Friday, October 31, 2003

Halloween! (Well, not for me.)

Woke up about 5:00AM because of a rooster. It sounded like it was sitting outside my window, cocking.

Laid in bed until about 6:30, got up, got dressed, went outside and sure enough, a rooster tied to the balcony of the bungalow next to mine. Why??? Why would the bungalow operators tie a rooster up to one of the bungalows?

I went downstairs for breakfast, and on my way back up to my room, as I was walking past the rooster, it got scared and started freaking out, and a naked chick, holding a bath towel in front of her, opened the door. I asked her if that was her rooster, and she said it was. I wasn't quite exactly sure what to say to a nake chick with a rooster, so I just said, "Why do you have a rooster?". She grinned and simply replied, "Why not?" What could I say...I shrugged my shoulders and went to my room to pack. When I left, she was sitting outside, clothed now, unfortunately, holding the rooster. She got it at a market, she named it, what sounded like "carcrash", which is the Hungarian word for rooster, so I assume she's Hungarian. She travels with it, it's her alarm clock, wakes her up for the sunrise. Bizarre!

Paid for my room, walked to the ferry dock, the gateman asked for my ticket and wanted 300 rupiah for the harbour tax. He looked at my ticket and it was no good, and I had to buy a new ticket from the there to Mataram, and he told me I could go to the office of the company of my other ticket and get a refund. The new ticket was 125,000, but all I had to my name was 120,000, so got it for that price. I got on the ferry with absolutely no money. Guess there's no worry about getting robbed. I still think this ticket business is a scam, to bring business to the travel agents in Labuan Bajo, but what can I do?

Assuming I can get a redund for my other ticket, it works better this way anyway. I arrive in Mataram tomorrow morning, about 7:00, and I can spend the whole day there, getting my refund, using the way cheap internet, organize a shuttle for Sunday to Bali. I'll spend the night in Mataram.

Got in the ferry, and it has a sattelite dish. When I got on, they were showing an english movie (not sure what), after we started moving, they changed it to an Indonesian channel. Throughout the eight hour ride, kept flipping between English and Indonesian channels.

It's a big ferry, and, once again, I'm the only tourist on board.

Goit to Sape about 4:45, and took a crap public bus to Bima, then from there, on an A/C bus to Mataram.

At Bima, found someone who would exchange some rupiah for $2US I had laying around, so I could at least buy some water and snacks.

Bus left at 7:15, I'm the only tourist, once again.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Ticket Trouble!

Up at 5:45, had breakfast, and five of us got on the bus at 6:15. The other four got off at Ruteng. Hardly anyone on the bus this morning. Just me and one other passenger for much of the last few hours.

Near Labuan Bajo, the bus stopped at a petrol station, and a guy started talking to me through the window, asked to see my ticket out of here. I showed it to him, and he said I'll have troubles tomorrow, probably. Something about that company doesn't pay the ferry service so the ferry won't accept that ticket or some such thing. He said lots of tourists that by return tickets in Lombok have the problem.

Got to Labuan Bajo about 4:00, checked in to the Gardena Bungalows. They recognized me, gave me the same price as before (35,000). At Gardena, the bungalow dude asked me where I got my return ticket, I told him in Lombok, he rolled his eyes, and remarked that I can try to get on the ferry tomorrow.

So, I went up to my room and wrote in my journal. Walked around downtown, ran into two Swedish girls I had met at Keli Mutu, they were looking for a room, so I walked with them for a bit, then back the other way, then back to my bungalow and had supper, beef hot plate, it was excellent. Sat with a Swedish couple that travelled an overland route from Sweden, through Russian, Mongolia, China, and Laos to get here.

Up to my room and to bed.

Lots of churches in Flores, because it's mostly Catholic on this island.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Red Lakes and Hot Springs

Up at 6:30, had breakfast about 7:15, then to the internet. Crap! It keeps disconnecting and having to redial, and SLOW, and is down. I did manage to send an e-mail to parents and Courtney and Kristin with my account, letting everyone now I was still alive. I then called Air Paradise International and got my flight back to Sydney changed to Sunday night, Nov. 2.

Back to the hotel, Max, our guide had picked up two others for the tour. They're also staying at our hotel. Darcel and Cindy from Saskatoon! Darcel is a police officer in Saskatoon and knows cops in Moose Jaw. He asked if I knew Rick McKenna (I do), so he had me send an e-mail to Rick, making a joke remark, saying that Darcel wants to know if Rick is still queer. It's a small world!

Left on our trip at 9:00, went to Wawomudha Red Lakes, four blood-red lakes created by an eruption on Jan. 7, 2001. Way cool!! This was better than the three-coloured lakes, I thought.

Along the way, he showed us vanilla vines, clove trees, and where they get cinnamon from (the bark of a tree!), and cocoa and coffee.

Then to two traditional villages, Bena, a touristy one, and Luba, a non-touristy one. Yawn.

Then to town for a traditional lunch at Max's sisters' house. Quite tasty. Then to the hot springs near Soa. WOW! Very nice! so clean and clear, way better than the gross hot water springs on Mount Rinjani. I brought my shampoo and soap and bathed, it was nice and relaxing.

We got back to the hotel about 7:15, paid Max, then I booked the bus back to Labuan Bajo for tomorrow morning. The other four booked a bus to Ruteng.

The five of us then went to Borobudur Restaurant for breakfast, then back to the room about 10:00 and to bed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Keli Mutu - Three Coloured Lakes

Up at 3:30, and waited for the bemo to pick me up at 4:00. Ilse and Martin went yesterday, and they were the only tourists on the bemo. There were about 15 tourists on my bemo!

Got to the parking lot about 4:45, then it was a short 10-15 hike to the viewing platform.

The first lake is black, the second an incredible turqouise blue with green streaks, the third is black.

I hung around while the sun rose, then about 6:40, walked back to the parking lot, stopping at the first lake lookout to see if the sun shining on it would change it's colour. With sunlight, the lake was what I'd call diahrea brown (Martin called it chocolate brown). Only the third, black lake had any transparency to it.

Back to the parking lot, and the bemo took me (all the other tourists walked back) back to the bungalows. I didn't walk back, because I was afraid of missing my bus to Bajawa. It's a 2.5-4 hour walk back.

Went to the local market behind the bungalows with a group of students from Ende staying at our bungalows. We watched a medicine man doing "things". He made a piece of crumpled up newspaper start on fire by itself.

Back to my room about 8:40 to pack, collect my laundry (30,000 rupiah), etc. Laundry was hand washed, and still kind of smells.

Waited for the bus

Bus came shortly after 11:00. I was surprised we actually had seats! We had paid extra to have three seats reserved for us, and sure enough, we got them! We then picked up two more tourists back on the road, then told two tourists we were too full, then picked up two more tourists.

Ride was uneventful. Bought a boiled egg from an old lady through the window of the bus at one stop. Ilse and Martin thought I was buying a raw egg, and couldn't figure out why in the world I'd be buying a raw egg.

Got to Bajawa about 5:10, dropped off at the hotel where we asked to me left at (Hotel Korina, where I wanted to go the first time I was here), and they were full. Checked out the hotel across the street, full. Walked to another hotel. Full. So, back to the hotel I stayed at the other night, and they recognized me, and they had rooms. He gave me a single room for 50,000. Martin and Ilse stayed here too, paying only 65,000 for a double.

Martin, Ilse and me booked a tour to the red lakes, traditional villages and the hot springs for tomorrow, with Max, 100,000/person. Max needs five people, so he's going to try to find two more.

We found out there's a political party conference going on in Bajawa, that's why all the hotels are full. Also heard about the political fighting in Bali, between two parties, stone throwing and stuff, four people killed.

Three of us went to Lukas Restaurant for supper. Back to room about 8:30 and to bed.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Beautiful Scenery

Up about 5:20, hotel dude woke me. I got dressed, finished packing, was getting ready to go have some breakfast, and there was a knock on my door. It was the hotel dude, all flustered, the bus was here already, 35 minutes early, at 5:40! The hotel guy quickly ran and got me a boiled egg and a banana and some other fruit I've never seen before, and I hopped on the bus. I ate the egg and the banana, but saved the other fruit for another day, stuffed it in my bag.

Two other tourists in this bus (and a bunch of locals).

The bus cruised around town, and we finally left about 6:20.

The road snakes along the mountains, then came out along the sea. Bajawa was nice because it was high in the mountains, and very cool.

Ende was very nice, surrounded by mountains on three sides, the ocean with an island with two volcanoes in the bay on the ocean side.

From Ende, the road climbs inland to Moni, twisting along a steep ravine. In Ende, we picked up two more tourists.

Got to Moni about 11:00, and I took a dive of a place for 25,000. A couple from Holland, Ilse and Martin, were sitting at the bungalow next to me, waiting for the bus to Ende, the owner of the bungalows kept changing the time the bus was supposed to be coming, and at the same time, the owners cousin was trying to convince them to stay another night.

I gave my laundry to the bungalows, then went across the street for lunch, and the Hollandish couple joined me a few minutes later, the bungalow guy told them the next bus would be between 2:00 and 3:00. While we ordered and waited, we saw three buses go buy on their way to Ende.

After lunch, they waited for another bus, the owner told them he'd wave it down for them. I went for a walk up and down the town, it started to rain, so back to my room, 30 minutes later, about 2:30. They were still waiting. They decided it was getting too late to leave, so they decided they would instead catch a bus to Bajawa tomorrow morning instead. I was doing the same, so had the bungalow guy reserve three seats on the Maumere to Bajawa bus for tomorrow morning, 50,000 each. I also had the bungalow organize a shared bemo to pick me up tomorrow morning at 4:00AM for Keli Mutu, the three-coloured lakes. 30,000 return.

We sat around and talked, Martin is a cop in Amsterdam, used to work in the red-light district, so he had some good stories.

We went for supper about 6:15, then sat around at the restaurant, then to bed.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Bus, Bus, Bus

Up at 5:45, packed, went down to reception, paid for my room and caught the bus at 6:15. No time for breakfast.

Flores is very mountainous, the road is very snake-like.

As we went along, we picked up more passengers, and a guy sitting up front invited me to sit up with him, he spoke decent english, and wanted to practise. He told me I could catch a shuttle from Bajawa to Moni, without having to stop in Ende, which will save me some travelling time. I'm the only tourist on the bus, again.

Bus made a toilet stop in a town, and I bought a bunch of bananas for breakfast through the window of the bus for only 1000 rupiah.

