Sunday, 13 January 2013

1 to 6 January 2013 – Bali (Indonesia)

Cheating is the occupation of the majority of money changers in Bali. The official exchange rate for the US$1 is IDR9700 (Indonesian rupees). There are official money changers on the street such as Western Union and others who have a proper office and who have an exchange rate of IDR9600. Then there are the other ‘official’ money changers who have signs indicating that they will give IDR10,400. They normally have a tatty counter or booth in the back of a small shop or down an alley. These other ‘official’ money changers are the ones to keep away from as their sole intention is to cheat anyone who changes a reasonable amount of money with them. The first trick is for them to say they only have IDR20,000 notes and this is when it is time to run away as quickly as possible as it will be the first indication that they will cheat on the exchange. Anyone offering over the bank rate will not say that there will be commission to be paid, varying from 8-15%, until the the rate drops below that of the proper official money changer. The others offering a very good rate will actually put the correct amount of money out on the counter to start then continually pick it up pretending to count it while the slight of hand makes some of it disappear. The best way I found to prove if they were honest was to pick up IDR1,000,000 put it in my pocket and hand over $100 then start counting out another IDR1,000,00. The money changer will ask for his money back as he knows that he as been found out. Never hand over any money before getting the right amount in the hand. I had the tricks tried on me continually one day and was fed up with it in the end. I waited whilst one money changer finished praying then tried to cheat me so I told him that I did not think that any god he was praying to expected him to finish his prayers and then cheat the tourist, that he should be ashamed. I doubt that it did any good, but he was speechless!

I landed in Bali at 21.00 hours on 31 December with the flight staff announcing that it was midnight in Sydney, the place of departure, and wishing everyone a Happy New Year. It would have been easier and quicker to walk into the town than take a taxi as the police had most of the roads closed to traffic with people being everywhere. I did eventually get to my hotel then went for a walk into the centre of Kuta to where the memorial to those killed in a bomb attack ten years ago may be seen. Most of the people on the streets were Indonesian and though it was noisy and fireworks were going off there was no countdown to midnight like in other countries, it was rather dismal really.

Indonesia, Bali, New Year 2013 (3)
The New Year on the street
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Beach, 1 January 2013 (2)
I'm not sure what this was meant to be
New Years Day morning saw a crowded local beach, crowded mainly by Indonesians and all seemingly enjoying themselves. This was the last bit of sun to be seen for two days as from then it rained almost continually, the rainy season coming in with a vengeance and somewhat late.
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Beach, 1 January 2013 (1)
Kuta Beach New Years Day
For various reasons, one being the price of the room, I stayed in two hotels in five days as the room rates were dropping dramatically with the Australians and Indonesians going home after their Christmas holidays. The rooms were about £10 per night, one hotel included breakfast for that price.

Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Hotel, Room Door, January 2013 (1)
The entrance to my room
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Hotel Bedroom, January 2013 (2)
My room
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Hotel Bedroom, January 2013 (1)
The room next door
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Hotel, View from room, January 2013 (1)
The hotel pool
It is said that most homes have a temple attached to them but although I could see a lot of temples in the town I do not think that the saying is correct unless the size of the ‘temple’ varies from a small shrine to a proper temple. I do like the temple carvings and the weird faces of the Hindi gods.

Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple, January 2013 (1)
Temple Entrance
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple Carving, January 2013 (1)
Temple carving
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple Carving, January 2013 (2)
Temple roof carving
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple, January 2013 (3a)
Temple door
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple, January 2013 (3g)
Temple carving
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Temple, January 2013 (3e)
Temple carving
I am old enough and ugly enough to have known better than to ask someone here in Bali how long it would take to walk from the hotel to the airport. I was told 20 minutes with the map showing a straight road and a right turn at a T-junction. 90 minutes later I arrived at the airport to book a flight to the islands to see the Komodo dragons. I then walked back to the hotel and lost my way so four hours later...........! (I was later asked why I did not take a taxi. My reply was that there was no fun in that!)

The following were seen whilst walking round the back streets of Bali.

Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Catholic Church, January 2013 (1)
The Roman Catholic Church
Indonesia, Bali, Kuta Old Railway Station, January 2013 (1)
Outside the old railway station, now a cafe.
Indonesia, Bali, Shop sign, January 2013 (1)
It's what it says
From Bali I flew to Labuan Bajo, the airport for Flores, where I intended to find a small boat the would take me out to Rinca and Komodo Islands so that I could see the Komodo Dragons.

1 comment:

  1. I'm back off to India at the end of February, so I reckon I'll se some more of these Hindu gods

    Did you see the Komodo Dragons ?

    In the end I never bothered changing money on the street, rather take a chance with Western Union and a lower rate rather than just get robbed of even more

    I liked the old railway station, it looked prety good

    The Ausssies are going back to a lot of flame and fires, there were fires when I was back there in November, gues its even hotter, drier now, they could do with some of the weather here now

    I didnt think the beaches were anything special in Bali, not even decent sand, more like crushed shells, I dont know why the Aussies leave the fantastic beaches they have at home, only thing in Balis favour is cheap food and booze

    Keep on trucking Dave, 4 weeks and I'm off again, Safari in India this time, then off to Kovanlam, want to join me ?