Mein Gott

 

Um, sorry about the delay, I’ve been a bit distracted. Too much to say, too little time, and I want my frühstück. I’m in Amed at this moment, just here overnight, heading round the north side to Lovina today to drop V, then I go back to Sanur tonight. I hope to go to Lovina for a couple of days next week to see V’s place better.

Wow, the roads around here are pretty primitive, twisty, winding, narrow, blocked by small trucks, surprise intersections with little signposting. Lucky we’re being driven by an experienced Balinese driver. I hope today’s will be a bit easier. I’m finding it quite tiring.

I’ve just been out past the pool talking to a lovely Hungarian woman who’s here with her daughter. She’s from Budapest and thinks it’s the best city in the world. Hmmm. But Vienna, mama mia! she says I must go there and see both cities. Yep.

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I’m in a new space at the moment, and I think it’s a good space, a space I want to stay in. This is very cryptic, I know, but I’ll tell more later, as we go along in the months ahead. It’s a new feeling, a new space and I’m needing a short break by myself, as I’ve been for so long. No problem, just sorting things in my mind.

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Gotta go right now – more pics asap.

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Pramarama

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Suci and satay at the dinner    (C) PJ Croft 2016

It’s 4am on Saturday and I can’t sleep again. Decided to edit my video from last night’s satay dinner.

What a disappointment. I thought this was going to be a full gamelan orchestra performance, but instead it was plinky plonky and flutes. There was a lone dancer, but although she was good, it was not the full bit. Here’s some video:

They restored the light about 10 minutes later, but frankly, the whole lot was a disappointment. The food was OK, but …  The drinks added a substantial cost (I only had a small Bintang and an arak) and the night ended up costing me $26.60.

It was very hard to get good photos and I didn’t get much. The walk back to my hotel was very tiring and I hit the sack at 9.45pm, falling asleep instantly. I awoke at 12.45pm and here I am at 4.20am. Duh.

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Bagus, bagus, bagus. I’ve found a supply of my recommended antibiotic capsules, the full 500mg ones. I spoke to my GP last night and she agreed, the 250mg x 5 days’ course was not enough.The lower dose and small packet were prescribed by the substitute GP I saw a few weeks ago. I don’t think he understood why I was asking for them and I didn’t realise, until I got the script dispensed, that it was a small quantity.

Now I feel I have the stopping power to ensure no leg infection spread. Thank goodness.

I’m very pleased with my doctor in Perth. She emails me from her own account after hours and we talk things over. Very reassuring.

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I’ve thought also – if I use the thick moisturising gel on my legs before I go in the pool, that should stop the drying action of the chlorine. Must try it. Beautiful clear day today.

But, oh, I’m annoyed by a huge Dutch woman here who, when in the pool, pulls a ball under the water and lets it go. Not just once or twice, but continually. The noise of the splashing drives me nuts after a while. She goes for an hour or more. She must think it’s exercise or something. Grrr.

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Barong dancer R59

This is a good Balinese dancer. 1986     (C) PJ Croft 2016

Barong dancers norm 60N

(C) PJ Croft 1986, 2016

Dancers B119

Real Balinese dancers 1986  (C) PJ Croft 2016

Gamelan orchestra G98

This is a full gamelan orchestra 1986    (C) PJ Croft 2016

 

 

Ho hum

Seine 3

Paris, Seine 2008    (C) PJ Croft 2016

Urrrrgh, another rotten, rotten night. Despite all that walking yesterday, I didn’t feel very tired when I went to bed at 10pm and I could not get to sleep all night. Didn’t sleep a wink. Took another valerian, took Tramadol which says it might make you drowsy, but nothing worked. On the computer at 2am to 3am, felt sleepy, but still no go. What is going on? It seems to be just getting older. I am elderly. Ugh.

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Went to apotek to buy more stuff. I can’t get the antibiotic cephalexin, so I took what they recommended. It looks genuine, I’ve read the leaflet thoroughly and it looks like what I need. I’m only buying it in case the leg problem is still evident when I’ve finished the cephalexin course on Monday, five days. It doesn’t seem enough. The new one is just three tablets, one a day for three days. Hmmm. I’d better ask my GP.

