At Pemaron, Bali, day 1

 

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The villa pool, looking west, with the mountains behind Lovina and Seririt in the distance.

Wow, what a couple of days I’ve had. Wednesday 11 May was the day I set out for Bali, to stay until the end of June, when I have to come back to Perth for a medical appointment.

My good friend Barry arrived slightly early at 08.20 to take me to the airport. He was almost missing a work sales meeting to help me. That shows his generosity.

My Air Asia  flight was scheduled for 13.20 and although I was very early for check-in, I was looking forward to a relaxing wait after check-in and a nice daytime flight. But the first thing to hit me was an SMS message from Air Asia, flight delayed to 14.40. Oh well, another 80 mins, not too bad.

I managed to get my bags checked in at about 11.00am I think. One bag weighed 19.5kg, the other, 15.4kg. Lucky I paid for the extra weight.

Then the next SMS message arrived – flight delayed to 17.20pm! What?! Oh, too long a wait. I tried to find a comfortable place to lie down and half succeeded but soon had to uncramp.

Then the next message arrived: flight delayed to 18.40! Oh hell, this was getting beyond a joke. No reason given, of course. I went through immigration at about 5pm, getting a drug and explosives check in the process, and settled in for a long wait. 18.40 came and went and still no call to board. Finally at about 18.50 we boarded. I had seat 1B, right up against the front bulkhead this time. That was $10 well spent for a “Hot Seat” – it gave me priority boarding too. Another couple asked me to move to the window (1A), which was fine, and finally at 19.20 we were away.

The flight was longer than the usual 3¼ hours and we landed at about 11pm I think.

I had to get a visa that can be extended to 60 days (I won’t be here that long, but more than 30 days), so I had to pay US$35 for a normal Visa on Arrival, instead of getting a free visa as happens now for we Aussies. I couldn’t find the VoA desk and blundered into an office, before I was shooed out by a guy in uniform. He pointed to one of the visa counters. Hah! The guys were lounging down below the desk height, so I hadn’t seen them on the way in.

OK, the rest was easy. I paid, explained to the final immigration guy that I wanted to extend, but I had to go back to Perth at end of June, and that was that. No problem.

Then it was a long wait for our baggage. The conveyor remained stubbornly stationary. It finally started moving and luckily my bags were two of the first off. Out through the green channel, no X-ray inspection required and just waved me out. Thank goodness!

So, finally, at about 11.45pm, I was in my love’s arms again, greeted warmly, with her friend Surya and son Andre in their car, and we were away.

I’d booked a little hotel in Kuta, in an out of the way spot, but only $25 a night because I thought I’d be on my own, but it was fine with us all there – not all in one room, of course!

Wednesday morning was a good sleep in, breakfast outside, then another sleep while Surya ran some errands. We were finally away to Lovina at about 2.30pm. This time Andre took the west coast route. I’d wondered what it’s like. Crumbs, traffic, twists and turns –  nothing like the straight highway I’d envisaged.

At 5pm we stopped at Bedugul for some makan – I had some of the best chicken satay I think I’ve ever had, and two lime sodas, beautiful. The others had a full meal.

Then we were away at about 5.30pm up over the mountains and down the other side to my new residence at Pemaron, between Lovina and Singaraja, right on the coast, on the water’s edge, in fact.

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You can get an idea of how big this place is. What seems to be north in the pool is actually looking slightly south of west. Lovina is south west of here, Singaraja north east, both about 3.5km away.

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There we are, up the top.

It was hard to see at night, but I soon saw the huge pool and after a long job of unloading all the things in my suitcases, it was into the pool. The first thing I noticed was that you could see lights all across the horizon. At first I thought it was a wide bay encircling us, but Veronika pointed out that most of the lights were fishing boats. There are town lights off to the left, though.

Surprisingly, after a while in the pool I got cold enough that I was getting leg cramps and had to get out. It was bed time anyway. The bedroom is air conditioned, but the main lounge and dining area just fan cooled. It’s fine.

Wow, what a house! We’re house sitting for a friend of Veronika’s until end of September, and I think this is going to be more than comfortable. This is a BIG house, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, three toilets, showers everywhere, big outdoor sitting and dining area, luxury infinity pool with cabanas and massage table, beautiful lawns and gardens and a beaut young dog called Bobby. Very playful. Fantastic. Wants to lick me, of course. And there’s a monkey, in a big cage outside. Poor little bugger. Frightened of me initially.

So after a good sleep on the too hard mattress, I’ve just had a fantastic swim at 7.30am. The rest of the day has been sorting out suitcases, finding things, setting up this laptop, connecting everything to chargers, taking my medications, putting moisturiser on my legs to prevent skin drying and cracking from the chlorinated pool water and trying to keep cool. Ay, panas! Ai yi yi, it’s hot. Even the locals are complaining. Luckily all three bedrooms are air-conditioned and I’m writing this in a spare bedroom which has a desk and stools. There are two big bathrooms with all the latest European plumbing, each with a toilet, so there’s no competition.

