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Old 12-06-2011, 11:39 AM   #76
ThirdUncle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
Nice one Paul.

I was going to ask if your wife has a sister in Indo.... but hey, I'm a married man.... and no, I haven't got a hall pass, just a leave pass.

I'd love to spend some time boating around the archipeligo.... especially over east.

Speaking of which... its time to do my post on Komodo.
Convert, and you could marry all three of my wife's sisters. They're in Bandung though, a city of exceedingly few charms, other than the three I allude to.
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:44 PM   #77
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Hmmm - now there's a thought. Another three wives.

OK..., let's change the topic from wives to Dragons eh?

This is a lovely wooden tourist boat we passed on the way out of Labuan Bajo




A local fishing boat. Sorry about the second boat behind.... mucks up the shot a bit, but this shows the massive beam of these things with their outriggers.



We visited the two main islands where the Komodo Dragons are. Rinca and Komodo, with an overnight stop between them.

They'll let anyone drive these tourist boats by the look of things. I did mention that things got a bit ugly around the head after that visit to the $1.40 barber.

Sheesh... practically shorn on top, no beard. What's the world coming to?



Whenever we pulled up out around the dragon-occupied islands, which we did a fair bit so that we could snorkel over the coral, etc, some locals would show up and try and flog us some souvenirs... without much success. This guy was a hoot.





They tied up alongside us at one stage and all the guys were sanding away at wooden dragon carvings. I felt a bit guilty when we pigged out on banana fritters (and Bintang) and as a bit of an afterthought, I offered the last one to this kid....





His old man grabbed it, snaffled half of it and handed the rest to the kid. "Hungry" he said.... or words and actions to that effect. I really did feel an arsehole for not having thought to share some more. As is always the case, it was a different relationship with them after that. Friends (sort of) not just targets. They stayed alongside, sanding away with scraps of sandpaper for ages.

Our crew were fabulous cooks




Sunset over the islands



I ended up sleeping on the cabin top of our boat, which was very pleasant. Up here, under a bit of an awning




We were rafted up to another boat, with 3 Americans (we met them again onshore for dinner) - Doug is retired from high-level govt work in Washington, Joanne, his wife is a travel writer (took our details... sounded like we were appearing in a story) and Heather, their daughter, is married to a World Bank guy and is living in Indo for a while. She was quite interested in our views on the UN in Timor-Leste.

Doug heard me waking the crews up at 3:30am to re-secure the boats as we drifted through the bay from Flying Fox Island.... just off Komodo Island. This might explain our predicament a bit... one of the guys on the Arak... on top of the couple of dozen Bintangs we'd taken along



I have to say, it was damn hard to wake them up.

Now.... Dragons.... Big Dragons.

Here's a big steamer we found on the walking trail. That's a damn serious lizard poop.


and a tail drag mark and claw prints on our track....



Sort of funny walking the island knowing that you are being stalked. The last tourist to get eaten was a Swiss guy back in '74... but the guide who was bitten 2 weeks ago had to be flown out to Bali for treatment - after a long, slow boat ride

Our guide on Komodo Island said we were extremely lucky to see this. 3 Komodo Dragons and 2 stags (Timor Deer) at the waterhole. Adult Komodo only need to eat once a month, target carrion and water buffalo, deer, pigs, humans, etc... and here they were, trying for a venison snack.



Right about now, I was really, really spewing that my D100 had died. Still... the little P&S did a reasonable job.



They are big buggers .. 10' long and the largest studied was 165 kg. The females guard the eggs vigorously, but will eat their own young once hatched... so the young take to the trees. We saw one young one.... about the size of an Aussie goanna.





They can run at 18kmh.... I've got video of one walking but its a bit dodgy. My guide got a bit panicky a couple of times when I snuck in for closeup photos. The guides all carry a forked stick to fend the big buggers off if they have a shot at a 'long pig' snack. This is on Komodo








There really was a lot of food around for the dragons...



You have to love the local engineering. Our anchor is a typical example.



Flying Fox Island

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:19 PM   #78
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I watched a battle of life and death whilst suffering in the bog on Rinca. The lizard won...



The locals were back at our boat early in the morning.... this time to sell fish and squid. No such thing as retirement on a pension over here. This guy will fish until he drops



... and thank you very much, fresh squid.




