Tuesday, August 08, 2006

THE CRAPPY BUFFALO


This is my favorite picture. Its the sulphur lake. Its a normal lake but with a high quantity of sulphur in the water ....so its supposed to be great for treating skin aliments and even arthritis. We visited it one morning ....quite early on route to flores on the sail boat. I cannot quite remember what the island itself was called . It was spectacular.......i climbed up a small hill to take this picture . It was such a beautiful sight that i began to play around with the settings on my camera and landed up with several such pictures. I really wish i knew something about photography. Just imagine what this would have looked like if taken by a good photographer .
We all jumped in and took a nice swim despie the fact that the water was freezing. I didnt feel any different ...guess i just dont have any skin aliments....thank god for that!
Our next stop was at Red Beach. We were told that it was a place where we could see water buffalo, wild horses , rare birds....and maybe even a dragon(komodo) . I was so excited at the thought of seeing wild horses ....that i skipped the snorkelling that most people went for and took the walk instead. Sure enough ...we saw the water buffalo. As all the 'phirangs' swooned over the herd ....i looked at them and saw nothing different from the several thousands that you would see anywhere in india......on farms , bathing in lakes ......hell even crossing the roads !!! Whats the big deal??? Yet for the sake of it i took a picture . I guess this was a mind reading water buffalo....coz he was annoyed with me . Oh sure he was ....especially when i took that picture and the flash caught his eye.
Oh my god !!!! He was up and out of the dirty water in an instant ....he glared at me ...shook his head disapprovingly. I froze! i was going to be chased by this animal with horns .....he would poke me ....step on me and i would die a horrible painful death. What was i going to do ???
As my brain raced and adrenalin shot into my veins....the buffalo stopped. Then he lifted his tail high in the air and shat !!!! The stupid animal took a crap....passed dung....excreted....whatever you want to call it !! I dont think i have ever been so thankful for animal waste or appreciated it as much as i did that moment. I breathed again, as the fresh air laced with with smell of wet dung hit my nostrils i cursed the buffalo and walked on hoping to find a wild horse. But in my mind i think i was hoping to find a less wild one !
After an hours walk i spotted them ...about 20 of them . Awesome !!! i thought an tried to get a closer look . Guess what i found ??? Skinny unkept foals with bells around thier necks ....truly wild !!!! What a let down ....what a waste of an hours walk . I could have gone snorkelling and felt fresher at least....too late.
It was nearing sunset as i walked back to the beach and onto our sail boat. What a day it had turned out to be . I was sweaty and dirty and badly needed a shower ......but the one on the sail boat was pathetic ......i decided to save the energy involved in the effort and get to bed instead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

OTHER ATTRACTIONS ON THE CRUISE

As our sail boat departed from lombok to flores ( the 4 day trip ) a huge group group of kids bid us farewell ( the above pic , one of my favourites) . Tourists departing on boats from the harbour is definately not an unusual site for these kids , yet everytime they see one they tag along , flash their smiles , some hide and pretend to be coy , others ask for photographs to be taken and some try their english by asking where you are from.
One common thing that i have noticed especially with kids, through all my travels is that they long for their pictures to be taken . I think its definately got a lot to do with the invention of digital photography. Its not the act of posing itself that gets them excited....its when you show them the picture . Thats when they usually let out a shriek of astonishment......a wow ! They summon all their friends to take a look at the picture.....ask if they can get a copy and stare at you as if you performed a miracle. After that you become like a demi-god ......you get followed even more and sometimes the adults offer you things ...like a cup of tea or fruit. all this for having just used your camera!!!
I shot picture of this little boy in a temple......he was shy at first ....but when i showed him the first picture, he just refused to believe that it was him !!! I just did not know what to make of it . Is it possible that he had never taken a look at himself in the mirrror.Surely sometime he would have come across a mirror ....surely he must have seen what he looked like. Or was it my terrible photography skills that were making him look like someone else...???I took more shots of him hoping at some point he would understand that my pictures really were of him ....and that it wasn't a distorted image of somesort . i never quite figured out what his conclusions were as the temple cermony started and i had to shut my camera off. once the ceremony was done ....he was nowhere to be seen.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

