Last day

River at dawn 1a

Paris, the city of love.    (C) PJ Croft 2008, 2016

Having trouble sleeping again, dammit. It’s 3am and I’m trying to wind down. My feet are painful (diabetic neuropathy), my back hurts a bit, I have a mild headache … I’ve taken some Tramadol but it takes a while to work. I didn’t want any dinner, having had a bigger than usual lunch, so I just ate fruit and nuts.

The fruit came from a bowl I found in the room when I arrived, with a note attached addressed to me. Very nice. I will be giving this hotel top marks on the web site reviews.

Internet radio, fantastic. I’m listening to the ABC as if I were at home. I even listen on my phone while I’m in bed. I shouldn’t, of course. And damn Facebook! Once you start using it just a little, it kind of reaches out of your computer with tendrils and pulls you in. Friend requests, posts from people you know, political comment from an unusually perceptive guy who used to be at Channel 9. I’ve never met him, but I feel we know each other now.

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I’ve made no secret now of my new love, Miss V as I call her, Veronika Prull-Elnrieder from Vienna, Austria, but I don’t think I’ve said how it all started. If I have, sorry to repeat but I want to tell the world.

I caught a Kura Kura shuttle bus at the Kuta Galeria at about 4pm on  a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. Veronika was the only passenger as I hauled myself up and sat behind her. She swivelled and said something to me, I replied, and we just talked all the way to my hotel, the Taksu. V needed a place for her friend Surya to meet her to drive her back to Lovina, so she got off with me. She took the initiative and asked if I’d have coffee with her in the hotel coffee shop. Of course I would, and we talked and talked for an hour or more until Surya arrived.

When it came time to say goodbye, I couldn’t help myself, I made a split second, spontaneous decision and gave her a hug to say goodbye. She seemed surprised, but has told me since that this was a big factor in her feelings toward me. We’d both felt the sparks while we were talking, and I could see it in her then.

So next day I plucked up a bit of courage (it didn’t take much) and emailed her asking if we could meet again. I got a very nice reply, and that started a chain of emails, and more talking. She was back in Lovina at that stage, over the mountains 3½ hours away.

Then I said I was doing a trip around the south and east coasts, Candidasa, Amed and points north and west. V asked if she could come with me. Oh yes, yes, yes. Marvellous.

She came the day before I was due to leave and stayed with me. We went for a walk along Jalan Cemara and I showed her the villa that I nearly bought. By chance, there were some Australians there as we peeked through the door, they saw us and asked us in. I explained that I was the brother of the owner and how it all happened, and we had a brief look through. That’s the first time I’ve seen it in five years. There were six people renting it and we had a nice chat. The lawn needs mowing!

Then we left and walked down to the beach and along to a nice bar. Veronika is a strong swimmer and had worn her bathers, so she went off for a short swim. The water was a bit dirty, she said, so she was soon out.

We finished our Happy Hour drinks there and walked back on Jl. Sudamala, and came to the Linga Longa Bar which was serving babi guling, roast pig. We partook, along with some of their Happy Hour drinks too. They had a really good live band, really good. Soon the cuddles started and life stories started being explored, and that was it. I think V had made her mind up. Yah! I didn’t need any more to make up my mind. I shot six minutes of great 4K video of the band, by the way.

So that’s how it all started. We met purely by chance on a public bus, we were the only passengers, and we got off at the same stop. If either of us had missed that bus … it’s as if the forces of nature conspired to bring us together. We just meshed from the beginning, and it’s been all good news and better and better each day since then. We share so much in our likes and attitudes, it’s amazing, right from the start. Two lonely ships passing, happened to come together on Kura Kura bus. Amazing. Both of us had felt that we’d missed the last bus of life, so to speak, yet this bus brought us together and we caught it. Amazing.

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 ABC News:  “With the number of depleted home solar batteries being thrown away tipped to rise over the coming years, one Australian company is taking on electronic giants such as Tesla and Panasonic with the launch of an easily recyclable power source.

“Brisbane company Redflow says it has developed the ZCell battery that, unlike its competitors, does not use lithium and is more recyclable than its competitors.

“The active parts are plastic, aluminium and steel, the fluid electrolyte can be removed and cleaned and put in the next battery so the whole thing is very recyclable,” executive chairman Simon Hackett said.

“The battery is designed to store 10kWh of electricity — enough to keep most homes running for a day or two.”

I’ve always been an optimist when it comes to technological problems. Things might seem difficult, frightening or impossible, but I’ve always believed that science and technology will come up with solutions.

