Day 156 to 161 – Bali

Day 156
Sept 7th
28 miles
Negora to Balian Beach
Had a really bad nights sleep, one of those where you see every hour come and go. I’m reading a book where a woman is writing a diary to her dead mother and it is really playing on my mind. When the morning did eventually arrive, I was very tearful and after a big cuddle from Gary I went back to sleep for an hour whilst Gary went and had breakfast.

Fortunately we only had a short ride to do, which was a very undulating coastal road. On our way we stopped and topped up Gary’s phone and to tried to buy some sun tan lotion. The phone was easy but the only sun tan cream we could find was a skin lightening cream.

Gary; Phone top ups on the local sims are really easy, pay a small set fee, I opted for 12000 (60p) the server texts the request on his phone and seconds later you receive a top up and confirmation text on your own phone.
If you need a new sim its just as easy, the one I have provides me with 2GB of internet for £2.50.

We stopped at the 12 mile mark at a beach called Pullkan and watched some surfers it was good to have a break from the bike as I was feeling very weary. We talked to one of the locals, he was pretty laid back but was clearly promoting activities and hotels/homestays in the area. He informed us that the hotel next to the beach would cost £50 a night compared to a homestay across the road at £5 a night. The surfing looked good, we’re hoping to get some body boarding in whilst we’re in Bali.

Stopped again when we saw a road leading down to the beach, once we’d had a drink we agreed to climb some steps for a photo and a better view. We were pleasantly surprised at the top of the stairs to find a hidden Hindu temple,, Rambut Sawi, there were only a couple of other tourists visiting the sight. As we didn’t know there was a temple we were not dressed appropriately and had to pay a small fee to hire some sarongs, I am sure you will agree when you see the photo’s Gary makes a very pretty boy. The temple had a number of ornate statutes and smaller temples down on the black beach. Several of the statutes were guarding a cave, we’re not sure what was in the cave, but they were very effective. It is easy to see where the ideas for films like Indiana Jones, Sinbad and Pirates of the Caribbean come from.

Gary; with the sarong wrapped around me I tried to adopt the pose that all women seem to do with front legs slightly crossed when a camera is pointed at them, it would appear it works, how much slimmer and feminine I appear.

On the black sand was a carpet type mosaic design, on closer examination these patterns had been made by hundreds of tiny crabs making sand castle designs in front of their little holes in the sand.

As we neared our destination Gary spotted a lizard and stopped suddenly to take a photo, in his excitement he nearly had me off my bike, I swerved to avoid him but there was a lorry already overtaking, it was a close call, needless to say I wasn’t happy but Gary did get a good photo.

We struggled to find the hotel, it was about 1 mile away from where we had plotted it from Google maps, but after crawling along at a snails pace we found it set back from the main road. It was worth the wait, it had a beautiful view of the sea and had a very welcoming outdoor pool. The rooms were lovely and cleanish (bathroom dirty but we are becoming accustomed to this) we are at Balian beach.

Had a meal at a restaurant on the seafront, it was nice to have something different to eat I kept it simple and had a veg wrap and Gary had a thai green curry. We had a couple of beers and watched the sun go down, a perfect evening.

Day 157
Sept 8th
Balian Beach rest day

We chilled out by the pool all morning, we had lunch in a beach side cafe and took a lovely stroll down the beach. We had wanted to go for a swim but the fact that there were no surfers out was a telling sign that the conditions were not great. We did go for a paddle but the waves were really strong, so we just splashed around for a bit and chilled on the beach

In the evening we tried a different restaurant they had a 30% off offer on drinks so I had my first glass of wine in over 2 months which was heavenly, the food was good but unfortunately there were lots of mosquitoes which drove us mad so we didn’t stay long which was a shame.

As we climbed into bed I could hear what sounded like a children’s toy making a dying noise almost like the battery was running out. Gary said it was the local wildlife but as the noise seemed to be repeating itself at regular intervals I wasn’t convinced so did a full search of both the inside and outside of the villa, but didn’t find anything.