The guys on the other boat bought that lot. Here's their galley being put to good use




This is the fishing village on Komodo. The Dragons have been known to eat the occasional villager, but it doesn't happen often



We had a bit of a chuckle with the actions of these three women. Two jumped on board after they'd pushed their fishing boat out a bit... then the chubby one tried, and tried... and eventually got on, much to everyone's amusement




We got our guide to ask the skipper if we could dive with the Manta Rays on the way back in.... so, it was on with the gear and over the side when he spotted them... a fair way out from the nearest island



This is a bit of a crappy shot, but our guide snapped one of a 6-8' Manta Ray as it went past us



At one stage the Rays had moved away, so the skipper had me grab the busted up, swinging ladder.... and towed me over to them again. Rather strange sticking my head under water and looking at the prop going around behind me as we went along. Not sure a tourist operator would do that at home.

Andras and I had a fabulous time snorkelling with the Manta Rays. One large one we were following did an upside down loop under us, white belly up and then came up behind us. Fabulous.

We pulled into another island for a snorkel over the coral, not too far out of Labuan Bajo. Plenty of other boats there and I ended up chatting to a Dutch woman and inviting her to join us for the Reggae night at the bar where we were staying.

Speaking of which... it was nice to relax there with a Bintang and watch the world go by after a couple of fabulous days out in the archipeligo



Here's the Saturday night sunset from the Paradise Bar - we were staying in the adjacent hotel rooms.



Our American friends Doug, Joanne and Heather, who we'd met out at Flying Fox Island (oh yeah... there were plenty of flying foxes out there btw)



Doug graciously bought us dinner.... he said our travel tales were well worth it.

After they left, we were due to do a Karaoke bar tour....but I was somewhat relieved when the Dutch woman I mentioned earlier showed up as we were getting on the bikes. The Karaoke bars are dives... and mostly crawling with women trying to convince you that they love you.

I stayed at the Reggae night at the Paradise bar. Even did a fair bit of rusty dancing. We met up with the Russian girls we'd also met at a couple of beaches and who'd been on the Dutch girl's boat. They spent all their time at the beaches posing for each other's camera.... and making a lot of eyes pop. The Russians are on the outside... I sure wish I'd got some photos in their bikinis




Here's a video of the band that played at the Reggae Night. I thought they were pretty good.... some of the "entertainers" I've heard in tourist areas in Asia are like listening to comedy routines, they strangle songs so comprehensively.




You may recall I posted a photo of a couple of the band members at the wedding we attended in Moni, about 500km away. I think they were also in the photo of the 30 or so guys in that giant bath tub at the hot springs




Meanwhile, Andras went to a couple of the local bars with our guide Flory (far right) and his brother... who was the guide for the Americans.



They ended up back at the Paradise bar... and we had tears and hand kisses from the guides as they left after the bar shut at 3am. They were very emotional.

Andras decided he wasn't going to make the ferry at sparrow-fart, a 7:30 am departure to Sumbawa on Sunday morning - which would mean getting up no later than 6am to load the bikes, get tickets and get on board. Sumbawa is a "dry" island btw... entirely Muslim and no alcohol on sale apparently, although an Aussie guy in Bali had told me there was an international resort somewhere that did serve it.

I was going to try for a 2 or 3 day blast through there, then on to Lombok. My daughter had a ticket into Bali (thanks to her Dad) and was going to get the fast boat over to Gili Trawangan to meet me.

I had to do 4 trips up the hill to load the bike. I was still dripping sweat profusely an hour after I'd sat down on the ferry. Bike just leaned up against a ferry wall - although eventually one of the crew tied it in a bit. Sumbawa was a mid afternoon arrival. I ended up having to pay a crew member an extra 15,000 rupiah because I sat down in 1st class on an economy ticket.

When I got to Sumbawa, I hightailed it through to Bima and found some dive of a hotel.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:48 PM   #79
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Loving the story, keep it up!!!
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:03 PM   #80
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are you crossing Jakarta??? if yes, we will met you there, ;D
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:49 PM   #81
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I'm of two minds about heading into Jakarta.

I'm half inclined to miss the traffic, but I've also got friends there... so yes, I'll probably head in. I'll send you a pm.

I should have posted this one in my last post.... this lovely young lady was on the ferry from Labuan Bajo to Sape (Sumbawa) with her husband and kid....

They got away from the dock ahead of me and I gave them a wave down the road a bit.... all three of them on the scooter of course.