I’ll be here until the 17th of May, next Tuesday, when I have a fixed, pre-paid booking at a hotel in Sanur. Veronika will come with me, and that booking goes until the morning of the 25th. After that we may stay on a few more days, at the Taksu, I hope, that hotel I liked so much in March. Then it will be back here until I have to go home around the 26th June. I have an appointment with a specialist on Friday 1 July at the Mount, then there’s the federal election on the 2nd July.

I hope the specialist will schedule an operation to remove my gastric band as soon as possible. After that, I may need a further appointment, so it’s hard to say when I’ll be back here – early August I hope. I hope, he says knowingly.

So, what an amazing turnaround in my life since March. New things are happening thick and fast. Good things! Bagus!

Nearly time

Bromo dawn3Y

© PJ Croft 2016

One sleep to go until I go to Bali again. This time I’ll have some warm arms to meet me there. Yum. Staying in Kuta tomorrow night, then up over the mountains to Pemaron on Thursday. I believe it’s a bit hot?

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It was off to Joondalup this morning for the ultrasound scan of my right shoulder. I’ve been having pain, and the theory is it’s bursitis.

Crumbs, I started making appointments with what I thought was plenty of time. I phoned my GP for an appointment on Tues 26 April. The earliest I could get in there was 2 May, a 9 day wait! This is hopeless – 9 days’ wait for a GP appointment? So she referred me for the ultrasound and I phoned for an appointment the same day. The earliest they had available was today, 8 days later!

OK, I figured although I fly tomorrow, it should be OK.  I arrived at the counter this morning for the ultrasound and they told me I should have said I needed an injection this day – I’d have to get another referral and wait a week for the steroid injection. What!!?? I said “Nobody told me this.” The woman said, “Why didn’t you say you’d need a doctor?” I said I didn’t know I had to !!

Anyway I had the ultrasound, and it showed mild bursitis, and was told I could have the injection if I paid the full fee. How much? They didn’t know. Please wait.

So I waited 10 mins and they came back and said please come in and wait. The nurse didn’t know the cost, so she went away and came back – $235. OK, go ahead, I need it now, not in a week’s time.

So I had the injection. Yow! YOW!! It hurt. A long needle right into the shoulder muscle.

All over, take this piece of paper and give it to reception. So I go to reception, she takes the piece of paper and says, “See you later, have a nice day.” “Huh?” I said, “Are you going to send me the bill?” “No, it goes to Medicare”, she said. So I walked out without having to pay anything. Good stuff. I’ll know in a few days whether it’s worked, apparently. It feels a bit better now, I think.

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Lucky I’ve got 40kg and two suitcases. I’m carrying some goods for someone. And almost two sets of clothes. Luckily I can leave most of it there when I come back this time.

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I still haven’t succeeded in getting any pictures from my OSMO camera. It requires your smart phone to act as controller and viewfinder, and I’ve had a lot of trouble connecting. I’m slowly getting there. I’m taking it all with me as I’ll have plenty of time up there.

It’s time, again

Dieng hot springs 387B

Dieng hot springs. © PJ Croft 2016

Election, 2 July. Will I be here or in Bali? I think I’ll be here.

There’s an excellent article in The Guardian by that excellent American-Australian, (by marriage) Kristina Keneally. After coming to Australia only in 1994, she was, for a time, premier of NSW! She is outstanding.

Australian democracy truly is remarkable. Yes, we had a few far-from-perfect prime ministers in the past few years, but we survived. In fact, compared to the overwhelming majority of nations on earth, we thrived, even through the global financial crisis. The Australian political system – the Westminster system – ensured that survival. Surprise, surprise, I believe that when a group of MPs removes an unsuitable prime minister (or premier) it is not evidence that the system is broken but rather that it works as it should for the good of the nation.

And if you don’t agree with me, let’s chat next year when President Trump, an economic and foreign policy disaster elected by a fraction of the eligible voters in America, is unable to be removed from office by his disgruntled fellow Republicans in Congress.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/08/its-time-to-choose-australia-its-time-to-pick-a-side-choose-wisely

Do you re-elect a government which is composed of climate change deniers, look after the rich taxers, harsh, cruel, torturing, child abusing, lying, war mongering, tax cheating liars, or do you vote for a party which, for all its flaws, has a long term vision to change society for the better.

Make no mistake, there is a solid faction in the Liberal Party which wants Tony Abbott, that mad monk, restored to the prime ministership. Which wants even further cuts to the ABC and SBS, despite the Lord Rabbott’s solemn promise that there would be no cuts last election. It was a lie! This is the Liberal Party way, both at Federal and state level – just make any promises the electorate wants, then forget the promises after the election. Abbott did it, Barnett did it. You cannot believe anything either of them says.