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Cowaramup bay pano

Bunker Bay, WA   March 2013    (C) PJ Cro

I took pity on Warung Blanjong on the corner and had brekky there. I was really enjoying their music when a mid sized bus pulled in about 3m from me and disgorged three adults and about a dozen kids. They came in, banged and scraped seats, and left the diesel bus engine running! That was the end of my music and peace and quiet. Very annoying.

My meal, just two poached eggs on toast with bacon and tomato, and a lemon juice, came to Rp90,000. I’m afraid that when the hotel’s buffet brekky, all you can eat, is Rp85,000 flat charge, the warung is poor value. Sorry about that. They don’t seem to have many customers.

One of the adult arrivals was a Sri Lankan woman, I’d guess, or Indian anyway. What a stunner! When she smiled, I nearly melted. But I’m spoken for, aren’t I. 🙂

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Good to see the A$ is up to US$0.76 ! I saw exchange rate signs of Rp9995 to our dollar yesterday. Might even break the 10,000?

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Off Trigg Beach, Saturday 27 Feb and 38degC.    (C) PJ Croft 2016

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I’ve got a SIM card  at last. Cost? A$10 – cheap. That’s short term, two weeks. What a process the guy went through. The card had to be physically cut to fit, using big scissors. It took him about 15 mins of trimming, over and over, and pushing the card around in the holder to get it to work. Finally he put his thumb up and smiled. Lucky I won’t have to remove and replace it while I’m here. Not a good look. Meanwhile I was cooking in direct sun and trying to find a comfortable position, and not lean too heavily on the cracked and repaired glass counter.

But it works and I’ve had my first call from V, so that’s good.

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After that, I thought I’d have that massage at last. Crumbs, yesterday I was beating ’em off with a stick, but today both places were full. Couldn’t do me. Oh well, another time.

Aaah, a day off

Cuter houses Cambridge

Cambridge, UK 2008. Isn’t that nice?     (C) PJ Croft 2016

I think I’ll try the walk down Jl. Sudamala to the beach today. It’s a bit cloudy and nicely cool this morning.

I’ve just been watching an NHK doco on Japanese Mitsubishi sales of e-rickshaws in SE Asian countries (while my brekky digests!) and it was fascinating. These are trishaws with an electric drive and batteries. What a good idea. But there were two points.

First, it reinforced something I’ve noticed for a long time, the dominance of English as the language of the world. In everything we see, from Middle East wars to UN communications to many African countries, English is used. Of course, if it wasn’t used, we probably wouldn’t be seeing it on screen unless it’s important enough to require captioning.

But English has become the Lingua Franca of the world. There’s irony for you – Lingua Franca means “language of the Franks” from the old tribes in France, or Frank-land as it was known, Land of the Franks.

In this doco a Japanese salesman from Mitsubishi was working in Nepal trying to get the trishaw drivers to convert to his e-trishaws. He was getting a bit of opposition from the bicycle trishaw riders because they saw them as a threat. But in their meetings they were all speaking English. Between a Japanese and Nepalese. Wow.

Second, they showed the sales guy in a meeting back in Tokyo discussing sales and strategies, and he got so emotional that he was crying, sobbing. In a sales meeting! Amazing. Different strokes.

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I’ve been setting up Skype this morning and of course it uses the camera in the laptop to send my image to the viewer. But my image is terrible! It’s because the camera is set into the lower left edge of the screen, so it shoots me from below my chin. I hate it! I’m really not happy with this. I might have to get an outboard camera that feeds in by USB. How could Dell have made such a basic mistake?

The only way I could overcome this at the moment is to prop the laptop up high so that the camera is pointing down. How am I going to do this?

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 That was a good walk. I did as I said, I walked down Jl. Sudamala to the junction with Jl. Cemara and turned right. As soon as I got round the corner, it all became familiar territory. That’s the way I used to walk in 2010/11 when I was in the villa.

So I called in to see the Villa Frangipani, the first time I’ve been there in five years. All closed up, but looks much the same. NB: the door to the generator cabinet was unlocked and ajar. I suppose the ‘lektrik’ people need access to the meter? That generator would be a prime target for thieves, though.

Anyway, just as I was walking away, a van pulled up outside the villa and a load of Aussies got out and went in. So it’s rented, then. That’s good.

Back down the lane, and across and down the lane to the beach. (First time I’ve walked that lane. Shame on me. I should have done it in 2011.)

