Day 215: Trucking Banker

Even when our intrepid hero thought he could finally rest, the opportunity was stolen from him. His day was ruined by the banking crisis. Not to the extremes of countries like Greece, but enough to require two to three hours of his time. Even after he solved the issue, with the help of the sage banker beside him, there were still other tasks which would plague him. After slaying the heart of the problem, he and his fellow men… and ladies, explored a palace to see its many treasures. When they’d seen all there was to be seen, the foursome dined like gods upon a mighty banquet. The day was relatively short for our hero and his woman, because in the early hours of the following morning, they had a behemoth quest of conquering a volcano. After their feast, the bravest and toughest hero of them all left his warriors to scour merchant’s stalls for goods. As he strolled back toward their homeland he had to cross the gauntlet of temptation. This place was home to many sirens who beckoned any man that passed with the cry “massage sir?” Our hero was too strong willed, and respectfully turned down the invites, as ultimately he knew where he needed to be. Thanks to his long legs the journey back took no time at all. He was then given a key by the fabled receptionist which granted him access to his home. The mighty warrior, with great hair, then led on the bed and began writing what he’d experienced that day as a memoir for all the people of the land. When he was done he attempted to rest, as tomorrow he’d be facing his mightiest enemy yet, the omnipotent and fiery Mount Batur.

Apologies if that didn’t make sense to anyone. I was just trying to see how good my creative writing skills were. Allow me to rephrase the whole thing in modern talk… By the way, I was the brave and mighty hero for all those sill in the dark. It has been a very short day today. In fact, I’d say its been the shortest one this trip. Sarah and I needed to go to bed earlier than usual because we had to get up by 2am to climb Mount Batur. So in total today was only around 9 hours long. Now lets get to it.

• We were woken up at 9:45 this morning by Ann banging on the door. This time however, she’d played knock out ginger by running away. Sarah and I had overslept and would’ve been late for breakfast otherwise. So today we were happy for her presence. Quickly we got dressed, then enjoyed breakfast like we did the day before, with the staff still being utterly attentive.

• After brekkie we spent the morning, and a couple hours of the afternoon, beside the pool. I read over the previous days blog and was so happy when I’d finished it. It meant I could spend the rest of the time in the pool. That was until I remembered I had to do some online banking to see if everything was ok. I felt really bad about dragging Sarah’s mum into it though. Back home Ann works for the bank I’m with, and right now she was supposed to be on holiday. Little did I know at the beginning we’d end up spending 2 – 3 hours trying to figure it all out. I am really really sorry for that Ann. I didn’t fully understand my credit card anytime I checked it online, and always found myself throwing money at it to cover our travels. Ann took the time to explain everything to me, but noticed something was off. There was a direct debit coming from somewhere, and was paying the bills for me. After looking at the other accounts I had with the bank, we still couldn’t figure it out. Not a single one had a direct debit set up. It was then we remembered I was a member of a different bank. Before leaving England, Sarah and I set up an account with a different branch because they offered cheap rates abroad. It wasn’t until we started using it that we realised it actually cost us more money to use their card. So after several weeks at the start of the trip we stopped using it. I had forgotten it was with that bank account I’d set up the direct debits. With our fingers on the pulse we sorted it out and finally got back on track. We happily logged off, forgot about the money issues, and got on with our day. All I had left to do was phone my mum to see if she could sort out the rest back home.

• We all returned to our rooms to get ready for the day, however short it may have been. 10 minutes later we had an idea of where we wanted to go. In town there was a water palace which looked very interesting, so we got the resort’s shuttle bus to take us there. However we ended up having a different driver than usual, as the usual driver had already taken some other guests out. This driver was very friendly, and spoke rather loudly. He made it a bit awkward when he found out where we were from. He told us we were lucky because we could travel to Bali, but he couldn’t afford to go anywhere else. It would be too expensive for him, because in Bali it’s very difficult to save money, he explained.
“There are too many festivals and activities to spend your money on. No sooner than you earn it, you end up spending it” were his exact words. Simon did his best to redirect the conversation, and thankfully our stop wasn’t very far away.