Well, the above looks exciting to me, and the fact that it’s an Aussie company makes it better. I’ve wondered about the world’s supply of lithium. It’s obviously finite and you can’t manufacture it, it has to be mined, with all the negative implications of that.

So I’m pretty enthused by this Redwall company. Go Aussies, go. But watch them being either bought out or crushed by a foreign giant.

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Back at the Taksu

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Need I say more?  Lovina  Tuesday 29 March 2016

I’m back in Sanur at the Taksu Hotel after three blissful days and nights in Lovina. Veronika had booked us into a hotel, bless her, and it was very pleasant. We were the only guests most of the time, which suited me fine.

The above photo was made at an upmarket bar/restaurant nearby, which V had arranged and which laid on a van and driver for us as it was too far to walk. We met a friend of V’s, a Swedish guy called Lars who lives in Bali but used to be in the wine business, so was very knowledgeable. He also used to work for IBM as a systems analyst/programmer, so we had a lot to talk about. What a nice guy. Quietly spoken, exceedingly polite, good conversation. I’m sure I’ll meet up with him again. He took these pictures for us.

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Yeah.

So after a fond goodbye at midday, it was the drive back to Samur, arriving at 4.15pm. Same room, they know me by now, and it was like coming home. I like this hotel! I think it’s the best I’ve stayed at anywhere in the world. I will definitely use it again in future. Lacks a trendy, comfy bar, but still fine.

OK, flight home tomorrow, and it’s going to be difficult to adjust, I think. After a poor start at the S’Cape Condotel with all their faults, I landed on my feet by choosing this place and then finding the most important person I’ve ever met. This has been the most significant month of my life. I initially wrote “I think”, but I don’t need to think, it’s a fact. Wow, it changes everything. At last. At last. At last!

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A picture tells the story.

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I had a nap for 45mins and woke with the smell of a hot stove in my nose. I’m using my CPAP without its humidifier and the air in this room is actually quite dry. That means the air I’m breathing is picking up the smell of the blower. Ugh.

Then I needed an ATM so I walked along Jl. Poso (strictly, Jalan Danau Poso) to the Circle K, about 350m. When I needed to cross the road, the traffic seemed to part as if for me. Things seem different now. 🙂  It was noticeable how much more energy I felt.

As I walked past a small warung, I saw movement on the ground. Bloody hell, it was a rat as big as a kitten, just moving at its own pace under the benches. I stopped to look hard, but no-one took any notice. That’s Bali.

I’ve noticed clanking sounds coming over the wall outside my room. As I walked along Jl. Poso, I saw a large digger working in a huge cleared area that wasn’t that way last week. Then I dawned on me – this is the sound I’ve been hearing over the wall.

There’s a large building next to it – ta da! It’s the Taksu Hotel.

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As I walked back, that banner was unfurled and it’s going to be a Hardy’s Mall. Shazzam. Even better. This will generate more shops around the area.

[Correction. I was told it’s a new hotel, under the Hardy’s name, not a shopping mall.]

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I’ve had a small Bluetooth mouse for my laptops for years now and noticed the LED flashing at me yesterday. Uh oh, batteries. I’ve just changed them, and just in time. Even thought they were good Duracell alkalines, one had started to leak badly. Just in time!

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Tabanan Panorama

The return today was via Bedugul and Tabanan, stopping for lunch there. This was the view from the restaurant. Thunder was rolling over those mountains. Yaah.

 

Lovina, Kalisada

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A little bit of Austria in Bali? Me at V’s house. Very nice, but isolated.

Too many things to remember at this instant, so notes for later.

Arrived MyLovina Hotel Sunday 2.30pm after nice drive via Bedugul. Driver Tony: Made got the days mixed up, thought I meant Monday, Tony substituted. Good drive. 550,000 + 50,000 bonus.

Big room, not very effective aircon, right near the beach but beach dirty and grey sand.

Schwim, dinner at small bar across street, German girls.

Monday, yesterday, drive to Kalisada house where V lives. She has her own car, Diahatsu Xenia, small 2WD but like SUV.

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My model. V in her garden, looking happy!

Fast driving! Alon alon, V, ja? Slowly, slowly please. V’s house like Austrian chalet, very isolated. No beach access, no pool, no aircon, but beautiful ocean breezes. Very rural, very local, at the end of a track through paddies.

