I flew to Bali Indonesia as i had to pay a visit to the British Consulate there as i had been told i could get a free 12 month extension added to my passport. A change in policy meant that new UK passports are only ever issued from the UK, unfortunately this now means a 6-8 week wait (or up to 12 according to some recent bad press) to get a new passport. Not much help if you have entered a country with a 30 day visa. I couldn’t afford to take the risk of being stuck somewhere waiting for a new passport so i decided to get it extended. The process itself was a quick and simple one, shame that trying to contact them in the first place was so painful. No emails ever answered, telephoning them proved pointless and using their online appointment service a waste of time !!
I had heard about the main town of Kuta near the airport being a massive tourist trap with all the awful things that go with it. Sanur was a more relaxed town with a mix of older people and young families, not too many bars and clubs, just the right amount so you could normally find what you wanted. I had a good relaxing week there when i received an email from the skippers wife whos boat i had been on. Due to a shoulder operation she was going to be limited in her movement and wondered whether i could help them move the boat from Batam, Indonesia to Pangkor, Malaysia. Not too far in distance (about 300 miles) it was a straight forward trip but another crossing of the busiest shipping lanes in the world – the Singapore straits.
It was the least i could do to help out so i arranged to return to say goodbye to the ex-pats in Jepara and fly to Batam. I moved closer to the airport in Bali which took me into the town i had originally avoided – Kuta. This really was an awful town, the amount of hassle you got from the shop sellers, street touts, taxi drivers, etc,etc, was unbelievable. Constant shouts of ‘Hey Boss, ‘Transport Mate ?’, ‘Taxi Boss?’, ‘Shopping, shopping?’, ‘T-shirt Mister?’, it was never ending. Whenever a taxi driver (of which there were hundreds) saw a tourist walking (of which there were hundreds) they would beep their horn and slow down next to you. This meant that there was just a constant noise of car horns and people calling out to you where ever you went.
Don’t go to Kuta, Bali folks – you have been warned !!