I saw some wooden boats being built and pulled up for a quick look but I couldn't see an easy way across the ditch






My bike lived in the hotel lobby in Bima. The hotel was a bit of a dive and the bike was parked in plain view of the main road, so the security guard suggested I wheel it in.




After a lazy start from Bima, I tried to get to Tambora - the volcano that killed more people than any other in recorded history - around 90,000, many of them from starvation and caused the year without a summer in the northern hemisphere in the early 19th century, but that didn't happen. I snapped a quick shot of these two cops who were at a roadworks stop... had to wait ages while the road on a mountain pass was being widened. The guy on the left had his name on his shirt..... Aswad.



I had lunch with two English speakers.... The bush telegraph as we'd describe it in Oz, seems to have been at work here. I was hungry and hadn't seen any restaurants - I was passing through Dompu (well, skirting it really) and I gave up and stopped at some roadside stalls. They didn't have much in the way of food and I was getting into some sort of stale bread roll when Farel and Yani showed up. I'm pretty sure someone messaged them and told them there was an English speaker there. Anyhow, they asked if I was hungry and then it was "follow us" time again. I'd never have found the restaurants there on my own.



There was a group of senior cops eating in the restaurant, one of whom knew one of my friends. He ended up on the bike....



It was funny with the cops earlier.... there was a checkpoint... about 8-10 cops pulling up all the locals.... so I stopped and asked directions.... the cop's eyes popped looking at the bike... and he waved me on, not wanting me to stop, but I asked the way and he pointed the right way... so I popped a nice wheelie for him (that'd be about half the licence gone if I did it in Oz).

And this is Tambora - the world's most deadly volcano... and that's as close as I got... sort of... Its the one at the back in the clouds



I realised when I got to about here that the water in the photo should have been on my left. Someone had given me a bum steer when I stopped for directions... most likely my fault for not pronouncing the name of a village correctly. I'd been kitted out with some emergency food back in Dompu - some sticky rice and some other concoction with a non-refrigerated shelf life of about three days, as they were worried I may not find anywhere to stay.


When I realised I was miles from where I should be, I didn't go back. The roads on Sumbawa included the best and the worst roads of the trip so far. There is an Australian foreign aid project to widen the main roads in the eastern part of the archipeligo - and where its been done, its like riding on a brand new race track. Fabulous. The chewed up sections though haven't seen any maintenance and they are as rough as buggery. Unlike the corrugations up on Cape York, where with some speed up you can fly over the top for a smooth-ish ride, here, the faster you went, the more you shook. I maxed out at about 90kmh... and backed off. Nasty, nasty rocks everywhere.

I'd come through a long mountain pass with lots of construction work and it'd been raining.... so I figured that the dry road ahead was a better option.


Two trucks meet on the road here and something has to give - hence the aid project. One truck and its the bikes that give - you get out of their way. The big buses (only saw 3 today) are the real asswads. They take your side of the road whether they need it or not - every bloody time.



These blokes were everywhere.... saw hundreds of them - on all the mountain passes, not the flats



Of course.... I got mobbed whenever I stopped.... and provoked at least a reaction, if not a smile and a wave from most people beside the road (ie thousands and thousands....) I had a think about it and realised I'd been on the road for 2 1/2 months straight... and I've probably waved to more people than the Queen of England in that time.



It really dumped on me at one stage and I pulled in where some local folks were waiting out the rain....



.... although not everyone did



I got flagged down for this a bit later on... just outside a village. I reckon she'd just fainted... but I may be wrong. I offered water, but they didn't want it. They had phones, so they didn't want mine. They were all trying to stand the poor girl up - while she was unconcious. I decided I was more of a hindrance than a help.... and if the truth be known, I was probably more likely to cause her problems of a morality nature if I'd touched her. Again, I felt less than well prepared as I left the scene.



Photo... photo.... Oh, OK



And another one. I sure hope she didn't have nits.... she grabbed my head and pulled it down to hers....



Some salt making I passed..... went on for ages



Horse carts are everywhere on this island... because its flat - I didn't see any of these on Flores



.... and that's about it... I ended up in a reasonable looking dive of a hotel.... with a big restaurant about 10-15 km outside the main city on the island.

When I went down for dinner.... the only option was 2 minute noodles. Yum Mie Noodles to be precise. So much for the big restaurant eh? Less cockroaches than last night.... maybe something to do with the can of insect spray he came to the room with?????


