I did the usual and went online for far too long. I’ve looked for somewhere to stay with free wi-fi, but they all charge premium rates and most don’t even have rooms free. So it’s cybercafes until I leave thus less internet time. A shame, but there you go. I’ll just have to read or something instead.
This isn’t a bad thing as there are many really good second hand bookshops here.
I think I wandered for about three or four hours, just exploring the area. Kuta‘s very touristy but also nice. Yeah, you get the annoying “Massage? Hash? Lady?” nonsense, but you learn to tune it out. It’s big enough to wander around, has posh shops and cheap places, a decent beach (which is being dug up for a pipeline at the moment), great surf and apparently good diving.
Ah, yeah. Diving. I located two dive shops and checked them out for Dive Master courses. One was about the same price as Cambodia. The other, Pro Dive, knocked it down to US$750 and the ability to borrow the manuals I didn’t have to keep for the duration of the course. Superb. Less stuff to mail home and $300 or so saved.
It’s going to be tight with my visa, annoyingly, but I reckon I’ll be here for 14 days and probably run my visa out diving for free afterward. Full reports as it goes on.
The only really notable thing I saw while walking was the Bali Bombing memorial. It’s really rather nice and very poignant, listing all of the dead by country. A handful of flowers are laid by passing tourists and it’s kept very clean.
Sadly, while I was stood reading the names, all I could hear was on woman constantly shouting “Mister! Mister! Massage, mister? Mister? Mister, massage, mister?” As I walked off, completely ignoring her, she actually started to follow me. Of all the places not to try and sell a massage.
I had a KFC for late lunch and I think that’ll be my only trip there as the food nearer the hostel is far better and way cheaper. KFC here is really limited in terms of menu, though the spaghetti (yes…) that I had wasn’t bad. The chips were unsalted and the Pepsi warm and flat. I paid IDR26k for that and later that night I had some superb deep fried chicken nuggets and a barrel of chips for IDR15k at Gong Place up the road from my room.
I caught up with Maria outside McD’s and we had a quick drink while we waited for Steff. However, it turned out that the Swiss contingent had arrived in Kuta and immediately left as she hated it!
Zane also didn’t show – I think we were too early for him – so we wandered off to have a drink or two.
We found a random bar up one of the streets, the Twisted Monkey. A nice place with a free pool table and cheap beer. After a while we were invited into a game of pool “winner stays on”. The current winners were an American couple who’d done well against varying opposition, always ending up slaughtering them.
Well, it was free, so we racked them and I broke as someone handed me the cue.
At which point I had American Woman in my face. Literally, in my face.
“Hey, ***hole. We’re winners, we break. Re-rack them.”
Nice. It took us a while to find the triangle, and when we re-racked, the ball at the top kept rolling loose as there was a tear in the cloth mended with some gaffa tape.
Of course, I got the blame for this, too. “You can’t rack for sh*t. Do it again. Jesus. The balls are supposed to touch.”
I informed her that the table is not means to be covered in gaffa tape and if she can’t handle a cheap table, she really ought to be playing pool somewhere else. Like back home.
As ever… OK, as sometimes (I usually am – or try to be) I was firm and polite rather than letting loose. Damn my British reservedness.
She broke and play went on. I’d had just enough beer to have a decent game and Maria certainly held up her end, knocking a couple of decent shots in. After a while we were actually leading them – something nobody else had done all night.
I’d been talking to her partner who was a really nice guy. How he’d ended up with such a sour trollop, I’ve no idea. Then I overheard them, him first:
“Hey that guys not bad. He’s got some skill.”
“Skill at being an ***hole.”
“Eh, what? He’s made some decent shots.”
“Oh come on, he’s a jerk. Who wears a sleeveless top these days?”
I looked around at the largely Australian population of the bar. Erm… most of them, for a start. Silly cow. So basically she disliked me for two reasons:
1) I was beating her at pool
2) I was wearing clothes she didn’t like
So she’s an insecure snob. Gotchya.
Anyone who’s been out with me knows I play pool for fun. I’m not really any good. I have little flashes here and there, but it’s more luck than judgment. I don’t set out to win, as long as I have a good time I don’t mind.
However. For the first time in a long time I really, really wanted to win. Just to rub it into her face.
I wish I could say we did.
But we got down to both teams playing on the black. And Maria took a wild shot. And sank the white. Game over.
However, by this stage I think the rest of the crowd had got roundly sick of the big gob in the frock and congratulated Maria and I on a good game and roundly ignored Her High Moodiness. A moral victory, I’ll settle for that.
After getting annihilated by a local guy in the next game, they left. Mr America with a nice smile and a handshake, Ms Sulk with her eyes to the floor.
As I’ve told people in all my travels, I’ve met one American I didn’t like which is a good indication that the majority of the population aren’t as idiotic as their ruling classes. Well, I’ve now met another one I do like and one who really is up there in “morons who give their country a bad name”. Again, though, I’m glad to see she’s still very much a minority.
Maria and I stayed a little longer and started the walk back to the Bungalows. On the way she spotted a bar with two guys dancing rather erotically together and decided to stop off. I was knackered, so I continued home. An early night, at 1am according to my now-correct watch!