Seminyak, Indonesia

Seminyak, Indonesia

Hot. Damned hit, and sweaty. Yesterday I travelled, and have now seen the old ‘best airport in the world’, Incheon, and the new, Singapore. I can see why the latter takes it; Incheon is a great experience, shops everywhere, clean and easy to navigate, art and greenery liberally placed, but Singapore has all that and free films, even free scotch if you find the right spot. I didn’t, only finding out about it later, but that’s probably for the best for a midday flight. I had a beer in any case – two cans last night was a bit crazy, it being 10 before I finished eating, so I had one left and felt quite the alcoholic, looking for a quiet spot after check in where I could pretend not to be drinking. Half a can was plenty, even giving me a buzz.

I had one more mission in the airport. Pulling out my kindle on the metro – my first experience, as I’d walked everywhere, but it’s fantastically simple to navigate – only to find it broken. Or perhaps part-broken, since it switched on and half the screen worked. That’s not enough to let me read anything, though, and my creative powers aren’t up to reconstructing half of every book I try, though I might have managed with Beowulf, seeing as I had already read the ‘snopsis’ (copyright, my gran). Airport, airport number one, must sell an e-reader, right? I went through security, which is routine but worth mentioning for being so painless, no queue and no sense of being a potential danger until proven innocent. Lovely.

There’s just the one electronics shop in terminal 2, so I went there. I was up for getting a cheap non-kindle, but they didn’t sell those, only the new kindles, £10 more than at home, I chewed on it, then reasoned that the more expensive ‘paperwhite’ was more reasonable, seeing as both it and the ordinary kindle had a £10 surcharge. To my great pleasure, old kindle let me take all the books off it, and new kindle was happy to take them, so I’m immediately back up and running.

We had to circle before landing – Denpasar is one busy airport, with four planes waiting to take off when we did get down. Visa on arrival was easy, and I was through. Ignoring taxi offers I made my way to the official taxi desk – when you get near enough, suddenly there’s no one offering you a cab unofficially, as if by magic. Oddly, just as when I’d looked for the free transit bus in Bangkok, wikitravel had its sense of direction all askew. At the latter, you apparently should turn left and go to the end, when it’s right and in the middle (not to mention signed). Here, turn left out of arrivals (again, follow the signs) rather than right. At any rate, I got my cab. The sign says 55-65k to Kuta and I was charged 85, which may be a scam (travel guides suggest getting the right money ready and pointing at the sign), but at 20k to the £1, I wasn’t going to quibble. At the hostel by 4, I chilled out, enjoying a hot run down to the beach later, with some interval work, chasing scooters down a tight road as they stopped then accelerated away when a space opened up. New friend Bjorn asked if the traffic was a problem, and I realised how much I’ve adjusted – I’ve always been better at looking over my shoulder than some people seem able to manage, no matter what my pace, and it has become second nature to check then move into traffic, run halfway across a road then keep pace with cars until there’s a gap, and generally keep an eye out for holes in the pavement. Of the latter, there are some doozies here. Managed a decent length run in the end, though I think this may be the hottest and most humid spot yet. I’m certainly fighting shy of the 1pm runs I managed (at a push) in Japan.

Beanbags in a shaded hut, looking out over sunshine on the grassy courtyard, thatch-covered structures on the other side
The garden at Granny’s hostel.

The evening started quietly, but Granny’s hostel has a reputation as a place to meet people and so it was, as Canadian Dave, eh, gradually brought us all into the group via the medium of the beer bong. Around midnight the kids went out and left us saddo grown ups to our conversation; not the early night I’d thought, so today’s potential early morning run became an evening one, after a day lounging (melting) in the garden, watching films and reading. Yesterday I had explored the main road first before finding the beach four miles in, today I went straight there and it was more like a mile and a half away. Plus I then had the bonus of a spectacular sunset as I struggled on, compared to yesterday’s darkness. Stunning, a riot of orange and pink, dropping away as I plodded on, with a dark purple taking over after I’d turned round. Oddly, the sight seemed always slightly over one shoulder – it merits more attention than I gave it, I suppose, though I created a mental image of the view that someone else would have had from the bars, me silhouetted against the sunset, which would have been a cool image. I ended with the question ‘am I timing this perfectly?’ to myself, with the answer “yes”, allowing me to make a tongue out contribution to a Chinese girl’s photo of her friend before I turned back onto the road for the jog home.

Just time for one last observation on the currency. Earlier I picked up my first coins, 200 and 100 rupees – 20k to the pound, so 200 is a penny. Later I was back in the shop for ice cream and my change should have had a 100 coin in it. They were out, so I got a sweet instead.

Reading: The Hound of the Baskervilles: Philip k Dick, Solar Lottery.

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