Indonesia

Greetings from Bali. Since my┬álast post, I’ve really only had one notable experience, which was my dive trip off the NE coast of Borneo. That was beyond my expectations and simply incredible!┬áSipadan island, one of the top diving spots on earth, was just a bus & boat ride away, and I was able to get my Advanced Open Water PADI certification, plus 3 dives at Sipadan. 11 dives total over 3 days.

Sipadan was absolutly amazing! It’s hard to describe the feeling of floating underneath and looking up on a school of hundreds and hundreds of huge barracuda at the appropriately named “Barracuda Point”, swimming next to turtles that must have weighed more than I do, and watching sharks glide through the water all around. I was floored by Sipadan.

The diving was great, but there was absolutely nothing else going on in Semporna, the town where all the dive centers are located. There was a small bar with fantastic seafood BBQ right next door to the dive shop I went with, so after a day of diving everyone went for buckets of beer & BBQ, then called it an early night since we had to be back at the shop at 07:30 the next day

After that amazing trip, it was back to KK to get my visa arranged for Indonesia, which meant waiting around in KK for the visa, then for 4 or 5 days for the flight to Bali. Basically I was just trying to lay low after dumping all that cash on the diving, 54 bucks on the visa, plus 3 plane tickets – I had to first purchase a ticket out of Indonesia before I could get a visa to go to Indonesia, plus two tickets to get from Kota Kinabalu to Bali. It was time to spend a few days sitting around, watching TV, and trying not to spend anything.

So now I’m in Bali, and my impression so far is not very high. However I hope it’s just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s high season here, and I’m staying in the town of Kuta, a super touristy area completely over-run with 12 to 20-something year old Australian surfers and beach bunnies on holiday. Sorry, I should say “I’m surrounded by heaps of drunk bleach-blond & overly tanned Aussies”. I would have thought this was awesome about 15 years ago.

I hope to find a way to ditch this crowd soon, and find something interesting on this island. After glancing at a map, it appears there are some mountains up north, so I’ll probably make my way up there soon.

On a side note, I had my cell phone stolen yesterday. It’s not that big of a deal because I hardly ever used it, and it was a cheap piece of crap anyway. However, what does bug me is that it was stolen by an employee of Air Asia. As you may know, I try to never check baggage, but Air Asia is strict about only allowing one carry on bag, because they want to charge for checked baggage. Anyways, I had to check my large pack for the flight from KK to Singapore. When the pack came out on the baggage carousel, the zipper had been ripped open (so much for the padlock doing any good).

Actually, I didn’t think much of it at the time, I thought security had searched the bag and busted the zipper when trying to zip it back up. I assume security often searches checked baggage, that’s why luggage locks have the TSA bypass on them, so security can open bags at will.

When I got to Bali, and found a hotel, I opened the pack and found the inside pocket opened as well. WTF? Still, I didn’t notice anything missing. Today I bought a sim card for Indonesia, went to find my phone, which I’d kept in the inside pocket of the pack – GONE! BASTARDS! Oh well… So I get to go phone shopping tomorrow I guess. As much as I don’t really want a new phone, I still find I really need one every so often.

On another side note, the way my toilet flushes in this room, I don’t get to see any swirling, so I haven’t yet seen the crazy backwards water swirlin’ I hear-tell takes place down here in the nether-regions south of the equator. I’ll keep ya posted….