BALI



First impression: still very crowded and full of fantastic temples, looking like outbuildings of each and every single house ;) There was a time change (between Java and Bali, one hour ahead – time zone: GMT+8), so even if it was just close by before crossing over with a ferry, it took us a full day to get ourselves sorted out and get to the destination point – Denpasar, in the southern part of the island.
Bali's highlights? We were expecting something more like Goa, taken over by tourists and kind of altered for their needs, so to speak, but not much really. One can obviously find a lot of fancy places and shopping centres (and the like) here, but it's not overwhelming. What actually is is again the amount of vehicles on the streets, but this and the rest remains typical for Indonesia, I daresay. 
  
We finally had a chance to visit Deus Ex Machine! (Bali is one of the few places in the world, where their spot is actually located), and indulge with nice cold drip coffees and pizza ^^ For those who have no bloody notion of what Deus is HERE (link) is some link, and I'll just add up to it, by and large, that it's one of the most incredible motorbike workshops, for their inventiveness and custom-craftsmanship, I've come across so far. It was a bit too 'fancy' and 'posh' and definitely too 'surfers-friendly' for my taste (as it should be scruffy and full of stained and sweaty mechanics around, right?!), but we saw again a bunch of great and unique bikes, so it compensated the loss ;)



We had luck to pop into Bali just right when the big, Hindu celebrations took place. 15.07 was the Galungan and 25.07 – Kuningan. Therefore, we had a chance to find out how Balinese celebrate this holy day and it was out-and-out impressing, colorful and overwhelming with its omni-present atmosphere. Decorations along the roads, were protruding literally everywhere, the long poles - symbolizing the offering to the gods and each having a small shrine with a shelf where they can endow some food, mainly sweets and fruits. People going to their temples (cause every house here has its own shrine or temple), elegantly dressed up for this special occasion – prevailing sarongs (skirt-alike) wrapped around the hips a couple of times and special headdress intricately embracing men's heads, as for the women: white (mainly) or other colors shirts (vast majority: embroidered and lacy) and long skirts or also sarongs around their hips, freshly plunked flower behind the ear. All alike and uniformly devoted to that particular, holy day, rather rare exemptions were there.

by the house temple


 
 




We had to extent our stay in the hotel and take a scooter for a few more days as Mareike, our future-skipper was staying on the boat with her mum until the 18th, so we agreed upon moving on board on the 19th ;) It happened not to be that easy anymore because the bike was already booked (holidays...) and the guy who actually helped us out a lot and rented the former one, coincidentally chatting us up on the street, organized another one for from his cuisine from the adjacent town. So luckily we made it, otherwise we would have stayed there, on the outer belt of Denpasar without any mean of transport. Local transport is non-existent and taxis are incomparably expensive (another thing is you have to also know where you are heading to, specifically ;))
Anyway, we found it also pretty hard to find veg-food around, as some kind of meat was always blended in unluckily to us:/ We had breakfast included in our place, and once they found out we were vegetarians, we started getting nice tofu/tempeh cutlets or chunks with strong Indonesian peanut butter sauce or other and fried leafy veggies with rice accompanied with deep-fried bananas and coffee, mmm happy days! ^^ We rode the island up and down, villages were pretty similar and not excessively crowded, but anything else that was at least little meant for tourists was definitely overcrowded and packed up. Didn't matter whether it concerned temple on the shore, kecak dance performance, Monkey Forest or rice fields somewhere in between the villages. But hey, still nice to look around and get to know places. We found a beautiful and so very tasty vegetarian restaurant a few kms away from Denpasar! It was an open space, self-served buffet based on trustworthy principles – you take what you want, count the price according to the price-list and put the money in to the one of many jars placed on tables. It had something to do with Vipassana/Dharma precepts, as the quotes were everywhere and the owning couple was hanging around mainly on the sofa paying little attention, whether people were actually honest and genuinely counting their portions. That's probably why they would rather leave more than less, not trying to deceive them. And obviously there was a cleaning station so everyone could clean after him/herself. As simple as that :)



Bali in pics:









 the guy, and his family and folks, who we rented that easily the bike from
very nice and helpful chap!:)
Abandoned plane in Kuta.