We got to Ruteng about 10:45.

Stopped at some restaurant in another small town for lunch about 12:20.

My friend got off at his village before Ende about 3:00PM, and we got to Bajawa shortly after 4:00. Driver asked me which hotel, I told him Hotel Korina, but he dropped me off at a different hotel. I checked it out, 100,000 for a single, but they told me they'd give it to me for 75,000, I bargained down to 60,000. Still a lot ($10CDN), but it's just one night, and it's a nice hotel. Hotel Bintang Wirata is the name.

Booked a bus to Moni for tomorrow morning, 40,000 rupiah. It picks me up at 6:15.

I went for supper at a restaurant, then back to the hotel and asked the staff about an ATM and internet. The pointed me to the ATM, but told me the internet close at 5:00. Went to the ATM, my bank card didn't work in it, as the ATM only supports the Cirrus/Mastercard network, so walked around for a bit, through the bustling night market, then back to the hotel, got my Mastercard and withdrew money from it just fine.

It's been three days with no internet, my mom will think I'm dead!!!

Back to the hotel, read, listened to music (my MP3 player is working fine) and to bed about 9:00.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Off To Flores

Up at 6:30, for our guided tour/hike at 7:00.

As we were leaving on the hike, one of our boat guys told our guide that a dragon had caught a deer over on the beach, so our guide took us there to check it out. The dead deer was on the beach, underside ripped open, blood and guts hanging out, and the dragon was waiting in the trees about 25 metres away. The guide grabbed the deer and dragged it closer to the dragon, the dragon came out and continued gorging, ripping entrails out, his whole face covered in blood! It was cool!

We went on the hike, about two hours, saw lots of deer, wild pigs and various birds. Only saw one dragon.

Back to cafeteria, had breakfast (two Sprites and a cheese omelette), then packed and left at 10:45.

Stopped at Red Beach for a short swim, the sand has red specks in it, giving it a reddish tinge. Then on to Rinca Island. I dozed a bit on the way.

On Rinca, more dragon and wildlife spotting. Didn't see too much, a few dragons at the camp, three baby dragons on the hike, and an adult dragon on the hike, lots of monkeys, and a water buffalo and deer. The baby dragons, perhaps 15-20 inches long, are VERY excitable and VERY fast. Stephan and I were trying to get close to one to get a picture, I stepped in a bunch of dry leaves, and the dragon started running, DAMN FAST, right at me!! I was so terrified, I froze, couldn't move. All I was thinking was, "Where is that ranger with his stick?????" The baby dragon, turned away, passing through a bunch of dry leaves, which then got a second baby dragon excited, much closer to us, that we hadn't seen before, and the two of them took off into the forest. It was scary! And the saliva from the baby's is just as dangerous and deadly as that of the adults.

We left Rinca about 3:15. A park ranger came on the boat ride to Labuan Bajo with us.

We got to Labuan Bajo about 5:15, a nice fishing village. We walked to Gardena Bungalows, I got a single for 35,000, the other two got a double for 60,000. I also bought a bus ticket to Bajawa for 6:30 tomorrow morning, 45,000 rupiah.

We sent for supper about 6:00, sat at the restaurant, had milkshakes (mmmm, good!) until about 8:00, then we went to a local shop and they bought some Arrak #1 (60% alcohol), then back to the bungalows, sat outside, sampled the arrak, then about 10:00, I went back to my room, showered and to bed.

Lots and lots of tourists here for some reason, surprising. It is the gateway for the dragons, which is probably the reason.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Komodo Dragons!

Bus stopped at Bima at 4:00AM, where we all got off and on to another, crappy public bus, way overpacked with supplies, bags and people. About 4:30 the bus left, I was crammed in a seat, the guy beside me kept dozing in and out, his head on my shoulder. In SE Asia, locals can sleep literally anywhere, no matter how uncomfortable or no matter the conditions!

Bus made it to Sape, on the eastern shore of Sumbawa at about 6:30, and everybody got off. I then realized I wasn't the only tourist on that crappy bus. A German girl, Martina, and Belgian guy, Stephan, were on it too. They are travelling together.

We were informed that there was no ferry service on Friday mornings, the only ferry today is at 4:00PM. The three of us talked to a local about hiring a fishing boat instead of waiting for the ferry. After lots of discussion, we hired a boat to Komodo Island, where we'll stay for a night, then the next day, he'll take us to Rinca, then on to Labuan Bajo, Flores, the port town on Flores. Cost is 900,000 rupiah, 300,000 each. We left on the boat about 9:30. The two boat guys didn't speak much English.

Long, hot boat ride. Sun is especially bad, because of the reflection off the water. I got a major sunburn, but Stephen and Martina got it worse than me! It was very relaxing, though.

Saw some dolphins. I dozed off for about 30 minutes.

Got to Komodo National Park, on Komodo Island about 4:45, seven hours on the boat.

Registered in the national park, and got accomodations in the park. I got a single, they got a double.

The park guy told us there was some dragons just down the path, so we were going to head that way, and I saw a big one walking around the cafeteria area, so went and took pictures. A worker then grabbed his poking stick and brought us to a bunch of other dragons, lounging in the late day heat, underneath one of the huts. Coolness! The largest one was about 1.5 metres long, maybe longer.

They are quite lazy, actually, just lay around in the dirt, maybe move a bit if prodded by one of the park rangers.

Went back to the room and I bathed (mandi washrooms), then went to the cafeteria, had a Sprite, then Stephan came down and we had supper, fried noodles. Martina was sleeping. She joined us later, and we sat around until about 8:00, then back to the rooms and we sat on the balcony and chatted, I wrote in journal, listened to music, etc. Saw a real gecko tonight!!

To bed about 9:30.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Overnight Bus

Up about 6:45, had breakfast, finished packing, then walked to the boat launch and waited for a boat. On my way to the boat launch, one of the horse-drawn carriages had a runaway horse, the horse and carriage racing down the small, dirt road, the driver running behind, hopelessly trying to catch it. Dangerous situation!

Two boat loads of tourists heading off the island this morning, the boat trip was much better this time, the sea was a lot calmer. Got to the mainland about 9:00, and took a horse-drawn carriage to the bus stop.

At the bus stop, everyone was trying to sell me ongoing tickets to Flores, but I declined. I wanted to check out flight prices, apparently very cheap. It's just as cheap to fly from Lombok to Bali as it is to take the fast boat.

Took a shuttle back to Mataram and got dropped off near the Mataram Mall, walked to Shanti Puri hotel and dropped my bags off. Talked to the hotel guy and Flores, he told me it was over 1,000,000 rupiah to fly, the guy at the bus stop told me the same thing. So, I booked an overnight shuttle for 150,000 rupiah, to Sape, on the eastern shore of Sumbawa, and he told me to buy the ferry ticket over to Flores at the terminal there, it was cheaper than buying a shuttle ticket to Flores, by about 10,000 rupiah. Shuttle leaves at 2:30PM today

Left my bags at the hotel and walked to the internet. Cheap here, spent almost two hours updating my journal, and e-mailing. Only cost me 9000 rupiah. On Gili Trawangan, same amount of time would have cost about 40,000 rupiah.

Went to McDonalds for lunch, then back to the hotel. About 1:30, the hotel buddy took me to the SWETA bus terminal. He handed me off to the shuttle company dude who took me to the bus. The bus doesn't leave until 3:00, he and I talked, apparently the hotel dude made a 30,000 rupiah profit off the ticket I bought.

I was the only tourist on the bus. It's an A/C bus, with toilet. The bus left about 3:40.

Got to Labuan, Lombok about 5:45, the bus boarded a ferry, which left about 6:00, and arrived in Sumbawa about 8:00. On the ferry, the locals kept talking to me, practising their english.

Long drive across Sumbawa. About 9:45, the bus stopped at some restaurant in Timbuktu (not real name) for supper. It was free, included with the shuttle price. I may have had a glass of tap water, not sure!

Buddy beside me on the bus slept with his head on my shoulder half the night. And an old woman in front of me kept dry heaving and spitting on the walls and floor.

I dozed in and out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Up about 6:30, lounged, had breakfast, wrote in journal. About 8:30, headed to Big Bubble for my dive. We're going to Shark Point. The dive master (DM) gives me a briefing, we go through the signals, etc., and shortly after 9:00, we got on the boat for the 15 minute boat trip to the other side of the island.

Had a good dive, lots of fishes, saw a couple of white-tipped reef sharks, over 1 metre long. Also saw a big green turtle feeding on coral. Cool! We were down for about 45 minutes.

Back to the dive shop, logged the dive, then back to the room.

I was the only paying diver, then I had the DM, and another guy that works at Big Bubble came along.

Went and had lunch, then hit internet for a short bit, then back to the room, and headed back to Big Bubble about 1:30. We headed over to Gili Meno to dive Meno Slope, saw another shark, and lots and lots of small fish. Nice dive. Spent 51 minutes under this time.

Back to teh office, logged that dive, paid my bill (440,000 rupiah), back the room, showered.

Went to a restaraunt showing an episode of "Sex and the City", then "Pirates of the Carribean" and had supper, then back to the room about 9:30. Very tired, diving is tiring. Talked to Bridget for a bit, then to bed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Gili Trawangan

Up about 7:00, and tried to listen to my MP3 player, and it's screwed. It would turn on for a second, then off, then on, then off, then on, then off. It was plugged into the wall outlet all night, so I unplugged it and tried to turn it on. Nothing at all. Plugged it in again, acting all wonky. Finally got it going after unplugging the octopus from the electrical outlet, and turning the ceiling fan off, which is running off the same outlet. With the ceiling fan running, the current isn't stable, and it ended up draining my batter completely. I hope it didn't destroy the battery in my MP3 player.

Shortly after 8:00, went down for breakfast and checked out, and the bus to Gili Trawangan picked me up at 8:30 and took me to Bangsali (?) port, got taken to the tourist company I had booked with, and waited there with the locals. Had an iced coffee and learned how to play the card game all the locals play, Jendral. Gave away the rest of my Canada, Saskatchewan and Moose Jaw pins to the locals.

About 10:00, walked down to the boat office and had to wait until the boat was full before it will set schedules.

One other tourist waiting with me, and he's carrying around a sports jacket, for warmth. Oh brother!

About 10:40, the boat had enough people, so we all jumped on the public boat, with a bunch of food supplies destined for the island. All locals except for me and the Norwegian guy with the sports jacket.