INTERESTING UBUD !!!


ubud attracts people interested in balinese arts rather than balinese beaches. its an awesome place . a quaint little township full of gallerys , musems showcasing bali's ancient arts and crafts and traditional balinese dancing . a great place to do nothing , throw your watch in the bin....take time off and do nothing but debabte what time to have lunch.


i was so fed up after the horrid conditions in labuan bajo, flores that i was dying to get someplace clean ......it was nearing the end of my holiday anyway and flores seemed to require more energy than i had had or was willing to spend . so i took a flight to bali , and a cab to ubud. 4 days in ubud seemed a lot at first but once i started looking around ......i wished i could postpone my tickets and stay a bit longer.

shopping is unbelievable in ubud . i went from shop to shop , alley by alley . everywhere you looked were people selling stuff . it was paradise . unfortunately the prices are far from paradise ...they are sky rocketing and then you have to spend a good hour haggling and you get yourself a great deal.

i went crazy . i bought so much stuff . of course most of it being junk !!! silver bangles , traditional art , hairbands , pyjamas, bali tops , beautiful placement mats , batik shirts , bead bracelets .....its really an endless list . i had so much fun going around looking through the art in tiny little shops , browsing through book shops lining the little alleys, eating tradional balinese food and just walking around with no particular aim.


a must see in ubud are the traditional dances held in particular spots every night. there is a guide book that tells you what dance is on when and where and tickets are 250 indian rupees per dance. i managed to catch the ramayana, the trance/kecak dance , the fire dance and the legong dance.more on the dances later in another post . the whole place is lit up with diya's and the atmosphere is great . the show lasts an hour and is definately worth a watch .

the kecak dance was my favorite dance . lots of men gather around a fire and recite ...almost like a chant.....but the way they do it ....the ups and downs the strange rendition.....its just great.

the fire dance is something that was different. it was a solo performed by this guy who was on something in leaves and bamboo resembling a horse ....yet his feet touched the ground. there was a fire made of burning coal and in tune with the music he would kick it in a certain way with his bare feet and transform the hot coals into a picture of some sort. i know there is a dance in india ( not sure of the name ) where dancers kick a mound of coloured powder and dance on it producing in the end a picture of the god of dance ...natraja. but red hot coal and bare feet was something else . it produced sounds of anguish , surprise and awe from all watching and made for a truly breath-taking performance.

hinduism is the religion of many in bali and thus the monkey and various others gods are of great importance. remember hanuman , sugriva , rama , sita, jatayu ( the bird), ravana and kumbhakarna ?????? well you will find all of them depicted in both performing art( dances , dramas , puppetry) and creative art( painting , sculpture ). not exactly in the same way as in india ...but in a balinese way. if you say you are a hindu people fawn over you and give you greater discounts.

cafes and warungs are all over the place and you can get anything from a cheap traditional meal to an expensive sit down dinner with cheese and wine. kites of different shapes and sizes fly high in the sky and temple festivals are packed. tourists line the streets and hawkers try thier hand at PR to sell you stuff.

the best of all though were the spa's !!!! so many to choose from so many treatments offered. i was getting dizzy just trying to figure out where and what . finally decided on a place called beji ayu....and over the 4 days got myself the works. of course i looked no different than what i did when i went in .......the pamphlet read for your body , mind and soul . i guess the treatment worked only for my mind and soul....coz my body didnt look any different at the end of it all . yet it was worth it ......i was pampered and it felt great after so many hard days in indonesia. traditional balinese massages , followed by coffee scrub and javanese skin polishing and then a fragrant lemon grass bath .......a flower rinse .......it was truly royal !!!!