Ah, I’m wasting my breath. Vote Labor, or if you can’t, vote Greens.

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I’m packing for Wednesday. I added another 10kg to my baggage allowance yesterday, making 40kg. It cost $46 for that extra 10kg. I’m taking two suitcases, one to leave at the villa in Pemaron, the other to travel back and forth with. It’s lucky, because I have a lot of stuff! It’s not clothes so much as medical stuff, two months worth of medications in their boxes, plus a load of bandages and waterproof dressings, plus moisturizing cream in its big container … plus, plus, plus. Not to mention all the electronic gear. Laptop, charger, tablet, charger, CPAP with its humidifier this time.

I usually leave the humidifier at home, but I was noticing a bit of nose pain from the dry hotel room air-con last time. In other words, I do need the humidifier, even in Bali. I have my old, fixed pressure machine here and I can use that when I return here. That will save a big amount of space and weight. About 5kg. My old machine has a humidifier too but it’s huge.

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A friend came here last Wednesday and took me to lunch at the Dome. Very nice of him. He had an ulterior motive – he was dying to show me his drone. It’s DJI Phantom, I think, and wow, what a machine. At one stage he took it up to about 30m altitude and did a pan around the suburb. I could see my house, of course, and a whole lot more besides. Very impressive – you wouldn’t need to hire a helicopter for a production these days. But I wasn’t tempted. I can’t think why I would want one.

However, he also had a device which did tempt me. It’s a DJI OSMO

OSMO1

It’s a gimbal mounted hand held video camera, which shoots 4K (4096 x 2048) Ultra Hi-Def, completely image stabilised by virtue of the mechanical gimbal mounting, and further stabilised in the software, I think. The resulting video is rock solid stable and pin sharp. I wish I could show you, but I can’t upload 4K I’m afraid.

It also has a button to take stills, which are the output of the 12Mpixel sensor, so are pretty darn good too.

I had to buy it! Why do I want it? Shooting video from a vehicle, holding it outside rather than trying to shoot through the windscreen with all its reflections. Shooting video of ceremonies in Bali. And of gamelan orchestras. I have a Sony stereo microphone which plugs into the fro0nt of this device. I’ve had it for years and never actually used it, until now. Shooting hand-held while just walking around, through markets, on the streets, capturing the life. I think I’ll enjoy using it because although it’s very solidly made, it’s not that big and will fit in my camera bag. Therefore I’ll carry it with me, ready for use.

One drawback is that the battery only lasts for 20 mins, so you really need a spare battery. But it only takes 1 hr to charge. I don’t think I’ll buy a spare yet, I’ll see how I go on this trip first. I’ve just looked up the price – $55, not too expensive. Maybe I’d better buy one.

But it uses your yuppie phone as the viewfinder and controller, and I’m having trouble connecting to the app. Must try harder.

 

They listen to me

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Japan  © PJ Croft 1992, 2016

Once again, I’ve had a newspaper change its headline as a result of my criticism. I previously wrote about The Saturday Paper’s use of “Our columnist flys about the nation.” Even this blog software flags that as a mistake. They’ve corrected it to “flies”. What amazes me is that that mistake went on for nearly a year, uncorrected, and unremarked upon by any other reader.

This time it’s the Guardian:

Second refugee at Australian detention centre in Nauru sets themselves on fire

That was the headline on an article yesterday. I protested at their grammar, (as well as at the Nauru camp).

“Second refugee” is singular. “Sets” is singular, but “themselves” is plural, although I’m not even sure it’s a valid word.
At first I thought you didn’t want to reveal the gender of the victim, but you reveal that it’s a young woman in the sub head above the photo.
Why didn’t you just say, Second refugee at Nauru detention centre self immolates ? Or, “sets herself on fire” ?
I assert that I am the only person left alive on Earth who knows how to use singular and plural words.

Shortly after I sent this, they changed it to:

Second refugee at Australian detention centre in Nauru sets herself on fire

Gee, I’m doing well. Malcolm Turncoat is going to ring me to ask for my advice this afternoon. 😉

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Dutton disgusting

The picture behind the text was captured by a news organisation photographer this morning. It’s our esteemed Minister for Immigration, the Honourable Peter Dutton MHR. It was up on the web for a while, but has been taken down. I wonder why?

But someone grabbed it and added this text. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

We can’t go on like this! I can’t believe that the Labor Party is prepared to go along with this deliberate cruelty. I’m seriously considering changing my vote, but it won’t be to the Liberal Party candidate, that’s for sure. “Honourable”? They must be sick!

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 I’ve had no call-back from the company in Melbourne that’s supposed to be responsible for the community TV antenna in this area. ABC TV was again completely unwatchable last night. I’ve had no reception of ABC for over two weeks now. Not happy.