It was a scary boat ride! The boat had no bamboo stabilizers on it (as most of the boats do), and there were huge swells, I was actually frightened! And I don't get scared off of stuff like that. I was concerned it was going to capsize. Huge waves would crash over the boat, soaking everyone. I was also concerned my camera and MP3 player would get wet and stop functioning from all the water coming into the boat. Most of the locals didn't seem to be concerned, so my concern was probably not warranted.

Got to the island fine, if quite wet. I had to wade through chest high water to get to shore, holding my backpack above my head. A horse carriage took me to a cheap but very nice and clean bungalow, 30,000/night. I have a double bed and a single bed.

The horse taxi then took me to Big Bubble dive shop, and I signed up to dive with them tomorrow. Someone else on Bali had recommended Big Bubble as well. I dive tomorrow at a place caleld Shark Point, and I should see sharks and turtles.

There are no motorized vehicles on the island. You either walk, rent a push bike, or hire a horse drawn carriage. I assume Gili Meno and Gili Air are the same same.

Went back to the room and showered and changed clothes.

Then went to an Aussie run restaurant and had an awesome bacon and cheese burger.

Then back to the room, picked up my camera and walked around the island. Before I left town, ran into the chick that we had met on the trek when we were going up and she was coming down. Then proceeded to walk around the island. Took my about 1.5 hours.

Went back to the room, dropped off camera and hit an internet. Expensive internet, 400/minute.

Gili Trawangan is not as impressive as everyone says. Most of the island is unsuitable for swimming, as it is surrounded by a rocky, dead coral reef that goes from the "beach" to the waters edge. I put beach in quotes, because the beach is generally unsuitable for sunbathing, consisting mostly of hard, dead coral, making it not good for laying on and difficult to walk on. Only a small stretch near the north end of the townsite is kind of suitable for swimming and sunbathing. I dunno, maybe this goes back to my thoughts about not being impressed by stuff anymore. I've seen way better beaches and islands in Thailand. If I hadn't travelled SE Asia, maybe I would be impressed by this. The island is very dry too, not much vegetation, brown and dusty and dirty, and windy too. The coral beach problem is probably due to the El Nino effect that killed all the coral last decade...over time, it will get eroded to a nice, fine, white sand, then it will be spectacular, I'm sure.

Sat around, wrote in journal, showered, about 5:45 went to Blue Marlin Cafe for supper and watched the Italy versus Canada rugby world cup match. Canada was supposed to get their asses kicked by the Italian squad, but Canada played very well, still lost 19-14, but they could've won, except for missed kicks.

Walked around downtown for a bit, met a local who thought my Thai Red Bull shirt was a Canadian shirt. I chatted with him, he wanted me to meet him at the Irish Pub at 8:30, where he was to meet two Canadian girls, and he didn't want to go alone. I told him I would.

Went back to the room, finished reading one of teh books Louisa gave me, "Life of Pi", awesome book about a 16-year old Indian boy who gets stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan. Excellent read!

Just as I finished, two Austrian girls next to me came along, we talked for more than two hours, then Sandra and I went to teh Irish pub about 10:30 (Bridget went to bed), and we had a few, then about midnight we went home. Never saw the local that I was supposed to meet.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Trek - Day 3

2350 metres - middle volcano
3900 metres - Rinjani (main volcano peak)
2600 metres - our maximum height, at crater edge.

Up about 6:15, slept good. It was quite warm in the tent.

Had a cup of tea, then packed everything up while our guides made breakfast, two tomato jaffles and a hard boiled egg.

Started back down about 7:30, our porter racing ahead. Vincent and I ditched our slowpoke guides and got to teh crater rim about 9:15 and waited. Guides showed up about 10:30.

Then hiked down to base camp 3, where we spent the first night, nd had lunch. Left there about 1:15, then down to the start/finish, about 3:30. The bemo was waiting for us, and took us back to Senggigi.

Good trek. The crater lake was amazing.

Back at the hotel, I showered to get all the grime and dirt off, then walked downtown (free transport from hotel isn't running tonight), and bought a new toothbrush, then hit internet, then food, then took a motorbike taxi back to the hotel at 9:00, packed and went to bed.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Trek - Day 2. A Monkey Stole My Toothbrush!

Woke up about 7:45, Vincent came and awoke me. Everyone else was up, and had already had breakfast, when I got up, they made me breakfast, a boiled egg and two jaffles (grilled sandwich, with tomato and onion inside).

I slept pretty good, but the rubber matress is pretty thin, so it was hard to lay on my side, I got sore hip bones now, and my feet were kind of cold. But slept good, considering. It was about 13 degrees last night.

We left about 8:15, the hike went up and up and up and up. Never ending up.

On the way up, we left the rain forest, and entered, well, dry, dusty, arid, windy grasslands. Not that impressive scenery on the hike up. As I was walking, I was thinking about how things that I would have at one time considered spectacular, things that would have given me that "WOW" factor aren't doing it for me anymore. I've seen sooooo much over the last 9 months, it takes a lot to impress me, I guess. In the more recent months, not much has impressed me anymore. I'm definately not excited about things like I was at the start of the trip.

Then I stepped over the crater ledge, and this huge, expansive crater lake opened up before, with a smaller volcano, more recent, to one side of the lake. I did go "WOW"!!! Utterly spectacular. I was in awe. It was an incredible sight.

Our porter arrived at the rim first, then Vincent and me, and we had to wait 45 minutes or so for our guides to arrive.

We ate some mango, and gave the peelings to a few monkeys that were hanging about. Mango tastes soooooo good when it's cut fresh!

After relaxing and snacking, we hiked down to the lake, then to the hot springs, got there about 1:30.

We had lunch, rice, veggies and canned pieces of mackeral, which I avoided. It still had the scales and bones in it!

Lots of locals here, it looks like a homeless village, locals making shelters out of torn tarps or pieces of corrugated metal lying around. And us with our state of the art dome tents. We were the centre of attention.

This is a holy spot for the locals (the mountain, and the hot springs), which is why so many of them come up here.

We then went downstream a short ways to the hot spring pool that no one else was using, and swam and soaped up and shampooed. The water was quite green, and had lots of algae in it. It's very warm, but not too hot.

I had my backpack sitting on the other side of the stream, and a monkey showed up and started hissing and showing his teeth at us. Our guide kept throwing mud and algae and hot water it, and the monkey was getting all riled up about it. I had left my backpack open, after taking out the soap and stuff, and the monkey decided to go check it out. He ran over, grabbed my toothbrush, and took off with it! He sat on a rock for a while, sniffing it and biting it, then our guide threw something at it, and he dropped it in the rocks. I decided to leave it there. I moved my stuff to the other side of the stream then. The monkey disappeared. The water temperature was 38 degrees.

After lounging in the pool, we headed back to the tent, I went fora big crap (mother nature as the toilet), our two guides were napping in their tent, so Vincent did too, I walked back to the lake for a bit.

Porter gets paid 50,000 rupiah/day.

At 6:00, guides made us noodle soup for supper. I went to bed after that, about 6:30 (nothing else to do!)

On the way up, I asked the guide when the last time the volcano erupted. He said in 1997, and he was camped on the beach of the lake, with a German tourist. There were rocks landing all around them. They were both terrified, and just ran and ran and ran, up the crater rim. When they were finally safe, the German guy was crying his eyes out because he was so happy that God had spared his life. The guide said he was absolutely terrified of the experience.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Trek - Day 1. Snake!

Uup avout 5:30, brushed my teety and they came about 5:50. Jumped into the bemo with my small day pack (left my big pack with most of my stuff at the hotel) and we were on our way to Senaru. Stopped to get a spare tire, stopped at a local market in a small town for pictures and for a few items (water, fruit for the trek) and had spice rice wrapped in a banana leaf for breakfast (traditional Indonesian breakfast).

The other guy on the trek, Vincent, is from Holland. He was working in Bali, on a dredging ship, and finished the contract, so was travelling for a week before going home.

Got to Senaru about 8:15, guides hired a porter, and we started on our trek. The porter didn't speak that much english, just basic stuff, and carried the lions share of the stuff, all the food, 12 large (1.5 litre) bottles of water (that'd be HEAVY!), two tents, all the cooking gear, etc. He tied it all to a bamboo stick, balanced at either end, and slung across his shoulder.

We hiked for about 3.5 hours, got to base camp 2 for lunch. The guide and porter started a fire and made a great lunch of noodles, with tea to drink.

Talked to a girl from Belgium who was just coming down. She remarked the view was incredible.

Left camp about 1:30, for a 2+ hour hike to base camp 3, where we stopped for supper and spent the night.

Our guides are SLOW!! Our porter, carrying most of the stuff, just flies! He's easily the fastest one of the group. Vincent and I started going "normal" speed for us, but slowed our pace for our guides, but still we're way faster than them. We had to wait about an hour for them to arrive at base camp 3. A few monkeys on the way up, hanging around the base camp areas.

Camp 3 is at about 2100 metres altitude and quite cool. We got to base camp 3 about 3:45.

The guides (when they finally arrived) made a campfire, made supper, which was milk coffee, omelette, rice and noodles and vegetables, very delicious.

There was no wind here, so we decided not to set up the tents and just sleep under the shelters, the two guides and the porter slept on a raised wooden shelter (with a roof), Vincent and I slept on a ground level, concrete shelter (with a roof). We did have matresses to sleep on as well.

The guides and the porter went to bed after supper, about 6:30. Vincent and I stayed up until about 7:45. The stars were soooo, soooo bright! Incredible.

About midnight, I heard Vincent: " there." I answered, mumbling something. "There's a snake crawling up and down my, on my sleeping bag." I didn't say too much, what could I say, and what could I do about it. "Oh my god, it's big, at least 1 metre long. I can't move. Can you move slowly away and grab the flashlight and shine it over here?" All I did was curl up in my sleeping bag more, and close off the entrance so the snake wouldn't slip into my sleeping bag.

After a couple of minutes: " still there?" "Ya, I'm here. Is the snake still there?" "Ya, I can here it crawling near my head. I think it's trying to get into my bag." I looked over, and he wasn't moving, scared stiff, I could see his silhouette in the dim moonlight. I said to him, "Are you scared?" "Ya, I'm terrified. I think it's in my bag. It's big, at least a metre long. Can you roll slowly away and grab the flashlight and shine it over here?" So I did. I didn't see nothing. "It's in my bag. I can hear it. Ok, I'm going to slowly roll away." I was confused, because I thought the snake was in his sleeping bag, but he rolled away, then I realized he meant the snake was in his backpack, which was sitting open right beside his head. He kicked over the bag, hoping to scare the snake out, but nothing came out. There was no snake in it. He figured it must have gone away.