Breakfast at hotel, because our room faces sun and room 1 is better, would we like to move over? Ja, so we pack up all our stuff. Come 1230pm, it turns out they gave that room to someone else! Without telling us! So we packed up for nothing. V was furious. Gave them a blast. But, nothing for it, unpack again.

Tiring day for me, always a bit tired. Dinner at new restaurant in main drag. OK, but nothing much. Nice company though. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. 🙂

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Showed V a lot of photos last night and she approves. Bagus! Had a new experience for me. Awake until 2.30am. Awoke again at 5.30am, so not a lot of sleep for me last night. No doubt I’ll crash after early swim (I say schwim now 🙂 ) and breakfast.

Head out the back, Jack

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The universal symbol. This was a grab shot at 200mm, bouncing around. Image stabilisation!  Lumix FZ1000, I highly recommend it. Marvellous camera. The 4K video just sparkles. (C) PJ Croft 2016

I’m hitting the road today, up over that mountain again, to Lovina to see my new lovina gal. It’s grey and gently raining at 0720, nice and cool. I don’t actually look forward to that mountain drive now. It’s so twisty and steep that you feel that you’re constantly being thrown around. Not really, but it’s a tiring drive, even as a passenger.

Gee, I really feel as if I’ve lost weight. I can bend over in the shower much more easily. I don’t have any scales, so I can’t check, but I feel lighter. Almost ‘floating on air’ …….. 🙂

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Just hangin’ around? On the road to Candidasa. A grab shot, not my best.   (C) PJ Croft 2016

Make a new plan, Stan

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Bad sleep again last night; slept 11.30pm to 2.30am but couldn’t sleep from then on. Got up and did video processing on the schlepptop (V’s great name for it). Converted (made copies) of my sparkling 4K video down to 1280×720 for use on the web, i.e. here. Then used the image stabilising software Mercalli to er, stabilise it, smooth out the rough bits. Marvellous stuff, but it takes time. I’ll put a bit up here soon.

Tried to sleep again from 7am to 10am but just lay there, thinking non-stop about you-know-who and the future. Very good thoughts, I assure you. No problems.

Then had a haircut and manicure at the Peni Weni salon a couple of doors down.

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Heyyy, the Fonz here.

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Nailed.

Why this? Because a few months ago I was so sick of brittle nails catching in my hair that I tried false ones. But they fall off and underneath, the glue had discoloured all my nails terribly. They looked like army jungle green camouflage. So I got this dark red to cover the stains. It’s not quite effective – you can still see the dark patches, but it’s much better.

For the haircut and manicure, $13. I pay $20 for a haircut alone at home.

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Next, I managed to haggle Made Latra to drive me to Lovina and back for Rp550,000 each way, down from Rp700,000. We go up tomorrow, back here Wednesday. I’ll probably give him a big tip, but it’s the principle, ya see.

Then, I’ve paid for tomorrow night here already, but I’ll be checking out tomorrow morning. So I asked the hotel to credit me and apply the credit to Wednesday night. No problem Mr Peter. This is pretty damn good of them and I’m very impressed with this hotel. They’ll get my business in future for sure. I’m very happy with the Taksu. Best stay I’ve had just about anywhere.

So tomorrow I’ll be reunited. Can’t wait. 🙂

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At Amed.      (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Lazy day

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Japan, 1992   (C) PJ Croft 2016

Hmmmm, can’t get going today. A bit tired. I was surprised to have a doorknock this morning and a hotel guy deliver me a plate of fruit, compliments of the hotel. I don’t know why, but it’s a nice gesture. Unfortunately, fruit is something I have to restrict – blood sugar takes too much of a fast hit.

The plate consists of: two very green small bananas, a small bunch of grapes (bet they’re sweet), an orange (green in colour), a sala (new one to me) and a mangosteen. Yipes. All full of sugar.

I have renewed reason to lose weight, the obvious being for appearance, but also to try to control my diabetes better. Although my last HbA1c was good at 7.1, I still feel the effects – tiredness, vision changes, a general shaky, low energy feeling. I must try harder. I lost all that weight in 2008, I can do it again.

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The Japanese Olympic Synchronised Viewing team.     (C) PJ Croft 1992, 2016

Funny, I’m sleeping much better. I wonder why that would be?  😉

Just working out the logistics of going up to Lovina for a couple of days. It’s a long way and a driver has to pay for both ways, and a place to stay for two nights if he stays up there too. Difficult. Of course, when the High Speed Mass Rapid Transport goes in …  I asked Putuh about the rumours of a new airport on the north coast. Just rumours, I’m afraid. maybe later.

