Day 227: See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Is This Evil?

One day remains of this blog guys, then I’ll be free.

We spent the majority of today on the beach, soaking up the last of the Asian sun before we left for Australia the following evening. Although on occasion I reluctantly do a lot of things Sarah suggests, more often than not I do enjoy doing them. For example, had I not gone to the beach with her today I wouldn’t have seen a man sunbathing with his pet monkeys. Yes folks you read that correctly, there was a man on the beach with not one, but two monkeys… but we’ll get to that. After the beach we returned to the hotel for a few hours, then headed back out for an evening meal. All in all it was a good end to our Asian adventure, now allow me to explain what else happened on this day.

Sarah got her wish this morning when we got up early. The cheeky so and so woke me up 15 minutes before the alarm, our bed was so big that I didn’t feel her get out, it was only when I heard the toilet flush that I awoke. We then got dressed and went for breakfast. I took advantage of the buffet for the second day running, then we returned to the room to apply sun lotion and pack a bag for the beach. When we got downstairs the security guard helped us hail a taxi again, but this time there weren’t that many on the street. There was tons of traffic but few taxis. Eventually, after blowing his whistle to halt the traffic, he helped us cross the 6 lane motorway to a cab that had pulled over for us. Rather than go back to Kuta beach, we got him to drop us at Legian. In theory they were the same beach, it was just so long that it stretched over both Kuta and Legian. We walked a few hundred yards from the entrance to get away from the sewage like smell, and paid for a couple loungers for the day. I then got to work on yesterday’s blog, and wrote an introduction to the Erratic Ramblings for anyone yet to discover it. It was shortly after I’d finished, that the man with the monkeys arrived.

As he led sunbathing on a lounger, one of them led beside him like a hairy child. I’d never seen a monkey sunbathe before, and let me tell you, it’s quite amusing. I understand the severity of the situation, it was wrong that the monkeys were with him in the first place, but it’s not something you see everyday, and the sad thing is it’s not something you can do much about anyway. I don’t quite know how long this man had owned the monkeys for but they were in no rush to get away from him. There are two sides to every story, so maybe this man hadn’t killed their mother to get the babies like most poachers do, maybe instead he had rescued them. After all they seemed to love his company and all the fruit he gave them. Perhaps they were just in it for the fruit. And unlike most poachers, he wasn’t allowing people to hold them for photographic purposes. It’s weird to think that Sarah and I are accustomed to such sights now, I’m scared to think what would actually shock me these days.

Sarah and I continued to sunbathe until we began feeling thirsty. We left our loungers, at the risk of losing them, to grab some water from a nearby shop. When we got back we were fortunate enough for them to still be available. It was then back to sunbathing. Being the gentleman that I am, I “definitely” don’t notice other women, but today was an exception. As I led soaking up the sun, a woman with very large breasts came walking by. Much like the man with the monkeys, it was hard not to notice. There’s no other point to be made here, I just felt I had to write about it. Without warning the tide came in and was as high as our loungers. Sarah had had enough of sunbathing anyway (if you can believe that) and suggested we head back to the hotel to watch a film.
“Sold to the blonde haired woman at the back!”
I thought that was a great idea and packed our bag immediately. Before we could do that, we needed to collect our laundry. We walked a long way up the beach until we found an exit. Too bad we had to go by some shops along the way, Sarah stopped in a few and ended up buying a new sarong. There was an awkward moment when I took interest in some vests, but didn’t actually have enough money to pay for it. I had to explain to the owner I couldn’t buy them, but he thought I was making an excuse and kept reducing the price. In the end we walked away and located the laundrette. As we arrived they were adding the final touches to our clothes, a lady used a fragrant spray to keep them fresh as we transported them back. With 6kg of clothing we hailed a taxi and returned to our hotel.

We stayed in our room for hours this afternoon, partly due to the fact we discovered room service brought cooked meals to us. We took some showers to get rid of the sand from the beach, then we each devoured a burger. I also had an additional plate of spaghetti bolognese because of how good it was last night. Although we came back to the room to watch a movie, we didn’t actually get round to it. After I’d finished messing about with my blog, I played my Nintendo for a bit, while Sarah plucked her legs. It was around 5:30pm before Sarah said she wanted to go to the beach for sunset. We had been in Bali for over two weeks now and hadn’t managed to see a good one in all that time. In the distance she could see the large hot ball descending, and informed me there is a classic photo people take of it setting, which she also wanted to capture. I was still playing on my Nintendo while Sarah was waiting to go, it took me 5 minutes to save what I was doing and turn it off, then we had the pleasure of catching a taxi outside.