AFter the whole ordeal, there was no way he was going to sleep in the concrete pad, at ground level. He moved over the raised platform the guides were at, and slept there for the night. I continued to sleep where I was, not too afraid of a big snake, although I did sleep with sleeping bag closed off, just in case.

Friday, October 17, 2003


Up at 8:30, slept great. Showered, then the hotel dude called for my motorbike early, I got it about 9:30. Then him and I went to the house of his trekking buddy, so we could discuss the trek, and I found out that there was a misunderstanding. It was 350,000 for one day, so 350,000 * 3. That was too much for me, he asked me how much I could spend, I told him 500,000 would be the maximum. He couldn't do it for that. I was kind of dejected, but oh well, thems the breaks.

I dorve back to the hotel to get my sunglasses, then to town and had a humongous breakfast, expensive too, 30,000+tax, but I can forgo lunch, so I justified it that way. Also bought a ticket to go to Gili Trawangan for tomorrow.

Drove up to Senaru, the town that acts like the base for treks up to Mount Rinjani. Went up there to see a couple of waterfalls. It was a 2+ hour drive, and when I got there, they insisted I needed a guide to see the waterfalls. I was miffed, one is just a 15 minute walk from the road, along a concrete platform...and I need a guide for that? I asked how much. 75,000 rupiah!!! Yikes, I told them that was way too much, and I wasn't paying it, and almost hopped on my bike and left right there. I offered 10,000 to the first waterfall, still too much, and stuck to it. They kept dropping their price, finally they accepted 10,000, so my "guide" and me walked to this waterfall. They told me it was the rules, I needed a guide. Ya, whatever. Once there, we bargained for the second waterfall, an extra 15,000 rupiah, so 25,000 in total, a far cry from the 75,000 they wanted, but still way too much for this. Superb waterfalls, though. My guide asked me not to say anything to anyone about how much I paid.

Drove back to Senggigi, but turned off and headed inland towards a monkey forest...the monkeys come to the roadside, and people, mainly tourists, stop and take pictures and feed them peanuts. I didn't pick any peanuts up, so a local gave me a few, and I fed the monkeys. I remember there was this one monkey who would smile with all his teeth just as he was about to take the peanuts, as if to say "Thanks you".

Got back to the hotel about 5:00. I did hit a police checkstop along the way, but they didn't stop me. And I had my drivers license with me this time! Back at the hotel, I chatted with one of the Danish guys by the pool for a bit, then put on my trunks and went swimming in the pool.

Got out and dressed, and went down to the lobby to wait for the motorcycle dude. As I waited, the owner of the hotel (Norwegian lady) remarked that someone had called the hotel for me, asking if the guy who had rented a motorcycle was back yet. She didn't know. I assumed it was the motorcycle dude wanting to know, so he could come pick up the bike.

As we chatted, the trekking guy, who's house I was at this morning, came along, and took me to the parking lot to talk. They had another fellow, a Danish guy, sign on to do the trek tomorrow at the regular price ($140US), so I can go for only 600,000 now. I was excited, I can afford that, but told him that I had already booked a ticket to Gili Trawangan for tomorrow. He asked me how much it was, I told him (40,000), he said to me, "Cancel it, and pay is only 560,000." They're going to swallow the cost of the ticket!!!

They're going to pick me up at 6:00AM tomorrow morning.

The guy who owns the trekking company was there also, and he asked me to tell the Danish guy, if he asks, that I paid $140US for the trek as well (I paid about half that, if even). He also owns the motorcycle, oddly enough, so I paid for the motorcycle, and got my passport back, then he drove me to town, but got a flat tire half way there, so I had to walk the rest of the way. I needed to get to town to cancel my shuttle to Trawangan.

Ends up, I didn't have to cancel it, I could just postpone it, so postponed it until Tuesday. Cool, I didn't lose that money either.

Went for supper, met a guy who was originally from Elrose, SK at the restaurant, although he hasn't lived there since the 1970's. Used internet, then took a horse taxi back to my hotel, packed and to bed about 11:00.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

A Good Laugh!!

I had a dream last night: There was a big explosion of the Muslim population in Moose Jaw, and they built a HUGE mosque directly south of St. Joseph's Church, it dwarfed the church. The mosque as HUGE, and very impressive to behold.

Up about 8:30, showered, had breakfast. Ojek driver came about 9:20, as I was finishing packing. I checked out, and ojek buddy drove me to Senggigi. We almost got in an accident, almost hit a BIG truck head on. That would have hurt. I saved us by pointing the truck out to buddy, because he got distracted with something else.

He dropped me off at Lombok Coconut Hotel, and waited while I checked it out. Nice, swimming pool, big room for 45000 rupiah, I got them down to 40,000 rupiah, and decided to stay. No breakfast included, though. I paid the ojek driver and moved in. They were very happy to see me here. I'm around the point from the main town strip.

Walked down to the beach, black sand beach at my bay. Walked past the point to the main town area. It is DEAD!!! Hotels, bungalows and resorts shut down, lay overgrown, in disrepair. Most of the shops downtown are all boarded up, for sale or rent signs on them. Most of the hawker stalls are shut down. Very few tourists and only a few hawkers. It's really hard to so "No thanks" to the children trying to sell little toy boats. The whole town is quite sad, actually, considering this was THE tourist destination on Lombok before the Bali bombings. Tourists are starting to go back to Bali, but not Lombok.

Stopped at the Berry Cafe for lunch. Started chatting with Berry, the owner. He's quite talkative, and introduces me to his son, a half-breed, half Indonesian, half Canadian. His ex is Canadian. He asks me where I'm staying, I tell him, and he says that's a fair distance from town, and he takes me to the bungalows next to his cafe and shows them to me. If I want to move there, it's a lot closer to town. He also remarked that I can stay at his home with him and his maid (a teenage boy), for free, if I want. We got back to his restaurant, he invites me upstairs in his restaurant to show me the work he's doing, renovating to make an additional open-ari loft for his restaurant. We sat upstairs for a while, talking. He told me about his family, all nurses and police officers, we talked about sex and diseases, and lots of other things. He's also very touchy-feely, keeps touching me on the leg or arm or whatever. So, I'm just thinking he's friendly, that's all. No big deal. His son comes upstairs with two of his friends, he introduces me to him, he'd be, maybe 6 years old, then his maid comes up and introduces me to him, then he offers to show me his home, so I can decide if I want to stay at his plac. He takes me there, he lives in an upscale area, where lots of expats live, three bedroom house, he sleeps in one, the maid in another, the third is presently vacant, which I could use. He's Catholic, and has various Catholic symbols about his home. He's fairly well off, owns 75% of his business, he plans on paying off the rest by end of the year, he owns a nice home. On the bike ride to his house, and back to the cafe, he occassionally touched me on the leg as he talked. He then takes me to an internet cafe, so I can use the internet, and I thank him, and think to myself he's a little strange, but I'm done with him now. NOPE! Five minutes later, he's back, saying he has to check his e-mail or something. I finished using the internet and said bye, and started to walk back to my hotel, and he stops me, "No, don't go back, come back to my restaurant, my sister dropped off a jelly cake last night, you should have a piece, it's so good." Not wanting to be rude, I oblige, and off we go back to his restaurant, and we have jelly cake (wasn't that good) and a mixed fruit shake (free).

He then offered to take me back to my hotel, it's a fair walk, so I said sure, and on the way there, he's drove real slow, and he kept touching my leg and and my hand. He starts telling me how much he likes my white skin (as all Asians do), and how hairy my legs are, and he kept trying to rub his hand up my inner thigh, and I kept pushing it away, but he kept trying. He then grabbed my hand and tried to rub my hand against his inner thigh, so I could feel how little hair Asian men have. I pulled my hand away, and it slipped through his hand. He then proceeded to keep touching my legs. At one point, he made a remark that he's heard that Canadian and American men are "huge". I remember thinking that he's driving slow enough, if I needed to, I could jump off the back of the bike without too much damage.

We got to my hotel, and I thanked him, and walked up towards reception. I had a big grin on my face about the whole, stupid experience. The hotel staff were all sitting around the reception area, including the owner, an older Norwegian lady, and one of the staff sees the smirk on my face and asks me what I'm smiling about. I told them I was at Berry's Cafe and met Berry. They all started laughing hysterically at that point! One of them blurted out, amongst his guffaws, "Ladyboy, ladyboy!" Amongst their laughing, I told them that what had happened, the whole, dumb story, and one of them made another remark, in between his laughs, that I'm going to have a knock on my door tonight. I told them he didn't know what room I was in, and laughed, then added that I expected none of them to tell him if he showed up! AFter the laughter died down a little, one of them asks if he kept touching my leg and thigh, I said ya, all the time, and they all erupted in a new fit of laughter.

The owner lady said that he's a nice guy, just a little different. I don't have to be afraid of him.

They also remarked to me not to tell the two Danish couples how much I was paying for my room, apparently they were paying a lot more than I.

Back to my room, and wrote in journal, listened to music, read.

About 6:00, got a motorbike ride to town with one of the hotel guys who was going to town to "market" the hotel. He suggested a restaurant and dropped me off there, I ate, bought a bookmark from a hawker, felt bad about not buying anything from the kids, the needy looks on their faces, then walked around a bit, ran into the guy who took me to town, then the free shuttle back to the hotel came along, and I got a ride back to the hotel, about 7:00.

Virtually no tourists here. It's crazy.

Sat at the bar counter and chatted with one of the hotel guys. He know a guy who does treks up the mountain and he could do one for me for 350,000, 3 days/2 nights. Other tours are $100US.

About 9:00, back to the room, then read and went to bed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Crooked Cops

Up about 8:30, went to have a shower, and I had no water. That's not particularly unusual in SE Asia, so I went downstairs and had breakfast, and inquired about renting a motorbike. The guy I asked, had to ask another guy, who asked the owner, who had to get someone else. He told me 45,000 rupiah for the day. I told him it was too much, and another guy at the hotel told me yesterday 30,000. He shrugged his shoulders, and told me there's only one place in the city that rents motorbikes, so that's the price. He did go down to 40,000, but still too much.