now that i am back home... i can only look back and sigh. spa's here are so expensive .......back in bali they treat you like royalty and when you converte the cost ....its hardly anything . really !! can you believe , i got all that ....from the massage until the flower rinse...all for the same price as full legs waxing in chennai !!!!( in case you dont know ...thats less that 500 indian rupees)

THE KOMODO DRAGON


The komodo dragon can be spotted only in two places . komodo national park , on komodo islnd and rinca national park on rinca island.( pronounced rincha). getting to komodo is relatively easy because of daily flights from bali and lombok . but they are expensive and dont give you much time with the dragons .
i on the other hand ( if you have read my previous posts) opted to go on a 4 day sail boat from lombok to flores via komodo and rinca. the highlight of the trip is spotting the dragons and although there are an estimated 1500 of them on each island , spotting them is merely a matter of luck.
Komodo is a really small island ith just one forest rest house where you can stay for a few days and take daily treks with a guide for some serious spotting . ( above is a pic of me at the entrance to komodo national park).


we were given a briefing on safety and the nature of the dragon and led into our trek by an experienced guide . the total duration is about 5 hours and its quite strenuous although you get long breaks everytime you spot the dragon ( for the pictures). the scenery was breathtaking and i was so full of excitement. would we be lucky ??

sure we were lucky ......i saw a total of about 6 dragons ( in komodo & rinca)n. however i must say that i was not impressed at all . i expected something a lot bigger , maybe more fierce ......the komodo dragon was not impressive at all . maybe i had just expected too much . its really rather similar to a monitor lizard . if you have seen one and u see the pic of the dragon youd know what im saying . i had heard so much about this creautre that features in all indonesian fables....but in reality it was a total dissapointment. but since i was there i took several pictures ....most of them not spectacular due to really grey skies and no light.


what was great fun and facinating to watch was a particular dragon marking his teritory and chasing a wild boar around the place. we were all behaving like lousy tourists and yelling FIGHT ! FIGHT ! FIGHT! the dragon however was in no mood to entertain us lot ....he just drove the boar off and refused to give us value for money !!!

we met an indonesian guy who had a story to tell . he is a park ranger and on that gloomy day he fell asleep at night on the bench in the open ....by mistake he says, (more like stupidity) as the mosquitoes got to him .....unconciously he wriggled his hands.

who should be standing near him .....the KOMODO DRAGON himself !!!! thinking it to be prey , the dragon pounced on his hand and got a huge chunk of flesh out . the man yelping in pain pulled the closest chair and broke the dragon's neck with it . the dragons can smell blood upto 2 km away .....before he knew it he was surrounded by 40 dragons .........a feast was due to the dragons !!!!!

luckily for him , he was saved by other officers and taken immediately to bali for treatment.the probloem is that the dragon's saliva harbours so many bacteria that multiply very quickly ...in most cases you die of severe infection within 24 hours, nhot of the bite itself .

but he is back in the park after 5 months in hospital with the same spirit to conserve this endangered species . what a guy !!!

another interesting collection at rinca is a collection of deer skulls . yup ! you guessed it . all the deer that the dragon have eaten are found and then put on display . its gross .....and interesting at the same time .

if you are lucky you can go really close to the dragons and take a few pictures . sometimes they welcome you at the pier . we were lucky ....had the one on the right on a rock just right of the pier.they are usually really lazy and a big meal can keep them satiated for days . like a buffalo will keep them off hunting for about 3 weeks . their life span is almost equal to an average humans life span and they are totally carnivorous.

have loads of pictures of this predator ....wish i could post them all. i am glad i made the effort to see them this time . but would i go again to see the dragons ???? no , i dont think so . not really a dragon person i guess !!!

WHEN WILL THE KILLING STOP ???



remember the national geographic ads ? well then , let me remind you ...these are the key words....