I noticed the nice restaurant, Mama Putuh’s was it? has closed down. That’s a pity. Gardenia is still going though.

Got to the beach and the breeze was beautiful. So many prahus!

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Yoohoo, prahu. A forest of prahus.   All images (C) PJ Croft 2016

Walked to the left (north) and by now was feeling a bit bushed. I wanted to sit down, but it’s all private hotel seating! I wandered along, breathing and sweating and a waitress inveigled me in to the Prama restaurant. Just a coffee, I thought. A lemon juice, cafe latte, little biscuit, basket of Italian bread and butter, a BLT sandwich and chips later, I staggered out. I hadn’t had lunch! It’s OK, I won’t need dinner either.

I really have cut out one meal a day for many months now, and it’s working. My weight has really gone down.

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That’s 1 Jan 2015 to 26 Feb 2016, 10Kg exactly. (The big drop was when I had a urinary tract infection. It was quite severe – I was unconscious for about five hours at one stage. I’ve managed to maintain that loss, though.)

I must ask the desk here if they have any scales they can lend me because with the extra walking, the sweating and the reduced food intake, I hope I’ve lost even more. my watch bands are loose.

By the way, I just placed the order for that Invicta watch. It’ll take two weeks to be delivered and I’ll be home by then. Sob!

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Anyway, back to the walk: it gets better. I got talking to the waitress, Suci (and pointed out that she sounds like Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar – she hadn’t heard of her but she has now). Anyway, ……….  it turned out that she’s not Balinese, she’s from Timor Leste. Isn’t that interesting. She walked me all the way out to Jl. Cemara through the hotel and we talked about Timor Leste – her grandfather was a king on the island. Wow. Her family has lost its status there now and she’s had to come here to find work. But landing a job at the Prama is a good start! She’s only been there a week.

I made the point that Timor Leste should be working flat out to get Aussies to come there for holidays instead of Bali. She says they all speak basic English, and they have beautiful beaches. But I never see any offers for holidays there. Pity.

The small meal at the Prama restaurant wasn’t any more expensive than this place, Rp.133,000 A$13.36. Suci persuaded me to book for a dinner Balinese music performance tomorrow night at the restaurant. For the buffet satay three course dinner with music performance, Rp.150,000 a bit over $15. Bargain. So I signed up. I’m looking forward to it.

Then walked back to the Taksu, not far, and that’s my exercise for the day. Very satisfying. I’m really glad I did it. The new camera/dilly bag worked well. I might have finally found my new bag.

By the way, it shows the improvement. Last Friday and Saturday I was virtually crippled. My sacro-iliac or whatever it was had me crying out in pain. But now, apart from a pain in the upper hip, I can just about walk normally. Good.

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That’s the good news. The bad news is that another lesion has appeared on my leg, making three. It’s all a bit messy, oozing. I have to clean it twice a day and renew the plasters. I’ve got the Betadine cream now and that inspires confidence. Hospitals always seem to like Betadine.

I’m taking daily photos of my leg to show progress, good or otherwise, but it’s too gory to show here. And even though the sparkling pool is only a few paces away, I can’t go in, bugger it.

Wet, humid and cooler – nice!

Bromo Merapi 07_1

Fuming. Mt Bromo 1989  (C) PJ Croft 2016

Lots of rain last night and this morning, and a beautiful cool day. Cooler than Perth!

All set for our three day tour of the east and north coasts next Monday. First stop Candidasa, next day Amed, then to V’s village near Lovina to drop her home and then back to Sanur for me on Wednesday afternoon. I’ve asked to do some slow driving around the local towns and villages near Candidasa, and, from Amed to be driven around/over the mountain to Trunyan on the south side of Lake Batur. At last I’ll be able to see it.

I’m hoping for a nice, relaxed trip.

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I took the KK bus to Galeria again today to buy a few pharmacy things (e.g. Betadine cream and large waterproof dressings). I asked for cephalexin antibiotic. They sell antibiotics but didn’t know that one. I wasn’t going to accept an unknown substitute.

I have one course from home in my bag, but I’ve been holding off using it. I’d like to have a second course available. But with two weeks left of this trip, if I started my course now, it would easily cover the remaining time. I guess I’d better start it.

The lesions are about the same today, no better, no worse. I just have to make sure to clean and dry them, apply antiseptic and fresh plasters and hope. Two weeks to going home. It’s annoying to have to avoid the pool.

