Bali – Thu 31 Dec 2015

Dancers B121

(C) PJ Croft 2015

Oh shit. Oh shit. I now have four small skin breaks, lesions, on my left leg. At least four; it’s hard to see around the back. I’ve got the same dressings that I’d be using at home, and I’ve got a course of cephalexin, the broad spectrum antibiotic that’s prescribed at home. I’ve started the course just now. The trick is to hit ’em hard with the antibiotic to make sure they don’t get infected by some bug. I had to take the compression stocking off last night because it was too tight, a bit painful, but I’ll have to use it again now.   Bugger!


I’m trying to show images but this hopeless internet connection won’t let me upload. It just bombs out every time. I’ll have to try again later. (Later: I’ve logged off, and on again and it seems better now. More pics coming.)


Kintamani, Sun 20 Dec 6.51pm (C) PJ Croft 2015

Kintamani 2015

Kintamani, Lake Batur Tues 22 Dec 2015 (C) PJ Croft 2015


11am: I’ve been to breakfast, (still too crowded even at 10am) and stopped by the reception desk. I said, “The music in the corridors – is it really necessary? It’s coming through my door all day and into the night. Can’t you turn it off, please?”

I got a concerned look, but not a cooperative one. A kind of, “What’s the problem?” look. She’d have to speak to her manager. I said the corridors are magnifying all the noise, noise from kids playing and running, and sounds like furniture being moved around all day and night from somewhere above me. I don’t mean continuously, I mean two or three times an hour on average.

She looked concerned about that and I said I’d try to localise it more. Another talk with her manager. But now that I’m back in the room, the bloody music’s still going. No kooperasi there, I don’t think.

2pm: thank goodness, I think they’ve turned it down. It’s not leaking into the room now. Bagus.




An Aussie who lives here, with his beautiful dog, and a motorbike to get around on. I wish.


Just hangin’ around. Too shy to show his face? A big bat. (C) PJ Croft 2015


Got any CURRYGENCY you want to change?


Selemat Xmas. Komplimens of the Season

7pm:  The hotel is laying on a free New Year’s Eve buffet, 7 – 9pm. That’s good of them. I’m feeling a bit nauseous from the antibiotic, plus the Byetta has that effect too, so … not a big appetite, but I’ll go down and sample the wares.

I thought I might be meeting that friend of a friend I mentioned, but she hasn’t called me back, and feeling a bit sick, tired and worried the way I do, I don’t feel like partying. Another time.


Nice, huh?


Bali – Wed 30 Dec 2015



Hooray! Hurrah! At last I’ve been able to connect the camera to the laptop via wi-fi and get all my pictures and video off the 64GB high speed SD card. The pictures above are just two of 203 jpgs and 40 video clips. Now for the process of sorting, naming, adjusting and editing them. Bored? Me? Never.

The trick was not to expect the camera to appear as a drive or folder in “This PC” but to look further down to Network. Drop that down and there it was as a network computer. I had to turn Sharing files and folders on, which is a bit dangerous in this hostile environment, but as soon as I’d finished copying, I turned it off again.

The copying! There were 243 files adding up to about 45GB. Over a wi-fi network transfer, it took more than an hour. It was so slow I dozed off and went back to the bed. But it was done when I awoke.

Now to make another backup copy to my 2TB portable drive in my suitcase, to be sure, to be sure as they say in Ireland. Then I can erase the hi-speed SD card and use it again. (Update: where are the RAW files? There should be a RAW counterpart for every still image, but they didn’t copy across and I can’t see them on the card. Huh? It means I can’t reformat the card until I find them or I’m sure they’re not there.)

Then to run the video clips through Mercalli, the miracle image stabilisation software to smooth them out. Then to try to select and edit the best bits together, knowing that it will be impossible to upload them over this sloooow, connection. Then to use ICC Profile Converter to make reduced size copies in sRGB profile for use on the web (I shoot in Adobe RGB for its wider colour gamut. You can always go down, but you can’t go up.)

Then to make contact sheets of the best shots. Then to stitch the panorama shots together using AutoStitch.

Me, bored? Not likely.


Another night of disturbed sleep; not too bad but I got up at about 2.30am for an hour, had a cup of chamomile tea until I was sleepy again and went back to bed. I thought I slept OK but really I dozed and woke at 5.30am, then only dozed until 7.30am. Hence I’ve just crashed 11am – 12.30pm.