" if the buying stops....
the killing can too."

its been years since this ad came out , since we saw it . yet has it made any difference at all ??? has the killing of any animal been prevented by this ad campaign ???
there are several animals that are endangered. since i am a diver i am more concerned with the marine ones . of the several endangered species in the ocean ...turtles , and sharks are clearly on the top of the list. yet everywhere you go you still find shark fin soup on the menu and you still see educated people like you and me ordering just that.
i have tried on several occasions to educate these people of the needless killing of the sharks .i have tried to explain to them how inhumane it is to cut the fins off.
for those of you that do not know ...the sharks are caught , their fins ripped out .... cut off in the most brutal way( while they are still alive and fully concious) , then these gentle giants are thrown back into the sea devoid of their fins.. do you have any idea what happens then ????
obviously without fins they cannot swim . if they cannot move then water cannot go through thier gills, thus they cannot breathe ....then they suffocate to death. it can be compared to being strangled to death or drowning in us humans.


how would you like for limbs to be ripped off you while you are fully aware of whats happening . how would u like it then if a tight cord was wound around your neck and slowly pulled to strangle you ???
your lungs are burning ....you gasp for air .....you dont get any , you thrash around to find a way ...there is none !!!! slowly but surely your body and mind cannot take the oxygen deprivation any longer.......you go blue ....you die !!!!! a horrible painful miserable death.

yet so many people we know eat these animals ( and many such others) . i just cannot understand the reason behind it . i do not know how to possibly make them not repeat it .....


ever heard of the animal... manta ray ??? these are huge sting rays . they are listed in the same family as sharks as the bodis of both are merely cartilage . thay are literally eagles of the sea. they are beautiful , exotic and loved by every diver... young and old , novice or experienced.
i never saw a single manta while i was diving in bali and flores . i was sad ...i really wanted to see one . it would have made my day. its was my last day on flores , my last day of the sea and there were none of these magnificent creatures . i sighed and forced myself to resign to the fact that i would see none this trip.
but I did see one !!! not one that was swimming by gracefully , but one that lay dead........its wings chopped off , blood staining its underlying cartilage.
a mere filter feeder that lives on a diet of plankton , a harmless creature of the sea ,one of the most spectacular of god's creations....the manta ray...fished out to be eaten by one us greedy lot.
i was upset and aghast. i took several pictures....thats all i could do . i tried to din some sense into the fishermen but to them it was a living and a lot of money was to be made . a few mantas less in the ocean made no difference to them.
i am certain that several appetites were satiated that night......just the thought of it disgusted me . i lost my appetite completely . all that i felt was the sour taste of bile in my throat.
above are three pictures of the manta ( without the fins) and 3 sharks ( 2 baby white tip sharks and a tresher shark that were caught) . their fins were dried seperately to be served as fin soup and the rest of meat chopped up to be eated as well.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