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Of course I couldn’t help stopping off again at Gramedia to look at their magnificent range of bags. I passed on a few possibles, all over $100, then just as I was about to give up, one caught my eye:

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The one on the right. Cost, A$45. That’s my 26 year old bag on the left. The new blue one is meant as a camera bag and takes two cameras, with dividers. I’ve removed half the dividers (right) and it takes my two cameras neatly. In fact, it may even be a substitute for my old bag in its own right. It’s about the same size and would hold what I need to carry. Hmmm.

So I’m very pleased with this. At the price, it’s brilliant.

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While browsing the KK bus brochures again, I noticed that the maps have changed and now show the Swiss Bel-Resort as the mid-Sanur stop, not Oasis Lagoon. OK, that would suit me as I want to get off near Hardy’s. My map showed the Oasis, and they wouldn’t stop there for me on Monday. I assumed my map was old and they’d stop at the Swiss Bel-Resort today.

Nope. It doesn’t matter about my  polite requests, they won’t stop at either hotel, nor at Hardy’s for me. What the hell? I was the only passenger! We stopped at the Jalan Bypass stop and waited there for ten minutes while no-one got off and no-one got on. I was annoyed that they wouldn’t stop for ten seconds outside Hardy’s for me.

I’m going to make a complaint. This is ridiculous. Their maps show two distinct stops in Jalan Tamblingan, but they won’t stop at either and won’t give me a reason. Stupid.

Full speed ahead, cap’n

Lake Batur B84

Lake Batur 1983. That tiny village on the far side is Trunyan. It occurs to me that I might get a chance to go there on this tour next week. That will be very satisfying because I’ve wanted to go there for a long time.   (C) PJ Croft 2016

Well, things are moving ahead at a fast clip. I’m doing a three day tour of the east and north coasts of Bali with my new friend next week. The timing works out perfectly for both of us because that’s when I was thinking of going, and it dovetails with a commitment my friend has too.

I just have to find a driver. I know two guys and I’ve asked the hotel to quote me as well so that I have a point of reference on the cost. Still waiting to hear from them.

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That’s Lake Batur again. Those lights in the distance are Trunyan. I took this shot from Kintamani on 21 December last year at 5.30am.    (C) PJ Croft 2016

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My sleep has gone to the dogs. Once again last night, I dropped off very quickly and woke about 2½ hrs later, and that was it. Just dozed from then on. At least it means I’m getting to listen to my favourite Radio National programs via the internet. With the three hour time difference with Sydney, the BBC Business Report comes on at 2am, and so on. I probably shouldn’t, in fact I definitely shouldn’t be listening to the radio, but …

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My leg is a bit better. The lesions are dry now after applying the iodine based dressings (waterproof plasters, I mean) and I’ve got an antiseptic called Rivanol which was recommended. I’m using that, and there’s been no worsening. That means I’m holding my ground. I hope to see some healing now.

But unfortunately, it seems as if the chlorinated pool water is the cause of the problem. It dries the skin something terrible, and that leads to cracks which get infected.

So no swimming! Booger. I’ll need to do more walking, then, and that’s a bit painful in my right hip/back. It’s getting easier, though.

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I received a copy of a warning yesterday: bag snatch thieves are operating in this area, specifically in Jalan Danau Poso, which is the street I walk along sometimes. I was there yesterday.

It’s the obvious method, biker and pillion passenger come up alongside you and the pillion guy grabs your bag and yanks it away. In my case the bag is slung across my shoulder with a very heavy duty strap so I doubt they’d get it off me, but it would be pretty violent. It would pull me off my feet, for sure, and that would be bloody and painful. I’m pretty heavy and I’d go down hard on these rough surfaces. Ouch. it hurts just to think about it.

They’re probably after easier targets, like women with their bag only over their right shoulder. Easy pickings. I’ll certainly keep the warning in mind.

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I’ve had news from a friend in Perth who’s had surgery to fix blocked leg veins that were causing her a lot of pain when walking. She points out that it’s possible my leg veins might be causing poor blood flow to the leg, which leads to the ulceration I’m getting.

