February 2003 – Bali & Thailand
Hello. After finishing the Australia and New Zealand Supplement and Tramp News last month, we treated ourselves to seeing something of Bali. Dragging ourselves away from the coast, for the first time since Rotorua in New Zealand, we headed inland to Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali. Highlights included forest monkeys and Balinese dancing, including some vigorous firewalking, performed by a religious group that included our homestay owner.
My camera, as usual, quit on me during the dancing, only to work again seconds after the performance ended but plenty of cheeky monkeys were caught in megapixels; including a tiny one that chose to attack anything four times its size while its mother held on to its tail. It reminded us a little of our favourite pub back home (leave it Dave – he ain’t worth it).
Dee managed to pick up quite the impressive collection of bruises in Bali. After falling down a drain, covered by rainwater from one of the daily downpours, she fell off a bicycle and was fortunate not to go over a cliff. A monkey ran off with her bag too.
We reluctantly said goodbye to Bali and all the Weyann’s, Madi’s Joman’s and Kutut’s (the four names everyone on the Island, male or female, is given) and flew to the Asian mainland, to Bangkok.
Chinese New Year wasn’t the best time to arrive and after getting knocked back by several hostels, and assisting a drunk Spanish robbery victim, we decided to drink to well past dawn with a French Canadian and a Swede. Similar nights followed including a pool party without a pool.
It’s too early to say if we like Thailand as we haven’t left Bangkok yet. The Khao San Road is good for vibrant boozy fun, the river is a great way to travel and the Wats impress. However the “land of the smiles” seems in reality a triumph of good press relations, we’re living in a cupboard and we’ve encountered as many con men and theft victims in one week than in the past eight months.
We’ll have plenty of time to make up our minds as we’ll be in and out of Thailand several times before we fly home. We were due to visit Cambodia but because of uncertainty over the border situation we’ve decided to postpone that for a couple of months. Instead, we’re off to some islands today for a bit of sun and fresh air before heading to Malaysia and Sumatra.