LABUAN BAJO FLORES




labuan bajo is a small fishing village on flores island. thats what the lonely planet has to say....it also has another half a paragraph on the place and that includes all the sights , things to do , places to eat ...everything. so you can imagine what a lovely place we are talking about .
i went to several hotels looking for a room . the decent ones were all booked up . after so many days of travelling indonesia the term decent in my dictionary seems to have gotten a different meaning from what i remember it being. these days , the term decent means really crap...... i cannot live in these conditions , yet i will if i have to!!! boo! hoo!
the worse than decent rooms ( read, really really bad. so bad that i could puke ...no bloody way ! mamma !!!!.....i want to come home !!! boo hoo !!!) were the only choice i had . even if i decided to return to bali or lombok , i still needed to spend a night here. oh ok .....fine ! ill live in this shitty godforsaken room no matter how disgustingly dirty and smelly it is , worse still ill pay you 30,00 rupiah (150 rupees) for it although tecnically you ought to pay me a hell of a lot more for staying in this shit hole.
i am not exaggerating at all . it was a nightmare . small rattan room , with stained torn white sheets on the bed that smelt as well . you could see fine black dots on it ...indicating fungal growth. a mosquito net that served no purpose as it had huge holes in it ...enough to let a komodo dragon through let alone the mozzies.
the bathroom ....urrgh !!!! a hole in the ground toilet......major balancing act to be done, and a super exercise for my leg muscles. stagnating water ......read mosquito breeding ground, just would not drain off no matter how much i tried. and a hand shower. no tap , no bucket ....nothing , just a hand shower.
i turned it on .......DRIP!!! about 5 minutes later DRIP !!!!. the lifted the hand shower and threw it away aghast. it was slimy as well ....really eeky and dirty and squeshy .....disgusting !!!! the water smelled of fish. yuk !!!! what a hell hole.
despite all this the diving was so awesome that i learned to live in this room ....i actually stayed in this room for a whole 7 days ...as is obvious i am damn proud of it ...i call it developing my SURVIVAL SKILLS !!!!
oh ! and i forgot to tell ya .....there were rats at night in the room . i could hear them , but even worse two of them ran on top of the girl next door . poor little Aneeick was miserable !!!
diving made everything worth it . it was just great , simply the best untouched , virgin coral . so robust so healthy it took my breath away . the best diving i have ever done by far .....it was just fantastic , wish i had an underwater camera to share that with you.
after 7 days of this nightmare , i finally leave to bali....oh ! that seems like paradise at the moment .. i cannot wait !!!
whats beautiful about labuan bajo however are the sensets .....its just breath taking. they deluded me most of the time that i was there as it was rainy and dismal , but on my last day i was lucky to get a few decent shots. thank god for that!!!

SAILING TO FLORES



right you know that post i put up ...BEYOND BALI...all about my 4 day cruise on a sail boat.. and the next one cribbing about it being cancelled . well , i got on the same cruise eventually with another company and paid a whole lot more . at least this one left as scheduled and didnt cancel...thank god for small mercies !!
it wasnt exactly a sail boat , was just a boat and it wasnt a cruise ...i wasnt really expecting one for the money i had paid.

i found myself a small corner on the front deck and laid out my mat , rented sleeping back and other stuff . this would be my space for the next four days . hopefully i have chosen a good spot . if i wish to change there might not be room tomorrow . fingers crossed.
before we started sailing ...we went for a land tour of lombok. first stop was a pottery village where we saw in detail all the different stages in making pottery. all the workers in this set up are women , an upliftment plan. then we went for a traditional dance performance ...the love dance and the war dance.

the love dance was great fun ....two women dressed identically sashyed around with extremely provocative expressions . the costumes were elaborate and the jewellery intricate. the war dance was unbelievable. two men actually started a full on fight . i wish i had had the sense to take a video of the whole thing . the picture you see is real . they actually start fighting with sticks and a shield and even get hurt and screm in pain . we saw red bruises on them post the fight , bleeding toes ......its more than just a tourist attraction i suppose.
then we hopped on our boat and were off . 15 of us in total , each of us from a different nationality, different ages and different interests. thankfully we didnt kill each other . i am happy to report that there were no incidences of violence among us. we got on just fine .
itinary was just as i had explained.....stop at islands for snorkelling , fishing , swimming , treakking .....and of course the highlight of our tour KOMODO NATIONAL PARK.
the name komodo dragon makes one imagine a huge ferocious looking reptile . in reality ...they are big but are nothing close to ferocious. they look really similar to the monitor lizard amd are just as big . a lot of people on board were swooning over the 4 dragons that we managed to see during our 2 hour trek , but i didnt think much of them at all . maybe its coz i have seen a lot of monitor lizards in mlaysia...nonetheless i was not impressed at all.
the crew on the boat were really sweet . they sang songs for us , danced and even played the guitar and drums ( a tradional type of drum ...not like the one you imagine). would you believe it if i said we listened to indonesian versions of clapton , john mayor , floyd , j-lo, spears and even elvis ?????
food was great although i must say the eggs began to get really stale after a point . the only down side to it all was that we were constantly being told what to do and when to do it . it was like being back in school . six is wake up call . 6.30 is breakfast , 7 is swimming time ,9 is snorkelling time , 8 is eating time ....just like good old alma mater!!!
it got to a point were we were told even how we ought to feel. " we are singing for you now ....so you MUST be happy !" ' we all dance together now ...so you MUST be happy". ha ha ha it was so funny and we all were killing ourselves laughing.
nights on board chilly as hell coz we were sailing through the night . the wind felt like glass pieces against the skin and the choppy sea didnt really lull us to sleep. we found solace in hiring sleeping bags and literally burried ourselved in them.
i got off the boat 4 days later in labuan bajo ,flores. i had had enough of sailing . although i felt and surely looked weather-beaten, the trip was well worth the experience. it is one of the wild things i have done ...no ! i would not do it again , but memories of this one off time will stay with me forever.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

