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Scuba in Bali

​So the plan was to go from Singapore to Jakarta and then overland to Bali, spend a few days there and fly to New Zealand. Then, on the way back from New Zealand, stop in Australia and do a scuba diving course. So much for that, as it turns out I’m bypassing Java, and going straight to Bali for ten days and doing the scuba diving course there.

Nasi campur, cheap as chips and delicious.
There have been times when my eyes have been like that.
No words needed

The hostel in Padangbai, on the other hand, while the age group is still lower than mine,  probably due to the slightly hippieish slash sporty nature of the crowd has a much more inclusive feel and I end up making a few friends which I might meet again one day.

Home from home in Padangbai
Morning offering.
A rather colourful route to the beach.
The east side of the village
Tzunami escape route 😕
Photoshoot by the beach
Was it not supposed to be sunny?
Now it’s really chucking down.

Germin, David’s friend in Singapore, puts me in touch with a scuba diving instructor in Padangbai, on the east coast of Bali. Imade, this is his name, is a splendid individual and I get a fantastic first impression when I meet him on day three of my Bali stay. The first two nights I spend not too far from the airport in Seminyak, which is the place in Bali where the drunk and disorderly Australians gather. I am, when the time comes, rather pleased to leave. It sees not to happen often, but in the hostel in Seminyak I feel out of place, almost as if I am too old for this kind of crowd.

Every corner there is a little votive statue.
Love the architecture in Padangbai
Fresh fish by the hostel.
And fresh chicken too.
And how could I forget the fresh food stall.

Travelling is not all just visiting and learning, it would not be holiday if there was nt a little time invested on the beach.

With or without the local refreshments Bali’s beaches are a great place to hangout.

How refreshing!

The diving course lasts three days and involves a book, lots of practical exercises and an exam. I go through the book twice, pass the exam and, as far as the practicals are concerned I appear to be doing well. So much so that Imade on the last day gives me a camera and I spend the last two dives taking pictures of the incredibly rich marine life in the Padangbai area.

With the course out of the way and four days still to go before the flight to New Zealand I decide that I will do a bit of tourism. Many people had told me about Ubud and I rent a scooter for a day, at the princely sum of £ 3.50, and go riding both to Ubud and to a nearby archaeological site.

Ubud is a lot more lively than Padangbai. It is also the home of the monkey forest sanctuary. This place is a true life experience, the monkey are rather small and harmless looking, but they conceal a total wicked side, they are professional thieves. I swear I have seen them opening backpacks and taking stuff out.

Even I was briefly attacked and almost robbed of my Bushman anti mosquito cream. I fought for it and saved it from them more because I was worried it might have killed one or two if they had opened it and started sucking out the deet infused lotion. After surviving the monkeys it was just the case of getting some food, visiting the archaeological site and turn back home as tomorrow is time for another couple of dives as a now certified open waters diver.

The new dives bring more fabulous scenery and more picture opportunity, it totally seals my fate as hopelessly lost to the activity and cements the belief that I plan to head back to Europe also having taken the second level course, the advanced course, which takes the certification from 16 to 30 metres of depth, as well as introducing exciting things like night diving.

On the last one and a half day in Padangbai is all about socialising. I have made a few friends, mostly European and mostly girls. We hang out at the beach, go out for dinner and generally spend time talking about a fantastically wide spectrum of things.

Bali will remain in my mind primarily for the diving but it’s definitely one of those places that while I’m leaving gives me the strong impression that I will not stay gone from it for long.

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