Not sure whether I'll head onto the back road to the south coast here... or hightail it to the Lombok ferry. It runs every 45 minutes here, 24 hours a day. Kupang-Larantuka was twice a week, Labaunbajo-Sape once a day. Sort of reflects the population and distance issues nicely.

I read the guide book and decided I don't want to climb the volcano on Lombok - its a 3 day hike and I'm not that fit.... nor do I have the right hiking boots. I did Mt Ramelau and Kelimutu in my Rockport dress shoes.... and a smashed up big toe - and suffered. People die on this one - Gunung Rinjani - every year.

Ahh - just heard an "excuse me sir" - popped my head outside and there's a coffee and two boiled eggs. Lovely. Coffee (kopi) here is made by dumping ground coffee, loads of sugar and hot water into a mug. It pays to sip rather than gulp.... and to leave the last 1/4" alone.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:47 PM   #82
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I didn't really have a plan, but I headed west.... it wasn't supposed to be too far to Poto Tano, where I could decided to catch a ferry, or not. I didn't really stop in the capital, having stayed just east of there. The island on the eastern margin here is Komodo, the one on the western margin is Lombok. This is what Sumbawa looks like




As it turned out, I gave the KTM a gutful of crap fuel on the way... I had to throw in 10 litres from plastic bottles at a roadside stall. The service stations west of Sumbawa Besa were as dry as the hotels. After I'd fueled up, I screwed the throttle open on a straight... and thought better of it... and backed off at 140, rather than detonate the engine. It wouldn't wheelstand on the crap fuel, so I think it was wise to take it easy. I was rather happy when I got to Lombok and gave it a bellyfull of Premium. Its back in wheelie mode.

Not only that... but I hit an oilspill today. I'd seen it and avoided it for miles. Smelt it even.. it was kerosine, or jetfuel I think. It was mainly on right hand corners... and that's where I found it... hidden in a shadow. I hadn't seen it for a while, but zip... When you are leaned over on a bike and the front wheel goes away.... you sure wake up in a hurry. I got lucky and rode out of it.

I guess I didn't want to miss my daughter's arrival, so I headed for the Lombok ferry as soon as I saw it. The ferry between Sumbawa and Lombok was a real rust bucket. I was amusing myself trying to figure out the depth of the rust holes again. It got quite windy out there too. Then it was a 75km blast across Lombok... and it was eat or be eaten on the road. I feel more secure when I am overtaking... and in that 75km, I overtook probably two thousand vehicles of all types... trucks, cars, bikes, horse carts and motorbikes. Coming into the capital, I slowed down... and you would find cars and bikes going past you inches away... on both sides at once. The only answer is to go faster than them.

Here's what the traffic is like




Anyhow... I got to the capital of Lombok, Mataram, but decided to head up to Senggigi. Its a tourist town... a bit of a shock after not seeing a single other westerner for a couple of days. I stayed at yet another cheap hotel... went the non-aircon option again too, but it was fine and even served up a banana crepe and coffee for brekkie.

... and here's another shot from the blast across Lombok. I regretted taking this... because it meant that I met three bikes coming the other way and it was a damn tight squeeze. OH&S just doesn't feature here. I went past one big excavator working on the road the other day and he was rolling a one metre diameter rock down the hill towards me. I didn't hang around to see where it ended up.




I stayed a couple of days in Senggigi, before heading off to Gili Trawangan, the "party island" to meet my daughter. Her coming to town meant something bad had to happen.... (her recent trips have included Mumbai... bombed the day before she got there, Cairo... oops, sorry President Mubarak, Syria... a quick exit to the border - and so on). So, I got a very decent shaking.... an earthquake. Quite interesting actually... a couple of young English girls in the next room were still getting dressed as they came to the door... and heeded my "outside... NOW".

It turned out to be a couple of hundred kilometres away - but it was shaking the bed and the walls here.... it sure made the local lads in reception run.

I suggested we adjourn to a bar - a second floor one, in case of tsunami, which was a good excuse for a beer, or two.

There are more touts (trips, souvenirs) than I'd like to see in Senggigi - and loads of them at the jumping off point for the Gilis. Damn good local band at the Happy Cafe each night, btw.

I had a ride around looking for better accom... but decided to extend here at the Hotel Ellen, as everything was so close by. I could have a beer at night and walk back. One nice thing about being in a tourist town was that I could get a decent massage. The casual reader might think I'm a bit massage mad... but I've had foot leg and back issues for years. One specialist told me "don't walk... don't walk upstairs and particularly don't walk downstairs" Sod that. I'll walk then let someone fix it up afterwards.

