Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lombok back to Bali

Aching joints rested by the beach yesterday, today was all about travel. Having decided that peak season on the Gili Islands - three immaculate islands off the coast of Lombok - was not going to sit well with my plans, I decided instead to return to Bali, knowing that Sanur did not offer any true impression of the island. Ubud is 23km north of Denpasar but it’s a day’s travelling from Sengiggi, involving a reverse trip on the trusty old Lembar-Padangbai ferry.
The ferry journey did begin with some live entertainment though. A Dutch tourist had allowed some touts to carry his and his family’s not inconsiderable luggage aboard. Foolishly he hadn’t agreed a price and once the bags were deposited on board, one of the luggage handlers demanded 400,000Rp (almost €40) - nice work if you can get it. Well Dutch guy wasn’t having any of it and offered a maximum of 50,000Rp (€5) so let’s just say there ensued much haggling which threatened to turn nasty on more than one occasion. Dutch guy - let’s call him Dirk Kuyt - bawled at the tout; “Do you know who I am? I am DIRK KUYT! Do not fuck with me. Believe me my friend!” Dirk’s four kids were all in tears at this stage - Dad blamed the touts for this - “See what you have done! You have made my children cry!” Christ, some people will do anything to lower the price. Ultimately - and it took 20 minutes of screaming - a price of 100,000Rp was agreed and the touts reluctantly disappeared, probably muttering the Indonesian equivalent of “And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids.”
Arrived in Ubud earlier this evening and if first impressions are anything to go by, this place is wonderful. As I trudged up the street looking for a bed for the next few nights, there appeared before me along the main street a huge Hindu parade with hundreds of locals dressed in traditional clothes playing traditional music and chanting songs, whilst the men bore enormous religious effigies on their shoulders. Like arriving in Dublin on Saint Paddy’s Day. Welcome to Ubud. Whether or not it was the goodwill or harmony engendered by the parade, I continued 50 metres up the road was stopped by a tout enquiring if I needed a room. He told me how much it’d cost so I asked for a look. I followed, expecting to see a room of similar proportions to my Yogya experience but, miraculously, he led me through a leafy courtyard to my room - white tiled, toilet larger than my room in Yogya, fan and breakfast served to my door whenever I request it in the morning. Yes please, I’ll take it. The only sound I can hear from outside are the crickets and the occasional chirp of a gecko. Beautiful. Ubud then - home for 3 days and it feels like a perfect fit.


  1. Maisie told me to tell you it is meddling kids not pesky. If you're gonna quote Scooby get it right!

  2. Tell Maisie that in Indonesian it's 'pesky'!

  3. Oh said Maisie, she gets it now.
    You sound like you are having a ball mate. Hope all is well and you are safe