Food for the Sole (sic)

Hi again;  Wednesday and it’s another beautiful day in Paradise. As long as I had aircon, I could live here, I reckon. You even get used to the warm humidity and you probably wouldn’t need aircon after a few months. Also, every breeze is a cool breeze.

This is our view across the bay from the hotel. I’d like to say I took this today, but this was 25 years ago. ‘Course it’s all changed now – there are rows of these bloody mountains all along the coast, blocking the sun, casting shadows on the beach. The locals are complaining and want a council ban to stop any more. Twin cities with Cottesloe and Scarborough…

Another good night’s sleep last night after a great meal just down the street. Nasi Campur – mixed rice, but it’s actually a bit of beef rendang, a bit of gado gado, a bit of chicken curry and so on, with rice. It was delicious. I had a small calamari entree, the main dish and a large gin and tonic all for $13.87, total. Excellent.

Speaking of food, the title above reflects the laugh I’ve just had while browsing the room service menu [my comments in brackets]:

  • Roasted Slice of Lamp Salad  [nice and crunchy no doubt, but watch out for the glass noodles, and the filaments of tungsten are electric on the tung. Power cord supplied. Ideal for a light snack.]
  • Wok tossed lamp of beef  [another light dish, but a bit heavier.]
  • Foccasia  [popular Italian bread but with an Oriental touch]
  • Grilled N.Z. Lamb Chop with potato of the day [freshly caught potato, straight from the bay, no doubt]

They do extremely well to speak and write our language. I’m not criticising one bit.

I’m finding it very hard to do any serious photography, I’m afraid. I tried some close-up shots this morning in the gardens but my eyesight is now so bad that I can’t switch easily between looking at the subject some distance away and looking at the camera screen for composition and framing. I’ll include a couple of images and my first attempt at some video (shot yesterday), but oh dear, I’m not like I was 20 years ago. Way out of condition and way out of practice. I’ll try, but …

Actually,  that was using the small Panasonic camera, which doesn’t have a viewfinder, only a rear screen. My Canon 40D SLR has an optical viewfinder, however, which is adjustable for eyesight. I must get it out of the bag and see if that solves the problem.

This is awful, I know, but it’s the first time I’ve posted video. Shot in full HD and squashed down to mp4 in Edius. I’ll have to experiment to see what works. I don’t know yet what file size, image size or video formats work.

There was very distant thunder at about 5am and I tried to make myself get out of bed and go down to the beach for the dawn. It’s only about 200m, but I couldn’t make myself do it. Must try harder!

Everything else is going fine. No tummy troubles, even though the other guys are rumbling a bit. Maybe that was the thunder I heard!

I may go over to Kuta today, just for a look, but it’s hard to get moving. Don’t know.

Now to make the long, 20m trek to the lobby to use the wi-fi to post this. Oh, it’s a tough life in Paradise. Hang on … if this is Paradise, which everyone says it is, where are my 72 virgins? Naughty, naughty. Oh, you have to die first, you say?

Amazing – I’m hungry again. Cheers.


I’m not sure if that’s a word in Indonesian, but that’s what it feels like to be out in the streets in Bali. So full of people, so full of life, so invigorating.

I’m back on line at last, having endured over 36 hrs without my computer (sob!). I had to go into Denpasar this morning to buy the three pronged clover-leaf shaped power lead for my laptop charger. It was easy to find and now I’m charging up again after nearly running out of battery. The lead cost Rp. 80,000. I nearly started haggling until I realised that’s less than $10! It’s $9.30 to be exact. Let the guy have his profit margin.
Same with the taxi – the fare to Denpasar was about Rp. 35,000 on the meter and I only had a 50,000 note. I did initially ask for Rp.10,000 back, but, “Sorry, no change.” So I let him have the Rp.15,000 tip – that’s $1.74. It’s OK.

Random thoughts from this morning:

  • The beautiful manners, the politeness, the smiles, the friendliness, the quiet demeanour of Indonesian people. What a difference. Sure, the constant “Hello boss”, “Taxi boss?”, “Where are you from, boss?” as the opening gambit can get a bit wearing after a while, but just give a polite no and it’s fine. I can live with it.
  • The fabulous variety of shops and the huge range of stock they carry.
  • Call me an MCP if you like, but how great to see the clothing departments catering for men. I’m sick of the total domination of Aussie shops by females! Here, men are very nicely catered for.
  • Not only are men’s clothes in abundance, I can immediately see colours and patterns I’d like to buy! I’ve been thinking for years of complaining to Myer, Woolies, DJs, K-Mart and Target etc about the utter drabness of their clothing. The overall impression I get in these shops (DJs possibly excepted) is black and dirty colours. Colours are impure, drab, ugly, just plain weird! Yet immediately here I see fantastic earth tone combinations, metallics, complementary tasteful blends, fine patterns. I’m talking shirts, polo and golf shirts, everything. It’s simple: at home, I can’t find clothes I want to buy. Here, I’m awash in stuff I’d love to buy.
  • So why don’t I buy all my clothes here? Er, I’m afraid I’m too big for it now. They don’t make size 4XL or 5XL here. How embarrassing it is. What a nation of fatties we’ve become! It’s incredibly noticeable in the hotel and on the streets. We’re all huge, most of us, anyway. The guys  I’m with are OK, but we tourists stand out for our flab. Oh dear. On the flight here, I simply couldn’t fasten my seatbelt because it wouldn’t reach! I tried other seats – same. Same problem in the taxi this morning – I couldn’t fasten the seatbelt. I’m just too fat. I sat in the back seat on the way home. There are no belts in the back, but I had trouble getting through the door! This is not good.
  • I’m afraid I’m unlikely to get many good photos, too, for that reason. I’m having to be so careful when walking to avoid tripping and falling that I just can’t think about photography any more. I’m carrying my small camera, but only in the bag, not at the ready. Maybe it’ll improve, but …

I drafted this in my hotel room (nice and cool), but I’ve found that the wi-fi only works in the lobby, so I have to take the computer there to connect. How annoying! The lobby is a typical open Balinese area, open to the air. Very pleasant most of the time, but I want to do things in my room, not there.  I’m trying to think of a way around this, but all I can think of is buying a USB wireless broadband modem and a month’s connection with one of the local telecom companies. Possible, but a bit expensive, I think. At home, you can buy a USB modem and a 2GB data allowance for $69, I think. Maybe I can do something similar here.

Boy, did I sleep last night! I crashed at about 8:30pm, I think, and although I woke several times during the night for a wii, and saw the dawn light at about 6:30am, I slept until 8am. I felt much better for it, too. It rained heavy and long last night, as well.

Breakfast is included in our room tariff and how pleasant to go and sit overlooking the pool and gardens and be served fresh fruit, Bali coffee, OJ, eggs and bacon and toast. It’s something I haven’t tasted for years and it’s great.

OK, 6:00pm and a golden afternoon light. Time to go on-line, post this and then have a nice cold beer or two. Wow! I can live like this.

(I really want to post pictures but no time at this moment. Won’t be long.)