The usual security guard had finished his shift for the day and was sat with a friend conversing. He didn’t want to help us hail one this time, so it took us twice as long to get one to stop. The fist few wouldn’t take us for anything less than 50,000 rupiah (just over £3), which was double the usual cost. Then a random driver stopped and tried charging us 100,000 rupiah, again we said no. Eventually one stopped and took us on the meter to the beach. For some reason the traffic appeared to be redirected as we grew closer, meaning we had to take a lot of side streets to get to our destination. We ended up getting stuck in traffic no more than 200m from the beach. We paid the man and decided to get out and walk the rest of the way. It was too late when we arrived, the sun had gone and Sarah was angry. An argument ensued as to why we missed it, with me getting defensive when Sarah blamed me straight away. I only had a small part in it, but I’d like to think the 10 minutes waiting for a cab, and the 15 minute car journey had something to do with it as well. We still sat on the beach and watched the sky go through the colour spectrum, before taking some pictures and moving on. Now that Sarah and I resented each other slightly, we didn’t really want to do anything. Sarah claimed it was our last night in Bali and it was ruined. I did my best to cheer her up as we walked along the beach in an attempt to find the beachwalk shopping centre. That didn’t happen, and only fuelled the fire worse when I guided us the wrong way entirely. Along the beach, a little farther away, we saw a sign which read “turtle release 4:30pm”, another thing we had missed, this also didn’t help matters. We kept walking until we eventually reached a different mall. It was filled with designer shops, all of which we couldn’t afford to shop in, so we walked straight through and asked for directions. A local man set us straight, and saw an opportunity to drive us in his taxi. We said “no thanks”, then continued to walk a new part of Bali we hadn’t seen before. Building after building, there was nothing but expensive restaurants and surf brand shops. When we got back to familiar territory we explored the markets and found the beachwalk mall. By now we were scarcely low on money, and the only way we could afford to buy branded clothing would be if we were to make a withdraw. Seeing as we didn’t have our cards on us, we left after only 5 minutes.

We then walked down Poppy Street to find somewhere to eat tea. By now Sarah had perked up a bit and we were talking to each other again. Although I wished we weren’t, every time Sarah spoke she tried encouraging me to get a massage with her. Along the road someway, we stumbled upon a cheap massage parlour, and just to shut Sarah up we went in. Now, you remember earlier when I said I reluctantly do things Sarah suggests, but actually end up enjoying them? Well this would be one of those times. We had a half hour reflexology treatment, followed by a half hour back massage. Both of which came to a total of £5 at the end, very cheap I think you’ll agree. I preferred the reflexology to the back massage as I’d never had it done before, although, having a stranger rub my feet is a punishment I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. It felt really nice and I nearly fell asleep, but there was a slight painful sensation when he squeezed the little toe of my right foot. I didn’t know what that meant, so later that evening I researched. Apparently the little toe is connected to your ears, maybe I’m going deaf. I think Sarah was really chuffed with not only the foot rub, but also with what the lady had to say. She compared her arm with Sarah’s and told her they had the same coloured skin – this was by far the best compliment anyone could give to Sarah. After the half hour was up it was time for our backs to be pampered. I didn’t enjoy it much, as the whole time it made me aware of just how much weight I’ve lost. There was no muscle anywhere for my masseur to work. As he rubbed the oil into my back I could feels his fingers playing my ribs like a skeletal xylophone. Had I gone there at the start of the trip it would’ve been another story entirely, there was plenty muscle to work with then. My treatment was concluded with an Indian head massage, I found it very difficult to answer his question while he did this because of how relaxed it made me, I was like putty in his hands. When the hour was up we paid the cost and left them with a tip, then we went to Mozzarella for tea.

