Day 189: Who You Calling Boss?

Mon. 18th February 2013

My new best mate...After a tasty breakfast with a good selection of food we decide that a second night here is called for so we soon haggle with reception for the same room at the rate offered on booking.com. We also decide on a decent looking room in Ubud at about £50 per night for our remaining time on Bali. There was a homestay at £50 for all three nights but decide we would rather pay the extra and have air conditioning instead of a fan. We know we should probably be going for the cheaper options but comfort wins!

Seminyak beachWe also need to book our transfer to Ubud and decide to add a side trip to Bukit peninsular, south of Kuta. Armed with the leaflets we picked up at the airport we head off to the tour desk. The leaflets quote US$35 for a car and driver for 5 hours which seemed very reasonable. However the tour desk could not book this but offered a 5 hour tour followed by the transfer for a total of 625,000 Rupiah (IDRs) which sounds horrendously expensive, until you realise it is US$62. We were given some spiel about fights between the hotel drivers and the tour drivers trying to enter the premises, so decide to keep the peace and book through the hotel. We have also discovered it is easier to translate IDRs to dollars first by removing the last four digits and then translate into sterling as our 15,000 times table is not very good. The bank notes do not help as you need to count the noughts to check the amount being handed over! We definitely feel like gumbies with any currency transaction at the minute!

Typical local temple decorationWith the extra time in Seminyak we head out to the shops and see what they have to offer. There are many shops from air conditioned ones to street stalls selling clothes, jewellery, carvings and strangely some obscene stickers many with gay references,  which we never did understand given the strict religious beliefs of many locals.  The overall view of the streets and traffic reminded us of India (we cannot remember much about Thailand specifics as it is over 10 years since we were there). The roads are busy with cars and motorcycles and taxis tooting their horns to see if we want to hire them. There are also many touts on foot calling out “Hello Boss” and trying to sell Dave a tour or get us to go into their shops. Luckily a cheery response of ‘no thanks’ and they leave us alone.

Strange offerings on the roadside There are many little woven dishes of food and flowers on the pavement which we can only presume are offerings, and make walking difficult as we do not want to kick or tread on one. The guidebook says the Balinese believe spirits are everywhere so they leave offerings on shrines to good spirits and offerings are left nonchalantly on the ground to placate the bad.  The morning has soon passed  so we stop for a cold drink and a bite of lunch before returning to the hotel. After a short while (guess what – blog writing)  in our air conditioned room and we are ready to head for the beach. This time the touts are offering sunbeds or a massage on the fairly crowded beach where the sand is grey, presumably volcanic, and grainy. We stay awhile watching the surfers and commenting that they do not need much surf to stand on their board.

Time for a dip in the poolThe weather is hot and muggy with an overcast sky, well it is still wet season until the end of the month. Time for a dip in the pool but we do not succumb to a drink at the swim up bar, and obey the instructions and do not scream at the pool!

Must obey The ManagementWe debate whether to eat in the very pleasant hotel restaurant overlooking the pool, or whether to head back into town and try a local restaurant. We opt for the latter and find a small place serving Indonesian food and has a guitarist singing songs we recognise mainly from the 70s such as Neil Diamond’s “Heart of Gold”. All very good and costing a mere £15 for two main courses washed down with two happy hour beers each. We head home singing (happy not tipsy) and a bit disappointed there were no Bruce Springsteen songs as, of course, he really is The Boss!

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