Kecak traditional trans-dance

telling a story from the Indonesian mythology

whoever thinks Bali is a paradise for
its beautiful and incomparable beaches...that's the local one ;)


A bit annoying was also the fact that the tourists are by default Aussies getting around with their Australian dollars, not carrying much about the prices henceforth paying x-fold for everything. So Balinese,especially involved in leisure industry, are spoiled with this attitude and put up everything horrendously. Sometimes it was just bringing me down when I heard for that instance a taxi driver trying to convince us to get his service JUST for ~35 AUD (which was actually 300.000 Indonesian rupees so around 15 quid) for a taxi ride that actually, with normal common taxi service was about 50-70.000 rupees... But what is it just 30 dollars ?! He seemed very convinced, but didn't know we are not Australians, which I also didn't leave unmentioned saying we don't even calculate in such conversion rates. Got him baffled. Anyway. The worst of the worst's happened at the very end of our Balinese holidays...
We moved to the boat about 4 days before due departure date, where we started getting to know each other a bit with our skipper, Mareike, and the other German guy, Fabian.

First sailing to the adjacent little island on board of La Medianoche:



some general cleaning ;)


All went good until the last day when we attempted to check us out from the marina, but it resulted to be impossible. Why? Well, we were not sure neither... According to the harbor officers we had a wrong visa and no kite – the latter one is a crew list which supposed to have our names on, but Mareike couldn't know who was she going to sail with some months ago when you normally apply for it. So the main thing was the visa. We explained several times to different people, in different offices (including the airport and the immigration office in Denpasar) what the problem was and WHY we had such visas (it actually concerned me and Jay, but also Fabi), but they either didn't know much about it, sticked to the official rules only they themselves knew about or were washing their hands off sending us to the next and farther office. Bullocks! What we found out is that even staying less than 30 days doesn't mean you should get the free-visa, IF you are leaving Indonesia on board of the private vessel, you should get 35$ visa, as people who stay over 30 days. Otherwise you HAVE TO fly out. The problem is nobody knew about it on the f*** airport! I even emphasized we are actually leaving by boat – that's why we didn't have any flight out... It didn't make anyone there think there might be something wrong with the visa they insist to give us though... So we ended up, we and Fabi independently (cause we didn't know each other back then), getting on-arrival free visa up to 30 days. The only thing is that we were actually staying less than 30 days which we knew from the beginning. The rest was just wrong. Also Mareike's agent here in Bali didn't inform her about special requirements beforehand, as she's supposed to. I actually even wanted to buy the visa when we arrived to Indo, cause thought it was obligatory, not knowing about the 'for free' one. All in all, henceforth we had no choice, but buy the earliest tickets out to Singapore (the 'cheapest' option) and come back the same day requesting the proper stamp on-arrival lying to them that we're staying more than 30 days... (otherwise they wouldn't give it to us and the story would make a circle) The stupidity has no boundaries... So we did, spending 350 pounds on flight out and back in Bali-Singapore-Bali spending about a full day on airports, including sleeping on the one in S. full night... In the meantime required kite arrived with our names just printed off on the white piece of paper as if typed on the old-school typing machine. We thought – it must be a joke, something like that would be of such a significance they'd make a fuss about?! So well, everything finally got sorted, our departure postponed for another 5 days (we had to wait until Monday the 26.07.so they come to work and we can check out...), but managed to go off to Christmas Island full crew on board as planned. So much hassle, you would not even think of might happen. Then off we went! Being very very glad to leave Indonesia, and Mareike pissed off enough to warn all her yachtie-friends of not coming over to this part of the world. Kinda shame, but the abstraction of the situation (I have to mention that it also happened before and to the guys who came to the same marine after us...) and unhelpfulness of the officers who were all lingering around showing off how much power they've got.

That's how our Indonesian story ends up, but despite of the short-on-good-mood atmosphere that farewelled us we will keep the memories of the beautiful, colorful atmosphere playing along the Galungan holidays and picturesque views of temples scattered around the whole island.
One of the biggest and least predictable adventures was still to come and about to unfold in front of us.



Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Islands by boat ! :))))


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