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?