03.06.2011 - 12.06.2011 30 °C
When I last updated you all, I had just arrived in Patong. I'd describe it as a playground for madcap Australians - their version of Magaluf, I guess. Due to my flight being at 6:45am, I had no choice but to explore the weird and wonderful sights of Patong. If you're in the region, you have to visit, but I wouldn't recommend staying for more than one night!
A short taxi ride took me to Phuket airport, where the exhaustion set in. I thought I'd just rest my eyelids for a second or two... Next thing I know, I'm woken up by the tannoy: "Last call for Kristian Johnson to Bali." A quick glance at my watch told me the time was 6:41am. My flight was due to leave at 6:45am. Doing my best Usain Bolt impression, I sprinted to the boarding gate and jumped on the plane whilst offering my apologies.
I'd already had enough excitement for one day and it was only noon when I arrived in Bali. I checked into the first place I could find and slept all afternoon. After I woke, one of the very first people I saw was Adriano, a guy I'd met at The Rock on Phi Phi! We ate at Bamboo Corner Restaurant and it was the first of many meals there - fantastic Indonesian cuisine with meals costing less than 1GBP!
The real reason I'd come to Bali, however, was to surf (sorry if I'm making you jealous, Alice!). I arrived and was kitted out with a rash guard and surf board before being taken across the road to Kuta beach. I had imagined that I'd be on the beach for quite a while, but I was in the sea within 10 minutes. The first day saw me standing up on the board, but with little style, balance or speed.
By day three, I was beginning to paddle out beyond the waves. Well, I should say I attempted to paddle out beyond the waves. Being a novice, I frantically battled the waves and retired to the beach after an hour for a break. Little did I know that I just needed to wait for a break in the waves to be able to get further out. Armed with this advice, I suddenly found it a whole lot easier! 'D', my surf instructor, was fantastic and I spent the majority of my fourth and final day bobbing up and down on the waves chatting away with him.
I was gutted to leave the surf school. If you're sitting there reading this now and thinking about learning to surf, then do it! The feeling of sheer adulation when you catch a wave is unrivalled!
Yet another bout of illness rendered me good for nothing but laying in bed for the next two days. This really scuppered my plans, as I'd hoped to go to Ubud for a few days and do some walking, but as it was I only managed to go for the day. I sat on the back of a scooter as Joe, a local Indonesian, took me away from civilisation and into the serenity of the rice paddies. It was great to escape the madness of Kuta, if only for a little while! Kuta is full on. You can't escape the hawkers as you walk down the street. Cries of "Transport? Massage? Weed? Mushrooms? Viagra?" ring throughout the streets all day and all night long!
Most evenings in Kuta were spent in one of the many bars on the main strip. But there was only one place to go. Skygarden. From 10pm until 11pm, drinks were completely free! Yep, that's right! Many people saw this as more of a challenge than an offer. Two such guys were Killen and Addison. I met Killen in the hospital at Ko Phangan and happened to bump into him again in Bali! It's a small world...
My last night in Kuta was no less eventful than the flight to Bali itself. I woke up the next morning not knowing where I was and my flight was due to leave in less than four hours. Gulp. I sprinted to the beach and quickly got my bearings. I managed to find my hotel with relative ease and shoved my stuff into my backpack, then signalled a taxi to take me to the airport.
The mad dashes ended there. My two flights to Chiang Mai were mundane and there were no more panic stricken moments when I almost missed a flight.
All that's left now is three days in Chiang Mai and just one day in Bangkok before I fly home on Friday. I'm gonna make the most of it!
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who helped Stringer and I achieve the title of trueLADs. We won the competition by a landslide majority! It is, without doubt, the greatest achievement of my life!