Several nights later when we visited a Balinese family we heard the same sound and our host explained it was a large Gecko, you can imagine Gary’s face and my embarrassment.

Day 158
Sept 9th
Balian Beach to Kuta, Denespar
42 miles

Set of with a coastal route planned, the first part of ride was uphill on a main road then we turned off onto the coastal route. We didn’t stay on this route for long as the roads were really poor and we had visions of them deteriorating into gravel tracks. Which was a shame because the route had been more scenic than the main road. We had cycled through several villages that were celebrating a festival or weddings, each decorated with streamers and flowers and people in Balinese traditional clothing.

At one point along the coastal route I thought Gary had made a wrong turning to the left as it was down a really steep windy road, I wasn’t convinced he’d gone the right way so I got off and waited for him to cycle back up, but unfortunately it was the right way. At the bottom of the hill there were a few people washing in the brook including a naked older man. As with all down hills, there was a very steep climb up from the brook, I got off my bike as theres no way I could have cycled it in a straight line and I was in a high gear. The road (if you could call it a road) was very narrow and it was being used in both directions by cars, motorbikes and people.

Once we were back on the main road we stopped to talk to an Aussie who was attempting to cycle the world on a bike that looked a bit like a chopper. As we neared the city we saw more and more western tourists which made us a little more nervous on our bikes as many of them were riding motorbikes and driving cars badly. We witnessed one guy slide off his scooter and several bikes overtook us on the inside which meant mounting the pavement to do so. We later spoke to one of the locals who informed us most accidents on the island involve Australians and westerners.

Bali is full of Hindu temples and houses with hindu architecture which made the ride into the city really interesting and the time flew by even though it was a challenging ride. We had climbed more during the day than we had for a while and my bottom was really sore by the end of the day.

We arrived at the homestay at about 3pm it was in a quiet location, and had an hindu temple in the court yard it was really cheap at only £7 for the night. Once showered and changed we took a walk to the beach which was about a mile away and was pleasantly surprised with how quiet it was. We had expected it to be full of hotels, sun beds and tourists but apart from a few surfers and sunbathers laying on the beach it was quiet. We sat down to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach, it was lovely made even better when we got to watch some baby turtles being released into the sea. As the sun started to go down more tourists arrived on the beach was not a surprise because it was a beautiful setting to watch the sun go down.

We had dinner at a beach restaurant before heading to a sports bar. Kuta seems to be full of Aussie and chinese/japanese tourists, although there are a lot of touts around it is not as bad as we expected it to be, so we have agreed to stay for another day.

The locals avoid this area as it is over priced and full of noisy tourists. In our experience it was more expensive to eat and drink but it was easy to find cheap accommodation and it was not as noisy or as tacky as some tourist resorts we’ve been to.
Day 159
August 10th
Rest day

We didn’t sleep well because the room was very light, but as it was a rest day so it didn’t matter. We went down for breakfast and was advised it would be brought to our room, half an hour later we received a chocolate toasty and juice, Gary also had a fried egg and some fruit. Although breakfast was only £1 it wasn’t great so we agreed that we would cancel breakfast the following morning and eat on route.

We had a morning apart, Gary went off to find some bike boxes, pedals and a new spoke for his bike whilst I went in search of new earrings (my last ones made my ears go black), an emery board and possibly a new dress. Shopping was a bit of a nightmare, it was very touristy which meant the shopkeepers were constantly encouraging you to enter their stores ‘just looky’ ‘good prices’ ‘what do you want’ I am useless at shopping at the best of times but I really can’t stand being hassled. I did try a couple of dresses on but either they were too short (both the long and short dresses) or of a really poor quality and they all looked very similar and ideally I wanted something a little different but something I could also wear in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. I got back to the hotel slightly before Gary with a nail file, a new pair of knickers and some earrings, which wasn’t bad for me.

