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My last days in Asia spent back in Kuta, Bali

Written on: Thursday June 5th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

Our return back to Bali was a lot less costly and a lot less stressful then our journey to Gili Trawangan, although we were all nursing nasty hangovers, and thanks to an all-night party the night previous where once again I doted on the sun rising up, I?d only had an hours sleep. One guy tried to rip me off on the boat demanding $5 for sleeping on his mattress, but I flatly refused, gathered my things and following Ben, Georgie and Kate off the boat.Kate and Georgie took a bus to Ubud in the centre of the island, while Ben and I returned to Kuta where we stayed for the next five days relaxing either on the beach or by our swimming pool. Other than a couple of hours surfing every day and a couple of rum and cokes every night it didn?t get any more eventful than that. Not that that was a bad thing. It seemed like a perfect way to round of this first part of my trip. Whether it was the fact that I knew that this leg of my journey was fast approaching an end or whether I really did need a break from the road, I felt that this was the right time to get some routine back in my life, to base myself in one place for more than two weeks, to actually unpack all of my clothes from my bags. I felt tired.We met back up with the Swedish girls who had become great friends on the Gilies. They were doing a six day surfing course in Kuta and the six of us had some great days sunning ourselves on the beach and some unforgettable nights partying in the lively bars and clubs, notably of course Bounty and its infamous cages where on my last night in Asia after a raucous game of Ring of Fire, and some ridiculous animal impressions I showed off my dance moves.So that was that. Exactly 8 months after leaving from Feltham station with Dave, waving farewell to our Mums I was departing my second continent, the wonderful, laid-back, vast, impressionable and beautiful continent of Asia. My ?Without A Plane? scheme had failed sadly when I was so close to Australia, but in order for me to make my snowboard instructors interview on 18th June I had no choice but to fly. My plan is to return here though after being in the Snowy Mountains so that the dream to circumnavigate the whole globe taking in every single continent without taking a plane can continue. In 8 months I?ve seen and experienced what most people won?t experience in a whole lifetime, I?d sung my heart out to Guns and Roses with a Danish taxi-man around the streets of Copenhagen, almost spent the night in a Stockholm prison cell trying to convince a McDonalds employee that we had already paid for our Big Mac and fries, sailed across the Baltic Sea, explored the underground passages of medieval Tallinn, opened my mind to the incredible Russian ballet in St Petersburg, taken an ice cold dip in a barrel in Moscow and not showered for six whole days on the worlds longest train ride drinking what seemed like nothing but vodka while sporadically performing half naked handstands in -15C temperatures. I?d walked the Great Wall of China, gawped at gigantic statues of Buddha, posed with the Terracotta Army, climbed one of the holiest Tao mountains in the world, visited the home of Shaolin Kung-Fu, dressed up in a Subway outfit in Shanghai, floated tranquilly down the Li River to see the incredible karst mountains around Yangshou and managed to cross the road in Hanoi without being run over. I?ve cruised around the dreamlike Ha Long Bay, learnt to ride a motorbike in Huey and then swiftly witnessed my first motorbike accident in Hoi An, learnt to scuba dive and get robbed in Na Trang, and played badminton in Ho Chi Minh. I shot AK47?s in Phonm Penh, explored the wondrous temples of Angkor, ate Christmas dinner on a beach, celebrated New Years on a hedonistic desert island, roamed around a bullet-ridden abandoned royal casino, chased fresh-water dolphins and crossed over an unofficial border. I bicycled around river islands, played golf in Vientiane, suffered rope burns on my feet swinging upside-down from a trapeze in Vang Viang, got banned from a bowling alley and learnt to drive elephants in Louang Prabang, flew above the jungle in Bokeo National Park, lay in bed ill with a random American for 4 days in Pai, almost got married in Chaing Mai, watched a ping-pong show in Bangkok, painted friends for the Full Moon Party in Ko Phangan and recovered and relaxed in stunning Ko Tao. I got half my leg taken off by a fish swimming in a waterfall in Kanchanaburi, befriended a monk in Yangon, Burma, had tea in Mandalay, got given precious stones in the Burmese hills, had my fortune told by a remote village medicine man, stood in awe at the spectacular temples of Bagan and chortled at the ladyboy exploits of a Kiwi traveller. Back in Thailand I came face to face with a wild elephant, swam through an underwater river in a pitch-black cave, dived with sharks, giant barracuda, rays and turtles and saw in the Thai New Year with a huge water-fight. In Malaysia I awoke in a cave in one of the oldest rainforests in the world to see a civet cat rummaging around me, got a job sweeping garden leaves, sampled the high-life in a 5-star resort on a stunning island, climbed the biggest twin-towers in the world, got a job with the Indonesian embassy, walked through tea plantations and sang R Kelly?s ?I Believe Can Fly? with more passion than he ever did, albeit in a little less tune. And then to top it off Indonesia brought me volcanoes, lakes, tattoos, masked balls, surfing, scamming and sunning. I?m not sure if I can ever lead a normal life again. Onwards to Australia and my reunion with Dave.