I delayed going to breakfast until after 9am thinking to avoid the crowds but it was still packed. This is a BIG hotel. Three floors, two buildings, I’d estimate 300 rooms. Only one restaurant. Not good. In fact the architects should be shot. The corridors are vast, echoing, hard tiled spaces with lots of wasted space. Bloody kids are playing in the corridors even at midnight and after. Furniture is scraping on floors above me, doors are banging, big thuds on the floor as if someone is jumping, late into the night. Not too loud as to really disturb me, but what’s going on? These are the Asian guests I’m hearing, judging by the language being spoken.


I had a shower with the leg compression stocking on and it dried out quite quickly so that’s OK. I’ll have a look soon and see what’s happening. 2.30pm – lunch.


 I watched a DVD last night, Left Behind with Nicolas Cage … It doesn’t matter, because if you see it, run away. It’s terrible. It’s an embarrassment to the stars. What were they thinking when they accepted the roles? Money, I suppose, there couldn’t be any other reason.

It seems to be some pitch to the hard core Christians in the USA. The hero is an airline pilot on the NY to London run. He’s cheating on his wife, who’s an evangelistic Christian in NY. His daughter hates being preached to by the mother. She meets this hunky TV reporter who’s going on the flight to London with the father as pilot.

Suddenly, The Rapture occurs. In a flash, all the children and the good people, God’s Chosen, are taken to Heaven, leaving only a pile of clothes and belongings on the floor or seats. Wow, all those nude people together in Heaven. The co-pilot is one of those taken, sorry, Taken. I feel the need to capitalise everything here.

From then on it becomes a disaster movie, with the plane running out of fuel and there being no airport to land at (why? there are thousands of airports. Why can’t he land at one?) Then there’s a mid air collision, a fuel leak, he can’t make it to NY, he can’t go higher or lower, and on and on with this drivel.

The daughter somehow finds a freeway under construction and manages to use a 4WD pickup truck to push all the barriers out of the way. To make it visible to her father’s plane, she conveniently finds drums of petrol and knows just how to set them alight to make a beacon. The plane lands on this freeway and pulls up just about one foot from a petrol tanker truck. it’s a bloomin’ miracle. Daughter falls into the arms of TV hunk reporter, then into Dad’s arms. All live happily ever after on this Earth of sinners.

What a heap of garbage! What a waste of good plastic. I only finished it because I had to see what happened. Oh, I forgot the woman on the plane who brought out a pistol, convinced that it was all a hoax to steal her son from her. How did she get a pistol through security? Then there was the nice Muslim guy, and the nasty dwarf, and the aggressive businessman who becomes enlightened and becomes a nice guy. And the actress who takes a big hit of white powder of some kind, but still manages to sound reasonable. Oh bloody ‘ell. What a joke. It put me to sleep, I can tell you.


I don’t like to complain, but …

New problem. Since yesterday afternoon the hotel has been playing their music in the corridors. It’s that endless, tuneless, boring “elevator music”. At first I couldn’t work out what it was, it was just snatches of a woman singing, but I’ve realised it’s all through the vast echoing corridors outside my room and seeping under the door. I’m sick of it!

I think I’m going to have to ask them to stop it. I can’t bear the thought of another night of it. It’s not all night, but it went very late last night.

The room in this hotel is good – very comfortable, except that I wish I had an armchair. But the crowded dining area (there’s only one), ditto for the small pool, this awful boring corridor music and the terrible unsecured internet mark it down badly.

Bali – Tue 29 Dec 2015

Damn, damn, damn, damn! It’s 5.30am and I haven’t slept all night. Once again I just couldn’t drop off, despite having a cup of chamomile tea at about 9.30pm and taking a valerian at 11pm.

But that’s not why all the damns. I was noticing a funny feeling on my legs on the bed, as if I might have been bleeding. But on inspection, I’ve found a large (20mm diameter) fluid blister on the back of my left leg that’s leaking the interstitial fluid. There’s a bit of a stain on the sheet, unfortunately, though not bad, and it leaks onto the tiled floor, making it very slippery. It’s not at all painful.

I’ve had this before but not since last year. I thought I had it beaten. Obviously not.

The treatment is to apply a large soft absorbent plaster, then bind the leg moderately tightly with a bandage. Luckily I brought all this stuff with me. And I must keep it infection free. That means no more pool, both from the point of view of not letting any nasties in, and not soiling the water. It’s not pus or blood or anything, just clear fluid. It’s the fluid we all have between all the cells and muskles and things in our bodies, a bit like saline.

Damn. It’s bad enough that I feel nervous about continuing here. Not that I’d be doing anything different at home, it’s just feeling nervous about it. I’d feel safer at home, that’s all. However, it will destroy any feeling of “carefree holiday”. I won’t be able to relax.