• It appeared as though the taxi driver had misunderstood. We were dropped off at a resort instead. At least that’s what we thought. He explained the palace was around the back, we just had to walk through the resort first. When we reached the gates there was a man who dressed us in sarongs to grant us access. He wrapped it around our waists and tied a double knot. In our new outfits we began exploring the rather small grounds. There were signs around the buildings encouraging people not to climb on the steps. By far Hindu temples were the best. The amount of gargoyles they had were remarkable. Each one was highly decorated and resembled a scary monster of some sort. The reason for their presence was to scare off evil spirits. I couldn’t help but think that might send off mixed messages. If an evil spirit is coming, why would it be scared of something that looks like a monster? Surely they’d be used to that, because they themselves are evil. Maybe I’d just watched one too many movies. All the buildings were red and gold, and the statues between each one were of colossal proportion. I couldn’t get over the amount of detail they had, even down to something as small as a jewel on their belts. At one point my feet began to hurt. As I looked down I saw they were covered in red ants, they were all biting me in unison. Sarah also had the same unpleasant experience happen to her. We didn’t know if we’d stood on a nest, or if they were already on the sarong when we put it on. It was most likely to be the latter, as Ann also noticed she had a few on her legs too. Either way we brushed them off quickly before leaving.

• We didn’t need the sarongs for the next bit. As we left the sacred grounds we found ourselves in a courtyard, where two large ponds were separated by a concrete path. It was also the spot where traditional Hindu dances were put on to entertain and educate. There were two small boys with a fishing rod trying to catch the many aquatic animals below them. The small area made for very nice photos indeed. On the way out, Ann and Simon purchased tickets to watch one of the dances later on that day. Sarah and I didn’t as we’d be sleeping. We then made our way down the street to find something to eat. Although, that plan didn’t happen right away, no thanks to Sarah.

• Before finding the lovely restaurant we ended up at, Sarah spotted a market place. It wasn’t any good in my opinion, each small shop was stocked with items like sarongs, bags, trinkets, and for some odd reason, penis shaped bottle openers. The odd reason had something to do with the religion. Certain people believed the objects held the power to help couples conceive, they’d use it as fertility statue. Sarah could see we were all bored and gave up in the end, saying she’d come back on her own to have a look around. Besides, Ann didn’t like the constant gaze from the shop owners as they followed her around. Not much farther down the street was the restaurant we ate dinner. It was called Ibu Rai, and featured in the Lonely planet for its multicultural dishes. I had a hot chocolate along with my meal, in an attempt to help send me off to sleep in a few hours time. When we’d sorted out who owed what, I left the others to look around the shops. By now I had had enough of walking around the shops aimlessly, and instead chose to go back to the resort. There was nothing I wanted to buy for myself, and I’d seen it all before. Somehow Sarah always managed to find something she liked, even if it served her no purpose, such as a fancy plate or dish. During my walk back I was constantly asked if I wanted a massage from one of the many ladies sat outside each massage parlour. I said “no thank you” to each one, although I did want to shout “NO THANK YOU!” After the 20th person asked me. It didn’t take me long to get back to our resort, and just before I got there I could see the volcano in the distance clear as day. The light was shining from behind the triangular mountain in such a way that it practically forced it into the foreground. I took a photo and returned to the room.

• Inside I went about closing the curtains and switched off any light that was on, in an attempt to recreate the environment I’m used to as I typed. Seeing as I never get to bed until gone 3am these days… no thanks to this blog, I figured if I wrote in the dark, my brain would think it was nighttime and make me tired. That plan went out the window as soon as Sarah got back from the shops. Just as I was coming to an end with the day’s post, she turned on the lights and showed me what she’d bought. It was an item of clothing. In her defence it was a lovely dress, and it complimented her figure nicely… maybe I’m more tired than I thought writing sentences like that. Ann then came in and showed off her newly purchased trousers, before leaving Sarah with a sleeping pill. Seeing as I was up now, I Skyped my mum. After that, I got ready for bed at the early hour of 7pm. I’d not gone to bed that early since I was around 6 or 7 years old.

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