Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I spent my last day in Bali chatting with friends and shopping for pirated DVDs in Bali's remarkable pirate DVD supermarkets. Pirate cinema is such an organised industry in Bali that it makes legitimate businesses look shoddy by comparrison. The supermarkets are clean, orderly and airconditioned. The prices are set and there is no haggling. You can get a basket in which to collect your merchanise as you browse, and once you pay you get a receipt. If it weren't for the fact that the DVDs only cost a dollar, and some of the special features don't function properly, you'd think that this was some legitimate form of retail.

I also took one final opportunity to simply walk around and do some exploring. The back streets of Bali follow the same random urban planning principles as the main streets. When I wanted to reach my friend's luxury villa, the instructions were, "walk down this alley, past the garbage dump with feral dogs living on it, next to the open sewer, and then around the corner and over the road from the unlicensed scooter repair place."

But soon enough it was time to leave. One of the things that impressed me about the hotel was the fact that they took care of their guests even after they'd checked out. They had a lounge tucked away at the rear of the site, with couches, a TV, bathrooms, showers, storage areas, and even a minibar and hot snacks, all free for guests waiting for a late flight. Unfortunately while it was empty when I dropped my bags there at midday, by the time I returned from shopping and exploring it had been taken over by a large family of bogans. There was Overweight Dad, Overweight Mum who kept nipping outside for a smoke or eleven, and several Overweight Kids who whined constantly at Overweight Dad about getting Foxtel. They were slumped over every available seat, so I grabbed some spring rolls and a Diet Coke and returned to the pool bar, so that I could spend the last of my rupiahs on a mojito and update my travel journal in relative peace and quiet.

Grumpy Sumo was sad to leave cheap booze, and so was I. But we had to get to the airport for our evening flight.

The new Denpassar Airport is a vast, brilliant, billowing white cloud of glass and steel. But until it opens in 2014, we're stuck with the old Denpassar Airport, which is ugly, rundown, smelly, badly lit and poorly serviced. It doesn't help that it's packed with the feral Australian tourists I've managed to avoid since arriving in Bali.


Ugh, I'd only been at the airport twenty minutes and I’d had enough of noisy Australians, their hair braided into cornrows and their fresh Bali tattoos bleeding out from under the bandages.

Still, bogans notwithstanding, it was a very enjoyable trip. Except for the humidity Bali is lovely, with beautiful landscapes, an exciting design aesthetic, affordable luxury at every turn, and more cheap booze than you can poke a cocktail umbrella at. As I told the ever hopeful taxi drivers, I'll be back. If only to replenish the duty free essentials.


Post a Comment

<< Home