Bali didn't start off too well, we had a pick up arranged at the airport, and surprise surprise, it wasn't there, I've lost count of how many times this has happened to us since we've been away! So we were really annoyed but it turned out to be really easy to get a taxi and Kuta was only 5-10 minutes from the airport so it wasn't too bad. Also, once we got there they brought us a welcome drink and our hotel was really nice so we soon forgot about it. The hotel had 2 pools, really nice ones as well, with a nice sun-bathing area, we were over the moon! And a table tennis table which I beat Phil at! Though he would argue that! Our room was lovely too, it was like a little house with its own garden and a wall round, it was great! Apparently in Bali they have a wall around every house to stop the evil spirits from getting in, they leave a little gap but don't have a gate as the evil spirits find it hard to get around corners!
They are very religious in Bali and everyone seems to follow all the rituals. Every day they leave offerings for the Gods, little baskets with things in, usually bits of food and an incense stick and leaves and things, they have little temples that they take them to and they do this religiously every day. They also leave them on the side of the road, they are absolutley everywhere as you are walking down the street.
Kuta itself is very commercialised but the beach is lovely and there is some fantastic shopping to be done, at great prices too. Phil wouldn't let me buy another bag to fill!! Probably wise! There are also some lovely restaurants, we had some really nice meals while we were there. The people are very nice, although they were a bit annoying sometimes as they were so desperate for you to eat in their restaurant or buy something from them. It was quite sad really because the tourism has dropped loads since the last bombing, it was very quiet, some nights when we were eating out we would be the only people in the restaurant.
We did quite a lot of nothing while we were in Bali, it was great! We sat round the pool quite a lot although sometimes it was just too hot to sun-bathe, Phil was a hard core sunbather, he was sat sweating it out while I was getting relief in the pool, its usually the other way round! It was very hot every day when we were there, it was supposed to be the rainy season but there wasn't any rain at all so we were lucky.
We hired a surf board to practise our standing up skills! We hired a board for 3 hours and it cost us the equivalent of about 3 pound, it was so cheap, we couldn't believe it. We would have hired one every day if we had been a bit fitter but we were pretty wiped out after one day! We did pretty well though, we were both managing to stand quite a bit which was cool. Kuta is so geared up for surfers, its surfer heaven, the actual surfing is great and all the shops are surf shops, its really cool.
We went on a white water rafting trip which was good. It was quite strange when we did the trips because we were always the only people on them so we would get picked up in a private car and there would be us two and the guide! Really funny! Anyway, the white water rafting was good, there wasn't much white water mind! We went through a few rapids but they were pretty mild. The actual place where we did it though was beautiful, we were right down in a gorge and there were waterfalls coming down off the rocks, it was so nice. We went through some caves as well, one was full of bats, I've never seen so many. We got out and swam at one point as well which was fun, you just floated down with the river.
We also did a tour to see the real Bali and went out into the countryside. We saw a traditional Balinese show with dancing and costumes which was really good even though you couldn't understand what they were saying! We then went to a wood carvery place, a Batik material making place, a gold and silver smith and an art gallery. It was good to see all the different skills and how each thing is done, the only problem was they wanted you to buy something from every place which we clearly weren't going to do, you feel really guilty when you just walk out as well. After that we went to Mount Batur Volcano, that was amazing, we had lunch in a cafe which overlooked the volcano, the views were really impressive. We then went to a place called Elephant Cave which is a cave that was found many years ago but the people don't know anything about it or how it came about. It was pretty interesting and they had statues of the Gods that people would take offerings to and pray. Last stop of the day was a kind of plantation, they grew all kinds of fruits and spices, cocoa to make chocolate and tea and coffee. We got to sample a few things, some very funny looking fruits, some of them actually tasted quite nice!
So, we both really enjoyed Bali, highly recommended for anyone wanting to buy furniture and things for the house, very cheap and very nice and the beaches are lovely. We had a great time. Hope you like the pictures!