I think the only answer is that I’ll have to put my own antenna up, regardless of any council regulations. Let them tell me to pull it down. They’ll almost certainly never notice it.

Jobs list

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This meets with approval. I worked on it yesterday to improve the exposure and colour and to reduce the noise. Big tick.

I wrote a small jobs list for today and it grew and grew. I think there are about 10 items. I’ve done the first two and items keep getting added.

First was to make an appointment for an ultrasound scan of my right shoulder. For the last six months it’s been progressively becoming more painful when I lift it up or back. At first it was just annoying but now it’s a problem, including when I’m driving. I also can’t put my right arm around someone in bed. That’s important!

The doctor reckons it’s bursitis, so I’ve made an appointment for an ultrasound scan and potential steroid injection. Unfortunately, the earliest I can get is tomorrow week, the day before I go to Bali. Booger. Can’t be helped.

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Second was to ring Wanneroo City to enquire about TV reception. For the past two weeks I’ve had no signal on the ABC channels, which are the ones I want most, of course. (Why is it that it’s always the ABC channels that go kaput? This is VHF channel 12, right next to the commercial channels, yet they are strong and clear. It’s a conspiracy, I reckon. Same for DAB+ digital radio. I’ve got a beautiful Sony digital radio receiver, and it picks up about 30 radio stations, but not the ABC or SBS stations! What?? Why?? Grrrr.)

Anyway, I phoned the number that Wanneroo council gave me for Communications Australia Pty Ltd. Well, after being dumped off three times, I finally got through and the bloke didn’t know what I was talking about. It turned out he was in Melbourne!

I explained that as far as I know, TV is distributed in this area underground from a community antenna, and his company is the one that installed and maintains it. “Oh”, he said, “er, can I get back to you? This is the first time we’ve had an enquiry like this.”

So now I’m waiting for them to call back. This’ll be interesting.

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Next was to make another appointment with my GP. She gave me scripts for a couple of items last Friday, but they are marked no repeats. I’m going to be in Bali for 6 weeks or more, so I need more repeats. I also need a flu vaccination. It probably wouldn’t protect against a Bali strain of flu, but when you’re cooped up in a plane full of Perth passengers, you could easily catch something. Better safe than sorry.

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Next is to make an appointment with the gastric band surgeon. I’m having problems which may be related to how easily the stomach passes food, or not. Therefore the band will have to come out before we can make any diagnosis. I’ve been thinking about it for the past two years and I think it’s time.

This affects how long I can stay in Bali this time, of course.

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Next is to tell Centrelink that I’ll possibly be out of the country for more than the six weeks they allow without notification. This means I’ll have to negotiate their infamous phone sustem, with waiting times of 45 mins or more. I’ll have to do that later today, although it operates 24/7 so you can actually ring at 3am if you want to. Might do that.

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Next is to go out. I need to go to Chemist Warehouse for some things for a friend, and to buy a cheap, smaller suitcase. I want to leave my big suitcase up in Bali this trip, and bring a smaller case back when I return at the end of June.

Then to my local pharmacy to stock up on all my medications for the next two months. I’ll be away for more than six weeks, so I need two months’ supply. This bulky! I’ve paid for 30kg baggage in two checked bags this trip. I’ll need it.

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Another topic: I freely admit I’m a bagaholic. Especially camera bags – I’m a camera bag freak. I bought another one on Saturday. Yeah.

This is the one I bought in Kuta in March:

It’s an excellent bag, light and well designed, especially since it includes a zip opening in the “lid”. Also especially since it only cost $45. Good value! I like it, but it only holds one camera. It’s not quite big enough for me.

On Saturday I bought this:

It’s a genuine camera bag, designed to take two cameras and a couple of lenses.

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There are two cameras, left and centre compartments, and an additional large lens, right compartment. It can hold more, but then the weight becomes a factor.

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It’s a beautiful piece of work. It’s soft cotton canvas, and even includes a rain cover in the front pocket. It can take a tablet or up to 11″ laptop in the rear pocket, but that makes it even heavier.

This was a little more expensive, um, $382, but I had to have it.

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 In my last posting, I said that Air Asia’s fares are very low, $181 return, and I said there’s gotta be a catch.

Well, there is, of course. To cut a long story short, I’m paying $185 one way. That’s still pretty good, but the other fare didn’t include luggage, or seat selection, or a meal, or compulsory flight insurance, or an extra $16 for an extra 10kg of luggage, and so on … I’ve actually only booked a flight up, because I don’t know when I’ll need to come back. I’ll be going in on a 30 day tourist visa and that can be extended for another 30 days (for a fee, of course), so that makes the latest I can stay 9 July. I hope to be having the gastric surgeon appointment for a band removal operation about then, so I have to come back.

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