Ready to go early Saturday morning after a night of uninterrupted sleep. First, breakfast. Comes with my reservation. Restaurant by the pool. Pancakes, eggs, Indonesian foods, fruit, bread, juice and Bali coffee.
Next, Internet. The café was right around the corner. 1,500 rupiah and hour. Loaded my first-day photos and blog I wrote the night before (saves on time on rented Internet). Checked email. Total – 1,100 rupiah. No more Internet boost for the day.
Checked my receipt for the tour Sunday and needed to confirm pickup in the morning. Unfortunately, my phone needed new credit. I have to do this every two weeks to keep it working, even though there is still credit available on my account. So my message did not go through to the tour operator. The guy at the front desk (who must think I am one crazy American after my tirade about Internet access yesterday) called for me and I am confirmed for pickup in the morning.
Also asked for a map and a place to get phone credit. He directed me down the street where locals outside one shop were glad to assist. Now it was time to find the beach.
Better directions this time and only about a four-block walk – the hotel’s Internet listing said one block. Along the way, I stopped to look at Bali baseball caps. Man wanted 100,000 for two, I said I’d be back, and he asked how much I would pay. I said 80,000 rupiah and left with two caps.
The beach between the Legian and Kuta sections of town is beautiful – white sand, very long, good surf. Water was cold so just tested it out. When I went in, I had to leave my pack, camera and stuff on the sand. When I gathered it all together my iPod Shuffle must have fallen to the sand. I realized it was missing a half-mile down the beach and when I returned it was, of course, gone. I half expected one of the beach boy hawkers to try to resell it to me, but no such luck.
Before I reached the beach, I was hustled by a local on a motorbike, who was representing a hotel chain, I thought. Free gifts, free lunch and free taxi ride back. Figured it was a good trade-off for listening to a one-hour sales pitch, and I had not much to do anyway. So after my walk, I met James and rode the back of his motorbike to the Seminkay section of town. Lots of nice resorts. We went the “back” way, through a seemingly endless maze of winding, narrow, single-lane alleyways, dodging oncoming cars and motorbikes, until we arrived at the Ivory resort.
I really had no idea what was going on so I just played along. Had an idea it was some sort of time-share sales pitch to come, but whatever I didn’t think my income level would qualify. They were after the 1%ers.
After filling out some paperwork, I met with Jonathan, a Mexican who has lived in Bali for 14 months. His job was to pump me for personal information, and chat me up. We had a great conversation. Then his boss, a Brit who has been away from home for 21 years, joined us for a review, and then Jonathan got into the specifics. When I realized they were trying to sell me a membership in a travel club, I popped his balloon. If I spend the upfront fee and the monthly dues, I would not have anything for a vacation, despite how much he showed me I would save on my next canal boat trip in the UK or two-week catamaran cruise in Spain.
I told them both my travel is to live in other places, not to do the tourist thing. The boss agreed. My prize for listening to all this – a book of discount coupons (useless), a free lunch and a ride back. The lunch was good – Ayam Panggang Madu at the Villa Bunga Hotel (grilled soy chicken breast, grilled vegetables, flavored rice).
Decided to try the pool and do some water exercises when I noticed a couple hurrying off to the beach. Duh, Ken! Sunset on Bali time! So hustled to the beach again to catch the sunset, as did a lot of people. I have to say that I miss that. I was spoiled in Florida, living on the barrier islands and being able to witness such sunsets nearly every night. I became a little jaded while I lived there of how nice it is to sit on the beach with the setting sun and the surf. Now I have to find some dinner and a place to play pool.
Dinner ended up at a pub-like place a block from the hotel. I had seen a sign the day before advertising BBQ ribs and had been thinking about them since, so I set out looking for the same place. Only I couldn’t find the sign again. Finally settled in a place, Posers, and it turned out to be the place with ribs. Sat at the bar, ordered my only bourbon of the day and BBQ short ribs. Very good and they have an interesting menu so will probably go back.