to anyone! Our boarding call comes over the PA, the last bit of Indonesian accent I'll be hearing in a long time. The airport men standing at the plane door waving passengers onto the plane is especially depressing, I can hardly even look at them without crying! I'm also thinking of the "leaving on a jet plane" song which certainly doesn't make the task any easier!
Plane trip home was terrible, not the actual flight but the feelings off leaving that come with it! As soon as I boarded the blanket went over my head and no one heard boo out of me until we landed in Sydney. Then the only boo I made was a grumble about being back in Oz after 2 unforgettable weeks in Bali, the island of magic! We had to fly via Sydney as there were no seats available direct to Brisbane. Due to the plane running late from Denapsar we missed our connecting flight back up to Brisbane. Just great, a few more hours of hanging around! But luckily we got rescheduled on a flight to Coolongatta which saved us the long transfer ride down to the Gold Coast. Landed at Coolongatta and what a kick in the guts that was, holiday over and back to the boring reality of every day life. The only thing worth coming back here for was to see my beautiful dog and cat again. I think my cat will be purring for a month and the dog wagging her tail for a month! Back to saving now ready for the next trip although not sure when it will be but the sooner the better!
FOLLOW UP - "ROCKY" THE BALI DOG
I have some great follow up news on the dog I came across that last night in Bali. When I returned to Oz I emailed Pam from the Bali Street Animal fund and told her about him and asked if there was anyway she could help. Well she emailed back and said sure she'd help, as you could imagine I was over the moon! Well since then he's had many injections to cure his mange and now his hair has all grown back, he no longer has those sad big eyes. Just goes to show you a little love and care can go a long way and without the foundation in Bali many dogs such as this would be left for dead. I can't wait to go back, walk down Legian street and see his brand new look, a moment not to be missed!