I think I’d only forfeit one night’s cost if I cancelled the next hotel. I’ve pre-paid the six nights in this one but I think if I explained why I have to leave I might be OK for a refund. I have travel insurance and I think it should cover something like this. Hmmmm.

I’m raving a bit here, because I’m dog tired and worried. I’ll be OK with some brekky inside me. I’ll try sleeping again after that.

07.00am: there’s a Garuda flight tomorrow night (New Year’s Eve) at 7.20pm to Perth and the Business Class fare is A$706. I’ve already paid $235 for my flight on 7 January. That makes $471 difference.

BUT! I’ve just checked my hotel booking for next week and the cancellation cost is the full whack – $450. Hang on, I don’t pay until I get there. If I don’t show, how can they charge me? I’ll have to think about this.

Sorry, I’m in a bit of a panic. Calm down. Get some food and sleep, then think.

6:30pm: OK, I’ve settled down now. I wanted to say so sooner, but the internet connection has been down since about 9am so I haven’t been able to. Frustrating!!!

I had three restless hours’ sleep 10am – 1pm and felt better. I’ve found I have all I need in my bandages package – iodine patches, big absorbent sticky pads and Tubi-Grip, a thick, closely woven cotton tube used for putting pressure on the legs and holding the bandage in place. I got a hotel girl to bring scissors and help me slide it on. Wow, it’s tight, but it has to be.

Then I had a wander around and found an Ace Hardware right behind the hotel. it’s only home and office wares, not really tools, but I bought a pair of titanium scissors there for $4.89.

Then I got the hotel shuttle bus to Kuta Boardwalk shopping centre, just for a day out. What a crowded mess! Choked with traffic. Had a chat with a Swedish couple in the bus, just arrived. “Is it always like this?” Yeah, ‘fraid so. My advice: get out to the small country towns. Kuta is not Bali.


Kuta Beach

Bingo! I found my Xmas present to myself. It’s a carry/shoulder bag, similar to the 25yo one I’ve got, but bigger and higher quality. Much higher quality. It’s charcoal cotton twill canvas with plum/brown leather fittings and pewter fastenings. Tumi brand, designed in USA. Price? $200. As soon as I saw it, I just knew it was what I wanted. I walked out of the shop initially, but turned around and went back, thinking, just do it! The price included gold stamping of my name on the leather tag. Stupidly, I chose CROFT when I should have left it at PJC, which is what I usually use. Too late now.

That should last me another 25 – 30 years.

Then a leisurely late lunch and a 2 for 1 drinks offer at the boardwalk, then a boring, incredibly slow taxi ride back to the hotel. The fare was Rp.50,000 but it took so long that I gave him Rp.100,000 and said keep the change untuk anda, untuk anak-anak anda, for you and your kids. Poor bloke. I spent nearly double that on my lunch and drinks.

So now I’m back and with a beer inside me, feeling much better. I’ll stay on. I was a bit nervous this morning, but I feel OK now. I can’t go in the pool though, with this bandage on, bugger.


All the time I’m connected to the internet here, my virus protection program is constantly throwing up messages saying, “Duplicate IP address detected. Blocked.”; “ARP Cache Poisoning threat blocked”, and so on, around two or three a minute. This bloody hotel’s wi-fi is unsecured (by WEP or WPA or WPA2, simple to implement). I’ve told them about it but nothing’s been done in 36 hours.

I’ll have to complain again. I’ll use an analogy: it’s like a bank vault with no guards. Criminals want to get into the vault because they think there’s money and secret stuff to be had. We want to let the good stuff out, but not the secret stuff. If there are no guards, there’s nothing to regulate the traffic.

It means I have to log off at any time I don’t need to be on-line. This is absolutely basic stuff. It means I can’t go to any banking site as well. Grrr.


 I spent probably two hours last night trying to make my Panasonic camera connect to my laptop by wi-fi. It’s supposed to be possible! In fact, I’ve managed to get it to connect, but I can’t see any files on the camera. It doesn’t appear in the list of devices in This PC > Devices and Drives. The camera has a button labelled Wi-Fi. I press  it and a blue LED comes on, asks me for the PIN (which is fine) and it seems to be ready. But nothing happens.

It shouldn’t be this hard! There’s supposed to be “Wi-Fi Direct” in Win 10 but I can’t find it or figure out why not. There doesn’t seem to be any Search in Win10. Where’s it gone? Web search? They all seem to lead nowhere, or are for developers. Why can’t someone just say, do this, do that, click, that’s it?


This is what you get on a 12 month lease for $20,000.


It’s a villa in a group in Sanur. $20,000 works out to $55 a night. That’s his asking price; I’d say you could bargain it down. Just a thought.




