Tuesday, 26 June 2007


Let me start by showing you my Lombok (Mataram) losmen bathroom (before use).
Note severed shower nozzle on cold water only shower.

In all fairness, this was not my first impression of Lombok but rather my last.

It dawned on me as I entered my 30th year that I was beginning to loose my sadomacochist travel zeal, especially after sporting a fever for 48 hours. So resigning myself to the path of least resistance, I caught the 'Back to Bali' boat.

In retropect Lombok was ok.

As most tourists do, I headed straight for the Gili Islands - which translated means Island Islands, not to emphasise that they really are islands, so much as that they really are the only island group off Lombok which tourists go to, leaving the rest of Lombok to the natives.

On outset to Lombok my demeanor was somewhat optimistic on the boat over... although this could have been attributed to having almost completed the 13 hour journey after passively smoking clove cigarettes the whole way.

Once in the Gilis I managed to witness the final gasps of a marlin the size of a dolphin

Here is a donkey - no cars, motorbikes or police allowed on the island... plenty of drugs though.

I'm sure I would have enjoyed Lombok in general much more had I been more ruggedly constitutional, but I'm not here to expand my horizons, but rather attempt to ignore some persistant problems, such as work, relationships and a determinedly unconstitutional body, which is where my rapidly growing 'Recently Read Books' post comes in, albeit a pale substitute for warcrack.

So anyway, now I'm back in the relative comfort of Kuta, Bali, with my comfortable but somewhat unconventional architecturly designed losmen.

And my leagues of adorning javanese tourists who insisted on snapping hundreds of shots on their 80ish looking film-wound cameras.

and a final shot of kuta beach and the truckloads of tourists.

Anyway - please send all belated birthday presents to my parents address in Adelaide.

Btw - I have a new neice as of a few hours ago...

Monday, 18 June 2007


Here are a few pics of Kuta Beach where I have been going every day for the last week or so...playing chess, surfing, eating.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Books I've Read Recently

This will be an ongoing post so I can keep track of what I have read - more for my own benefit rather than anyone else's interest I think (reverse chronological order).

Planet Of Adventure (Jack Vance) - 6/10
Pretty trashy and simplistic sci-fi but it still kept my attention enough to read all 550 pages in 24 hours.

Eragon (Christopher Paolini) - 7/10
Predictable fantasy done well (by a teenage author - maybe the best author for fantasy?).

Burmese Days (George Orwell) - 9/10
Obviously drawing on much personal experience - found it relevant to my life in several ways too.

Sphere (Michael Crichton) - 3/10
Ok - I'm sick of Crichton now...

Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein) - 4/10
Sci-fi, life on mars novel. Started out ok then got wafty. Heinlein at his most dated/sexist.

Prey (Michael Crichton) - 7/10
Another evolution/nanotechnology sci-fi book. Interesting concepts - reminded me a little of one of my all time favourites - Diamond Age (Neil Stephenson). No where near as creative though.

Origin of the Species (Charles Darwin) - 5/10
Pretty boring really compared to what is written on evolution now days. Could have been condensed into about 20 pages. Still has some interesting points to make. I feel a bit guilty for ranking Quest for the White Witch higher than Origin of the Species, but my rankings are based purely on their entertainment value to me.

Congo (Michael Crichton) - 7/10
Aeroplace escapism but done well.
Same genre as most books found here in bali - either that or some self help enlightenment hippy chick trash

Quest for the White Witch (Tannith Lee) - 7/10

Ok, fantasy pulp fiction

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Bumming Around Bali

After arriving in Denpasar I thought I should at least have a look at the main beach where all the tourists head to - Kuta. I couldn't walk 5 metres without offers of room, bike or marijuana (which from all accounts is particularly bad quality). So hiring a bike the next day I rode the 100km or so to the north side of Bali to Tulamben, where I was one of only a handful of tourists.

Most of the restaurants and accommodation all across Bali are dead empty at the moment - which makes the competition for tourists' money rather aggressive. I've heard it is not so bad as right after the Bali bomb though. I managed to get majorly sun-burnt on the ride over.

Tulamben, was ok - a small village where the main attraction is the Liberty shipwreck (an American cargo ship of length 120m). I went on 3 dives with an American guy I met there, John. The wreck was pretty cool - saw a bunch of stuff like moray eels, a Black Tipped Shark (about 2 m), schools of thousands of Wide-Eyed Trevelis, an octopus and a bunch of interesting coral. Definitely an improvement on my last dive back in Australia (8 years ago now) where I managed to swallow a few mouthfuls of water and grab the regulator from my instructor's mouth in panic.

After Tulamben I rode another 100km or so to Lovina, a beach resort town. Not much exciting there, although I met an interesting ex-pat who was telling me about a house he built over here for about $AUS50,000.

After just one night in Lovina, I'm now back near Denpasar in Ubud. Ubud is promoted as the art town in Bali where you can buy paintings and handcrafts. There seems to be more tourists here than I have seen anywhere else in Bali, not always a bad thing round here because it means not quite so many aggressive/desperate touts, so I might stay here a few nights.

Here are some pics...

Ride to Tulamben



The Monkey Forest in Ubud