Today we packed up and got the hell out of Kuta. But I didn’t escape without another confrontation. Kuta and it’s noise and filth and people have gotten under my skin. I had to see a doctor though, because my ear infection wasn’t getting any better after five days on the Amoxicillian I brought from home. I set out on foot from the hotel and ducked into a little clinic/pharmacy.
My first clue should’ve been the cigarette hanging out of the owners mouth, and the fact he had to call the Doc to come in.
Anyway, to make a long, lame story short, he quoted me a price for the consultation, and then wrote up the receipt for triple that. He also over-charged me for the medicine about ten times what I would pay somewhere else. $35US for ten pills of azithromycin and a small bottle of antibiotic ear drops. Not bad when compared to US prices, but super expensive for this area. I was pissed and yelled at him calling him a liar and telling him that nobody will ever trust him if he does that. He changed the price back to the originally quoted price and pointed to his ear saying “miscommunication”. Bullshit. He speaks great English, as we had a thirty minute full-on conversation while waiting for the Doc. I left very angry, and he held his head low saying sorry over and over again. He just couldn’t resist the urge to pull a fast one on a westerner.
You see, in Thailand, you have to barter because they will quote you extremely inflated prices, and then honor the final agreed upon price. Here, they just lie, or change prices suddenly, or tell you they don’t have change. None of this is particularly new or shocking to me, I think that after six weeks of traveling I’m just a little tired of watching my back (and my front!)
Nick and I left Kuta (and Brandon) and headed north toward the Crossfit gym. I booked a hotel down the street from there for the night. Brekele Barawa Beach House is a 30 second walk from the beach. A non-touristy beach!
It’s a nice, quiet, traditional Balinese place! Half the price of our place in Kuta, just as nice a room, on a cute little family compound. Has a fully equipped, outdoor communal kitchen with free water, coffee, and tea. We rented scooters from the owner for only 40,000 rupiah a day ($3.33US) and finally could enjoy Bali on our own. Here’s the view from the communal kitchen out toward the owners home and “office.”
We took off for a random ride, with no map other than what I already know in my head from navigating the TAKSI driver here twice. We did what we love doing best here in Asia: we drove around, took in the sites, stopped as we wished, and tried not to get too terribly lost.
We took a random turn down a narrow cobblestone road that eventually opened up to a spectacular view of the rice paddies and Balinese countryside. The ridiculously narrow one-lane two-way cobblestone road was raised up out of the fields. Flying off the road would definitely suck, so I tried not to look that way so my body wouldn’t follow. I just couldn’t believe where we had found ourselves! From Kuta-hell this morning, to open fields and open roads just a few hours later. Suddenly, I fell in love with the Bali I had always imagined. I slowed down to stop at a corner to take it all in and narrowly missed being clipped and clobbered by a bike coming up close behind. Oops, I forgot I was driving because it was so beautiful. Too bad this picture doesn’t do it justice.
We ended up at Echo beach for lunch. I love that we made it somewhere I wanted to go, purely by accident. This is surfer territory. Echo beach sand is black, the shore is fairly rocky, and the surf is rolling and thrashing. A few dudes with boards dotted the waves at high tide while we had lunch on picnic tables hanging over the water. I hear there’s tons of rock and corral under there. “You better know what you’re doing,” I’ve been warned. Dude, I don’t surf in Southern California, where I’ve lived for 33 years. Why would I try it here, now? Well, maybe that’s an unfair question because I have been known to make stupid decisions.
During lunch (I had the pork belly and veggies) a few traveling sales people came up to try their luck with us. They were friendly, curious, interesting, and respectful, so we spent some time with them. Nick even bought a tuna bone necklace. The lady was trying hard to sell me a tiny Buddha statue, hand-carved by her husband from copper Australian two-dollar coins.
We made our way back to our place at Barawa beach just in time for me to change and go to the Crossfit class, where I again got to lift weights next to rice fields.
We did the workout “Fran” consisting of pull-ups and barbell thrusters with a rep-scheme of 21-15-9. Eww. I’ve done it twice before, and it’s definitely not one of my faves. My best time used to be 6:36, today I was aiming for 9 minutes and ended up with 11:34. That’s pretty terrible, except I don’t feel bad at all because I surrendered to my need for rests after my hand tore badly on the third freaking pull-up! Ain’t nobody got time for ripped palms on vacation! Too bad I ripped in four more places by the time I was finished.
I got to workout with the owner Crissilia again, a super cool Kiwi chick with a big heart and super friendly vibe. There’s also a Canadian girl visiting for a few weeks who currently lives in China. I love the push, working hard next to elite athletes. I just wish I was in better shape to actually stand a chance at keeping up. She’s a top level competitor, finishing 3rd in last years Asian regionals! I was shocked to learn that only the first place finisher in this region goes to the games. Yea, it’s a small region, but it includes every country in Asia and the Middle East! Come on HQ, why not take the top 3?
Nick and I set out to use the rest of our gas in the scooters by heading toward town for dinner and some errands. We need plug converters here, unlike Thailand. So after four stops, and a whopping 10,000 rupiah (less than a buck), I can now plug anything in, anywhere in the world. Exciting stuff!
Also changed some US bucks over to Indonesian Rupiah and became an instant millionaire. 12mil baby!
We stopped for dinner at a busy place claiming to have wicked ribs and naughty martinis in the neighboring town of Seminyak. It looks like Naughty Nuri’s is the place to be here. Private parking, reserved seating, a vibe of exclusivity. We even saw a Porsche in the parking lot. Where the hell did that thing come from?
I was surprised they only offered family-style seating at large tables with strangers. That always makes my gut sink with awkwardness when I see that, and tonight was no exception. We were lucky to share dinner with a sweet Aussie family of four: Dad, Mum, and teenage son and daughter. We shared travel stories and enjoyed each others company over a plate of wicked ribs and glass of Bintang.
A fantastic lightning show streaked across the dark grey horizon, but we were back before the storm opened up. It poured hard all night long.