Bali – Mon 28 Dec 2015



Singapore. (C) PJ Croft 2014, 2015

Monday morning and I’m just trying to make myself go out from the hotel. I’m a bit sleepy, I didn’t sleep properly last night, again.

The reception desk has just asked me if a guy can come through my room to my balcony to look at an aircon unit. Hooray, I said yes, because one of the four on my balcony is making a loud racket that disturbed my sleep. I suspect someone else complained – I was thinking of complaining myself.

I did complain about my aircon (well, I asked for an additional fan, actually). They sent a guy to check the aircon, and within a few minutes I could hear the fan increase – i.e. it wasn’t working properly. He spent 10 mins on it, using special test gear. The vent swing still doesn’t work, but it feels cooler. I’ve got the temp set to 15ºC !

I also complained that the wi-fi is not secured. The info on the computer shows “Kuta Central Park – Open” It should say “Secured”. This is atrocious. My PC anti-virus program is constantly showing messages of the viruses and attempts to connect to my PC that it’s blocking. I’m having to go off-line all the time when I don’t need to connect. Plus the speed is MUCH slower than it was downstairs yesterday, about 1.3Mb/s, same as I get at home. Damn. I thought I was going to really enjoy a good connection.


What to do today? I’m writing a loooong email to a friend, although I’m not sure I’ll send all of it. Sometimes I can say too much.

I want to find a good computer store, and Dr Google tells me I should go to the RIMO Centre in Denpasar. OK.

I’ll try the pool again, first, hoping it won’t be as crowded as yesterday.

(Later: that’s better. I was the only one, apart from two couples on the chairs and a little girl in the water. The pool is cool, being mostly in shadow.)


 I’ve just been using that TENS pain device I mentioned (two weeks ago! A new battery fixed it). It’s called PainMate … they list a web site  I bought mine at my local chemist. It cost $54.99.

It’s a sticky pad with two electrodes that you place over painful muscles. You press the +/- buttons and a pulsing, vibrating electrical stimulation starts. There are 15 levels of stim. Each session is limited to 20 mins.

I dunno. It seems to work, but the effect doesn’t last, which makes sense if I keep doing the thing that’s causing the pain! (Mouse use by right arm.)


Wow, I just slipped on the wet tiled floor and nearly did the splits. I was bringing a chair in from the balcony with bare feet, and I didn’t realise my feet would be wet from the artificial lawn. My left leg shot out and I just managed to grab the door frame to stop myself going down. I got a sharp pain in my left thigh which I suspect will become painful in a few hours. Lucky I’ve got the TENS device.


Nothing heard  from my friend’s friend, but that’s not surprising, I suppose. I’d better get off my backside and phone her again. I’d really like to meet up – it’s always better to have someone to talk to. Besides, I’m intrigued — sassy, curt, argumentative … this sounds really interesting. It doesn’t put me off at all.


Boy, the restaurant was crowded for breakfast this morning. I guess the week between Xmas and New Year is holidays for them as much as for us, so all the kids are out in force. I came back from getting my scrambled eggs to find someone else had made a grab for my table. Luckily they weren’t there, so I just sat down and pushed their plates away. They came a few mins later and just said Sorry and took their plates. No problem.


 Quiet day. Hot sun! Very clear weather, in other words.

Bali – Sunday 27 Dec 2015


Sanur (C) PJ Croft 2014

1230: OK, I’ve moved hotels and I’m in my new room trying to cool down. But besar problem: this room is far too noisy. It’s on the ground floor right next to the pool and pool bar, and there’s pounding disco music, non-stop. I’ve been back to reception and said I need a different room. I’m here for six nights and I think they’re finding it a bit hard to find another room for six nights. “Please wait, sir.” I could probably put up with one night in this room if I have to, but no, no, no! The music is incessant and too loud, right outside my outside door.

The room boy was at pains to show me the pool and that there’s a bar right next to the pool (right outside my bloody door, actually). “Would I like a drink?” Not in the middle of a hot day, mate. Not yet, anyway.


The internet is fabulous, though. Far faster than I get at home. Things happen instantly. At the Oasis Hotel I was fuming – waiting 5 – 10 mins (yes, really) for pages to load. Then having it drop out after 10 – 15mins or so. Hopeless!!! That was a crap hotel. Just not up to standard. They’ll get a bad review from me.


Boy, it’s warmer and more humid today. Captain Sweatpants.  The taxi fare here was Rp.50,000 – that’s $5. That’s very fair. This seems to be a very vibrant area … I think. I’ll wait until after lunch before I explore, though. Hot day.


