Arriving here from Gili Air Island was a culture shock. From a white sand beach to a maddening high traffic tourist area. It was like being moved from first class to coach on a long full flight. Even the color of the ocean changed from crystal blue to brown. When we arrived at the port, I saw kids playing in the water by the boats. It didn’t look to clean but they were having the best time.
The hotel was broken into individual cottages. This is where the “flashpacking” part comes in. It was nice but it wasn’t the 5 star room we had just left on Gili Air lsland. This was an above budget hotel (flashpacking). The comforts were there but so were the mosquitos. Lots of attention had to be paid to the doors in there. Any crack and we were bait. Thank God for the lizards everywhere.
The hotel offered free breakfast. Unlike the American continental breakfast, hotels here give you a hot egg, bread, coffee, juice and fresh fruit at no additional charge. It’s included in the room rate.
The streets were packed with shops. They sold everything from bean bags to big black wooden penis bottle openers. Most of the clothing sold was the same things in different stores. Not much quality but the styles were pretty. Lots of rayon dresses and knock off soccer jerseys. I’m traveling with a small backpack so anything I buy has to be small and used often.
Being homeless has actually helped me save big money on shopping. I overpacked and regret it every time I sit on my bag to zip it. The first post office I see, I’m taking half the clothes out and mailing to my mom’s house. That third pair of shoes, 2 hats and 3 of the 5 pairs of shorts can GO! I should have listened to Doug. He kept saying I didn’t need any of that shit.
Beaches here stretch from Legian to Kuta. Surfers must LOVE this area. The waves never stop. The sand is dark to black and the shoreline is flat. You can walk right into the ocean without any slopes. The bad news is you can barely get past the waves. They are very strong. Most of the people I saw were either going in to surf or boogie board. The people without equipment weren’t in there long (probably pissing) before the waves pushed them out.
Before going to the beach I covered myself in wilderness deet lotion. Because of the heat in Indonesia the lotion separated from the oil in the bottle. It was like being covered in glue. Everything stuck to me. Sand, hair and lint was all over my legs and arms at the beach forcing me to get in the ocean.
Vendors were walking the beach selling everything. Try saying no a thousand times with a smile. It’s harder than you think. I said no to a couple of lady vendors selling sarongs and jewelry. Instead of leaving they went right for my feet. Rubbing my callouses and saying “no good, I fix”. That’s when I curl my toes in and say no with a smile. AGAIN. Then I spend about 30 seconds looking out to the sea and thinking about how ugly my feet are.
I did buy a selfie stick on the beach. Big mistake. He asked for $10.00, I got him down to $3.00. It worked when he was there. The minute he left the thing stopped working. Needless to say I never saw him again. I was there all day too. I also bought a Lifeproof iPhone case in an unauthorized Apple dealer store. The price on the box was $38.00. We agreed on $17.00 and it was mine. It looked legit but later I noticed there was no trademark after the name and the plastic was very bendable. The real ones sell for almost $100.00. Hopefully I don’t drop this phone, ever. Did I mention he kept the box?
Taxis here are metered yet they like to wheel and deal for a fixed price. That bothered me. In America its called gouging or getting ripped off. Legian is a major tourist hub so that invites all kinds of gouging going on. The times we took taxis that did use the meter the price was ridiculously lower than we expected.
The sun sets on this side of the island. Everybody gathers on the beach for sunset. Bands were set up on the beach about a hundred feet from each other. Beanbags, beautifully lit umbrellas and tables lined the beach area in front of each restaurant. This was one of my favorite things to do at night. Ordering a drink, watching the sunset and listening to live music. When the sun went down the beach lit up.
My only regret is I didn’t get a chance to try the luwak coffee of Indonesia.The beans are eaten by a luwak. The luwak then shits them out and they are roasted. It’s supposed to be amazing! But reading about the scams I didn’t really look into it. One of the scams I was told is beans are glued together by tree sap. Then put into a hollowed out bamboo stick and pushed through to look like pooh. There are specialty places that have the actual luwak living in a cage on site. I didn’t pursue it enough. The coffee is sold packaged. I didn’t want the coffee, I wanted the experience. That will be my reason to return!