Bali

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Adventure prone

Waking up at 4 am is a hellish experience I wouldn’t ever want to wish on anyone. But the Travel Companion and I did it, in my 4th iteration of what has so far been an annual pilgrimage to Bali, that has now gotten past just scuba diving off the east coast of Bali and off Nusa Penida. I had a great time on Christmas with Jan and Markus (just the 3 of us, it seemed), since tourist numbers are madly erratic for this period. But perhaps what made it worth it as always, was the accidental conversations I fall into during these journeys. Jan and I spoke at length...

Bruised, battered, victorious

The travel companion (TC) finally tells me – on the way to the airport – that Bali has been, on hindsight, quite an enjoyable experience. It helps that we’ve both passed the different dive courses we’ve signed up for, even though we’ve been bruised, battered and badly cut in the process. For that I’m thankful, even if we’ve spent most of our time shopping at Guardian pharmacy (TC simply bought more and more bottles of shower gel and muscle ache packs for god knows what reason) and eating at the same Italian place more times than I can count. We’ve finally trudged along Sanur’s beachfront walk, done the obligatory shopping and rub-downs...

Oh, such luck

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never always get what you wish for. Translated into diving terms: I didn’t see a damn Mola Sunfish in sight. But at least a manta ray or 2 graced us with its presence at Manta Point in Nusa Penida. Crystal Bay was supposed to be dive stop 2, but the extremely choppy sea meant that the captain of the speed boat took us to S.D Point instead where I actually had my first drift dive experience over a coral plateau. 7 kg heavier with a 5 mm wet suit in colder waters, I felt like a complete beginner struggling with buoyancy in the...

Bali Redux

“I’d sooner be eaten by a shark than be rescued by her.” So says a person who’s actually related to me when asked to volunteer as my unresponsive dive ‘victim’. As much as I’m able to ignore that particular lack of confidence in my rescuing skills, I’ve found the PADI rescue diver course with Joe’s Gone Diving to be the most challenging that I’ve ever done in my very…short diving experience these past few years. But everyone speaks highly of it (most shop owners/instructors I’ve met say the same thing) and someone had even gone so far as to say that it should be a necessity for all divers – at...

Manta Point

Along with 2 partying Aussie women, a Belgian who sounds vaguely Russian, a Swede who sounds too much like American TV and an unnamed European who loves Taiwan and Hong Kong, I made a quick trip down Sanur’s Jln Kesumasari and then we were trudging down the beach at low tide to get to the speed boat aptly named ‘Halloween’ given the time of the year. An hour later, we found ourselves at Nusa Penida’s Manta Point under the care of Ethel and Imam and gearing up awkwardly in the cramped space of a speedboat. And then it was a backward-roll and straight into bloody cold waters. “Great idea. Diving in...

Sanur Beach walk

I’m bad with free days on vacation. Without something planned on the agenda, I’m as lost as a pigeon without feed. Waking up late is a side luxury when I’ve been getting up at the arse crack of dawn the past few days and wandering down to the hotel’s bakery, I decided that the 4km-length of the Sanur beach walk might do some good. Under the scorching heat, I lasted merely a kilometre or so before hailing a taxi back to languish in the pool for a bit, while wondering how people manage to do this all day. But here, in Sanur, there are things to do still: shopkeepers to...

Diving Deep into Hot Waters

The weeks leading up to an impulsively booked trip to Bali for Advanced and Rescue/Recovery Diving passed in an anxious blur of respiratory specialist visits, spirometry testing, frights over difficulty breathing and a steady stream of decongestant medication. And all of that for a doctor’s signature on the PADI diving medical form. I packed my bags with trepidation a few days ago and headed off after several sleepless nights and was pleasantly surprised to be the first at a sleepy immigration corner upon arrival. Even the hastily-arranged driver from Putu’s gang of merry men actually turned up a few minutes late – his arrival finally caused the rest of the taxi...

The Art of Marinating

Perhaps I have read too many spa reviews/experiences written in the female voice that typically crows over the stress-relieving touch of the masseurs, the potent ambience of the location, and the overall sense of peace they come out with. TC presents a rare but entertaining read of his own experience at the spa after I cajoled, begged, forced persuaded him to try a rub-down at least once in a lifetime. Finally, a male voice describing all. ***** The row of shops the driver stopped us at seemed normal enough. What did not make sense was that the driver was now gesticulating at what looked like an attached garage telling us...

A returning nightmare

Lunch on the last day consisted of pizzas made with eggplant, spinach and ricotta, and tasted like raw plant. Then it was back to Bali Botanica for a rather strange rub-down that involved twisting of joints, and more alarmingly combined with some sort of prayer on the masseur’s part. The weather was unkind that day, and with much sweat pouring off my back despite having thoroughly showered off earlier, my top was pretty much soaked through. The “son” – which we later learnt was the nephew of the first driver – was already waiting for us in the parking area and spent the first part of the journey over-enthusiastically thanking...

Noodles, rice fields and a side trip

Long before we left for Bali, I had a (stupid) dream. It was to buy Super-mi (a type of instant noodles produced in Indonesia) ever since I last ate them while visiting a friend in Melbourne in 2003. It was a silvery packet with a road-duck flavour, and since tasting them, I was completely lost and raged against the dying light and the dawning day when I simply couldn’t find them anywhere else. Weeks before we departed, I dreamt again that TC had already bought his box, while I struggled to buy my own. I related this very earnestly to TC, explained that I really needed the noodles after those years of...