Very valid point! I was diagnosed with a bad vein in 2013 by ultrasound scans, and the vascular surgeon mumbled that he might need to fix it. But when I saw him the next time, he said, “Nah, we’ll leave it alone. Come and see me if you’re having trouble.” So I haven’t been back.

But I think I might follow this up. I hate this susceptibility to ulcers and cellulitis. It’s scary and as I said, it means I can’t swim.

The appointment with this vascular surgeon in 2013 was quite annoying. Very annoying!

It was for a date in March, after a two month wait! That was bad enough. I was staying down in Margaret River at the time, about 250Km south of Perth.

So on the appointment day, I got up at 5.30am and left at 6am for the drive to Perth. I drove non-stop and arrived in plenty of time for my 11am appointment. I arrived in his office right on time.

But I waited and waited and waited! I finally got in to his room at 12.05pm, an hour late. He looked at his notes, made his diagnosis and said he wouldn’t do anything, and that was that. It took about 5 minutes! $200 please, or whatever it was.

I felt like telling him I’d driven for two hours to make this appointment, then waited an hour in his waiting room, only to get less than 5 minutes of his time. Grrrr. But I kept quiet. As usual.

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 The more I look at this watch:

INVICTA-13054

… the more I like it. I think I’ll order it. Amazon’s price is A$155 including postage to my home address. I’ll have to replace the strap with a metal one, though. You can’t let leather straps get wet, which is a bit hard to avoid.

Oh, shite

Solo shop dummies crop 189

Dummies, Solo, Java 1989    (C) PJ Croft 2016

Damn, damn, damn. Ulceration has started again on my left leg. I’ve got two circular lesions about 10mm diameter, with a third one starting. Why? Why do I do fine at home (i.e. unbroken skin), but it flares up here? It can be due to too much sitting, but I reckon I’m much more active here.

One answer, of course, is the pool. I don’t swim at home, and I’m swimming almost every day here. I need to swim, it’s the water walking exercise I need, but I might have to give it up.

I’ve got iodine strips and Betadine plasters and I’ve covered these skin breaks thoroughly. I’ve got an antibiotic but I haven’t started it yet. Maybe I’d better. I don’t want to have to go to the hospital. It might be that I have to go home quick smart. I’ll see what it’s like tomorrow.

Another thing is that after relief for over a year, my leg itching is back. This is terrible, unrelenting itching that scratching doesn’t help, and risks breaking the skin. I was just thinking a couple of months ago how good it was to be free of it, but I spoke too soon. Why does it happen, why here?

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Oh well, look on the bright side. I’ve sent an email written in very complimentary terms, shall we say, to the lady I met yesterday, and asking to meet her again. I’ve suggested I could go to visit her at the village she’s in near Lovina. Maybe.

Plus the doctor suggested that massages would be good for my back pain, so I might take advantage of the hotel’s massage parlour. They’re a bit expensive – the cheapest is Rp195,000 (A$20) for 1 hour. Maybe I’ll try it here then seek a cheaper version down the street if I think it makes an improvement.

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Funny. I got a fortune cookie slogan at the Chinese restaurant the other day: “Don’t take yourself so seriously. No-one else does.” Yeah, right.

Then when I picked up my laundry this morning, the woman’s T-shirt read
“Don’t overthink things!” That’s a profound thought for a Bali T-shirt, and an odd coincidence.

My laundry, by the way, cost Rp35,540 for 1.8Kg. That’s $3.64 ! Cheap, cheap. That’s for four T-shirts, five pairs of jocks and a pair of shorts. Bargain. I gave her Rp40,000 and said keep the change. Big spender.

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INVICTA-13054

Another contender for a watch purchase. Not expensive, A$116. Just window shopping. Notice the left handed knobs and buttons. I can understand that – my wrist often accidentally pushes the buttons on the right.

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A reply to my special email has just come in. I’m almost afraid to read it 🙂

Well, I did read it of course and I’m practically floating. I think this is the start of something big. This is just the beginning, of course, so I can’t say much more. We’ll see what happens.

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Wow, 38C yesterday in Perth, 40C today, and this is autumn. A report in the Guardian says February’s world temperature rise was an ‘unprecedented’ 1.5degC, calling it ‘alarming’.

Malaysia is going through a major heatwave, with temperatures hitting 38C. With humidity, that would be a killer.

Yet people still deny climate change, including Marco Rubio, who wants to be President of the USA. What an idiot.