This was the restaurant we’d eaten at with Sarah’s parents. The food was so good then that it brought us back for a second visit. I ordered a massive helping of pork ribs. In their menu it claimed to be one of their best dishes, and I’m not surprised, it was fantastic. Sarah had an equally as tasty dish when she ordered the mushroom and cream pasta. Surprisingly, for the size of food we ordered it took no time at all to arrive, it couldn’t have been any longer than 10 minutes maximum. As we sat opposite each other at a candle lit table we contemplated everything we’d done so far. We were really sad to think this was our last full day in Asia, the past 8 months had flown by. Neither of us were fully ready to embark on an Australia adventure next, we were still having too much fun up in the clouds, but all good things must come to an end. We couldn’t have asked for better meals than the ones we had, afterwards we settled the bill, then went outside to find a taxi.

Because it was a quiet road it didn’t take long, and the driver didn’t charge us much. We were a little farther away from our hotel now, so rather than have a meter running we agreed a price of 30,000 (£2) to get back. As we grew closer I pointed out our hotel to the driver and he dropped us at the entrance. We then climbed in the elevator to the second floor and retired to our room. I used my phone to Skype my mum again, as it rang I looked in the mirror and saw the full extent of my sunburn from earlier that day. My lower back and upper legs were scarlet. My bum now looked whiter than ever. It was only a short call lasting around half an hour, but in that time my mum mocked my tan lines. After that I had a quick shower, then we attempted to watch a movie in bed. This didn’t work for one reason, when watching a movie with Sarah, she tends to like having all the lights off. This in turn made us tired, so much so that for the second night running we had to pause the movie. I then struggled to stay awake as I wrote this post before going to bed.

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Day 104: Phuket, We Have Arrived

So, 12 restless hours later, which consisted of tossing and turning. Cramping in the legs. Twisted feeling in my back. Shivering from the a/c with only a blanket to keep me warm, we arrived in Phuket. We were woken up by the driver at 6am to let us now we had reached the bus station. It was then up to us to book a taxi (for 450 baht/ £9) to take us to Patong. The taxi driver dropped us off outside a hotel of his choose, as we asked him to take us to a cheap place. It wasn’t. It cost £20 a night. Then began a 40 minute walk, where we visited several guesthouse’s, in the hopes of finding accommodation.

Because of how early it was, many of the buildings were closed. We nearly gave up, before a kind taxi driver walked us through the door of one particular guesthouse, which happened to be cheaper than the rest. It was still quite pricey, but seeing as the room was decent and came with a/c, ensuite bathroom and a tv, we paid the 900 baht charge (£18). Besides, we were tired of lugging the bags around by that point. We then spent the next few hours in bed, to rest up. It was 12:30pm before we left to explore.

Our main mission was to find drink and sustenance. When we stepped out the front door of our building, the first thing to hit us was the intense heat. I could definitely beat Sarah’s tan if I spent some time on the beach in this. The next noticeable factor was the sheer volume of market stalls. Somehow in the few hours we were inside, the streets had come to life with market stall after market stall. Sarah then noticed a shopping plaza opposite, suddenly her hunger and thirst levels disappeared. It was a good job we wandered in though, as at the end of the plaza was another guesthouse. We enquired about space for the following evening. They had a room for 600 baht. We booked it up and put down the deposit the lady asked for. It transpired that the deposit was the same price as the room itself. We then went about finding somewhere to eat. We exited the plaza and walked up the next road. All the way down, as far as the eyes could see were bars. One of which I thought looked very smart. It was designed to look like a jungle, it even went as far as having giant tiger statues stood atop the roof. Sarah on the other hand, claimed it looked tacky.

We continued down the road, looking at the occasional menu of restaurants we passed, but chose to keep walking, due to their high prices. Because Phuket is deemed more of a holiday destination, you can expect to pay higher than usual for both meals and accommodation. From what we learned earlier that day, the average room price is £20 equivalent. In the end, the pair of us settled on McDonald’s, how very cultured. It was fun to sit there people watching, at one point we saw two very different looking girls walking together. One was in just a bikini, tattooed and had a bosom which made even Sarah shout out “look at the size of them”. Her friend on the other hand was somewhat larger, covered up under the protection of a pashmina and had sweat patches leaking through the pink material. After eating we made our way down the street to better familiarise ourselves with the area.

