Holy crap!


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.


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


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).


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


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


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!


Mahagiri   400mm!  (C) PJ Croft 2016


Mahagiri  (C) PJ Croft 2016

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


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.


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


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.


This will be your fate. (C) Veronika 2016


(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.


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:


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



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.


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.


Beach seller.  (C) Veronika 2016


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


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