Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bali - Kuta



We arrived in Bali, Indonesia at 10 pm and before we could leave the airport we had to stand in an immigration line for over an hour! It seemed like all the European tourists in world had come to Bali for their Summer holidays and to catch much needed tans.  We even made up a few observational games just to pass the time. Once we had finally been accepted in to the country we caught a taxi to what we thought was our accommodation.  What we didn't know was that there were three backpackers with the same name, which we discovered only after our taxi driver had dropped us off. As the clock struck midnight, we had finally navigated our way to the correct 'CX Hostel.'  We were escorted to our dorm room and to our beds, which we came to know as 'the pods' - compact and self-contained units that made us feel like we were living inside a space ship or a dorm from the future. 

 The pod beds with its own lights, plugs and privacy screen.  Guess in a touristic place that is known for its wild parties that last until after dawn, backpackers would need their space and privacy. 

After a well-deserved rest in our pods we ventured out to find what this new country had in store for us.  Bali is the one region of Indonesia that is dominated by Hindu people and as such the streets of Kuta were filled with these little flower baskets that we lit with incense every morning.   

We quickly discovered that Kuta was very much a tourist and commercial hub and as such the Western way of life and all its vices had tainted the local people and had sucked the culture out of the town.  Whenever we walked through the streets we were wolf-whistled at and addressed with lewd names like "Baby," "Hunny Bunny" and "Darling" which were not appreciated.  Also every person on the street or even the beach wanted to sell you something, whether it was knock-off clothes, drugs (mushrooms, ecstasy, Viagra and weed), messages (with happy endings), surfing lessons or fruit.  An interesting fact to note is that Mushrooms are actually legal in Indonesia, however, weed is still a banned substance.   Also when Joy wanted to buy a summer dress, we soon realised that if a tourist looked, touched and especially if they tried on a garment of clothing, the shop owner expected them to buy the item; regardless of whether it fitted your waistline or your budget. After we had been sworn at three times in a row - we promptly gave up on the idea of shopping in Kuta!

Kuta really wasn't the place for authentic travels to visit- even the food was all Western and geared towards the tourist market.  Basically all we could do there was soak up the sun on the crowded beaches and soak up alcohol in the crowded bars.  So we decided to just make the most of it and 'when in Kuta do as the rough tourists do...'


At least the beaches in Kuta had soft, white sand and unlike the other South East Asian coasts, the sea in Kuta actually had semi-decent waves.

Luckily for us we met some amazing girls in the backpackers, despite the anti-social nature of the pod layout.  We met Emily (the surfer chick from Australia), Kim (Scottish Asian Diva), Val (the adventurous Dutch lady) and Lara (the athletic Dutch girl).  Having a lovely bunch of ladies by our side definitely made the whole Kuta experience more bearable.        

Joy and Kim enjoying the sun and sand 

                                     The three musketeers striking a pose - beach selfie :)

After spending four days in Kuta, the time had come to move onto a place with a little more culture. So we boarded  what was supposed to be a 17 hour bus ride (which turned out to be 24 hours long), crossed the ocean in a ferry (a 40 minute ferry ride while still in the bus) and finally made it to Yogykarta (pronounced Joja-catra but nicknamed Yogi Land by Joy) in the Province of Java.  

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