I even had one massage down on the beach here. There's a few old ducks wandering around and they are pretty polished at getting a few extra bucks out of you... manicures, pedicures ... that sort of thing. Oh yeah... staying cheap is fine by me, but I'm a sucker for a decent restaurant every now and then... and Senggigi's got them.

Here's the Lombok Ferrari I got driven "home" in after a visit to a nice restaurant a bit further afield.




Well, apart from the earthquake... it was a lazy sort of day. Went up to the temple for a gander and while they were tying on my sash... someone jumped on the bike. Happens non-stop and worries the crap out of me, given the sidestand problems I've had.



Then, all the local tourists asked for a photo with me. A couple of these women had their arms around me... devils in disguise, methinks.... they were from Borneo, and later on, I saw them go past in their tour bus, further up the road... all waving furiously at me....



They went past when I was up the headland, taking in the sunset





While I was up at that headland, a couple of likely looking local lads in a pimped Jeep pulled up... big exhaust, tight tee shirts. One of them started chatting to me, asked a few questions and got his mate to take a phone camera pic of him with my bike. As he was leaving, the guy running a drinks / BBQ stall said "they are police". Yep... undercover cops again. Just as well I'm a good lad eh?

So, after a couple of days I locked up the bike at the Hotel Ellen and jumped on a minibus for about an hour.... then on an outrigger to Gili Trawangan - the Party Island. Its the outer one.



No motorised transport is allowed... and I have to say, this one is definitely NOT off the beaten track. There's a well beaten path to it. I locked it in a few weeks earlier when my daughter booked her ticket to Bali. Its only a 90 minute fast boat ride from Bali.

I checked into a thatched roof room on the main beach... I thought I was far enough away from the mosque... I'd walked until I didn't hear the noise, but it seems it was only a break in proceedings.... never mind, I don't find it too bad. I've only seen locals at my place... $15 incl brekkie... AND it includes a towel AND toilet paper - a very rare occurence so far. There's a pool 10' from my door.... but its under construction. Bugger. My daughter is paying (I hope its her, and not me paying) $120 a night... and she's away from the action - silly girl
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:58 AM   #83
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So... here I am on Gili Trawangan, a nice little island just east of the Wallace Line

Wiki nicely tells me that the Wallace Line (or Wallace's Line) separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through Indonesia, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok. Antonio Pigafetta had also recorded the biological contrasts between the Philippines and the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) (on opposite sides of the line) in 1521 during the continuation of the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, after Magellan had been killed on Mactan.

Didn't expect a biology lesson eh? Let me assure you, there's plenty of biology out there... lots of birds and bees stuff, but hey... I just had a relax.



I lazed around and had a damn nice nachos and beer for lunch. No bottled salsa here... made fresh. Whilst I was chatting to a nice young German lass, this got towed in...



Empty. No idea about why it was out there.

Meanwhile, there's a turtle conservation centre out front of my bungalows



... and some support for legalising the evil weed



I'd been trying for a while to get Microsoft Office working... so I could, joy, oh joy, do some tender responses due in with a client back home, instead of going diving again (the coral was better in Komodo anyhow). I've decided that if I win one job, I'll do it when I'm home for my wife's operation... if I win more, I'll park the bike in Bali somewhere and fly home sooner - rather than the planned parking it up in Cambodia. Its probably easier and cheaper from Bali. I'll just shift the planned end date for the ride (mid March) back a bit if I have to... but it may mean some wet weather riding on the run through Java.

I had Office pre-loaded but not activated on my netbook... but it wouldn't co-operate and in the end I gave up and paid double what it costs through the official Indonesian channels and got an Australian un-lock code. Thanks Billy Gates.... for the Australian rip-off.

There's definitely different prices for things here too. The bus/boat from Senggigi to here is 75,000 Rupiah asking price (call it $7.50). I paid $5... a local I've been talking to while I write these tenders said he pays $2 for the same trip.

Here’s one of the fast boats that does the Bali - Gili Islands run.



Yep – 1,200hp across the stern. They do the run to Bali in 90 minutes… much better than my 45 minutes or so in an open boat, followed by a horse cart to the bus station, bus ride, retrieve my motorbike and gear, ride to the port, 4 hours on a rust bucket ferry… and so on that I face... an all day run instead of 90 minutes.

