My Trips: Bali 2009

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Goodbye Bali

Last night we had goodbyes with our friend Cam. It feels more sad this morning. He is a good friend, has been the source of many good times recently, and we will miss him. I think he will also miss us.

We pack and say goodbye to Hotel Sorga, and to Bali.

I wanted more or something different from my stay in Bali. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but nevertheless, I have had a great time here, but it is time to move on.

We take a taxi to the Airport and check in.

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Nusa Lembongan

We catch the 10:30am Permana boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan.

The swell is big so the boat hugs the Bali coast for some time before turning towards the island. The big boat surfs a couple of the waves, and we make it to the island without any dramas.

The reef around the island is very shallow, so the boat takes some time weaving its way through the rocks and plant life, before stopping at the Permana office.

We leave Caroline at a cafe and trek up the beach looking for a place to stay. We ask at a lot of places, probably 10 or more, and see various levels of accommodation. A lot are overpriced, as are many things with Bali’s current over-inflation.

We eventually settle on the Pondok Baruna dive school. They have lovely new villa style rooms around a pool. The rooms are pricier than we’d like (IRP350,000) but it’s worth it considering the other places we have looked at.

We have to do a little room juggling over the next few days, but at least we get to stay somewhere clean and (mostly) bug free.

The staff are very helpful.

After unpacking we head out. We walk along the front, and over to the first of the small cove beaches we can see. We swim, before heading home for an amazing sunset.

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Kuta, Bali

We catch another Bemo to Kuta. This one turns out to be the slowest one on the island I think!

We take Caroline to Warung Campur Campur, which is perhaps our favourite place to eat in Kuta. After breakfast we head down to the beach.

It’s hot today, and there is a little surf. Not enough for a proper surfboard, but Caroline rents a bodyboard.

We all get red in the sun. Once the sun has set it takes us a good while to get a taxi back to Sanur.

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Balangan beach & Ulu Watu, Bali

After breakfast we find a taxi driver and negotiate a price for a day out at Balangan beach, and then down to Ulu Watu for the sunset.

The drive to Balangan beach is good. Lots of natural landscapes. The beach is very much empty, with a few people, a couple of shacks and a number of surfers enjoying the rocky point break. The rock makes the water too shallow for swimming.

We chill on the beach for a while with a few drinks.

Caroline makes the rookie mistake of accepting the first price on sun-loungers. £6 for 2! Woopps. Abby has banned Caroline from any further negotiations.

After we head to Ulu Watu. The temple is just as I remember it from last time, although this time there are many more visitors, due to it being the holidays. The monkeys seem more aggressive.

The sunset is great and get some good pics.

The traffic is busy as we head back to Sanur. We talk to our taxi driver a lot. He has good English. He is a hard working man, who sends his children to private school, and occasionally eats at McDonalds. He is obviously doing OK in life.

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Kuta, Bali

We head over to the water park near Kuta, via Bemo which is fun. It’s the busy Leberan period though, and when we get there the park has closed due to reaching it’s capacity.

Undeterred we walk around Tuban, by the runway, and the Discovery Mall.
My continual fight with flip-flops continues. The new cheap pair I bought recently is already showing signs of failure. So I buy an expensive pair, in the hope that they will last a long time. I find a nice Rip Curl pair for £20! Fingers crossed!

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Meeting Caroline From the Airport, Bali

Abby’s mum, Caroline, is flying in from England today, via Kuala Lumpur.

We get a Taxi from Sanur to the Airport. I ask the taxi driver to wait, with the meter off, and he says fine. The airport taxis are more expensive, and not as good as the Blue Bird Taxis.

Caroline’s flight is early and she is through immigration in no time. She is tired, but enjoying being in Bali.

We spend the day chilling, with dinner in Sanur.

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Earthquake in Bali

I’ve experienced my first earthquake here in Bali. Everything seems fine, there are no warnings.

At around 7am local time, I was awake and thinking about getting up when I felt a minor tremor. Then immediately after the proper earthquake could be felt. It lasted for about 5 seconds from start to finish.

There is no obvious sign of damage to anything. There was a little noise during the quake as things around me were shaken.

The guys who run the guest house here don’t seem bothered at all, so it must be a fairly regular occurrence.

I checked a few websites, and it seems the earthquake occurred 60 miles south of Bali. This is a worry as this is a dangerous area for earthquakes near Bali. The same fault that caused the 2004 Asia Tsunami also runs south of Bali. And it is this fault that is most likely to cause a Tsunami for Bali, especially for Kuta and other southern resort areas.

There seems to be no warning given.

See the links below for more information

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Shopping in Bali – Kuta, Bali

Abs and I head over to he Matahari shopping centre. Abs wanted to get a dress and some new sunglasses.

Abs doesn’t find the long dress she is after, but she does get some sunnies, and a new pair of flip-flops.

On the way over I notice that my flip-flops are about to die, so I get a new pair and…. I find a cheap guitar. Only IRP400,000 (£25) and a lot better than the one that I bought in Indonesia last year.

So all round, a great days shopping, and it really didn’t cost very much.

The Matahari store is a great place to shop in Kuta. The market stalls that line the streets all same the same stuff, and it’s way overpriced, meaning harsh bargaining is required to get a fair price. The Matahari is probably overpriced by locals standards, but great for us visitors.

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More shopping and walking – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

We get up at 07:30, quickly shower, then take the train over to the Petronas Towers. We had read that the tickets for the sky bridge sell out by about 11 am. We get there at 9am to find a massive cue, and the sign stating the tickets are all gone is already out. We ponder joining the cue, but it is massive. It’s a shame, and we figure this is a bigger than usual crowd today. Oh well.

We grab some breakfast and take a look around the shops, most of which aren’t even open yet. After an hour or so we decide to head over to Buka Bintang, the series of shopping centres, including the IT mega-mart Low Yat.

On the walk we find a park by the Petronas Towers, and find several impressive buildings. Once we get there we take a good look around. Abby buys a new top, I buy a new shirt, and we replace the LAN cable we use for our computers. I don’t by the TV cable for my MacBook that I have been thinking about, as it’s just more crap to carry around.

I am annoyed at the amount of stuff I am carrying at the moment, even having had a good clear out. I reckon I can throw away 50% of the stuff I have, even though the items seem essential, and still travel fine. But we only have 2 more journeys to make (KL to Singapore, and Singapore to Bali) before stopping for a while, so I will keep my stuff until we start taking lots of small journeys again.

After the Bintang shops we take a walk back to KLCC, the home of the Petronas towers. After a lot of walking we catch the monorail back to the hotel, and sort our bags out for tomorrow.

Kuala Lumpur Monorail

in the evening we take another long walk through Little India. We stop for Indian food…. hmmmmm…. yummm….

Petronas Towers at night