Back up to my room for a crap, then after it was all said and done, I remembered I didn't have any water, so I had to let my dump sit in the squatter. I went downstairs and told them I had no water, he told me because the tank is being refilled right now, I'll have water when I get back today, in the afternoon. He told me I could shower downstairs in the common shower, which I did.

Then I walked to the Perama office (tourist agency office) to inquire about shuttles to Senggigi, 15,000 rupiah, and also asked about where I can rent motorbikes. She told me I could rent them from near the post office, and showed me on a map of the city. It wasn't too far from there, so I walked there, and an ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver asked me what I was looking for, I told him I wanted to rent a motorcycle, so he gets me on the back of his bike, and takes me a block away to where they rent them. He droped me off at one stall, and I asked the guy how much, and he said 35,000, I said too much, 30,000, and another guy, a competitor overheard me, and said OK, and shoved his keys in to my hand, then ushered me to his stall. Haha. Close competition is great!! The first guy was not impressed, and pushes his bike over to this other guys stall, and tries to impress me with his bike, saying it's better because it has automatic start. The other one has kick start, the automatic start is broken, but I don't care. It was too late at this point anyway.

I got the bike, he took me down the street to get a helmet for me, and I paid him, and gave him my passport (for insurance, common in SE Asia). While he was trying to find change, the original ojek driver and I were talking, I remarked that I wanted to go to Senggigi tomorrow, and he offered to take me, for 10,500. I'm agreeable, so he said he'll pick me up at my hotel at 10:00 tomorrow morning.

AFter getting my change, I was escorted by the ojek driver to the petrol station, then I went back to the hotel, packed my stuff for the day, and took off, about 11:00. I took a wrong road out of the city, and had to turn back and found the right highway.

Along the way, I ran into a police checkstop. The truck in front of me got pulled over, the motorcycle driver in front of me got waved through, then it was me. The officer waved me to the side. Great. It's here that I realized that I didn't bring my drivers license with me. Gulp! Now, Indonesian police have a reputation of being corrupt, and you need to bribe them to get out of situations. I was having thoughts of millions of rupiah leaving my hand. The office spoke excellent english, and he asked to see my international drivers license. I told him I let it at the hotel, and he got distracted by something else, and then turns back to me and asks again. I jump off my bike, open my backpack and pull out the motorcycle registration, and gave it to him, and told him that's all I had, I left my drivers license back at my hotel. He indicated for me to follow him, and I thought I heard him say something about a fine. He took me to another officer standing beside the patrol car, with a ticket book opened up on the hood of the car. He handed the registration, exchanged a few words in Indonesian, then the new officer asked to see my international drivers license. He spoke excellent english as well. I told him the same thing, that I had left it back at the hotel. I told him I could go back and get it, or I could bring it into a police station in the city, but I didn't have it with me. He kind of looks at me like he's trying to figure out what to do with me. He asked me if I do have one, I said yes, I do, then he asked me why I didn't have it with me. I told him the truth, I didn't think before I left the hotel. So, he said to me, "Ok, next time you rent a motorcycle, please remember to carry your drivers license with you, ok?" I responded with a big smile, and said, "Yes, I won't forget again." He handed me back my registration, and asked me where I'm going, I told him Tetebatu, and he extended his hand for a handshake, I shook it, said thank you, and he said have a nice trip, and that was it! While this was happening, the first officer had brought my motorbike from where I had left it at the shoulder up the patrol car. I hopped in, started it, and all the officers waved goodbye as I sped off. I must say, that was a pleasant surprise! They were very professional, extremely polite, friendly, and very easy going. And certainly not crooked, like I had heard.

I kept going, hoping to not run into another police stop.

I got to Tetebatu about 1:00, stopped at a hotel, and talked to a local who says he'll take me to the waterfall and monkey forest for 50,000 rupiah. According to Let's Go, that's the standard price. I had a bite to eat at the restaurant, then I barteredhim down to 40,000, because we were using my motorbike and my gas.

He took me to the waterfall, quite nice, then he apologized that we didn't see any monkeys, other than a few on the other side of the valley. We could hardly see them. I made a remark that we haven't been to the monkey forest yet, and he told me that the 20 minute walk to the waterfalls was the monkey forest. I knew he was lying, but decided to cut my losses and accept it, because to go anywhere else would just end up being more money yet. They even had a mural at the hotel showing the location of the waterfall and monkey forest, and they were NOT in the same place.

I left for Mataram about 3:00, hoping not to find any police stops. I ran into two. But both simply smiled at me and waved me through!

Got back to the hotel about 4:30.

I got a bad sun/wind burn from being on the motorbike all day. I rested in my room, still didn't have any water. Wrote in journal for a while.

Then I took my motorcycle back, then walked back to the hotel and went to the internet for a while, then to McDonalds for supper, then back to my room, and read. My water reappeared this evening, so I flushed my toilet and packed. My motorcycle driver visited me, and he got screwed up on the price, he meant 15,000, not 10,500, but I told him I could get an A/C bus for 15,000, so he relented and gave me the price of 10,500.

Then to bed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Up about 8:30, bathed, then went down for breakfast. It's just toast w/butter amd jam and tea or coffee.

I walked down to Mataram Mall and bought myself some new flip-flops, my other new ones are hurting my feet something awful. I think they are too small for me. I have a horrible time trying to buy flip-flops I like.

Then I started walking to the Mayura Water Palace and Pura Meru. Along the way, I got accosted by a local, and he accompanied me to each, practising his english. Both sights weren't that exciting. 2000 and 1000 rupiah to get into each, respectively.

I was then going to go to the Sweta Bus Terminal to catch a bemo to Narmada to see the Pura Kalasa Water Palace, but my new found friend took my to another, closer bemo run, told me only pay once, 2000 rupiah, there and back, if I use the bus terminal, I have to pay to get there, and pay again to get back. So, I went with him, and then it turned to 4000 rupiah, which was still the same total price of the public bemo. We got in the bemo, and off we went to Narmada. It was about a 15 minute ride out of town, I paid the driver, and we went in to the water palace. Quite nice. It was built in 1805 by the king at the time to resemble Gunung Rinjani, when he was to old make his annual climb to the top of the mountain. It\s a temple surrounded by three pools, the temple represents the peak, the three pools represent three lakes surrounding the mountain. One of the pools has now been turned into a public swimming pool, complete with lane markings and starter blocks. I didn't bring my trunks, or I would have went swimming.

After the water palace, we walked back towards the bemos, and I remarked that I didn't have to pay for the ride back. He said I did, it was a different bemo, I said to him that "you told me, 4000 rupiah, there and back", and he apologized, and said no, I had to pay to go back. Ugh! I was a little miffed, and he could tell. He tried to be a little extra friendly with me.

On the way back, lots of school kids hopped into and out of the bemo, going to and from school. I snapped some pics, and showed the kids, they were quite impressed...they love digital cameras.

When we got back to Mataram, we got out, I asked the driver how much, he said 3000, so I have him 3000. It was at this point that I realized I had lost 50,000 rupiah that was in my pocket. It may have fallen out when I pulled some other money or something out of my pocket, or perhaps my friend snatched it, but no use crying over spilt milk. I don't think it was him, because I was keeping an eye on him, and he never made a move for my pocket or anything.

My guide took me through a local market, then I gave him 10,000 rupiah for the three hours or so of his time, and I went back to the hotel.

I was the only tourist at all those places, except for a couple of Japanese I saw.

I went to a restaurant next door for lunch, then back to my room and wrote in my journal. Then walked to a cheap (3000/hour), but very slow internet, about 40 minutes in, I had a bathroom emergency, so quickly paid and waddled my way back to my hotel, and went. Just made it!

Then I went back to a different internet (4500/hour), it was a fair bit quicker, but still unreliable. Spent two hours on it, because it was so cheap. Internet here is between 3000-5000/hour, in Kuta on Bali, it was anywhere between 12000 and 18000/hour!

Then over to McDonalds for supper, then back to the hotel. Walked with a local working at the hotel, he's studying english, and likes to talk to tourists, and I'm the only one there right now. He told me I was the only tourist there again this evening.

Read for quite a while, then to bed.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Off to Lombok

Woke up about 7:00, got up about 8:00, had breakfast and showered, then dragged my bags down to Kristin and Louisa's room, and woke Louisa up. She had set her alarm so they could have breakfast with me, but she slept through it. they went for breakfast, and I sat with them.

Kristin and Scott went to try and get their ticket changed, and I waited. The bus finally picked me up about 9:40, took us (two others already on bus) to the main office on the main street, where we had to wait about 15 minutes for another bus. About 10:00, we were herded onto the other bus, a bunch of us, going to various destinations. Only 4 going to Mataram. The bus made a few stops on it's way to Padang Bai. We got there shortly after noon. The ones going across to Lombok had to wait for about one hour for the gerry; I had a bite to eat. About 1:15, they told us we can go to the ferry now, and he pointed us in the direction, so we all walked to the terminal and boarded the ferry. It's a big vehicle ferry, loaded down with trucks. The ferry left at 1:45.

Arrived in Lembar harbour about 5:30, but the ferry dock was in use by another ferry, so we had to wait out in the middle of the harbour for more than an hour. We finally got to dock after 6:30. Got on the Perama (tour company) bus, which took the 8 or 10 of us to Mataram. It stopped here, dropped off a girl at her house, before going to the Perama office. I got off, along with two others. The two other guys are doing an organized tour with Perama, and are just spending the night in Mataram. On the drive from the ferry terminal to Mataram, a teenager, the brother of the driver, sat beside me and chatted with me to practice his english. He's taking an english course right now.

I went inside the Perama office, and got my bearings, and decided to look for the Shanti Puri hotel. I walked up to the Mataram Mall, a mall just like any big western mall, and from there started the search for the hotel. Walked all over, and couldn't find it, or any other hotel. I'm sweating, and it's dark, and I finally find a hotel, and they have fairly cheap ($6US) standard room, but then I'm informed that they're all booked up, except for expensive rooms, out of my price range. I kept walking. I had lots of offers of help, including one family (father, mother and baby) stop beside me and ask me where I'm going, I told them a cheap hotel, and they said there's one just up ahead 50 metres, and offered to drive me there, but I said I could walk if it was that close. I'm paranoid after Fiji. I kept walking, and the road turned dark up ahead, and I didn't want to go along it. Up until now, I've been staying in the well-lit areas, where there are lots of locals around, staying in the open. Another van pulls up on the other side of the street, and the passenger jumps out, and they start beckoning me to come over. I walk over, and these two guys look a little dodgy. They ask me where I'm going, I told them I was looking for a cheap hotel, and they said I had to go to another part of town for cheap hotels (bullshit, I was thinking), and they offered to take me. I declined, and started walking back towards a taxi that was waiting outside a store about half a block back. The stopped me, and then said there was one just up ahead, they would take me, I declined, and walked away. After a few steps, I turned around, and one of them was coming at me with a big machete! Ahhhhh, I dropped everything and ran! Just kidding, the can was driving away. They were probably ok, but after Fiji.....although, it was kind of funny how the one passenger jumped out of the van and was keen on getting me to cross the street, over to their van. I made sure to stay on the side of the van facing the road, in the light, while chatting with them.