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Dang, I spilt blood again last night. The door to the wardrobe opens oddly and I kicked my third toe on the left foot against it. It bled a fair bit and I had to clean and dress it quick smart. Blood in Indonesian is darah, I’m told.

I think I’ll go out to buy some more cephalexin, too. I’ve only got one capsule left, and I want to keep it going for the remainder of this trip, another five days. That’s 20 capsules, at 10 per strip, two strips, about $21 I think.

I’ve got the hots for another watch:

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Compass and thermometer, two useful gizmos. Only US$58. I’ll see if I can find it here.

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Took a taxi to Galeria and found cephalexin easily this time. Not sure why it was so difficult last week. Taxi there, Rp100,000 (from Sanur). Kura Kura bus home, Rp40,000.

I asked forcefully at the KK Bus desk why they don’t stop at Bel-resort or Oasis Lagoon as they advertise and I got something about contracts not being renewed and taxis. OK, can’t be helped.

No luck with the watch.

Checked with Made about transport to Lovina and back – Rp700,000 (A$70) each way. That was his price for the whole way around the east and north coasts. It seems a bit high for a much shorter distance. He hinted that he’ll be competitive. I’ll hope so.

I’ve just had dinner and asked for Kway Teow seafood, and got chicken kway teow. I sent it back because the sea food is much nicer, IMHO. I was very thirsty and had two lemon juices, and dessert, and it came to Rp195,000 A$19.50. Crumbs, Bali ain’t cheap any more. This was in the hotel restaurant.

And so to bed, dog tired.

Holy crap!

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It’s Karma      (C) PJ Croft 2016

As Penny says in The Big Bang Theory, “Holy crap on a cracker!” I’ve been hit by lightning, bowled over by a train, covered in chocolate. As you may have gathered from my references to V, I’ve met someone who I will refer to as Miss V, just at the moment, and it’s like a miracle. If ever two people were meant for each other, this is it. We just meshed. I won’t say love at first sight, but pretty close. Certainly instant attraction which has grown, even in this short time, 11 days.

Even though we have such different backgrounds, she in Austria, me in Australia, we are so similar in our upbringing, family circumstances, attitudes, likes, (not many dislikes), needs, wants, living arrangements, need to travel (she even more than me), ideals …. need I go on?

I want to go on, I want to tell everyone I meet, but I’ll just say that I go home a week from today, and I’m going to miss her like hell. I’m going up to her domicile near Lovina on the north coast for a couple of days next week. Then I hope I’ve persuaded her to come to Perth as soon as possible for a visit with me. I don’t want to uproot her from Bali; she’s here for a reason and loving it, but this fits perfectly with my wish to spend more time here too. I have to come back here in May (I have an eight night booking at a hotel in Sanur which is non-refundable) and I’ll stay on indefinitely after that. Not sure how long.

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A new visit, a new view – Kintamani. Trunyan in the distance.       (C) PJ CROFT 2016

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To continue: I’d wanted to do a short east coast tour and V wanted to come with me, so that made it doubly pleasurable. We engaged a driver recommended by V’s friend (oh, why be cryptic! Her name is Veronika, with a K.) He, the driver, lives near Sanur and Miss V came here Sunday with her friend, then we set off on Monday for Candidasa.

But it was via Kintamani, which V hadn’t seen and was quite a long drive. The shot above is one result (there are many more once I’ve processed them).

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Local transport. (C) PJ Croft 2016. Note: this was taken through the windscreen while bouncing around at 157mm zoom. Panasonic FZ1000. Remarkable camera!

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Who are the crazy people?    (C) PJ Croft  Again, a grabbed shot, 88mm, yet it’s sharp and usable.

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Mahagiri. Gunung Agung through the clouds. (C) PJ Croft

Lunch at Mahagiri, a lookout with a spectacular view. Great view, bland lunch. NB: writing this three days later, name remembered without notes – nothing wrong with my memory!

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Mahagiri   400mm!  (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Mahagiri  (C) PJ Croft 2016

We were headed for Candidasa, so this was a considerable detour, but the road was spectacular.

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Candidasa is down there on the left. Island of Nusa Penida in haze.

Our destination was the Hotel Genggong  (Gonnnngggggggg!) We got there about 4pm and I was zonked, needing a nap. That’s been the pattern: I tire easily and need an hour’s sleep at times. I’m OK after that. But I awoke and V was on the beach and in the pool and I was wasting time cleaning my leg and applying fresh plasters and by the time I surfaced, I’d missed the sunset, dammit. The hotel was great – rated four stars and the room was fully up to that standard. Very comfortable. The only drawback was they don’t have a liquor licence yet, so no bar.