SO MUCH FOR PLANNING ..

you horrible people !!! how can you be so mean.....i know your life sucks in an office environment ....but how can you be so green with envy of my rather exciting life???? so overcome by jelousy that you cast an evil eye on my plans !!!! how could you do such a thing .....surely it is a sin that will not go unpunished.
i had booked my 4 day sailing trip and even paid the 1 million rupiah (107$) ......i was on the ferry to lombok and had no clue of the nightmare evening in store for me when i reached senggigi lombok.
once in lombok , i was told that there were not enough people who had booked ...3 more spaces needed to be filled and if that didnt happen by 7 pm , then the boat would not leave ...instead would leave on sat.
at 7 pm ....still no booking , i explored my options ....stay 4 extra days in lombok with nothing to do ( its a crappy place ....bad diving and really expensivefood compared to bali), take a 23 hour bus plus ferry ride to flores, fly to flores from lombok at a abnormally high fare(200$)...but the flight would take me from lombok to bali to flores ( a waste of time and money) or cancel and try my luck elsewhere.
i decided to cancel......and then the nightmare began . first the man who spoke little english refused to let me cancel ...saying i had to travel on sat. it took a lot of yelling and shouting and ranting and even threatening ( to post bad stuff on the lonely planet forum) for me to get him to consider my cancellation.
ok he said...." you cancel i minus 2,00,000 rupiah and return the money".....thats a 1000 rupees....."for what ?" i demanded ....it barely costs 30,000 rupiah to get to lombok from bali by the public ferry which i what i travelled on .
anyway ...cutting a really long story short....a lot of screaming and haggling later ...i was told i would get my money back minus 50,000 rupiah ( as charges from bali to lombok).however , it would only be given to me at 10am the next day.
believe it or not all this had taken 3 hours of fighting and a hell of a lot of energy.....leaving me totally drained and desperately in need of a comfortable bed and a pillow.
unwilling to fight anymore for 500 rupees i agreed and left the place . a part of me wondered if i would actually get the money or if i would come to a padlocked shop tomorrow morning at 10 am .
by 10 am came and my money was given to me . i promptly walked up to the perema office ( thats the most reliable tour company in indonesia....they did not have a booking office in the area i was staying in in bali ...so i had booked with the crappy lombok wisata company...and paid the heavy price for it)
the staff of perama were really nice and thats what i needed . i booked another 3 day trip to komodo for 50$ more than the other company (well ! its worth it ...they take u to more places on the way and have a special vegetarian buffet and are reliable and most important will travel even if only one person has booked)
of couse they only leave tomorrow , which means i have to somehow find a way to waste today in lombok ...not so hard with an interesting book i guess.
so now i leave tomorrow morning and reach labuan bajo , flores on sat evening. this time i shall be smart and not elborate on my trip ....that way i keep the evil eye out of the picture.
ill just give you all the magnificent details of the trip once i reach flores safe and sound !!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

BEYOND BALI....

