• Bob Taylor

Musings - Day 51

Day 51 – 15th February 2020

The coming days will probably drag as I approach the final leg of the journey on Thursday. However, messages of support are fantastic still – Thank you.

Having done next to nothing yesterday, today needed to be more disciplined by getting practical stuff sorted. First thing was the collection of scooter. Yes I have decided to join the madness of the roads and become the ninth million user (it appears) in Kuta. As long as you start the process knowing that there are no rules, then you are in with half a shout. The only practical rule appears to be, never, ever, change your mind. Once a decision is made, then you have to see it through, so that other road users, can assess your intention and work around it. It is madness, chaotic, agreed, but you see very few incidents or accidents. In the West we seem to be so prepossessed with the rules and regulations that we do not consider just how good humans are at reacting to a situation, if they are left alone. I go down to reception at nine o’clock as agreed yesterday, and am surprised to see that my fairly new bike has been delivered, complete with two helmets (one strapless so it had to be returned) and a half a tank of fuel. The hotel receptionist ran me through the basics that she learnt at infant school, (riding a moped comes directly after counting money in the curriculum and just before spelling here,) and off I go into the blue sky beyond.

My first job was to go to the laundry that I found yesterday. Drop a bag off, then go to a shopping mall. My attention was caught before I remounted the scooter by an enormous snail. It was a yellow colour and around the size of a cricket ball. It was as fast as the ones at home, completely oblivious to the world as it made its progress to the next piece of vegetation. Musings:- Do snails take part in foreplay? One hell of a lengthy process if they do, I thought. And then, how do they...? Gastropod aside, my day continued with the shops. Now I needed essentials, like ice and beer for the room obviously, but they could wait, because of the lingering melting issue. There in front of me was a shop selling just trainers. (Important note at this juncture – I had made the conscious decision to ditch the walking boots – although not yet, for sentimental reasons – more to follow on that issue.) So here I am in a shopping mall gingerly walking into a shop selling just trainers. This is a practise new to me. I rarely go anywhere near anything athletic. I browse, if that is the correct term, until I espy a blue pair that would happily suit my needs. They have no logo or designer price attachment, as that kind of embellishment has no functional imperative. So all would appear well until that is, a rather affected young man pranced his way on to my two metre wide radar protected zone which I am allowed to call my space. Trespassing in that area calls for immediate verbal investigation, in my book, just if nothing else, to assess intention.

“Are very good morning to you,” I forwarded as a tried and tested ice breaker, “I wonder if you could help me choose some trainers please?” Straight to the point, delivered, in my opinion, the perfect opening gambit to counter the kind of reaction to allow intelligent practical discourse to commence.

“What for?” He said in a tone that I interpreted as incredulity.

“Well young man that is not really a conducive reaction to bolster your sales figures now is it? When all I am after is simply some sports attire, I would prefer a little more deference, if you don't mind!” I felt a tad indignant at this point. “Now for the second time, I would like to try on some trainers please.”

“Why?” He responded. I had become aware of him looking at me up and down in a disapproving way. So I said no more, gathered my chattels, brushed past him towards the exit, with an air of Victorian superiority, that I believed fully demonstrated to him, that I was not to be spoken to in that manner. I left the shop thinking, of the outrageousness of the assistants remarks. Who was he to judge my suitability for the purchase of a sporting item? Back into the mall after a few yards I felt a pat on my shoulder, followed by a suited man spewing the words, “Sir, sir.”

“What is it?” I crustily enquired.

“His English is not good.”

“Whose English?” I returned.

“My assistant. The trainers sir, he wanted to ask what sport you needed them for but became a little confused by your walking out sir.” – he quickly followed with, “Running is different shoes to cycling or football sir.”

“Oh my goodness, so that is why…” now it was my turn to feel an embarrassing angst. Pride makes foolish unfathomable decisions all the time. “It’s okay I don’t need them anymore.” I spun around ridiculously theatrical, continuing my superior countenance, toward the downward escalator. The conveyance naturally by some law of pomposity, witnessed me missing my step. I didn’t tumble, but suffice to say that it was not the most refined exit.

My next venture took me to the beach. Tootling along with my less ‘Easy rider,' and more 'Born to be mild,’ looking white helmet, perched precariously 'Sur le tete', I followed my directional instincts towards the sea, knowing that I wouldn't be that far out. After the unintentional trip to the fish market, I followed the coastal direction north to get to Kuta Beach. It was a little crowded for my liking, so I went around a kilometre further on to the same beach but with a different name. (The beach was easily five miles long, so the different areas of the same beach were known locally by the district that the sand fronted.) My bit was Legian beach, which I discovered leant itself to the surfing fraternity. The breakers seemed ideal, not that I know about such things. Around four to five feet high, but with extended power to travel quite a length for the boarder. There were dozens of different surf schools here all giving cheap lessons to board renters. I thought I might try my hand at it. It may have been better if I had tried my feet at it, because my balance, prowess, or proficiency matched that of a crippled goat. After a half an hour of mostly retrieving the board that had decided to carry on without me, sniggering at my sustained lack of equilibrium with the sport, I handed it back. Unconcerned at the apparent waste of money, because the rental was for an hour, I remembered a quote. It was from Bill Nighy in the film ‘About time’ when referring to the game of table tennis, he quite convincingly said, “I appear to be so much better at this game without the ball.” Funny how I should recall that now, isn’t it? I flopped into my beach bed to consider my next engagement.

This came in the form of an elderly lady, who apparently had access to every kind of beach requirement known to man. My consideration was thus: - My next leg in Australia would hopefully see me in a position of camping (or to be more precise, staying on campsites) where the facilities were available but the prerequisite was to bring your own useable items. I had no towel. Now I didn’t need the luxury spa variety, just a piece of towelling that would absorb the residue water from any ablutions undertaken. Considering Australia is a much more expensive country than Indonesia (Bali) my reckoning was bargain based, and not an ‘I will use this towel until I die' mentality. So I bought one in a deal that came with a beer and a pedicure. (How on earth are those three things connected?) But that was the deal, so in for a penny, in for a pound. As it turned out the towel was the least memorable of the three, but as a three for one service at a rate of £6 all in, I felt entirely sated.

Don't think that I have ever had a pedicure before.

I arranged my ‘modus transportus’ for Australia today. It is a free of charge relocation of a Toyota two berth camper van. It is a repositioning of a vehicle, as yet unallocated because there are five, from Cairns to Sydney which suits my needs perfectly. Further research suggests that there are numerous free, or very small facilities charge, campsites all along the Aussie coastline which should help the cause no end. Of course I have to pay for fuel, but research tells me that it is not that expensive compared to the UK, and especially made less of an issue, as I will be factoring the cost against the mileage.

Position: 08°42'06” N 115°10'42”E – Miles completed: 13969

Location: Kuta, Bali 19:28 - 15th February 2020 - Journey 51 days 16 hours

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