1430: Aaaaah, this is more like it! I’ve moved to a new room on the first (2nd) floor, facing ???SE I think. But this is what I saw on the internet when I booked:


Much nicer! I have that balcony, with two wicker armchairs and a table. The floor of the balcony is artificial lawn, quite nice. This is Singapore standard (so far).




A proper bathroom, modern standard, where I can swing my cat.


This is the best hotel I’ve had so far, although the Aquarius was quite OK. But the Aquarius was $55 a night and this is much better for $64 a night. Four stars vs one star.

Now for some light food and a little shopping for beer etc. Aaaah.


I’m going to have to insist on a fan tomorrow. There’s just not enough air movement in this room. I’m too hot, even though I’ve set the air-con to 16ºC. The air-con is around a corner from the bed and it’s not effective.

I tried again to have a swim in the pool, but it’s a small pool and it’s just too crowded, even at 6.30pm. I couldn’t find a pool towel or a free seat, so I gave up.

There’s a Circle K (mini-mart) just 30m from the hotel entrance, so that’s good. I’ve just spent Rp. 110,000 ! Wow. But that’s A$10.57. Not too bad.

Then I discovered there’s a refrigerated case in the lobby that sells Bintang and Smirnoff Ice. The Smirnoff is even a 2 for 1 offer, ie two 330ml bottles for Rp.50,000 or $2.40 each. Hah.


Sanur 2014 (C) PJ Croft 2014, 2015

I think I’ll go into Denpasar tomorrow to look for a specialist in SD card readers. I’ve got to solve this problem. The camera is capable of acting as a wi-fi transmitter to send files to my PC by wireless link, but although I’m studying the manual, no luck so far. It’s got to work. Press on.


Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. 9pm on a Sunday night and the angle grinder has started up again 25m across the courtyard outside my room. Grrr.


I said goodbye to my Melbourne friends at the Oasis this morning. They’re off to Lovina for a week. They asked for my email address, which I found quite flattering (i.e. it wasn’t just See ya, buddy.)  Their daughter was with them with her Balinese husband, a trained chef. They live in Melbourne. Quite a nice bloke – mature and sensible. I got along OK with him.

But all the Bali mates were along too, about four of them, and the whole bloody group were smokers — parents, daughter, two husbands and all the Bali boys. At one stage I was in a group of six smokers in the restaurant. KOFF! KOFF!

Bali – Boxing Day 26 Dec 2015



Friendly visitor outside my hotel room, Kintamani. It’s a wild bird, not a chicken. Just pecking around. Olympus OM-D E-M1  Panasonic 14-42mm lens at 42mm.

Grrr. Shame. At 6am this morning I was awake and some local or Indonesian kids were already playing in the pool. They were just splashing around and talking among themselves. They weren’t yelling and screaming.

But suddenly I heard a loud Australian male voice just near my room say loudly, “Hey, cut the fu … cken noise! People are tryin’ ta sleep around here.”

I was angered. The kids weren’t making a lot of noise. They weren’t bothering me. But the Aussie slob factor was on display. This is what makes me ashamed to be Australian at times. Apart from Poms, no other country produces arrogance and rudeness like this. Shame!


Another bad night. Asleep easily at 10pm but awoke at 2.30am and that was it. Just can’t slip off that shelf into sleep. Cramps started at 5am and I had to get up and take one of those Cramp-Eze tablets. No more cramps, but how can you say? Was it the tablet that stopped them, or did they just stop anyway? Can’t say.


I watched a movie, Everest, on DVD last night. It’s the true story of the deaths of 13 climbers in one expedition on Everest in 1996. I know why these climbers want to do it, but I still think it’s stupid and wrong to put yourself in such danger and at so much risk, with such awful stress and pain, for such a relatively small reward.

Add to that, at least one of the guys who froze to death was an experienced NZ guy who went back up to try to help a stuck climber. In other words, good people lose their lives helping inexperienced climbers who shouldn’t be there. It’s wrong.

Actually, I was gunna climb Everest next week, but … nah. Some other time. 🙂


I did phone that hotel where the friend of my friend is staying and left a message asking her to call me back. She did so, and we had a preliminary chat. I left it to her to call me again if she wants to meet up. So now I wait.


 I never normally see satellite or cable TV but I’m seeing it now at the hotel. The Discovery Channel is running programs called How It’s Done and things like that, showing how things are made. I love this! I’ve always thought programs about manufacturing would make good TV for the geeks among us. I love seeing the complex machines and how they do it. This is called Production Engineering and the ingenious ideas and complex processes are brilliantly designed and solved. This is a vastly underrated field of engineering, I reckon. Good stuff.