That life raft that got towed in turned out to be from one of the fast boats. They guys turned up that evening and claimed it. It'd fallen off and self-inflated... nice to know they work... but no-one had noticed.

Depite meeting 5 of those fast boats at the annointed time the next morning, I couldn’t locate my daughter, but she eventually found me at the pub…. where I was watching some sport on the big screen.



It turned into a 14 hour stretch at the pub. Oops.


I stayed my first two nights in a semi-traditional bungalow… thatched roof, no air-con, outside toilet (bucket flush)…. and a rather unreliable water supply – from an uncovered 20′ deep well – brackish water btw… and I had to have a bucket wash as there was not shower, so I moved from here..


.. to the accommodation out back of the Fortuna Cafe. As I was walking down the path they were playing Riders on the Storm so I figured they can’t be too bad. I ended up paying more - $20, including breakfast – but got a much better bed, aircon (hey… this is the holiday leg of the trip… I’ve been staying in dives)… an inside bathroom and water, even.

Fortuna is right next to Tuna’s cafe…. who make magic mushrooms a bit of a specialty. They were getting plenty of takers, but I grew up in a magic mushroom town - and watched enough of my mates spewing their guts up to not be interested.



Phew… sexy legs eh?

I spotted these local lads the other day, whilst looking to buy a book… (now reading In Xanadu… an old travel tale), they asked me to climb it and hook up the electic cable for them… but I declined and decided not to watch them do it either… They were tying the second ladder on when I first got there. The stepladder was bad enough… extended out and sort of tied so it wouldn’t fold up…. then, with the bamboo ladder on there it was all pretty wonky. OH&S? Yeah… right.



Kim and I did some bike riding… we went around the whole island. Should’ve done it on one of these, a cebimo…



We had to push the bikes through soft sand about a third of the way (or more)… and were overtaken by some walkers, who beat us around. Kim was bright red in the face… bordering on heat stroke…. so we took a break in some shade and … a local came past



He had to be kidding…. a hoodie and long trousers!

So… after a bit of a rest and some rehydration… and a massage (the woman who does the massages at Kim’s resort… but at $15 instead of the $30 her resort charges)… it was dinner at Fortuna Cafe, with live music



These guys were great… they murdered a couple, but in a pleasant way… and they were great with requests. I even shouted them a large Bintang each….
… and I tucked into my BBQ jumbo prawns. Salads were great too.



Definitely one of the best meals of the trip so far. Kim had prawns too, and Tim… a Kiwi who was on the same boat over as Kim, had surf and turf. Amazing to think that Tim works for the same recruitment company that I used to – small world eh?

Ruli, the boss here (in the prawn photo) is Muslim, so declined our offer of a beer… but he was a brilliant host… and he absolutely murdered me with his offer “I make a special cocktail for you…. tiger something… gin… etc” Sheesh… it nailed me and I beat a hasty retreat.

There’s plenty of decent seafood here – lobster, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, even big Barracouda



It'd be rather easy to settle in here!

My dinner guest another night, (other than my daughter) dined on whole Barracouda....




On my final night on Gili T., I finished up getting to bed at about 3am (plus or minus - not sure I was in a fit state to be really sure)... then got woken by a call to discuss some business back in Oz at 6am. Um, yeah.....

Here's a couple of shots from party night




.... and the local lads got in on the act




A quick brekkie and it was an interesting open boat ride back to Lombok... and a cebimo ride to the bus depot (nearly gave the driver 2 x 100,000 and 1 x 10,000 notes, instead of 3 x 10,000.... he'd have loved that!)... and a microbus ride back to Senggigi to pick up my bike and gear.

I discovered Andras's bike at my hotel and woke him from his slumbers at 10:15am. He'd just spent 8 days on Sumbawa and enjoyed it, but also commented that the roads there were the roughest he's ever encountered. I have to agree.

Anyhow, after a catchup, it was off to find the ferry to Bali, which involved a blast through Lombok's capital and a run down to the port..... all with my party residual effects hammering me. Self-inflicted, but, phew. Made the 1pm ferry and got to Bali about 5:30pm.

As I got off the ferry, I noticed a couple of surfer dudes I'd said G'day to on the ferry hanging around on the wharf... then saw why. The cops were meeting the ferry and had a drug dog with them. I got waved through, but pulled up and asked directions anyhow.