Gary had a more successive morning and managed to get everything on his list.

In the afternoon we made our way to the beach to do a bit of body boarding. The waves were a little messy and neither the body boarders or surfers seemed to be having a lot of success. We decided before we hired some boards we would have a play in the sea, which was great fun except whenever a wave came along I lost my bikini. Before I could stand up I had to retrieve my knickers from my ankles and put more boobs safely back in my bikini top, which Gary found hilarious he had visions of me losing my bottoms and having to rescue me. I wasn’t as amused because whilst I was trying to save my dignity another wave would wipe me out and I would scrape me knees or hips on the bottom, it was like being in a washing machine. I left Gary playing in the sea whilst I made a hasty retreat to the beach.

Gary had purchased some long shorts on the way down to the beach and after some encouragement I agreed to wear them and a top over my bikini and hire some boards. I am really glad we did as it brought so many memories back of other body boarding sessions, and it was great fun. As the first wave approached I shouted to Gary ‘I can’t remember what to do’ but instinct kicked in and we rode the wave in together. We were like two kids with no inhibitions it was great fun, some chinese men thought we were hilarious, but after some more tumbles I called it a day and left Gary to play.

I love people watching especially in the sun, there was so much to see, people trying to body board who hadn’t got a clue, (one woman actually laid on her board facing the wrong way with no waves and couldn’t understand why she didn’t go anywhere), their were lots of people having surfing lessons, couples of all ages and religious walking up the beach some holding hands (one lady in a full burka, she must have been really hot). We stayed on the beach until the sun went down, what an idyllic way to spend an afternoon.

On our way back from the beach we stopped at a bar and had a beer or two and listened to two singers before heading off and having a pizza and going back to the hotel. It is lovely to be able to buy beer so freely but it makes me a complete light weight a couple of bottles and as soon as my head its the pillow and i’m off to noddy land leaving poor Gary twiddling his thumbs. On the upside I’m awake bright and early.

Aug 11th and 12th
Day 160 and 161

Cycled from Kuta to Umalas, stopped for a spicy breakfast on the way, this was not intentional I thought I’d picked omelette with green veg but the green veg was full of chillies, my mouth was on fire for ages afterwards.
Gary; Loving the hot chilies for breakfast.

We only had to cycle 6 miles to Umalas, but most of this was in congested traffic, we did try to avoid this by cycling the coastal route but this was not possible as someone had put car parks in the way with big barriers.

Arrived in Umalas at about 11.00pm to a beautiful villa a short walk from the sea. We played the anniversary card and were rewarded with an upgrade to a room with a terrace and outside seating area, which was pure luxury.

We lounged by the pool the first day, had lunch in a local cafe (shack) and met Lisa and Tony (Shrek’s sister and brother in law) in the evening, they invited us to see a traditional Balinese home which was interesting, the kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms are in separate buildings built around a court yard and Hindu temple the living area is the court yard. We had dinner in a local restaurant and bought a beer to have in the room.

The 12th of September was our anniversary, 28 years together, how time flies.

Gary; What a wonderful and beautiful wife I have I am so lucky and still so in love with her.
Ginette – so sweet
Gary; Can I get my leg over now then?
Ginette – cheeky!

Beautiful morning, resting by the pool, researching the next stage of our trip.

A walk in the afternoon to the beach, mexican food for lunch and dinner, different restaurants, it was good to have a change from Indonesian food. I even treated myself to two new dresses although I am already having second thoughts on them. They’re the same dress in different colours and I can’t make up my mind whether I look like a walking deck chair or a stick of rock.

We played in the sea which was good fun although a little strange as the sea was coming in and going out at the same time. It was a little like watching the Severn Boar, the sand literally got sucked away from under your feet, very peculiar sensation.

We watched a beautiful sunset before heading back to the hotel for an early night.

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