I approached the taxi driver, I'd had enough of walking around. He already had a hire, but was keen on getting me another taxi with his radio. A motorcycle dude came up, an older fella, not much english, and the taxi driver told me that the motorcycle guy would take me to a cheap hotel, one I was asking him about. I hopped on the back of the bike, and he took me to the hotel. It was FULL! Ugh. He then took me to another hotel. They had rooms. It ended up being the exact hotel I was originally looking for, the Shanti Puri.

The guy who works at the hotel, when he saw me, said to me, I've seen you before, you were on the Perama bus...he was at the ferry terminal, and had asked me how many were staying in Mataram, he was trying to drum up business for his hotel! Haha, too funny.

Anyway, finally got to the hotel about 7:45.

I paid the motorbike dude 12,000 rupiah. It was supposed to originally be 7000 to the first hotel, but after it was full, he had to do extra driving for me, so I was going to give him 10,000, but he could only come up with 38,000 change for a 50,000 rupiah bill.

Anyway, the moral of this story. I should have taken the 6:00AM bus from Kuta this morning, so I would have arrived in Mataram during daylight hours.

I got a room for 30,000 rupiah. No shower, it's a bucket shower type. Signed in, then asked where the mall was, and was pointed in what I thought was the wrong direction. He was right...I had confused the Mataram Mall with the Mataram Complex on my map, that's why I couldn't find the hotel in the first place!

I'm totally in real Indonesia now. Kids laugh and shyly say "Hello" to me as I pass. Or hide behind their mothers or fathers or a pole. As I was looking for a hotel, two younger teenage girls walked behind me giggling, when I turned around, one was walking right behind me, giggling, then she ran back to her friend. I get lots of double takes and straight stares from adults. I'm special here. I'm a somebody!

Walked to the mall, and went to McDonalds. I was superbly hungry, and got a Big Mac combo, and super-sized it two sizes bigger. At McDonalds, the floor workers chatted with this "tourist" of the workers had died his hair a hot pink, trying to look like Ronald McDonald he indicated, by pointing at the hair on the Ronald McDonald statue.

After eating, did a quick run around the mall, then walked back to the hotel, shaking hands with the little boy who asked me how I was when I was walking to McDonalds. He only knew two english phrases..."How are you?" and "Thank You". Cute.

Since I left the bus, I've seen only one other whitey. And that was the Ronald McDonald statue at McDonalds. Got back to the hotel shortly after 9:00. Wrote in journal, then read, and to bed about 11:00.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Happy Birthday Kristin & Remembrance Day

Up about 10:00, had breakfast with Kristin. Just lounged for a while, and then went down to see Louisa, she's feeling really crappy. Remarked that I might be interested in renting a motorbike and heading down to Uluwatu. Louisa said she didn't want to go (needs to stay near a toilet), but I should ask Kristin. I waited for Kristin to get back, and she said she'd like to go to the waterpark, Waterbom.

We walked to the main drag, to find a hotel that had a brochure on the waterpark so she could see what it had to offer. The main drag is shut to traffic today, tons and tons of police on the street, police helicopters circling overhead all day. Kristin liked the looks of the waterpark, so we decided to go, we headed back to the hotel, got changed, and Louisa came with us. She would rather relax at the waterpark than in the hotel room.

Walked to Waterbom, got there about 2:00. $15US to get in, about 125000 rupiah. It was a blast! Lots of waterslides, some you use a tube, another a riding mat, others are just regular waterslides. Kristin had a blast, and said it was a great way to spend her birthday. Kristin and I had some potatoe wedges at the swim-up bar. Louisa just laid around the sun, close to the toilets, all day, she didn't partake in any of the slides or pools. The funnest was going backwards down the macaroni slide on a double tube! A blast!

Left the water park about 5:30, stopped quickly at a bar that was showing the Canada vs. Wales rugby match, Canada was getting their butts kicked, 39-10 late in the game.

Ran into Scott on the way back, and he said there were lots of parents and friends and families of victims on the beach for the remembrance ceremony at 5:00, lots of tears being shed. He said there was this one older man, balling, two sons hugging him. He must have lost a daughter or son in the blast.

Back to the hotel, I packed my stuff, listened to music.

About 8:30, Louisa, Kristin and I went for supper, then we went to the internet, then about 10:00, went to Ground Zero, where another remembrance ceremoney was being held. It was only for friends and families, and no one else could go near the ground zero area, so we couldn't see much.

We headed back to the hotel and I went to bed.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Machine Guns

I slept until about noon. Scott came back about 10:15 to take the truck back. He and Louisa stayed out all night, slept on the beach for a couple of hours.

I showered, then went to Matahari department store to buy some new flip-flops. Lots and lots of police around Ground Zero area, most packing machine guns. Security is tight. Lots of people mulling around the spot where it happened, looking at the pictures of the deceased, and reading the passages left by their friends and families. Lots of flower arrangements adorn the area. Lots of television crews too, including CNN.

AFter getting my new flip-flops, back to the hotel, then got something to eat, then went in seach of a birthday card for Kristin. Went to the other, bigger Matahari department store, and they did have a small collection of cards, so picked one up.

Walked back to the hotel along the beach, and watched some guy have to get rescued by the beach patrol. He must have got caught in an undercurrent or riptide or something. He was waving his hands back and forth, and the lifeguard, just like on Baywatch, ran across the beach, and dove into the ocean with a buoyancy tube for the guy in trouble. Yes, he was saved.

Back to the hotel, everyone sleeping, so I went and booked my shuttle out of here for Monday morning. I'm going to Mataram, Lombok, and will work my way up to the Gili Islands, then to the other side of Lombok, where I'll move on to Flores. My shuttle ticket was 80,000 rupiah.

Wrote in journal for a while.

Used internet for a while.

Ran into Kristin and Louisa in a restaurant, sat with them for a while.

At 8:00, the four of us went to the Kori Restaurant for Kristin's birthday. I had a grill-your-own steak, it was awesome.

Later on, three French guys that we had met in Lovina (actually, only met two of them) joined us, and we all sat around until about midnight, when they kicked us out. Our bill was 1,000,000 rupiah. We went to the Apache reggae bar for a while, then finished about 2:00.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Full-Moon Party and Foam!

Up at 9:00, slept amazing. Showered and had breakfast. Walked around checking out prices for shuttles to Lombok. Super hot today. Then took some stuff to the laundry.

Checked in with Kristin and Louisa after 11:00, they missed breakfast, so we went to a pharmacy to see about tooth gel (Kristin has a toothache...wisdom tooth), they didn't have anything, so we went to a restaurant for brunch, and Kristin and Louisa took stuff to laundry as well.

Scott tried to take the truck back, but realized we had the truck for one more day, it's not due bacj until Saturday morning.

AFter brunch, Kristin Louisa and I decided we should take the truck to go see Uluwatu, a nice temple, but we couldn't find Scott, and I couldn't drive because I wasn't on the contract.

We walked around, down the beach street to the main square. Kristin decided she wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for the start of her "birthday weekend", so we shopped for a while, Kristin picked up something for her diarhea, then about 4:00, headed to the Hard Rock Cafe. I had an awesome steak (actually, two awesome steaks), then Kristin and I shared a Hard Rock Cafe brownie sundae. We were stuffed!

Headed back to the hotel and stopped at the tattoo place where Scott was getting a tattoo done, he was there, almost finished. It took the tattoo artist two hours to do it.

We continued back to th ehotel, then I wrote in my journal for a while.

Louisa and Kristin went shopping for a while, when they got back, we had a few drinks at their room, then about 11:30, headed to the Bounty Ship.

In the downstairs of the Bounty Ship (we usually party on the deck of the "ship"), they have another dance floor, and they had a foam party happening. They had soap machines blowing soapy bubbles all over the dance floor. I ventured in, and some guy tackled me, and one of my flip-flops fell off and got lost in the bubbles. I searched and seached for it, but could not find it. I went back up above decks to get Louisa and Kristin, and we went back down, and Kristin joined the bubble party for a while. Louisa got some good pictures of us. We were soaked.

The bubble dance floor was dangerous, very slippery, and a lot of the locals and some tourists kept trying to trip and tackel everyone. An accident waiting to happen.

At one point, I found a blue flip-flop in the bubbles, and thought I had found mhy missing one. Ended up being the wrong one! I put it aside and kept looking. Found three other flip-flops, none of the mine. During the foam party, they had on stage an awesome fire show, a guy doing poi's, and four women dancing with candles. It was cool.

We left about 4:00AM, Kristin and I went to bed, Scott and Louisa went up to Double 6, they are having a full-moon party up there.

Thursday, October 09, 2003


Up at 6:00, I didn't sleep much last night, because I slept so well the night before. Scott came back at 6:00AM, he slept at the German girls' hotel last night.

Scott and I packed our stuff into the truck, and met the guides outside our hotel at 6:30. We had to wait for about 20 minutes for two others, from Switzerland, to arrive. Once they got there, we hopped into the minivan and started on our way. We found out in the minibus that we are not trekking the volcano, we are doing a trek near Singaraja, in the mountains. On the way there, we got pulled over by the police, and our driver had to get out, and give his drivers license to the police officer. He'll have to pay a bribe later on to get it back. The police are very crooked here, and nobody likes them. When the cop left, they tried to start the van, but it wouldn't start. So we all got out and pushed, so he could try to push start it. It took a few tries, but he finally got it going again. About a minute later, the van died again, and we all got out and pushed, but no go this time. The tour guys ushered us into a bemo (open-air mini-van-turned-public-transport), and the bemo had to take us to the start of the trek. Not a good day for the driver, he has to pay a bribe to get his license back, he has to take his truck in to get fixed, he'll have to pay for the bemo ride to the start of the trek, and he'll have to pay for our transport back after the trek is over! So much for any profit today!

