Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
~Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phrynette Married
Ubud was warm, friendly and peaceful. The seamless serenity and the breathtaking backdrop serves to be a perfect retreat for our mind, body and soul.
Kuta is the total opposite. The lively streets are extremely brimming with tourists, bars and retail shops. Where strangers abound and surfers set off to sunset paradise.
I first thought that a week in Bali would entail a very laid-back itinerary. Yen and I didn’t put much effort in listing all the places we want to explore that we ended up adding more and more items on our list which then triggers a more demanding schedule. Can’t complain though, we were only in Ubud for a few days, yet my mind already wanders about coming back to this divine abode.
After a night of seafood feast at Jimbaran Bay, we decided to explore Kuta the following day. Girls agenda includes souvenir shopping, quest for cheap finds, body massage, surfing lessons, henna tattoo, simmer down to the beach sunset and did I mention shopping?
Our first stop of the day is a souvenir haven. Two storeys of it. From local handicrafts, food, ceramics and more. We spent quite some time and hurt our wallet a bit. I especially hoarded on some bali coffee. The souvenir tees have really nice designs too. Since Balinese were gifted with creative talents, the handicrafts, paintings and wood works were beyond compare. I wish I have the means to buy such amazing pieces and flew them over to our home.
We headed to Kuta to spend the rest of the day. Since Yen is in pursuit of a good massage, and I, retail therapy, we arranged to meet up later with few strangers on the road.
The Bali Bomb Memorial or Ground Zero Monument was built to remember the 202 people murdered during the 2002 terrorists attack.
There was light drizzle in the afternoon, but didn’t hinder us from seizing a trip to Kuta beach. I gave in to a henna tattoo, while Yen revelled at the seashore contemplating on basic surfing. The 5km long sandy Kuta Beach stretch is popular to surfing enthusiasts. Young locals offer minimal fees for beginners lesson on surfing as well as use of long boards.
As the sun sets, it brings a little sadness. Our trip is also coming to it’s end. A pleasant memory to take home to up till we meet scammers on the road.
This will serve as a warning to other tourists in Kuta or probably anywhere else in the world. Do research. I slacked off on this one before heading to Bali hence I only learned about the prevailing foreign exchange fraud when Yen and I was both ripped-off by different money changers scammers.
To maximize the little time we have left, Yen and I parted to shop on different directions and agreed to meet for dinner. On my way, I dropped by at one of the money changer who offers the best exchange rate. Little did I know that this shady “authorised money changer” is up to no good. When I gave him my money, my mind was set to count the change before leaving the shop. He keeps insisting that he don’t have any small bill, so he asks if I have any change, which I don’t have too. We had that conversation for quite some time when suddenly he counted his on-hand money and voila! He said no worries as he figures out that he got an exact change by then. Which left me baffled, then he counts the money twice before handing it over to me. I was set to count it then but he deliberately chatted about shopping. Grrr. So that was it, I left the store, placed the money on my wallet and walked out. About 10 minutes later, I found a nice shop that sells trinkets, so I checked my wallet, count the money I have and found out that it’s missing about S$10.00 (Rupiah) change. I knew then that I got swindled but I’m so tired to go back on that road so I let it slipped.
Yen, on the other hand went on the same dilemma with a different money changer. When we got together later that night, she told me that the store keeper might have cheated on her change as she’s missing some money after she exchanged it. She decided to sneak out for a while to exchange more money as we need it for dinner so I advised her to count the change first before she leaves as she might get scammed again or something. Surprised, she got duped twice with another money changer this time. Lesson learned.
On other news, we had the pleasure of meeting awesome strangers on the road, fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers, Ron of FlipTravels.com, Flip of Flipnomad.com and Bino of FramelessWorld.com. The blurry photo don’t do justice, but it was great catching up with these people who keeps inspiring a lot of us to travel the world.