now that i am almost done with BALI diving ...its time to reveal my next destination.
i leave bali on tue and had for another indonesian island LOMBOK, 4 hours by ferry . i spend the night in lombok ( which is a great place to hang out if you want to drink yourself silly and do drugs and have sex....incidentally none of which i am interested in at the moment) wed morning i get picked up from my hotel and i get on this sailing boat.
i will sail for four days from lombok to moyo island and sumbabwa and komodo island and finally reach destination flores !!!
on route , they will keep stopping for us to snorkel the best reefs , do some hiking where posible , meet a few tribes , swim , enter komodo national park , see the komodo dragons , the flying fox , have a bath in the waterfall in the dense jungle.....hot water spring.....sound like fun huh ???
we will spend the nights on board ...no cabins though , they give us mattress and pillows and we sleep on the deck . in total there will be around 10 of us plus crew. all meals are on board as well . its a four days / four nights trip to flores and is costing me 10,00,000 indonesian rupiah...thats just about 100 u.s $. i can fly it to flores from bali ...thats 70 $. but i thought for the extra 30 $ this trip would be well worth it . besides once in flores ( if i fly), it will cost me more than 30 $ to visit komodo to see the dragons .
much better this way ......at least it seems so to me.
once i reach flores , i will stay there and dive to my hearts content ...toss my watch into the bin and take some time out relaxing .
can almost see you all going green with envy !!!! ha ha ha !!!!
as is obvious there wont be any posts for a few days ....no internet on this cheap sail boat.
have fun at work all of you ...while i lie of the sun deck of the boat , looking out at the open ocean and getting a wonderful tan while day dreaming !!!

CRIBBING COUPLE AND WONDERFUL DIVING..


I stay in a little guest house in padang bai area as i have mentioned before. i have the worst couple in the adjoining room. as is obvious ( from the cost of the room) , its tiny and only has a thin chatai separating the next room from mine.
i cannot begin to tell you what a nightmarish couple they are. cribbing constantly , fighting non stop and worst of all its in english ...so i can comprehend every word !!!
i wake up to it ...io come back from a dive to hear it and i hear it even durin dinner coz somehow as luck will have it they come to the same bloody restaurant as me .
whats the probability of that ??? so many cafes to eat ...yet we somehow land up in the same place ......its horrible how jinxed i am !!!
" i gave 50 $ and the bill was only 10 $ ....i paid for your food as well so that was 20$ and your shopping too .....baasically you owe me 13$ and 34 cents and i demand it right now . oh ! and btw ...what about yesterday , thats another 12$ .....why cant you pay me ....why must i always ask for it ....what am i doing with you . you are such a werirdo.....how could i have ever thought it would be a nice holiday with you ."........its endless really ...
hope like hell that i never turn out to be such a nag...eeks !!! just the thought is scary ...well if i do Samit ...then just bring me back to this page on my blog and make me read it and give me a huge chunk of your mind , so i never forget it and change my ways.
anyway , apart from that the diving has been great . done a lot of it and seen a lot of stuff that i have never seen before. its spectacular the diving here ....and im not done yet !!!! will not go into the details of the dive sites and the fish i saw coz i know that its not so interesting ...mjaybe i ought to start taking underwater pictures...maybe then ud all be interested.
i think i will start actually . not on this trip ...but next season for sure ...i think its the only way to get all you boring people into diving . that includes my mom , sister , brother in law and the latest addition to the family.... samit.
and samit, you have no excuse at all . with a dive centre under your nose and a girlfriend ( or shall i say wife ) a divemaster...its miserable and pathetic that you cant dive.
maybe i should have an underwater wedding . at least that way a.. of you will be forced to learn.....that sounds like a plan !!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

