Home again


Aaaah, it’s good to be home, even though I had a great time in Bali. But travel is stressful and exhausting for me now. There were only three immigration people on the six desks, so the three queues were l-o-o-ng and achingly slow. It took nearly an hour from the first X-ray check to walking out into the duty free area. I was desperate to sit down but you can’t. Heavy shoulder bags were pulling my back out of shape, but there was still at least 200m until I could sit. Phew!

I had an iced coffee and recovered a bit, then started the long walk to Gate 9B. Why does Air Asia always get the furthest gate? I was nearly buggered when I got there, only to find people getting up and leaving. We’d been changed to Gate 5! Dammit, nearly all the way back again.

Anyway, I met a guy I used to work with at Seven on the way, so we had a good old chat. We used to call him Mouse, I don’t know why, but also Gizmo because he was a gadget man, like me I guess. We had plenty to talk about.

Then I had priority boarding, so I was in row 1 and seated early. We took off on time, I had quite a nice meal (Nasi Padang) and I nearly slept. We arrived in Perth 30 mins early and I was one of the first off the plane, so zoom, I hit the Customs queue.

But for the first time in years, I was directed to the examination tables. I don’t know why, but I had to put my hand luggage on the X-ray scanner. At the other side, the woman said, “Have you got sweets in your bag?” I said, “Oh yes, they’re jelly beans, from here. I carry them because I’m diabetic, they’re to lift blood sugar.”

She said that’s OK then, and kind of apologised, but she smiled and said I could go. I don’t understand why I was pulled aside, though. I’d ticked no to all the questions. Truth to tell, I had some coffee capsules which are kind of food, but they don’t fit any of the descriptions, unless you call them herbal medicine.


Then I had another fall when I got home, on the front steps. I always find them a bit hard but I was so exhausted that I couldn’t make the top step and down I went, hard. Again, nothing broke, so I reckon my bones are good and strong. I’ve never broken a bone in my life. It was just exhaustion.

That makes about six falls on this trip. Not good. My new glasses account for a few, and accidents for the others. Bali steps and missteps.


I have to do something about my fitness, though, because it seems I’ll be negotiating Bali steps a lot more soon. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time there in the future. Big plans. Bagus.


News of another gempa bumis (earthquake) in Bali this morning, magnitude 5.4 at 5.48 am. It jolted my friend awake. But this time, the epicentre was directly south of Bali. Let’s hope they die away, or move away.



Another one

Another gempa bumi (sorry about the mistake earlier in calling it a gumpa). I mean another strong earth tremor at right on 10.59pm, Sunday 19 August. It was enough to send me out onto the lawn. In fact it’s still going on now at 11.19pm, a gentle swaying of the whole building and floor.

Amazing to think about what’s going on 7km or 27km deep in the earth. Is there any sound? Is it all fire and molten rock down there?

Oh well, time for bed, time to be rocked to sleep by the tremors.

Gumpa lagi!


Wow, another gumpa, another earthquake, just five minutes ago. This was a sharp jolt, followed by the floor (concrete and tiles) swaying for 20 secs or so. It was big enough that I said to my friend, “We’d better go outside!” But the pool remained pretty calm, so that’s a good indication that it wasn’t too big.

This is additional to one we had at 11.35pm on Friday night, again small but it jerked me awake.

This was weird. An hour later, about 12.45am, I was again jerked awake by a flashing white light coming from outside, behind the curtains. Simultaneously, the TV switched on with loud pop music, then 4 secs later switched off again. I was like, “Huh??” It was like something from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

My partner offered an explanation, that maybe she rolled on the TV remote in her movements, but simultaneously with the torch lights, and on and off again? As I said, weird. But I rolled over and went to sleep again. Too hard for me.

PS: I’m told there have actually been three gumbas so far this morning, not only here and Sumbawa but in NZ and Fiji. Global warming, President Dump.


We’re enjoying this hotel very much and have an exciting possibility of staying here more often, and for longer periods. Details are still being mulled over, but the hotel’s offer suits us very well. More news later.


Another one!

Four on bike

How much can you fit on one motorbike? Although you can’t see her there’s another child in the middle. So that’s four people, plus the cartons of water and the big package in the footwell, plus the other baggage!!

Holy cow, what is it with this trip? My injuries continue.

This time I’ve been bitten by a luwak, a Balinese civet cat. These are the animals that eat the coffee beans that pass through their gut and are collected from their droppings, to be packaged and sold at ridiculous prices.

A friend of my friend has a couple of these animals as pets and brought one out last night for us to look at. She asked me if I wanted to touch it and hold it. Like a fool, I agreed. “Don’t let it go”, she said, so I held it pretty tightly. But the thing fought like mad and sank its needle teeth into my left hand between thumb and forefinger. She took it back quickly and I rushed to wash the wound and try to stop the bleeding, which since I’m on anti-coagulant medication, was fairly profuse. All the while I was thinking “rabies?!”

The lady assures me that these are captive animals that have no contact with other animals so have no chance to pick up rabies. I hope she’s right. The puncture wounds have healed almost magically overnight and water still seems fine to me, so here’s hoping.



