I find it tough summarising our time with friends in a blog post. I thinks its because a huge amount of the enjoyment comes from just being with them rather than doing anything in particular. And that doesn’t really make for good reading.
Bali, or as Amber prefers to call it ‘Bali Bali’ is is a massive cliché. You’ve got your yoga pant-wearing, granola-loving, vegan women riding around on scooters without a worry in the world. Rough looking Asian stray dogs everywhere. Professional selfie photographers. Totally rad surfer dudes who only care which way the wind is blowing, as well as full-on 100% Aussie Bogans. I mean like proper Bogans, all vested and fuelled up on warm Bintangs. And you know what, beyond all this there is one thing that just doesn’t sit right with me about Bali. Its their fucking limes. It just isn’t right. They’re tiny. And they’ve got seeds. I mean WTF?
Anyway, fortunately (even accounting for the tiny limes) all of this seems to work. Despite the cliché, Bali is a place we had a whole lot of fun in and definitely somewhere you should visit. We got involved. We ate granola. We went to yoga (I’m proud to say I was the sweatiest boy in class. I don’t fuck about) but we couldn’t afford the juice cleanse. I mean they want £000’s and don’t even feed you! Out of their minds. We didn’t quite manage to get any surfing done but there is always next time…
We were put up by Amber and Tim who we hadn’t seen since the wedding. Now that we’re a fair way through our trip, the chance to stay in a proper home, with friends, rather than in some dodgy hotel was hugely welcomed. They’d only just moved into the house they’ve been building over the last 6 months but it was looking sharp as we arrived. They also have two pets. A cat, Camilla who sweats more than I do she has so much fur, and Molly, their beach fearing dog. Not a good trait when you live on Bali.
Over the few weeks we were there we had a great time, getting to see a lot more of Bali than we did on our previous trip as well as getting an insight into a proper ex-pat lifestyle. It’s all its cracked up to be, I promise. We had it large for New Years, headed south to the Bukit and the surf-mecca of Ulawatu to celebrate Tim’s birthday on NYD, north to visit a Village in the Clouds, a relaxed retreat way up in the mountains and east to do some diving in Tulamben.
We also managed to grab some time and visit the relatively close by Flores. Julie and I spent 4 days here, visiting the Komodo Dragons, island hopping and doing some diving. Actually it was Julie who was diving in Komodo. I couldn’t.
The previous week I’d gone down a kids water slide and grazed my elbow. The sort of graze a man like me can deal with no problem. In the UK that is. In the UK it dries. In the UK there are not thousands of flying bastards wanting to sit (and shit) on my wound. In the UK its alright to get a graze. Tropical Bali is a different level.
We went diving in Tulamben shortly after. On our final dive, no word of a lie, we had to exit through the filthiest water I have ever seen. It was disgusting. And my graze was unhappily fully amongst it. The water managed to turn my slight graze into a gaping puss-filled wound. It was a bit of a shit if I am honest as the dive was actually a real highlight before this, seeing a sunken WW2 US supply ship and getting to swim right into it. It was just the getting out that was the problem. But, like the ’Year of the Toe’ it gave me something to talk about.
Julie was my Florence Nightingale, treating my wound on a daily basis. We met numerous mentals along the way sticking their oar in and trying to play doctor but despite this, Julie remained calm and cleaned my puss. That’s marriage right there. I’m glad they didn’t tell her that before the wedding though.
So that meant no diving for me.
Julie however absolutely nailed it in one of the trickiest and most spectacular dive spots in the world. She saw tons of fish, turtles sharks and even Manta Rays. Komodo has some of the strongest currents in the world. She’d jump in the water and we’d have to pick her up on the boat about 1km away. This is some serious diving right here. For one dive, she was under for 62 minutes. I’ve never managed more than 50.
Check out this video Julie filmed:
As I said at the beginning, it is difficult to summarise time spent with friends. The days flew by and before we knew it we had to leave. When we did our hearts were heavy and we felt like we were leaving home. We had an amazing time thanks to the wonderful hospitality of Amber and Tim. I just wish I hadn’t shown them how to play ‘Heads Up’.
PS – I managed to take this photograph of this classic selfie-numpty. Make of it what you will.