I set off at a great rate of knots for Kuta, to try and beat the sunset, but had to pull up after a few minutes to try and discover what was crawling around inside my ear (note to self.... check helmet occasionally). Didn't find what it was - and when I told my daughter after I met her in Bali, she said, don't worry, it was probably just looking for somewhere to lay eggs....

Its a pretty good road down to Kuta - maybe 70km and some nice stretches... but plenty of traffic. I cut around to the front of the traffic at one set of lights and was waiting patiently, but turned around.... there were about 30 people on bikes behind me - and EVERY set of eyes was on me. Smiles and nods... one old guy gave me the thumbs up, so I returned the smile and thumbs up.... and popped the best wheelie of the trip when the lights changed. I rode the whole way like a 17 year old - which I'm convinced is the safest way over here.... always stay ahead, always overtake... the only difference is that you need to use the horn ALL the time... and you need 100% concentration. Some prick in a car did a U-turn in front of me, for example - but I was ready for him.

Anyhow - I got to Kuta just after dark and couldn't find the hotel Kim was at. No map, no idea of the lay of the land - and couldn't even read her handwriting. The traffic and roads in Kuta were horrendous.... the bike was hot, I had melted - was totally sweat-soaked and the joy was about to wear thin.

I ended up insulting one of the locals. I pulled up in front of one of the 3 million tourist shops here... and all the staff came out. I showed them Kim's note and asked if they knew the hotel - the shop owner said he'd take me there. Now remember... I'd been travelling (by boat, horse, bus, bike, ferry and bike again) for 12 hours - maybe even still pissed from the night before (doesn't happen on a regular basis, but, hey - it was party night)... with a couple of hours sleep.... anyhow... I said "How much?".... and he was crestfallen. Oops. Anyhow, I recovered by getting him in a photo... and he told his offsider to mind the shop and he jumped on his bike and led me to the hotel (which I'd overshot).

I did end up falling asleep on the table in the massage salon that night while Kim and I were enjoying a 2 hour package deal each.

So - apart from a few days in Darwin, I'm in the most expensive hotel of the trip - 350,000 Rupiah a night - call it $35 - hell's bells, its even got a TV (haven't turned it on, of course).
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:21 AM   #84
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I've pinched some Gili Trawangan photos from my daughter...



Its definitely a bit more relaxed over on Gili Trawangan when it comes to drugs... but don't believe the locals when they tell you there's no cops. I was talking to an expat bar owner there and he confirmed it. All the young local guys trying to sell me hooch were saying "no cops". No thanks guys.

I did have a couple of guys I reckon I would have trusted.... but hey, I don't like the thought of an Indonesian gaol... and I don't smoke anyhow. One was with a group of guys struggling to push a generator on a cart up the beach. I gave them a push and got things happening - I reckon I was double their weight. One of them offered me some. Another guy I spoke to a fair bit was a commission seller... selling rooms to tourists. He made $2 the day I was talking to him while I wrote up some tenders... but he did offer me some hooch and I reckon he'd multiply his earnings if he got some away.

I liked the restaurants set on the beach. Very relaxed.



Here's an interesting one. Most of the cats I've seen in Indonesia have deformed tails.



Bit worried about that daughter of mine...



Speaking of her.... we did some snorkelling





Found a turtle chomping away at the coral



It was really hammering the coral




But it wasn't at all concerned by us. I believe its in this photo somewhere - and no, that isn't my daughter....




Unfortunately, my daughter won't give me the photos I took of the topless ladies floating around just off the beach. Bugger.
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Old 12-17-2011, 03:41 PM   #85
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The big Katoom is a pig of a thing in the Kuta traffic. This place grinds to a halt at times. The KTM gets damn hot... and yesterday, I was riding in shoes with no socks and shorts (hey - it was laundry day... I seem to have lost some socks along the way).... and my leg was almost cooked by the time I got "home".

... and in a first ever... I got my daughter on the back of the bike.



Chelsea, a miner from West Oz who we met up with at one of the bars was on the back of Marty's old Vespa... and I took this photo for her Mum. We were heading out for dinner.

Marty is another miner who comes up here on his breaks. The miners work fly in - fly out stints at remote mines and end up doing, say, 9 or more days straight at work, then 6 or 8 days off.... so plenty of them jump on the big silver bird to Bali.



.... and this is one I took for Chelsea



... that was for the ride out to Jimbarin Bay... a pretty popular spot, where the restaurant tables are all on the beach, so you sink your chair and toes into the sand and watch the sunset and the Balinese dancers



... and get serenaded



I'd been blaming that lobster (I shared that one with Chelsea - that was her half... on my Bali Belly attack...