 I’ve spent the day stuck in the room. I was feeling groggy from the bad night last night, so I tried to sleep, with mixed success. Plus I was hoping for a call from Kristy. Nothing so far.

But I’ve just walked out to go to the ATM. What nice weather. Cool, maybe 28ºC but low humidity. No sweat, man. A taxi was trying to get down the narrow laneway to the hotel entrance. I’ve seen another car do it so I showed him the gap distance, but he wisely decided against it.


Uh oh. I’ve found a break in the skin on my left leg, oozing a little bit. This is danger. If it gets infected, I’ll be in trouble. I’ve just swabbed it with Dettol tissues and I have Betadine swabs as well. Then I’ve applied Dermeze cream. I hope that’ll hold it. I have a course of antibiotic in my meds pack that I can use if I have to.



Bali day 13- Xmas Day 25 Dec 2015


Kintamani  6:01am (C) PJ Croft 2015

OK, back in Kuta for Xmas Day and on. Merry Xmas to all.

Yanick found me in Ubud thanks to my marvellous maps and screen grabs.

Karma House Hotel Ubud

Ahem, joking, there are signs everywhere pointing to the hotel, so he could have found me.

I’m going to give a great review to that Karma House Hotel, to add to the rave reviews already there. I felt really good about the place. Don’t expect much for $20 a night, it’s basic, but I enjoyed it.


There’s not mushroom inside!


Karma House, Ubud

It was a very pleasant drive from Ubud to Kuta, about two hours, and with time to enjoy the scenery because the speeds are very slow. There are lots of holdups at times, but it’s all good and no-one gets upset.

I’ve finally been able to get some images off my memory cards, this one from the Olympus. Kintamani was a problem because I couldn’t move around to get clear of the vegetation. The shots just prove that I was there before and during the dawn. Really. Trooly rooley.


Kintamani  6:09am (C) PJ Croft 2015

I’ve got better shots on the other camera, the Panasonic with its 25-400mm lens, but until I can find a card reader, I’m locked up.


Kintamani  5:53am (C) PJ Croft 2015


I’ve met up at this hotel with a couple from Melbourne; the wife is the same age as me and has heart problems like me, so we have lots to talk about. The husband works for the NBN Co., is an American, is an insulin dependent diabetic like me, a former US Navy aircraft electrical systems guy. Obviously we have a lot to talk about. We might go out to a Xmas dinner soon, somewhere. (Jeez, heavy rain has just started. Great. I like it.)


I’m also quite surprised and very pleased – I’ve just had an email from a woman friend I used to be at school with (i.e. same age as me) who I know quite well — she’s told me a close friend of hers is arriving here today, on her own, and strongly suggesting I might like to meet up with her! Wow. Unusual! I think I might do that. Who knows?

It turns out her hotel is just down the road from here, near Lippo Mall. I must have walked past it the other day. Too far to walk now – I’d be knackered and sweaty by the time I got there.

Amazing: have I got precognition, or what? I had a dream the night before last, a strong dream that stayed with me. More on that later … maybe?



Bali day 12 – Thu 24 Dec 2015


What a cluster. Papaya, Ubud (C) PJ Croft 2015

Finally, a picture. This is a shot from my Sony phone. It’s no substitute for a real camera, in my opinion. Emergency use only.

Last morning here, being picked up by Yanick around 10am or 11am? I hope. I’m going back to the Oasis hotel in Kuta until Saturday (?) when I move to another hotel in Kuta, a four star one. I bloody well hope it’s earned that extra star.

This little hotel in Ubud has been a charming place, mainly because I’ve been able to talk to the people. And sit out on the verandah and watch the passage of people and events.


That black cloth on the trackpad is a microfibre cleaning cloth. It serves two purposes: one to clean my glasses frequently in this humidity; and two, to stop my thumbs from accidentally moving the cursor while I’m typing. I use a wireless mouse, not the trackpad. I hate the things.


That’s another phone shot during a heavy rain shower. Note the little wooden statuettes cemented onto the wall. They’re everywhere.


I finished watching the movie Melancholia last night. Wow, it’s, um, er, interesting. It’s sort of about a rogue planet called Melancholia that hits the Earth. End of Earth civilisation. But it’s not a disaster movie, it’s a study of two women, sisters, and how they handle it. Set to Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde. The music alone makes it worth watching.


I did take that empty DVD back to the shop and asked for another copy, but I asked them to test it first. Result – also empty. Looks like a dud batch. So I chose another one, Everest. Plus two more, The Changeling and The Physician. I shall report.


