Indonesia:Bali:Kuta: 31/05/04: surfers and roadworks

I was not really looking forward to stay 1 night in Kuta, as it is known of having very pushy sellers: they would keep on requesting to buy things and they would be everywhere: beach, street, …

I walked around for a few hours on the beach and in Kuta center, but haven’t experienced this yet. You have the sellers, but they didn’t seem too pushy with me. I actually enjoyed the stroll on the beach, which is full of surfers.
But Kuta has currently absolutely 1 big problem. There are roadworks everywhere. Really, all the streets are opened at the same time. It is difficult to walk around, as the pavement is gone, with big holes, sometimes the road looks like a szimming pool, … It is total chaos in the streets at the moment, resulting in 1 big traffic jam.

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Indonesia: Bali: 30/05/04: visiting a tempel and cruising around in the mountains

Today, I had foreseen to see a bit of Bali above water. So I had programmed a visit to the biggest temple (Besakih), and some landscapes (mountains, ricefields, …). The weather luckily stayed dry (very cloudy), although in Padangbai it was raining for the 3rd day in a row (not normal in the dry season).
The visit to the temple was interesting. There were different ceremonies ongoing and I got some explanation from a guide that I never wanted, but they are sometimes very pushy. Luckily, my driver gave me a maximum price for the guides, because they would ask a lot of money.

Too bad it was cloudy for the rest of the day, because it must be beautifull to see all the mountains. I could see the famous ricefields, and the little villages were interesting to drive through (although comparable to the one I stayed in for more than a week).
When we came back in Padangbai, it was still raining there, but it promised to be better tomorrow (just when I leave to Kuta for 1 night).

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Indonesia: Bali: Padangbai: religious ceremonies

The religion in Bali is Hindoe. Everyday, people put offerings in front of the houses, in the boats, … everywhere. 3 times a day they have to give the offers. And they have a lot of ceremonies.

May 29 was ceremony for “knowledge” (I even read that Balinese should not read books that day), May 30 was a ceremony where at 06:00 a.m., everybody went for a swim in the sea. (a lot of noise early in the morning, I must say). Nobody could clearly explain what was behind it. It seemed to be a cheerfull event.
1 day, in the village, there was lots of music in the street: it was a funeral. They carry the body all around the village. It feels a bit weird to see this.

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Indonesia: Bali: Padangbai: 29/05/04: super nightdive

I have been diving everyday and today I finished the dive-session in Bali with another super nightdive. Lots of different crabs and other shellfish. Some of these crabs were really big. And the most exciting part was the very close encounter with 2 different types of sharks: a bamboo nurse shark and a white tip. It is a different experience to see sharks at night. My heart was pumping a bit harder when they came really close to us. They were chasing for food.

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Indonesia: Bali: 28/05/04: wreckdiving at Tulamben

The US Liberty wreck in Tulamben is the most famous divesite of bali. It is a big cargowreck, but the fish- and coral life on the wreck is enormous. There are groopers of over 1 meter and lots of schools of fish.
A bit away from the wreck, in the shallower parts, we even saw blacktip sharks chasing in water not deeper than 2 meters. I don’t know if the snorkelers know about this!

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Indonesia: Bali: Padangbai: 24-26/05/04: diving, every day diving

After a few weeks out of the water, it feels good to dive everyday. Padangbai is centrally located for the divesites, which makes it easy to dive everyday somewhere else. I am diving with Diving Groove, which gives a superb service: everyday to another divesite, great briefings with background on fish-life, …

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I am currently diving alone with the diveguide: luxury situation. I have had already super dives. During 1 dive, a manta ray stayed with us for more than 10 minutes all the time circling around us and coming towards us, very close. It was a super experience!

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During another dive, we were in a cave full of white tip sharks and giant lobsters. And of course, all the dives have the amazing tropical stuff: a lot of the reefs are unspoilt here.
1 thing Bali is famous for is its currents and the temperature variations in the water. These thermoclines ccan be huge, so I dive in my 7 mm suite. I will absolutely not be cold this way, but my 3 mm suite will not be OK in the cooler layers. The currents can be very strong and very unpredictable. They can come from all directions during 1 dive. And when you let yourself go in the current, it looks like you are in a speedboat, … So, taking pictures at such moments is totally out of the question. Maybe I should film it ones.
I just finnished a nightdive: to me, it was a new experience, as all my nightdives have been always in calm water. Now, at a certain moment, the current picked us up along the reef. It’s a different feeling than at daylight, but I just let myself go. I enjoyed it!

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Indonesia: Bali: Padangbai: 23/05/04: arrived in a small fishermans town

After a short flight, I arrived in Denpasar, where my ride to Padangbai was waiting for me (or better, I was waiting for him). The drive to the little village took almost the same amount of time as the flight.

It was quite an adventure on the road. Definitely, I will not rent a car, or drive myself around here. A full white line here seem to attract the drivers to absolutely overtake, and even better if this happens in both directions at the same time. And just when you think they will hit each other, they seem to find a small spot to put the car back in the lane. Small motorcycles are everywhere, but on the bigger roads, the car is the boss and seem to have the right to push the little motorcycles from the road if they need the space. So, it is the “right of the strongest” that rules here.
But I arrived safely in Padangbai, where I will stay a week to do lots of diving. It is a small village with only a few small hotels and restaurants, but it still keeps its local habits. It is absolutely nothing compared to Kuta (the tourist mekka), with its big hotels, bars, beaches, …

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Being in Indonesia also means “Mandi”-usage again: no shower, but buckets of water to poor over you.
And after Australia, I am absolutely amazed about the prices: I will not have to cook myself here: it is absolutely restaurant-time everyday.