OK, OK, stop snickering down the back. It’s some kind of vegetable, but we know not what. Who cares?

The civet cat lover is an interesting Russian lady, married to a Balinese artist and living here in Lovina. She does piece work, translating documents of all kinds from Russian to English, (and possibly vice versa?), receiving and sending the work by email. It’s hard work and doesn’t pay very well, but she gets a lot of work. Obviously she’s fluent in English and has picked up the local language very well. She’s a very nice person. I’ve met her here a few times.


We’ve been told that the internet predicts another major earthquake at 11pm tonight. Whether that’s Eastern Australian Standard Time or Bali time we don’t know.

One of the Austrian guys living here is a geologist and his comment when told this is that this is the first time a scientist has been willing to put his name to a prediction such as this. Yup.


After the Fall


And another one. Not another quake, another fall. Leaving a restaurant last night I turned briefly to answer someone who’d said “Bye” and didn’t see the step. Bang! Down I went on my left hip, knee and left forearm. I must have good bones because it was a hard fall on a tiled floor, but although a bit winded, the staff and V helped me up and after brushing myself off, I made a joke and walked away unscathed. I was still a bit shaken up when we got home. A stiff G&T helped.

The problem is this country is full of steps and level changes, from a few centimetres to 40cm or more, and rarely with handrails. My new glasses are making it very difficult for me to judge the heights down below. Oh well.



An amazing coincidence: if you use Windows 10 you probably drooled over the opening welcome log-in photo this morning. There it is above.

Unfortunately they never provide any info on their log-in images, nor any way to download them or save them, so I did a Google search on Lembongan and there it was, but it’s Nusa Penida.

So I was admiring this beach shot this morning and wondering where in the world it is, probably California I thought. Then V wanted to show me a brochure on tours to Nusa Penida, just off Bali. Stap me, there in one of the brochure photos was the same shot! Nowhere near as well reproduced, but pretty unmistakable. What are the chances of that??!! Shut up Sheldon.



We were at the Bintang Bali Beach Bar on the north coast where the LOVINA jetty is, and were treated to a spectacular sunset. It’s hard to realise that we’re facing west there, not north, so the sun sets over the ocean and Gilimanuk peninsula. The photo above was last year, but it was similar last night. Same sun, I think. I didn’t have my good camera with me, but I’m reliably informed there’ll be another one tomorrow night.


Marching kids 2

It’s Indonesia’s Merdeka (Freedom) national day on the 17th and all the schoolchildren are out in their uniforms practicing their marching. It’s very colourful and the kids look real cute. There are masses of them. The scenes above were in Singaraja, the major city on this north coast and the former capital of Bali.


My friend doesn’t like the militarisation of the school kids, whereas I recall enjoying being in uniforms when I was a kid, Cubs, Scouts, St John Ambulance Brigades in primary school, then the army cadets at high school. It taught me a lot, including discipline, teamwork, leadership, pride and (phwoaar) how to fire real weapons, so shall we say we had to agree to disagree.

I was going to add some video, but I forgot that Indonesia blocks Vimeo. There’s a way to get around it, but I’ve been going for hours on this post and the pool looks inviting. 🙂


And another one


Lying in bed last night at about 11.50pm, there was a sudden swaying and rocking motion. “Earthquake!” I thought, and I later heard I was right. It was about magnitude 5.2, somewhere off the Gili Islands near Lombok. Glad I’m not there.

A couple of minor cracks in a wall seem to have appeared here, nothing to worry about. We’re more concerned about a rat that shows itself from time to time on top of the kitchen cupboards.

Wow again

Dieng hot springs 387B

(C) PJ Croft 1991, 2018

Wow, another earthquake last night.

After a long and tiring drive from Sanur, we arrived at V’s place at Lovina about 7.40pm. One of V’s workmen was there to let us in and we were just standing chatting when there was a great rushing sound, like wind in the trees, and suddenly everything was swaying. It was accompanied by a definite rumble this time, not loud, but the water in the pool went crazy, sloshing and slopping end to end. By my watch it was 7.48pm but the reports put it at 7.45.

We were standing under a timber framed verandah with rattan thatching and didn’t feel in any danger, but the floor felt like jelly for about 20 seconds. We felt no need to run away; I quite enjoyed the feeling. It was a very slow and gentle rocking.

But when we read the reports this morning, it was a 7.0 magnitude centred off Lombok again, stronger than last Sunday’s at 6.4, and I’ve heard 82 people died on Lombok.

And in Kuta, there were reports and photos of damage in the underground carpark at Galeria and more damage at the airport. No reports of any injuries, that I’ve heard anyway.


It was overcast and cool all day yesterday and the further we got into the foothills on the way up north, the more it was raining, not heavily, but steady. Then we got into the mist and cloud at the top of the mountain and it was quite dark and eery. The windscreen in the car kept misting up but being a car made for the tropics, there’s no demister. We had to put the aircon on high. That worked, but it was freezing in the car.

The suicidal motorbikes were still out in force, passing on the left, cutting in front suddenly, passing fast on the right on the wrong side of the road, oncoming also on the wrong side, our side. Rules? What rules? Double white lines mean nothing. Even on blind curves! Aaaaarrrrgh!


