Friday, August 26, 2016


This morning I made a now routine run down to Revolver for iced coffee, and witnessed one of Revolver’s infamous power outages. Apparently it happens a lot: the lights suddenly blink out, turning the cosy venue into a murky cave, and nobody bats an eyelid. Fortunately the airconditioning runs on a different circuit, so it didn’t turn into an oven, and eventually the lights blinked back on again. The staff behaved as if they hadn’t even noticed.

Putaloco took the opportunity of sudden twilight to motorboat a helpless maiden. Ah, those libidinous Latin types.

Seriously though, this is what happens when you order a kitschy lamp modeled after Gainsborough’s famous “Gentleman Picking Nits Off His Lady” (1787).

Strolling back to the hotel, I pondered that even over the last four years I’ve noticed the character of Seminyak changing. Where it was once populated by the better class of Australian (or at least the less awful class), it’s now thronging with cashed-up Europeans. The tattoos and Bintang singlets are now deep tans and crisp linen shirts. Even the scruffiest Italian or French dude can be identified by the subtle waft of high-end cologne as he slides past. This is my first visit to Seminyak in which I felt underdressed.

This was on my mind even more when we strolled down to Ku De Ta for a late afternoon cocktail. Despite its gathering age, some ugly modifications and expensive drinks (almost approaching the low end of Perth prices!), it’s still one of the foremost beach clubs in Seminyak, and it was thronging with (mostly) beautiful people.

As I sipped something containing rum and muddled mint, I watched a pretty Japanese woman in a bikini kneeling on her daybed, making pouty faces and tossing her hair as her partner dutifully recorded it all for Instagram. Nearby a once muscled but now potbellied English lad texted furiously in front of his girlfriend, pausing only to ogle slender European and South American girls over her shoulder as they stalked past. And of course, ruining all this toned tanned beauty was a single morbidly obese Arab, ordering his retinue around like a slightly less likeable version of Jabba the Hutt. I think there may be a bylaw requiring every beach club to have one.

In the evening we trooped up to Mamasan, a monument to Opium Den Chic and further proof that the Balinese have given up on worshiping Vishnu and decided to start worshipping Herbie Hancock instead. Seriously, everywhere you go, it’s nothing but smooth jazz with varying levels of acidity, regardless of whether you’re in a bar, a restaurant, a shopping centre or a tax office. I almost started wishing I could hear some traditional Indonesian music, until I remembered that most gamelan orchestras sound like someone shoving a brass band down an embankment.

We lounged on low, pillow-strewn couches that stretched the entire width of the restaurant, and ate upmarket versions of Chinese street food like dumplings and steamed buns. On the far end of our couch was a party of six Japanese tourists, consisting of two men happily chatting with each other, and four girls staring blankly at their phones. Between us and them was a gorgeous Czech blonde in a revealing blue dress and her two older Australian admirers. One confidently informed her that the Czech for “Cheers!” is “Nostradamus!”* She giggled and kept drinking the cocktail he’d bought her, then had the other one take her selfies for her. She was no fool.

*The Czech for “Cheers” is “Na zdraví”, so you can almost forgive him.


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