The trek was great, saw waterfalls, got to jump off a 15 foot cliff into a pool, which was fun, stopped at another waterfall pool for swimming and lunch. This was perfection, if you could imagine a pool with waterfalls falling into it from three different sides, absolutely amazing, gorgeous. Lunch was excelleng too.

Super hot today, we're sweating crazy.

Near the end of the trek, we returned to a local village and just as we were arriving, they were starting a cock fight. They were trying to get the two cocks all riled up to fight, but one was afraid of the other, and wouldn't be aggressive, so that fight was cancelled. We had to wait about 15 minutes, and then two other cocks went at it.

Cock fighting is BIG in Bali. They strap a very sharp blade to one foot of each cock, and then they get the cocks all riled up, ready to fight each other, and usually the match goes until one of the cocks is dead. These two cocks started at each other, both were bleeding a fair amount, then both stopped. Neither would finish the other off. Each was injured, one had blood all over his face, the other couldn't walk properly anymore. To try and finish the match, the put both cocks inside a small, confined cage, but neither was interested in fighting anymore. We figured each would become supper for this evening, but were told that each cock would live, and in about three months, they'd be healthy enough to fight again.

It was cruel, but interesting to see.

Scott was absolutely beside himself, that people lived out in the middle of the jungle, all alone, except for some dogs, maybe a cow and a pig, and some chickens, no electricity, no running water, nothing. He just couldn't believe that people lived like that, was quite astounded by it. It was a real eye opener for him.

As we were walking through one village, he heard someone call his name, "Hey, Scott!" He looked, and there sitting down with a bunch of locals was this guy (a local as well) he had met the night before at a bar in Lovina!!! What are the odds, a local he met at the bar in Lovina would be sitting out in the middle of the jungle, and Scott would run into him!

We got back to the hotel about 1:30, Kristin and Louisa were not around. I walked to some of the resorts down the beach to see if they were using the swimming pools at one of them, and found them lounging near the pool of one resort. They had checked out of their hotel by noon, so we had no rooms left in which to shower, so I asked the hotel if I could shower at their poolside (they had showers), they obliged, so it was nice to get all the sweat off.

We walked back to our hotel, had supper at the Rasta Bar (right beside our hotel). Took a long time for the food to come. Millie, the one who took us on the tour yesterday, was cooking. They had a small kitchen there, and were making food for some other tourists first.

We left for Kuta about 4:30, got back to Kuta about 7:30. We checked into a different hotel, Scott and I in one room, Louisa and Kristin in another. Scott crashed at 9:00, he was up most of the night before, I went to bed at 10:00.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Touristy Things

Up about 9:45, I forgot that at 10:00, we were going with Millie (from the Rasta Bar near us) to some of the local sights, a Buddhist Monastery, Sing Sing waterfall and hot springs. Scott was still in bed, and woke up suddenly at 9:50, got dressed and was ready to go. We had breakfast, then the girls backed out, so Millie, Scott and me went. Left about 10:30.

Went to Sing Sing waterfall first, about one hour drive. 3000 rupiah to get in. Very nice waterfall. On the way to the waterfall, we passed by Millie's sister and her family's house. So, on the way back, we stopped at their house, and Millie visited with her sister and nephews, and they offered us tea and cakes. The Asian family are so family oriented. Millie makes a decent living working at the pub/restaurant, and always helps out her family (mom, sister, brother, etc.) by giving them money, because they are not as well off. She supports her mom financially all by herself.

Then we headed to the Buddhist Monastery, Millie took us on a walkthrough. She is Hindu, but still lit incense and prayed at the Buddhist temple.

Then to the hot springs, which weren't really hot, but just warm. Scott and I took a quick dip, but not for long, because Millie had to work at 3:00.

We got back to the hotel at precisely 3:00PM, Millie jumped out and ran to the bar. We gave her 40,000 rupiah for her services, as she did give up half a day of work to take us around, and we never would have found this stuff without her.

Then Scott and I arranged a trek for tomorrow. We're trekking a volcano, Louisa had already done it, and Kristin is deathly afraid of heights, so they're not going.

We all headed to Lovina for supper, I had a mixed grill, which was awesome, but not big enough.

We then all headed back to the hotel, Scott dropped us off, then he headed back to Lovina to hang out with some German chicks, and Louisa, Kristin and I hung out in their room, and Louisa did our tarot cards again.

I went to bed about 10:00, because I have to get up early (6:00AM) for the trek tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Everybody's SICK!

UP at 10:)0, had breakfast and showered. Louisa is not feeling good (sicky feeling), Scott has diahorea (could never spell that) for 4 or 5 days running, and Kristin is still not feeling right. I'm fine.

Scott took the truck to Lovina town, Kristin and I went to the beach, and I went for a swim in the ocean. The water is very warm here. Louisa joined us later, after being sick or something. Later Scott came down, and then we all took the truck to Lovina and had lunch, then Kristin, Scott and me went on a snorkelling trip, a local took us out in a cool, local boat. It was Kristin's first time snorkelling, and she kept swallowing water.

About 4:30, finished snorkelling and went back to land, Scott bought a pineapple from one of the women on the beach, then we all headed back to the hotel.

Louisa read Kristin's tarot cards, then we hit a local restaurant. I had fresh snapper, the head was still on the fish when they brought it to me. It was very delicious.

AFter supper, we headed to Lovina for the bar scene. We hit a restaurant, then a bar with a live band. Kristin got the band to play "Sweet Child O Mine" while she sang. The band also played Nickelback, "How You Remind Me"...we didn't expect a Balinese band to be playing any Nickelback!

Band stopped playing about midnight, and about 12:40, we drove back to the hotel, but the bar near us was dead, so I went to bed, the others went back to Poco's bar.

Monday, October 06, 2003

To Lovina

Up about 7:45, showered, breakfast, then caught transport to the airport. Malaysian Airlines closed!!! It was supposed to open up at 8:30 this morning (so says the sign on their door), and I got there about 8:45, and it's closed! Ugh! Went over to Air Paradise International, and got my flight back to Sydney from Bali changed to Nov. 13. Then walked back to Malaysian Airlines, and they were open now. Whew! My ticket says I'm supposed to fly at 11:00PM tonight, hopefully I can change it without problems! Talked to the lady, and did get my flight changed, no problems. Fly from Sydney to KL on Dec. 5 (wanted to go earlier, Dec. 1, but all their flights are totally booked up!) Then the flight from KL to LA, I wanted to fly Jan. 9, but everything is all booked up solid. I'm on a waiting list to fly Jan. 9. I have to keep checking back with Malaysia Airlines. I fly NorthWest airlines from LA to Regina (via Minneapolis), and Malaysian Airlines can't do anything on that for me. My ticket says I should be on that flight in 3 days, so gotta deal with that too! She told me that NorthWest has an office in Sanur, at a big resort there.

So, back to the hotel, checkd with Scott to see if Sanur was on the way to where we're going, he told me that we're going to Sanur anyway, because Louisa needs to go there to change her Qantas flight. Perfect!

We checked out of the hotel, and Scott went and picked up the truck at 10:30, we went and picked up Kristin and Louisa, and left Kuta about 11:15, and headed to Sanur, the Grand Bali Beach Resort.

Got there about 12:30, Louisa stopped at Qantas office to deal with her ticket, I headed to the NorthWest office, and it was CLOSED!!! Ugh! The American Express office next door said they are probably close for lunch, and didn't know what time they'd be open back up again, maybe 2:00. We went back to Qantas, and Louisa got her ticket changed no problems, so we headed to the expensive cafe at the resort, and had an expensive snack. Back to the NorthWest office shortly after 1:00, they were open now (whew!), so got my flight to REgina changed. Fly from LA to Regina on Jan. 10. Only fly in the ointment now is the waiting list I'm on for the KL to LA flight.

After that, we drove to Denpasar (capital city) and went around in circles and dead ends, trying to find the highway to Singaraja. AFter more than an hour, finally found the way.

Very nice drive through the centre of the island, we went up over a mountain pass, nice lake, cool weather. Road was very, very twisty and turny. Stopped at Bedugul, up in the mountains, for a late lunch. Then out of the mountains, down to Singaraja. A guy on a motorbike at a red light came up beside us and asked us where we're going, we told him Lovina, he said he works at cottage there, gave us his card, and gave us an escort to his place. They are brand new, nice cottages. Scott and I took one, 60,000 rupiah for a twin, Louisa and Kristin got a double for 50,000 rupiah.

After settling in, Kristin laid down (still not feeling well), Scott, Louisa and me ent to a small bar right beside the cottages, and on the beach and a few drinks, chatted with the locals and a couple of tourists.

As we were sitting there, a bunch of locals were on shore, hauling in a boat with a catch of fish, so Scott and I hopped down and helped out. Then I ran to get our cameras, and took pictures of their catch.

The fish were called sari, a very small (little finger size) fish that they grill up whole. They actually had a fish market right there on the beach, in the dark, all the locals buying buckets or bags of fish, money flying all over. Way cool!

Scott went to get Kristin and we all sat around and played cards and did card tricks and talked with the locals.

Not sure what time Kristin and Scott left, but Louisa and I left at 2:00, we were the last ones there. Then Louisa read my tarot cards, and finally to bed after 3:00AM.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Sad News and Flight Problems

Up about 8:45, breakfast, then showered, then headed to the beach, Kuta Karnival, because the brochure says there are band battles at 10:40, which I thought was a strange time for that, but whatever. Got down there, there was nothing happening, but heats for a surfing competition, and some kids skateboarding.

Back to the hotel, used internet and got an e-mail from my parents that my grandpa has passed away.

After internet, ran into Louisa, she's feeling fine now, but Kristin is very sick. Bali Belly, she was sick all last night and today, throwing up. Louisa and I went and picked up her laundry, then went to their hotel to see how Kristin was doing. She looks fine, if a tad pale, but she's not feeling well in her belly.

We went and got her some ginger ale and crackers, she wanted something to eat. We were gonna get her a DVD player too, but I then realized they only have one AC outlet in their room, so wouldn't be able to plug it in. Made a date with Louisa to go to the Food Festival.