Yesterday was very cool, about 24C max I’d guess, but today, here on the north coast, it’s warm and sunny again, or the other way around. We went for a dip in the pool before bed last night and it was cold! It was too cold to stay in for more than five minutes, but it looks very inviting now.

V’s rental house is small and mostly built for outdoor living and eating, but quite comfortable. It has neighbours, and their roosters seemed to start crowing at 11pm and went all night. Fortunately I like the sound.

I haven’t got my bearings yet, but walking anywhere looks as if it will be difficult. The dirt road is a bit hilly and very uneven, so it’s lucky my friend has a car.


We’ve been looking for a place to stay during Perth’s winters and we think the Grahita will be ideal, near perfect in fact. They have two 2-storey suites, very large and spacious downstairs, with a full kitchen and a toilet under the stairs, and a large double bedroom upstairs with full sized bath, shower, toilet and masses of wardrobe, cupboard and drawer space. TVs both downstairs and upstairs. Large balcony overlooking the hotel pool. All near new and immaculately clean. The location of the hotel complex is also ideal, on Danau Poso near the Cemara corner, so an easy walk to the beach.

The only thing is whether we can negotiate an acceptable price. That might be difficult. Fortunately we’re on great terms with the manager, who believes I’m going to find an Aussie husband for her. I’d like to.

She’s a bright, intelligent, very good looking woman, divorced and wanting to spread her wings and fly. I’d love to help her.


Bali is full of steps! Changes in level, every step you take. My new multifocal glasses have three zones and depths near my feet are tricky to judge. Many times I’ve nearly tripped or taken a tumble.

It didn’t take long here. There’s a fair step up from the path to the verandah – about 250mm I’d guess – and sure enough, I missed it going down last night and fell. No damage except a bit of skin off my left forearm, which bled for a while, but it’s OK. Especially as I’m still taking the antibiotic. It works for me.

I was talking to John, the property developer last week and he said there is a standard step height in Australia, I forget what it is, but here they seem to make arbitrary heights, we know not why. Many times I find it difficult to get up the step into shops and banks, and there’s rarely a handrail.

Speaking of which, the Grahita suite has two tiers of stairs to reach the upper floor, so if I live there, I’ll just have to get used to it. It wouldn’t be a bad thing. I really like the place.

That was fast



Holy cow, where has the time gone? I’ve lost track of the days. Last weekend went missing somewhere. That’s fine, it’s great at this hotel, the Grahita Suites and I think this may take over from the Taksu as my favourite place. Being a bit cheaper may have something to do with it.

We’re in a large room with a kitchen. It has a two burner gas stove, a small sink, plenty of cupboard space and a medium sized fridge, which freezes really well. It also has a small dining table with two armchairs and a long sideboard under the TV, where I am now. The bed is king size, the mattress is new but a bit hard, and the bathroom is good sized and immaculately new and clean. The verandah has a table and two chairs, and the pool is 10m away. It was too cool to stay in last night. I think we got the winds from the big anticyclone over WA.

Best of all, the manager, Kasih, is so friendly and intelligent that we feel really at home here. She can’t do enough to help. She’s the one who spent an hour trying to stop the bleeding last week. The wounds are fine, by the way. Still needing a dressing, but clean and dry. Starting the antibiotic immediately was a big help, I think.


She drove us in my friend’s car into Denpasar today to fix up an insurance problem, and I’m glad she was driving. It’s quite safe, but the traffic is thick and the motorbikes are a curse. They thread and weave and swarm their way into every gap, with their noise and fumes. Many intersections on busy roads have no traffic lights or give way signs, so it’s a matter of bluff and courtesy and may the best man win. It’s scary, but it works, and Kasih managed to drive and keep up a continuous conversation.


We’d had lunch at my good friend Yudhie’s restaurant (a warung, actually) overlooking the rice paddies. I was amazed a few days ago when I said to her I had a friend here. We waffled a bit and after Kasih heard his name, she said, “Oh, he is my friend too, we went to school together.” Bloody hell, it’s a small world.

The breeze was cool and the food was gurami fish, Balinese style. Very delicious, although complete with bones, fins and skin.

He gave good news that my other ex-Perth Bali friends are still alive after cancer scares, are here in Bali in their villa, and he’s still working at 92 or 93. Amazing. I hope to see them tomorrow.


We had a very nice dinner at a bakery last evening, the Goddes Bakery in Jalan …. somewhere in north Sanur. We initially just wanted to buy bread, but it’s a full service coffee shop, beautifully presented, fabulous menu, so enticing we went beyond our initial thought of just coffee. We got talking to the manager, who also happens to be a friend of Kasih, and he presented us at the end with a complimentary coffee concoction, like a mini cappucino but cold and with a biscuit base under cream. Yum!

This Goddes Bakery is so good that I feel like writing them up on Trip Advisor.


I’ve actually had a bit of Bali belly in the past few days, unusual for me. After my first couple of visits in 1980 and 1983, I never had any more trouble. But I suppose taking high doses of the antibiotic hasn’t done my gut any favours. It’s not a bad case.