BEAUTIFUL BALI

Air Asia sucks !!!! but hey , what can you really expect from a no frills airline ? they took off an hour late ( kuala lumpur - bali) . once in bali they took 35 min to give us our bags. man...what a crappy airline . but hey at least my bags reached . grateful for the small mercies.
i arrived in bali after a 3 hour flight and then had a cab bring me to padangbai....thats 2 hours from the airport. i found myself a really small quaint hotel ...its called keerti homestay. can you guess what i am paying for it ???
let me describe the room first . i have a tiny patio with a table and two chairs .....then you enter the door to the room ...a double bed with a really cushioned matress welcomes you with sheets in lovely blue. i have a bamboo dresser and a small bamboo cabinet. the door from there leads to the bathroom . i have a sink with a mirror, a shower and of course the pot !!! mind you these people do not believe in something called a flush . you get a big bucket and have to pour water down ...painful !!!
the place also has internet , laundry , a nice restaurant and a travel agency ( tours of bali and shuttle buses and money changer ).
well i am paying 30,000 indonesian rupiah , thats about rupees 150 ( including free breakfast) , in dollars about 3$. can you beat that ???? isn't that just an unbelievable price ????
i guess post the bali bombings tourism was so badly hit that they are all trying to keep the room full now. suits me just fine !!!!
anyway ....i woke up really early this morning 6 am ( beginnign to doubt if its a real holiday) , showered , got my free breakfast and headed off to the dive centre gear in tow. itsa called water worx and is managed by english people ( wolfgang and david). we set off on two dives in a super fast boat.
after the andamans and travelling by dungy there ( thats a burmese fishing boat....wodden and moves really slow with a lot of noise ...so much that after a while you go deaf and feel like you have parkinsons coz of the constant vibrations), this boat was like a super fast jet. fitted with 2 yamaha outboard engines , the boat just cut throught the water and raced faster than lightning itself. sitting on the sun deck i thought i just might fly off the top.
20 min to our first dive site ( shark point , biaha)....it was an ok dive . far below what i expected of bali but not too bad either . the max depth was 26m and i had to go up rather early as everyone in the group ( except for the dive master and me ) was low on air . was diving with a group of 5 men from western autralia and each one looks like a beached whale ...man they are massive !!! so them guzzling thier air came as no surprise at all.
after an hour on the boat we headed to our secong dive at tepekong or something to that effect ....bhasa indonesia is hard and tough to pronounce.
it began as a great dive....15 min into it was awesome and then came a swim through ( thats like a cave ...you go in from one end and come out of the other). one end is at about 16m ...and it gets deeper as you go through iot and you come out at 30m. it was simply superb. just breathtaking !!!
at the end of the tunnel .....when i breathed out, i knew we had trouble. normally when you breathe out the bubbles go upward ....but this time they just stayed in front of me and then "WHOOSH" under me....downward !!!!
it was too late to go back the way we had come .....no space to turn around. adrenalin pumping and all senses in high alert mode i moved forward not knowing what to really expect.
it was a whirlpool current or a toilet current ( swear thats what its called). now i know what its like to be flushed !!!:) man we went round and round like a washing machine ad or something . we estimate the current to have been over 6 knots ...thats a lot. my strongest yet.
anyway , we all got out of it safely but it was hard work , a lot of kicking and wasting air . the current was just getting stronger so we all made our way up as slowly as we possible could ( but it wasnt that slow coz the current kept at it) and once on the surface we were all just happy to have stayed calm and not panicked .
what a day !!!! tired as hell i returned to my little hut and slept like a baby . when i woke up i bought a new sim card ...sorry dont know the number by heart . didnt bring the card with me .
i strolled around this part of town which is away from the main tourist area. its such a beautiful place. think i could just stay put here for a month and not get bored at all. in the next few days i will do several more dives and maybe even make my way into the actual town , the tourist areas and see some sights .... although i doubt ill tear myself away from the diving).
tomorrow brings with it the hope of 3 wonderful dives ...two in the day and one at night . fingers are crossed , i hope i see something really really nice and have no more of these toilet currents.