We passed the beach, which was rammed with people (I couldn’t wait until later that night to see what the strip of bars would be like). During our walk we saw lots of signs to warn people how far away the nearest tsunami escape route was. As if you can recall, several years ago there was a tragic tsunami which came to town, taking the lives of hundreds of tourists. So it was reassuring to know there were places we could go should it happen again, and we have enough time to get there… *gulp* Not wanting to stay out in the heat for much longer, we ended up doing a loop of the area and returned to our guesthouse, to the comfort of our a/c. We remained in the room for the rest of the afternoon.

While we were there several things happened:
1. The power constantly tripped, causing me to become an electrician and fiddle with the power box.
2. Sarah remained glued to her kindle, like she had been for the past 5 days. No wonder her mum banned her from books during her studies. She’s just like Matilda, from the movie… Matilda.
3. James Breen, the one and only, was in town and had just recently finished his fight camp, meaning he was allowed to drink again. We chatted over Facebook and he told me that he was hungover, due to a heavy night the previous evening, and his first one in a month or so. We agreed to meet up at 7:45 that evening at the tiger bar we saw earlier. Before he left, he gave me a warning that Sarah and I were currently staying at the party central, and at night we should be prepared as it gets quite seedy. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, by now we were used to seedy, now I was even more excited to be going out. I predicted in advance, a day of nothingness the next day. Maybe a hangover day on the beach, that’ll be nice.

Sarah and I went out at 7pm. It gave us enough time to have some food before meeting the Breenster. We located a small restaurant which was better priced than most others. We quickly ate our noodle based dishes, then walked around the corner to the tiger bar. We met James outside, and like last time, exchanged stories of what we had been up to since our last encounter. We stayed for one drink at that bar, before James said he’d show us some fun bars that evening. He mentioned one bar which we would be going to, but in order to fully enjoy it we’d need to be drunk.

We didn’t get that opportunity, as much like a kid in a sweet shop, James was too excited and took us there ahead of schedule. At first I wondered where he had taken us, after we walked through the red illuminated entrance we found ourselves in a room with strippers. Sarah and I looked at each other as if to say “what they hell have we gotten ourselves into?” Nonetheless, we all sat down, purchased an over priced beer then watched in horror (and amusement) as James jumped up and began to slap the strippers with a polystyrene tube.

The reason he was so excited to take us there was for that reason alone. It was a strip club where you could slap the dancers with tubes, and they could do the same to you in return. The whole time I was sat there, I was constantly hounded by both James and Sarah to get up and hit them. Being extremely sober I didn’t feel quite comfortable enough to do that, but promised if we came back later (with alcohol on board) I’d give them hell. As we sat there more people began to fill the room. It looked bad on James’s part, as he had said to us that when he had been before there were couples having a laugh. When we arrived it was empty. We left after our beers, and found somewhere cheaper to drink.

My memory gets slightly foggy after the next bar, but if I had to guess how many bars we visited before returning, I’d say somewhere in the region of 4 to 5. One of which had connect four, to which Sarah kept losing to the barmaid. When we got back to the strip club we were all hammered. All I can really remember was the ladies inside took my t shirt off and threw it to one side, before thrashing me with the tubes (it didn’t hurt, that was the beauty of them being made of polystyrene). The other memory I have is when I exacted my revenge upon the ladies, however, in the process of whipping them I accidentally caught Sarah’s drink and eye. This caused her to drop her bottle, and the 3 of us having to visit a local pharmacy to get Sarah some eyewash. She was paranoid of it getting infected you see. Sarah was also tired by that point, and seeing as our guesthouse was opposite, James and I walked her back. It was then time for the boys to hit the streets, like two drunken monkeys.

Again, I don’t remember too much of what happened, nor does James for that matter. The bits between my blank spots involved going back to the tiger bar for another beer, but that’s all that comes back to me when I try to remember. When I spoke to James the next day we still couldn’t recall when we parted ways. All I know is I woke up with a bruised elbow and head, maybe James and I wrestled each other, seeing as he had been at a training camp fighting for the past month. I do remember getting back to the room, where I drank some water to avoid a hangover (fat chance of that actually working) and found Sarah engrossed in her bloody book again! It wasn’t long after that that I passed out, and that ladies and gentlemen concluded our first night in Phuket’s seedy nightlife.

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