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Day trip south


I fought off the habitual hangover that morning to hook up with Ritchie and Scott, 2 Welsh guys I had met the night previous. They'd hired a cheap and cheerful dinky Jeep for a few days and so we struck out into typically crazy traffic destined for Bukit Badung, the eye shaped appendage of rocky scrubland which dips down from the isthmus below Kuta where the airport lies. Lack of roadsigning and an insufficient map dictated a rejuggle of the itinerary and so first of all we found ourselves at Uluwatu Temple, perched precariously at the top of stunningly high and beautiful cliffs on the peninsula's south western tip. The surf rolling in onto the rocky turquoise shoreline barelled in ferociously, huge waves which had to be the most amazing surf I had ever witnessed. It was amazing then to consider that some guys braved these in search of the perfect ride, get it wrong and plainly you were dead. Dressed for the occasion in my newly acquired sarong, I only needed a yellow waist ribbon to complete the requisite homage before discovering the temple itself to be humble and off limits in the main, it was the setting which made it though. Back down the road, we turned off at an enormous ostentatious entrance portal guarded by giant statues, down the new but already badly broken up highway which passed by a failed resort development and very out of place (17 hole!) golf course. From here it was a jolting offroad ride down to our ultimate destination, Dreamland. A world celebrated surf beach, not only were the rollers suitably impressive but the beach also proved to be a rare true paradise populated by surf bums and sexy bums. It was an extravagance prompted by the other guys to indulge in fried noodles on a sunlounger on the beach, but not a bad one at that. Carefull rationing coaxed my pink hue a subtle shade darker, until Scott finally decided to take the plunge with his board, he had clearly been stalling for courage until the surf had notably subsided by that point. Nevertheless he eventually found a wave which promptly wiped him out onto a coral bed, leaving him limping back bleeding and humbled. Though the shoreline was picture perfect the sheer force of waves compounding together would on occasion force chunks of coral the size and weight of a bag of sugar out onto the sand. It was only left for us to negotiate the outrageous traffic back into Kuta, with Ritchie adopting the loca;l tactics of breakneck spee, violent changes of directrion and no quarter given. After having just joked about the possibility, it was no joke then in getting puled over by the cops, strategically stationed at a major junction. We'd ended up stranded in the wrong lane but had had little choice given the poor road directions and partisan spirit. There was also the small matter of the telltale surfboards strapped to the roof saying "spot the tourists". We all knew it was a common practice of extortion we had succumbed to, eventually getting away from the well worn bullshit threat of court designed to intimidate us, by doling out a negotiated £6 "fine". We could see that they had only just pulled up another tourist couple on a motorbike, probably because they were carrying surfboards too. Many of the bikes here had custom made racks that purpose so ity was nothing unusual, but that didnt sway the corrupt opportunist bastards from selectively exploiting minutae of the law flouuted as a amtter of course, the same law they tyhemselves openly flouted too. Ritchie had been to Bali before and so knew to expect it, but in all my close encounters with corruption this was my first direct experience of such a unashamed stereotype. Ritchie dealt with it pragmatically (phlegmatically?) and I'm not sure I would have adopted the same resignation. Upon being gestured out of the line of traffic around a corner onto an open road, I was disapppointed when we didnt just go for it and leave the hapless chancers in our wake. I could bet that they wouldnt bother chasing after us, I doubted they even had the means, but would instead just turn to concentrate on the next car of a doubtless long and lucrative gravy train. Moreover, and it was a questionable tightrope to walk, but the prospect oif further intimidation, a night in jail and an appearance before a doubtless similarly corrupt judge might have been worth it to wind these guiys up in frustration at non-co-operation.

Posted by andyhay2 00:00 Archived in Indonesia

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