I left to go find some new flip-flops, ended up buying a pair at Circle K for 8000 rupiah (just over $1). Went back to Louisa and Kristin's hotel and swam in their pool for a while. As I was swimming, I decided I should deal with all my flights, since I do have a game plan in mind. So, went back to the hotel, got out my tickets and found out that I'm due to fly from Sydney to KL tomorrow!!!!!!!! Ack, I had forgetten, but when Court and mine's tickets were originally purchased last October, the furthest Janet could book ahead was one year. I have to deal with it immediately! Or else I might lose my flight, or have to pay an extra charge!

Went back to internet to see if I could change dates on Malaysian Airlines website, couldn't, but their website says they have an office at the airport here, and that it's open until 8:00PM on Sundays. As I was going to find a motorcycle taxi to take me to the airport, ran into Lousia and Scott, and told them, and told them I'd meet them back at the hotel in about an hour for supper. So, caught a motorcycle taxi (15000 rupiah one way) to the airport. One the way, bonded with the driver. He told me that George Bush (Uncle Bush, he called him sarcastically) was going to be in Bali for the anniversary of the Oct. 12 Bali bombings, along with the Aussie prime minister (who's name I forget at the moment). Weird!

Got to the airport, my motorcycle taxi walked around with me. The stupid Malaysian Airlines office is closed all day Sunday, so we went to the Air Paradise office, and it was closed too! Uh oh!!! I'll have to try to deal with it tomorrow morning, before we head up to Lovina.

Back to the hotel. Just wasted 30,000 rupiah.

Tried to help Irwin (my motorcycle taxi driver) with his internet on his mobile, but I didn't know his SMTP or POP3 or usernames or passwords, so couldn't help him. He had a phone that took pictures as well, it was neat. I told him I was going to Lovina tomorrow, he said he had a girlfriend in Lovina, and Aussie girl named Joy, working at Zigit bar. I said I'd say hi.

Met up with Scott and Louisa, and we headed to the food festival, and I totally pigged out again.

On the way back to the hotel, bought a pair of sunglasses for 20,000 rupiah.

Went out for a beer, then back to the room to pack. Heading to Lovina tomorrow, and hopefully getting my tickets figured out!

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Food Festival

Woke up about 8:00, but still wanted to sleep some more. Listened to some music and fell back asleep. Got up about noon.

Used internet, read, at about 3:00, headed to Kristin and Louisa's hotel to check on them. Kristin was just coming out the hotel, she wasn't feeling that well, and said Louisa was very ill, she is allergic to wheat, and had eaten something the night before and had an allergic reaction. Her tummy was huge and she was bed-ridden.

I headed down to the beach to check out the Kuta Karnival, the skateboard park was open, lots of boarders doing tricks. Then headed acros the street to the food festival. They had a stage there, and a bunch of kids were performing traditional dance and playing traditional music live.

I headed back to my hotel to get money to buy food at the festival, and ran into Scott and the two Canadian cops, and they wanted to go eat too, so I waited about 2 hours for them before we headed there.

I was a pig, I ate more than twice what the other three guys did, and all three are a helluva lot bigger than I. They couldn't believe how much I was eating.

The other three started drinking, but not me. We left about 9:15, and stopped at the tourist police office. The two Canadian cops befriended a tourist police officer a couple of weeks ago, and the officer drove them around in their patrol jeep and their golf carts. Tonight, they got one of the tourist police officers on duty to pose with his gun for a picture with the two Canadian cops in it. They also talked him into taking us out on their patrol later in the evening. We're supposed to go back at 10:00 or 11:00. None of the guys will remember, though.

Once we got back to the hotel, about 10:00, I retired, very tired.

Friday, October 03, 2003

All Nighter

Up about 9:00, showered, had breakfast, then went to Matahari department store to see if the universal A/C adapter they had would fit the plug on my MP3 player. It did! I'm in business! And it was cheap, only 24000 rupiah ($4CDN). I expected to pay over 100,000 for it.

Went back to the hotel, listened to music and wrote in my journal, while I waited for Kristin and Louisa. Louisa was moving into our hotel this morning. Once they arrived, Scott, Kristin and me went for lunch, then got a couple of motorbikes, and Louisa went to get her flight changed, then about 2:30 or 3:00, the four of us headed to Tanah Lot, a Hindu (?) temple on a rocky cliff on the sea. Very picturesque. Only 7500 rupiah to get in, for two of us. Scott and Kristin touched the Holy Snake. Apparently, if you ask it a question, it will give you an answer to your question. I didn't do it, paranoid I would poke it's eye, and it'd bite me, and I'd die. It is a poisonous snake. The Kristin, Scott and me drank of the Holy Water (a spring coming out of the ground), and had water (?) sprinkled on us, rice put on our forehead and a flower put behind our ear.

Lots of Japanese tourists at Tanah Lot, and lots of stall selling t-shirts, postcards, sarongs, sunglasses, film, water, and everything else imaginable.

We headed back to Kuta in rush hour traffic, got back to the hotel about 5:45. Kristin didn't have too many complaints about my driving. Traffic was pretty hectic in Kuta. I've not driven in traffic like this in Thailand at all, so was a little wary.

When we got back, Louisa found a cockroach in her room, and got freaked out. I had to get rid of it for her. Then Kristin and Louisa went out and bought some Raid and sprayed under the cabinet in her room, and a bunch more scattered all over. That was all for Louisa, she was out of there. So, the three of us went in search of another hotel. We found a nice, relatively cheap one, and Kristin decided to stay with Louisa at her new hotel for the next three nights.

AFter that, the four of us bought some alcohol and a bunch of us (myself, Kristin, Scott, Louisa, two Canadian cops, and a Turkish guy) sat outside Scott's room and had a party.

About 11:00PM, the hotel staff came and told us to be quiet, so we all left and went to the Bounty Ship. Stayed there until about 4:00AM, then we caught a cab, minus Louisa and the Canadian cops, but plus two German girls, to Double Six, an after hours dance club. It wasn't that great, not that busy.

About 5:30, caught a taxi back to our hotel, then I went to bed.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Game Plan

A note about yesterday that I forgot. Kristin is afraid of heights, and to get to the water from the white water rafting office, we have to hike along a sheer cliff, and take lots of stairs down to the river. Same at the end of the rafting, we had to hike up a lot of steep stairs to get up to the restaurant. I had to hold Kristin's hand, and she squeezed tight, she was so nervous. But she did it! She was quite proud, and she took pictures from the top, so she could show everyone how high she was. Yay for Kristin!

Up about 9:00, showered and had breakfast, then went for a long walk past some of the BIG resorts, to Waterbom Park, a big waterpark with wave pool, waterslides, etc. We're going to go one day. Got back about 1130, sweating from heat and humidity. Kristin was up, she had bought a bunch of CD's that morning and was testing them out, while waiting for Louisa. After she got here, the three of us went to the CD place and Kristin exchanged them. Then we headed to the beach for about an hour, got hungry, went back to a restaurant near our hotel, ate, then dropped our stuff off at the hotel. Then we walked up to Louisa's hotel, so I could pick up the converter, and we were going to take a dip in her pool, but the pool was closed today for treatment. And the adapter wasn't the right kind anyway.

We hung out in her air conditioned room for quite a while, then walked back to our hotel along the beach. For the Kuta Karnival that happening right now, they have a big skateboard park on the beach, with boarders doing their thing, and they have a stage set up with traditional music and dance happening, presumably Hindu. We got back to our hotel and I showered, and went to the bank, and because Kristin is a wuss, she went back to Louisa's hotel to have a hot water shower. I actually prefer cool water showers now, and taking a hot water shower would ruin that.

Hit internet for a bit, then started reading "Life of Pi", one of two books that Louisa gave me, because she's finished with them. I've only read the authors notes and chapter one, and already it's quite funny.

I went for supper, then back to the hotel and made a gameplan for the rest of my time travelling. I'm going to stay in Indonesia until mid-Novemberish, then head to Australia to meet up with Ryan, then as soon as he leaves to go back to Canada, take my return flight back up to Kuala Lumpur, and go back to Indonesia, this time the northern island of Sumatra. They have a national park there that is apparently very nice, can see gibbons and orangutans, and could see lots of other stuff, like elephants, rhino's, tigers and clouded leopards on the treks and rafting trips they do there. They also have SE Asia's largest freshwater lake that's apparently quite beautiful. After that, work my way up to Thailand for the full-moon party (Jan. 6), then back down to KL and get back to Canada.

So, that's my gameplan.

Kristin and Louisa showed up a little later (10:00ish) and we went out for a drink. Kristin is going to spend the night at Louisa's place, with the A/C, and tomorrow Louisa is going to move to our hotel.

Kristin also decided she will go to Gili Islands (and more?) with me, but after her birthday. That way we're not in a hurry. In the week or so before her birthday, we'll head to northern Bali, to Lovina, which is apparently very nice (Louisa was there last year, and liked it).

We left the bar when they kicked us out, I went back to the hotel and to bed about midnight.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

White Water Rafting!

Up about 8:30, I couldn't sleep, I've been getting too much sleep recently.

I had breakfast and showered, sat around, about 10:00, woke up Kristin. She slept for 12 hours straight. We went to out for an American breakfast for only 9500 rupiah. The bacon was disgusting, it was some weird beef hamburger concoction.

The minibus for white water rafting picked us up about 10:50, we headed to another hotel to pick up a British chick, Louisa. There was already a Japanese guy in the minibus. We headed to the main office, paid the balance of our bill, then it was about a one and a half hour drive to the start of the rafting.

The rafting was awesome! We were concerned it was dry season, the river would be low, which is why it was half price. It was like a bunch of amusement rides combined into one: bumper cars, twirly bird, etc. At one point, we were going down some rapids backwards, and ran smack into a cliff wall. Kristin and I, sitting in the front, went flying backwards, off our seats into the floor of the raft! We also kept getting hung up on rocks, and kept getting all twisted around. Saw lots of waterfalls, stopped at one where we could stand under it and get our picture taken.

The grand finale was an awesome 3 metre drop over a dam. Louisa and the Japanese guy, sitting in the front now, must have flew about a metre off their seats when the raft crumpled at the bottom. It was hilarious and lots of fun!

AFter it was over, we got an amazing, authentic Balinese buffet dinner with potatoes, rice, noodles, chicken, pork, beef, garlic bread and fruit. It was amazing!

Got back to the hotel about 5:45 and made arrangements to meet up with Louisa at McDonalds at 8:00. She may move to our hotel.

We sat around for a while, then about 7:30, headed for McDonalds, met up with Louisa, and we all went back to our hotel, and had a few drinks, then about 11:30, headed to a few bars.

I left about 12:45, used the internet, then back to the hotel.