Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Road To Bali (aka Highway To Hell)

Checking out in a minute, but just a brief comment (HA!) or two about this god-forsaken ironic quotes paradise end ironic quotes.

It took me two hours to get across Kuta to Legian last night. About 15 minutes normally. Nevermind that the address I was given was wrong and I ate by myself, but to go 200m in 20 mins is just bullshit. With the amount of money that has poured into Bali over the years, primarily from Australians - surfers at first, yobbo tourists and their yobbo little brats of kids later - you'd think that SOME of that balance of trade would go towards doing something with the infrastructure. Despite its fame as a tropical mecca, it is one of the most tourist unfriendly places I have ever visited. It makes Chiang Mai look like Paris. Way too narrow, unmaintained streets; chaos at every jammed intersection; completely ungracious road-manners (no, you CAN'T get in, even though it means I will block the oncoming traffic for another 20 mins); cars parked in the most inconvenient and unlawful places; motorcycles clunking against panels as they weave through; pedestrians hopping like deer suddenly into the headlights because the footpaths are jammed with hawkers, rubbish and ankle-turning broken tiles...

OK, I am staying at Kuta these first few nights before I move up to Ubud for a week, but the fact remains that this is a third world shithole - even the ocean is shit here, chocked with detritus and flotsam, dark and uninviting (wrong season I am told).

Of course we know where the tourist money does go - down the greedy throats of those bloated ultra-corrupt politicians and businessmen (same thing) in Java, minus the 10% that is pulled off at EVERY stage of the logistical transfer of the loot. Christ, even the typists have to take their cut before they will prepare any documents.

What the fuck am I doing in Kuta? I don't surf any more, so why come here? Ah, that's right, Mates Rates at the resort and an upgrade to a suite.

For all this ruin, I blame Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour (who was a Mexican lady by the way. Not many people knew that, even in the bigoted film industry at the time).


Hope to calm down by the time I get to Ubud.


[Addendum] Which is not to say that my resort isn't gorgeous and marvelous btw , and that the rest of Bali isn't beautiful. Last time I stayed in Seminyak, much more peaceful; and the time before that was just after the 2nd bombing, so it was very quiet, even in Kuta.

Sigh... Bad news. My camera battery has died and as I left BOTH my chargers in Singapore it looks like I'll be iPhoning the Kodak moments for rest of my trip. I'd upload them, but I am on the new Netbook and it is am not synch'd to the iPhone.



Spike said...

Even if your iphone doesn't sync with your netbook, you can still transfer photos from the phone to the craptop manually. Just plug in the cable, cancel the sync in iTunes, and the "camera roll" folder on the iphone will show as a drive on the netbook in windows explorer. cut or copy & paste the photos from the iphone to the netbook.

I'm sure you could find a charger for your camera battery easily enough in Kuta; depends on if you wanna spend the money for it or not.

Unknown said...

I feel your pain.

Lost in Melbourne said...

These days you usually find that when you buy a new rechargable cell it has a fair bit if juice in it, so you could have a quick look around for a shop selling replacement batteries for your camera, that way you will have a back up later and probably find that they have enough juice in it to get through the trip.

Better yet go to a photo shop to do a few prints and tell them you want to take more but your battery is flat, they will sort out a charger for you hoping to get more prints later.

In the topic there is no 'balance' in the trade. Australian's an others pump a huge amount into the place and just get a hope that they will continue to do so. I don't think they owe too much to Bali, as you say plenty of cash has been extracted from foreigners over there and continues to be. But don't think they are isolated on ripping off people and not reinvesting. The multiple layers of government in Australia also fail to return in investment to roads the $billions that they extract via petrol taxes, it's just easier to get away with it in Indo than Australia.

Lost in Melbourne said...

Anyway I agree, why the F**K are you in Kuta? Especially when I am currently still here at home?

expat@large said...

Spike, Scott: here in Ubud, no chance of a charger. Don't want to a third one anyway...I'll try the iPhone connection later. Am in lobby of hotel at moment, no connection in room.

Carl: you know exactly how is it. Ubud is a breath of fresh Balinese air.

Paula said...

I've been to Bali too!

Good and bad, but basically I'm never going back! The frangipani is beautiful... and other aspects. Bali-belly isn't!

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