More cramps last night, mainly my left leg. It just cramps from my hip right down through my knee to my calf. It won’t let go. Gotta find an answer to this. Magnesium. The apotik wanted to sell me a big bottle the other day but they wanted $60 for it. Huh. No, thank you.

Maybe this is the answer:

Tai Chi


” … 2,620 fatal landslides and 32,322 deaths from 2004-2010. That’s 4,617 people buried alive every year. ” The Guardian

People worry about nuclear power dangers and phone tower radiation and so on, and so on. But look at the above quote after the Shenzhen landslide yesterday. FAR more people are killed by landslides, coal mining etc in one year than have ever been killed in the entire history of nuclear power. Keep things in perspective.


1400: Back in Kuta at this awful hotel. Oh well, I move on Saturday? / Sunday?  to a four star. It better be better!

Just had a good chat with a woman from Melbourne in the pool. She’s the same age and married to an ex-US Navy guy who used to work on avionics in the military and who’s now working on the NBN. I look forward to meeting him. They’ve invited me to have lunch with them tomorrow, Xmas Day. Might do that.

She’s also given me antire card of Cramp-Eze tablets. I hadn’t thought of that. I’ve just taken one because I was cramping in the pool. We’ll see, and hope I can buy them here. There’s an apotik (Guardian Pharmacy) just up the street.


Bali day 11 – Wed 23 Dec 2015

Agung pan L Or fix 203

 Kintamani. (Filter applied) (C) PJ Croft 2015

Had a bad night of cramps last night. Groaning in agony a couple of times. Managed to get back to sleep until 0430 when I decided to give up and get up. I’ve just had another hour or so to make up.

I’ve decided to take it easy today. I’ll have to walk out to get a meal, but it’ll be late afternoon, I think. It’s a fair slog up a steep slope. OK for the young ‘uns.

1445: It’s lucky I didn’t go out. The rain started half an hour ago and it’s a constant downpour. I saw a pair in their 20s head past with an umbrella, one umbrella. Good luck. Still, she wasn’t wearing much 😉

There’s no shortage of things to occupy my mind. This computer is an endless source, and I have a good magazine full of dense articles, and scores of music tracks on my phone.

I had a bit more chat with Putuh, the dancer, this morning. She’s a paid performer, it’s her job. She’s been learning it since she was 10 and she’s 19 now. Does she ever forget her moves and make mistakes? Oh yes. Big laugh. Wish I could learn more. She’s nice.

I’ve emailed my driver in Kuta about transport tomorrow and how to find me, but no answer yet (1315). It’s quite out of the way here:

Ubud, Jalan Arjuna

Karma House No. 2, Jl. Arjuna Ubud

I screen  grabbed from Google Earth, brought them into ACDSee Pro and cropped them, then added the lines and circles in the same program. Neat, huh? Took me about 20 mins, I’d say.

You can’t get a vehicle down the lane I’m in, so he has to stop where the red arrow head is, above.

My verandah overlooks a small stream and I can hear the water at times. But when I look over the wall, it’s a rubbish dump down there. It’s terrible.


I bought three DVDs yesterday – All Is Lost with Robert Redford; The Company You Keep, again with Redford; and Melancholia, directed by Lars von Trier and starring Kirsten Dunst. Wow, what a looker she is!

The first disc I tried, All Is Lost, was lost alright. The disc was blank, empty, never recorded. I should take it back but it’s a fair hike. $1.50 worth?

The second, The Company … I realised I’ve seen before and I don’t want to see it again. Another $1.50 wasted. Huh.

The third, Melancholia, is weird. Melancholia is the name of a planet that’s on a collision course with Earth. Somehow that’s relevant to Kirsten Dunst getting married in a spiffy ceremony somewhere. The opening shots are in super slow motion, birds are falling from the sky and objects have double shadows from the two big bright objects in the sky. I dunno what it’s all about yet. TBC.


 While I have the fast internet connection, I’ve been taking advantage to upload as many of my photos as I can to Drop Box, effectively “Cloud” storage. That should make it easier to import them into this blog, I think.


Well, how strange. I got an email this morning from a name I recognised, asking me if I knew anyone in an attached photo of Werribee. No, wrong era I think, but how come I knew the name? I used to work with someone of that name for over 30 years and I never knew we shared that connection. Too complicated to explain here, but there you go. Small world.