Chelsea survived it, so it was something else. My daughter was also quite ill and ended up going to the hospital before she went home - and had two injections because she couldn't even keep water down. She survived the flight, but had to get the taxi driver to make an emergency stop on the way home in Sydney. The Doc said hers was viral with some food poisoning on top.

Such is life. As they say... you'll never make it through Asia with solid poo. (sorry 'bout that.... but hey... it ain't all totally rosy) Minor price to pay. Maybe it was that watermelon we both had. They do say to avoid it.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:24 AM   #86
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I've decided that I have to rip the innards out of my helmet and see if I can de-putrify it. Its particularly hot and humid in Bali... and a black full face helmet is pushing the boundary a bit.

I left the bike at the hotel and caught a cab to Immigration (Imigrasi) in Denpassar - I'd never have found it otherwise I reckon. And... after a couple or more beers with Agus and the guys at the pub for lunch ... its cabs or walking.

I'd parked the bike up at the pub on Kim's last day here - then when she ended up at the hospital, I had to jump on and get back to the hotel so I could take her to the airport. Sheesh..... I won't ride in Oz after a single beer - and here I was riding among madmen with a tankful. After a few errors in navigation though, I reckon I've got the central Kuta area sorted. The bikes can use the back alleys... the cabs pretty much can't - but they still try.

It ended up being an interesting day. You wouldn't want to let it get to you. Imigrasi in Denpassar say "you need to have a sponsor" to extend your visa... and you have to go to Imigrasi in Kuta (where I started the day). Got my sponsor, filled in all the forms... went to Kuta Imigrasi.... "that section is closed... 11am close". "Can we pay extra"? Nah.... anyhow, Agus was with me, so five minutes of checking everything... he's said he'll take my passport back there at 9am and do the queue work. Of course.... there's a sign there saying "visa extensions must be lodged 7 days before expiry of visa".

I ended up lodging my application on the last day of my current one. Hmmm, that's OK... because I haven't overstayed. I was just thankful I didn't have to end up doing a visa run to another country at the last minute. I scraped through with Imigrasi with 30 minutes to spare, after hiring a secretary to recreate a form with one word changed (Denpassar became Kuta)... because you can't alter an official form... but you can recreate it.

The plan now is "coral fishing"... Agus is teeing up a boat from somewhere in his family and its off to the reef. If Chelsea and Kathy (a new German friend - who all the locals think is either my daughter Kim or her sister) ever emerge from their slumbers, that is.


I went clubbing with them, but bailed from the nightclub a tad after 3am. It was the funniest damn thing I've ever done. Here's this ratty looking 56 year old... about double the age of anyone else on the dance floor, dancing with the cutest girl there.

All these young bucks would try and cut in and end up sulking off with their tail between their legs. It actually provoked an interesting response with a lot of expat women - half a dozen came up to try and figure out what it was that I had. I must do that again. I must be getting fit... got up at 7am and despite hours of dancing, feel (relatively) fine. The girls were on cocktails... I paced myself with the Bintang.



Here's one with yet another young buck trying to figure it out. I just had to snap this because of the young local girls. They weren't just standing there... they were full-on dancing with a glass bottle balanced on their heads



We'd done yet another beach sunset before dinner / clubbing. The traditional view of it....



A more realistic view of it....



Yeah... the bracelet, necklace hawkers were there. I actually bought a couple more bracelets (early Chrissy shopping) and bought 4 of the women a Sprite - they'd done a long day on the beach for not much return.

.... and yeah... despite pacing myself..... its hard to stay sober in a club like the Bounty. Alcohol Free Day today.

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Old 01-05-2012, 06:21 PM   #87
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:12 PM   #88
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great post! love it u really inspire me to relook at indonesia and appreciate the wonderful beaches and scenery that they offer!
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:17 AM   #89
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Thanks. I'm home for Christmas / New Year - and my wife's come through her hip replacement operation quite well, but is still on crutches. I've booked my return flight back to Indonesia.... and I'll be heading northwest again pretty soon.

I'll do an update from my last posting in a couple of days. I'm also going to write up the Carnet / shipping info in a bit of detail. A few different stories seem to get around about that process.

Cheers
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:08 AM   #90
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Good thread with good food and awesome pictures!



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