I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Water, hops, and Bali

Thursday's bacon was made of pig. I think. It was certainly a better approximation than the dreadful crap in KL. Breakfast largely consisted of nasi goreng and singapore chilli noodles though. Nom. I did toy with the idea of just staying in the hotel all day but, after watching the remake of Shaft, decided it would be a bit of a shame if I didn't at least do some vague exploration of my surroundings. So I slapped on a cwt of factor 50, grabbed my rucksack and set off to walk into Kuta.

I'd read that the streets would be full of people trying to get your business, and that even eye contact was considered an "in", so the best way to deal with it is just to not look at anyone, keep walking, maintain your pace. Being a long term user of London public transport, ignorance and rudeness is second nature so I easily escaped, with only one woman being particularly insistent that I go to her massage parlour for sexy massage with young girls. The bloke who said my beard made me look like Chuck Norris deserved a bit of love too. It all was a bit mad though - the streets are as crowded as a Tour de France hill stage, with everyone offering me transport/SIM cards/hats/massage/young girls. And in a role reversal, the cabs slow down and try to hail passengers. But I just kept walking, with no map or real clue as to where I wanted to go.

In the end it was about a 6km trot through street after street of awful bar, massage parlour, western fast food joint, surf/skate shop (with public mini ramp in the DC shop), magic mushroom seller, authorised money changer (with rates written up, and an 8% variance!) and stall after stall of tat. Like an Australian focused hybrid of Blackpool and New Orleans but without many redeeming features, I can't really say that I liked it. The tat stalls with their comedy slogan t-shirts, I've seen them the world over, but who wants a shirt that says "I'm not gay, but $20 is $20" or a fridge magnet that reads "WASH MY CUM RAG"?

I failed dismally to find the beach, but I refused to stop even for a second lest I appear interested in something someone had to offer. Instead I just walked until I thought I couldn't cope with the heat much more, and was almost out of water, and walked straight back. The shouts of "yes boss" kept coming, interspersed with the odd fauxstralian "g'day mate" with an Indonesian twang.

Kuta is like Ibiza for Australians. Everything is geared towards them - flags on the bars, "we show Aussie sport" signs, etc. I couldn't for the life of me figure out the attraction - we Brits need to go to the med to get sunshine and nice beaches, but Australians already have all that. Why do they go here? The beer is cheap but the time and cost of getting there doesn't make that a valid reason either. WTF? I saw some greenpeace posters saying "protect paradise". Bit late...

Back at the hotel I wrote down notes for all the stuff I'd seen and heard and done. It felt like my own little version of the generation game final round. And then I showered, blogged, and went to have some beer by the pool. Bintang pilsner is "international quality", apparently. No strength on the label. Had 3 bottles while I finished the Brixton Academy book, which wound me up quite a bit towards the end. And I got really angry at autocorrect on my phone, as it turned "drunk" into "drink" twice, only to then turn "drink" into "drunk". FUCK OFF.

Battery died on my phone so I went back to my room to get a bit of juice, and watch some TV before getting some food. But instead I fell asleep until midnight, and then failed to get back to sleep. Go go jet lag Darren! So I watched a comedy Irish creature feature called Grabbers, starring the bloke from Coupling who looks like Martin Sheen, the plot of which is "a village full of Irish people get pissed to destroy a killer octopus thing". Odd. The dialogue "5 nautical miles" was subtitled as "8 kilometers", which I found strange. Then I watched a Louis CK gig, to remind me of Tom. And then I fell asleep.

Normally I don't dream much, though travel sometimes brings it out in me. On one trip over here I had recurring dreams about North Korea. In Paris I'd dreamt that I could fly, in fact everyone could, and I had an airborne argument with Wooj and Arnold about whether Behemoth are a black metal band or a death metal band, and whether black metal is shit. In Bali, however, I dreamt that I was at a gig seeing Gwar supporting DOA, in a school hall. When the stage lights failed during the second song, a mass fight broke out amongst the 30 or so people in attendance, which included Jesse Pintado from Napalm Death and his girlfriend. It turned nasty and people were handing out bottles to use as weapons. After a while the carnage calmed down and I realised I'd lost my phone, so started hunting for it. There were loads of iPhones on the floor, but it took me a while to find mine - I was repeating "40% more bacon, 40% more bacon" to everyone. Then I thought I saw Calum, and woke up, a bit freaked out by this bizarre and vivid nature of it all.

Fell back akip pretty simply, only to wake up less than half hour later to a massive explosion sound, a siren going off outside, and a power cut. I'm not sure what happened, or even whether the explosion was real - I have exploding head syndrome, which is a real actual thing. Go look it up. There didn't seem to be any real urgency on display by the guy cleaning the pool, so I assumed there wasn't a bomb or anything, and very shortly the siren stopped, power returned, and my heart rate fell back to normal.

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