Bali day 10 – Tues 22 Dec 2015

Missed the shot of the year at 1730. A stunning girl was squatting in the main street with a beatific smile on her face, holding a child, also smiling. If only I’d had my camera in my hand. If only I’d backtracked a bit. If only I’d not been too hesitant. If only …

Funny night. I knew I wanted to get up for the dawn but I didn’t bother to set my phone to alarm. Dropped off quickly at 10pm and woke with a start from a dream at what I thought was 6am when I looked at my watch. There was an orange glow through the curtains, which since they’re orange, is not surprising. I thought it was the dawn!

Then I looked at my watch again and realised it was midnight, and the glow was because the verandah light was on. Huh. Up for pee no. 1 and switched the light off. Back to sleep easily.

Awoke again from another strong dream at 3.30am to the sound of major furniture shuffling going on outside the room! Huh? Was it someone next door? Why would they … ? I was too scared to get up and investigate, actually. My door doesn’t lock, either. Shadows moving against the curtains. The sounds seemed to go on. I was starting to think of some large animal shuffling around, investigating.

Eventually it died down (after 5 mins or so) and I got up for pee no. 2. I had a look outside but there was nothing there. Mystery.

Woke again at 5am and got up for photos. Very clear morning, no mist or cloud. Not spectacular, but I got a few nice shots by 6.30am.

Shower and back to bed at 7am. Slept until 8.30am. Girl came down to take my brekky order for delivery to the room. She understood poached this time. Yesterday I got boiled.

But she said the boss also wants another Rp.25,000 for exchange for my US and Aust. dollar notes. Uuurrrgh. Still, it’s only $2.50.

Wi-fi still not working. Hopeless. I asked about it and they just say, “Sorry, still broken” and shrug.

1300 Now I’m in Ubud, at the Karma House Hotel No. 2, Jl. Arjuna. It’s down a little lane that the vehicle couldn’t go, only 20m or so to walk. But there are three big steps up to the verandah. I simply can’t get up them. My thighs will not lift me up a 300mm or more step.

Luckily the owner showed me some smaller steps around the side where I can get up to verandah level and sidle along a narrow strip. Should be OK.

Obviously by writing this, I’ve got good internet at last! At last!

Had a good drive down from Kintamani. Nearly two hours, quite a long trip for Rp.300,000 or $30. That’s fair. Stopped for some great photos across the lake, Lake Batur, in brilliant sunshine. This will compare well with my 1980 and 1983 panoramas.

The weather went bad as soon as we left the mountain and it’s been bucketing down. My room is kecil! very small, but it opens from a small verandah right onto a stream and the jungle. Very quiet except for the forest sounds. Marvellous. No air con, but an overhead fan is fine. Tiny bathroom, no shower cubicle, you just use the shower head projecting from a wall. That’s fine. Immaculately clean and tidy. Good value for $20 a night. I’ve seen a lot worse.

Lunch, then some sleep I think.

1800:  Everywhere in Bali seems to be up a slope or up steps. Puff, puff. Got there, though.

I just had a late lunch from 1545 to about 1715, watching a funny show in the main street of Ubud. When we arrived there was a Toyota 4WD double parked out side a restaurant, spaced into the road from a row of 90° parked motorbikes. By the time I got to the restaurant it was still there, hazard flashers on. That’s 1¼ hours already. All the traffic had to thread around it, wheels onto the footpath to do so.

Pretty soon a cop arrived to assist a guy who was clearly trying to find the owner. They resorted to trying to break in, without success. Funny, in the movies they can do it in seconds.

Another cop arrived. I saw a Balinese guy looking angry – an unusual sight. Then the big tourist buses came after a group of about six guys lifted the back of the vehicle about 200mm to the side, they threaded their way past, growling and jerking. They tried to move the front, but no luck there. Too heavy. The cops, three by now, were waving their arms, blowing their whistles and talking on their walkie-talkies. A waiter told me the keys were still in the ignition, even though the car was locked.

At about 1715 a new guy, maybe an expert, was trying to break in and finally had success. They were quickly inside and drove it away. Show over. I have pics and video.

Then to find an ATM (first one didn’t work at all) and home via the back lanes. Big smiles and polite greetings from the locals. Nice.

It’s 1900 now and dead still, humid as hell and full of the sound of crickets, birds, geckos and dogs. Quiet here, otherwise. Another early night, I think. I have to sit on the end of the bed to do this and it’s very uncomfortable. I have a couple of movies to watch if I want to.

Ah! The young woman who greeted me when I arrived (big smiles, lovely) popped her head around the corner and said hello again as I sat on the verandah. But I was so surprised, I said, “Oh, you look beautiful.” She was heavily made up, and she said she is a Balinese dancer, made up ready to do a show. Wow! I wish I could have gone with her. She’s really nice and I love the dance and the gamelan orchestra. Maybe there’ll be another show tomorrow night?