So we walked up the laneway to another hotel only 100m away and had a nice meal from an unusually diverse menu: Indonesian, of course, but German (sausage), Russian (borscht), etc. V had pickled mushrooms, pickled cucumbers and mashed potato. Wow. Unusual. I can’t remember what I had!

So I highly recommend this Hotel Genggong. Right on the beach, sea breeze, pool, prahus, so relaxing. Staff trying really hard to please. I think we were the only guests!   Aaaah.

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Miss V and Putuh our driver at the Hotel Genggong.   (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Next day, Tuesday 22 March, it was off to Amed.

First it was to the Amlapura (?) original village (desa asli). Yipes, it was hot and glary. I realised I’d been there about 30years ago (gee, it hadn’t changed a bit), so I sat and tried to stay cool while V explored.

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This will be your fate. (C) Veronika 2016

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(C) Veronika 2016

My vision was affected once again- some days I can’t handle the glare and really need my sunglasses. My iris adjustment, if I take them off, is very slow – all I can see is white glare. Some diabetic effect? No-one can tell me so far. It wears off. We set off back to the car and met an Aussie couple called Deanne and her brother Brian from Brisbane and Cairns respectively. Deanne immediately noticed my legs and said they don’t look too good. From her very intelligent voice, I suspect a nurse. We had a good chat and exchanged email addresses, so that was nice.

Putuh recommended seeing the Pantai Putih, the white sand beach near Candidasa (I think!) This involved a steep descent on dirt roads to reach the beach, but it was very good. V is a strong swimmer and dives and snorkels, so she went for a good long swim, but reports that the plastic and litter in the water was very off-putting.

I was feeling a bit off colour so  I sat in the shade and tried to stay cool. How I wish I could go into the sea. New reason to try harder now.

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That’s a funny expression on my face but I’m actually quite happy. Beard trim and haircut on the agenda. Pantai Putih. (C) Veronika

The Karangasem Water Palace was on the agenda but we both said we wanted to reach Amed, so we saw it driving by. Us, not the water palace – it stayed still.

Amed is on the east coast on an incredibly winding narrow road. We were booked into a hotel called Life in Amed, rated four star. Unfortunately, not a good choice, I take responsibility! Small bungalow, hot as hell when we entered (air-con hadn’t been turned on and there’s a huge upper clear glass window facing the afternoon sun, so a heat inlet). Nowhere to put our bags, no seat for the small table, a worn look to the bathroom and fittings. Disappointing. Nice pool where we met a Hungarian woman from Budapest (pronounced Buda pesht, if you please) and her daughter and friend. V can speak a bit of Hungarian and they both speak German, so they chatted on while I snuggled. It was OK, I could pick up the bones of the conversation, Danke schön.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and it was OK without being too memorable. Fish overpowered by the spices and sauce, huge prawns but very messy to eat.

Next morning:

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Amed. Ain’t that nice? (I have processed that photo.)  (C) PJ Croft 2016

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The Amed bungalow.     (C) PJ Croft 2016

So that was Amed. It’s kilometer after kilometer of hotels along there, all prices, all levels, if you want somewhere isolated but full of life, that’s where to go.

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Next day, Wednesday 23rd, was a long drive from Amed to Lovina. The road is incredibly twisty initially, but straightens out as you get to Singaraja and on. We reached V’s friend Surya’s place about 4.30pm and I saw her wine production cellar. She makes wine from all kinds of fruits, and I sampled a sparkling style made from blimbing, star fruit. Very acceptable. Also strawberry wine, but terlalu manis for me.

That was V’s destination, so Putuh and I set off back to Sanur. Ugh, 3½ hours up and over the mountan range, narrow roads, crazy dangerous drivers, holdups due to religious processions, glaring headlights. I’m glad Putuh was, IS, such a careful driver. I was bloody glad to reach the Taksu at 9pm, dog tired, too tired to eat any dinner, room feeling like home and freezing cold. I’m in the same room. I like this hotel – I think it’s going to be my automatic choice whenever I come to Bali from now on, if I stay in the south, of course.

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Beach seller.  (C) Veronika 2016

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At the original village. Beautiful scroll work on bamboo strips.  (C) Veronika 2016

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Veronika yearns to be back on a boat like this, from her time in the Caribbean. That’s Nusa Penida in the background. It’s a huge island which I must visit one day. (C) Veronika 2016