Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 166-168 – Bali – Padangbai

On the morning of our supposed departure to Padangbai we’d yet to book any transport. One of the chaps who worked at our guesthouse was kind enough to shuttle me into town on the back of his moped where I booked a 3pm transfer.

Back at Guesthouse Kudos we were all set to check out and sit on the balcony but our hostess was having none of it and insisted we keep the room for no extra charge. The place really was top drawer.

It turned out that we were picked up from our Guesthouse. This wasn’t the plan but it turned out that a couple of American chaps from San Luis Obispo who were also staying at our place had booked on the same transfer.

We drove back into town to wait for our final 2 passengers – Becca and Laura from Scotland. We hit it off immediately and talked the whole way there. By the time we arrived we’d exchanged details and agreed to meet out newfound Scottish friends for drinks the following night.

We checked into the Zen Inn and met Liam the owner – an English entrepreneur and great bloke. We had a few beers, met the resident pooch Jack, took a wander to the beach then returned to clean up and head along the road to a little restaurant for some fresh fish for tea.

Padangbai is a very sleepy harbour village most notable for it being the car ferry port for close-by Lembongan. There’s not much to do in this quiet picturesque corner of Bali and that suited us just fine. It’s also tiny so it was unsurprising that we bumped into all 4 of our fellow bus mates as we were finishing dinner and took a stroll along the front before calling it a night.

The next day it was beach time. We wandered down to the same beach we’d found the evening before after breakfast and despite frequent sun screen applications we were fairly fried by early afternoon. The waves were almost comically violent – they took great delight in towering over you as you made your tentative first steps out to sea and thought nothing of crashing down into you and leaving you in a bewildered heap halfway back up the beach.

Becca & Laura arrived around the time we’d retired to the shade and would have been there much earlier had they not missed the turning and wandered to an even more violent black sand beach.

The ladies succumbed to the lure of massages from one of the local girls and almost got in fisty-cuffs when another masseuse angrily protested of a pre-existing agreement.

Numerous flyers plastered all over the beach made noise of a 2 for 1 meal and cheap beer night at the place we were staying so we wandered back and agreed to meet there for tea.

After attempts to make myself look presentable failed I elected to get an early start and sink a few offer beers with the owner Liam. Before long Fi, Becca and Laura had arrived along with another couple of ladies that Becca & Laura had met at the black sand beach earlier. At this point I was hopelessly outnumbered and well past my threshold for remembering names so you’ll have to bear with me. Our two new friends were from Scotland and France, the latter having been involved in a violent wave attack earlier in the day that turned her innocent beach paddle into a dragged-along-the-rocks nightmare. A fair grazing and gashing of her back had been the result but she was thankfully otherwise unhurt.

Drinks flowed and Fi & I splashed out on steak which was divine. The evening moved to another venue [of which there weren’t many in Padangbai] before Fi. Laura and Becca called time while I wandered for a nightcap with those that remained only to have to endure the random prattle of an drunken aging grey-pony-tailed American UFO enthusiast a few cowboys short of a rodeo.

Not much happened the next day but in the evening we met with everyone again for dinner and were joined by a couple more travellers too. As the night progressed many retired early but Fi, Becca, Laura and myself nipped for a night cap at the one remaining venue we’d not visited. A handful of beers later we stumbled out having been treated to passionate, wild live music including a frantic bongo rendition of Coldplay’s Yellow, some of the best off-the-cuff magic I’ve ever seen and much general drunken madness. Laura ended up working behind the bar for a fair amount of the time while being subjected to the doe-eyed affections and cheeky wandering hands of the fella who was supposed to be serving drinks while Becca had, over the course of our time in Padangbai, become convinced that I was an international superstar DJ with the unique talent of being able to throw my bark while impersonating dogs. A wild and awesome night!