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Sunday, 18 April 2010

Kuta, Bali and the 100% perfect match surfboard

Its probably too long now but this is the board i learned on

Curing sunburn, Kuta
The massage family

Kuta consists on one big urban sprawl of hustlers hawkers hotels bars clubs and massage parlours lined along the beach on the southern peninsula of Bali. It has absolutely no connection with Bali, or Balinese culture, just the same as Khao Sin Road has no connection with Thailand or Thai culture. As such it's populated by package tourists, semi- backpackers, and oddly enough Japanese. Lots of typical Germans, Swedes and Dutch, who all basically look identical, i have spoken to lots but couldnt tell any of them from the other. Mostly they are called Anna though, i do remember that much.

The saving grace is that the beach is great for surfing. Beginners and intermediates can go to the beach area, and more experienced surfers can get a boat out to the reef. The result then is a smattering of surfers, or in the case of me and many many others, guys who are crap at surfing but want to tell people 'they are surfing in Bali' and get their photos taken with surfboards etc. so girls back home will think 'ohhe must have a sixpack then if hes a surfer' and they hopefully will get laid more often.

Anyway, the best places i could see to stay are in and around Poppies gang 1 and 2, which are near the beach. Most places have little entraces and consist of rooms round a main pool, and are quiet enough despite the carnage on the main road (Legon - thats where all the main bars and clubs are)

I stayed in 'The Secret Garden' off Poppies Gang 1, which is 250,000Rp (19 pounds) a night but has free wifi and breakfast and air conditioning. You dont really need air conditioning so when i go back then ill go to Kirins, and take a room with a fan for half that price.

Everything here is about haggling, so the headline prices are much higher than the real prices. You shouldnt have to pay more than $25 for a decent room in Kuta, and usually you should pay half that, especially if its off season. Surf boards can be hired for $3 a day, and a 1 hour lesson from a local dude for $6. Dinner is about $3 too for a nice bit of grub. You can also smoke everywhere of course (as i can see from smokers puffing away in all bars and restaurants, savouring that moment of normality - for these guys im sure worth the ticket alone)

Anyway, the place can be as chilled as you want it. The hotel next to the secret garden, along with many others allows people to drink beer in the pool, so its full of young people getting drunk by the pool all day (how stupid is that, especially for aussies, who could be doing exactly the same thing for the same price back home) Anyway, here and the main drag are real party places, the other bars usually show movies and are more laid back. Poppies Gang 2 has a few surfer bars to check out but the locals, although theyre freindly enough (especially if your a desperate looking chick) are usually trying to hustle something out of you.

Today i got the perfect size surfboard, and i suppose i now know a bit more what im doing. Its not the best surfboard. Its not beautiful either, and has some funny things in it. But still. Its the 100% perfect match surfboard for me. The guys down the beach who surf all day (in between playing chess, and harassing swedish girls) are good and cheap teachers so i have 2 days of the 100% perfect size surfboard for me and an hour lesson each morning for 100,000 thingies - its about 8 euros, brilliant!

The rain has been pouring down, but thats a godsend as although the seas a bit choppy and currents are strong, i dont get sunburnt. The waves seem consistant, thought varying time to time a little but nothing i havent been able to handle.

Lets hope flights to London are canceled forever!

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