Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bali Break - 1

Kidnapped in Kuta

Kuta is the busy touristy part of Bali where all the tourists (especially Aussies) go, where there were the 'Bali bombings' a while back.

On our first morning there we decided to go for a bit of a wander from our hotel towards Kuta beach. As we wandered past 'Kuta Square', a favourite shopping area, a little chappie came up to us saying that he wasn't selling anything ... his name was Ingatius, and he was really polite. He gave us each a little ticket to open and reveal a prize. Peter had won 2 t-shirts and I had won (gasp!) a star prize which could be $1000, a 7-day holiday, or an iPad - which one would be revealed when the gold sticker was removed later. Well ... we had nothing special to do, Peter had come out to buy a few T-shirts anyway, and it looked like this whole thing might help us work out what to do for the last 12 as-yet-unplanned days of our stay in Bali. So we let Ignatius kidnap us in a taxi to his office to retrieve Peter's T-shirts and listen to a presentation that would produce my prize ...

Did you say SCAM?? Well all we lost was some time in the end. They wanted to sell us time-share holidays. But whichever way you look at it, the customer comes out the loser and this company is making money. After listening to everything, we could see that it doesn't fit our lifestyle one bit.

Peter got his two 'I love Bali' T-shirts, but they only stock one size and they don't fit him.

As for my "star prize": it turned out, of course, to be the holiday (the other two things might have been useful!) and if I want to make use of it I have to choose 3 possible times when no one else is likely to be interested, and book weeks in advance, and pay $70 to book! And it doesn't include breakfasts in the hotel or anything else like that. Some free holiday!

When we got back to Kuta Square we were set upon by several other young men forcing the same tickets into our hands, and then ripping them open to reveal every time that Peter had won 2 T-shirts and I had won the star prize! (We realised they were actually looking for couples, of course.) They seemed quite unperturbed by the fact that we had already been to the presentation. Apparently they get a point every time they do that ... however Ignatius had earned himself $50 (500,000 rp in local currency) by getting us to go to the presentation and was justifiably pleased and proud.

Back at the hotel we mentioned what had happened and were told it is all part of the 'Kuta Experience' ...

Buying T-Shirts in Kuta

Well, we still wanted some T-shirts for Peter because he had accidentally left all of his in Kuala Terengganu.

In Kuta Square, having finally escaped all the little men, Peter was approached by another chappie who said "wanna buy a T-shirt?" - irresistible, eh? So we followed him to his shop. In the far reaches at the back of his shop he said that he had some 'Black Market' Billabong T-shirts. Peter tried one on, and it was just what he wanted. Now the chappie wanted to start haggling. He wouldn't say what the price was, he wanted to know what Peter thought it might be worth ... and did he want 5, 6, 7, more? He pulled out a number of different coloured Billabong and Quicksilver shirts, and Peter managed to get it down to six shirts (more than he wanted, really), and agreed on a price.

As we handed over the money, he handed the bag of shirts to his friend who was quietly standing nearby, and who promptly ran away with it. Puzzled, we followed him into another shop. Still holding our bag, he told us conspiratorially that he could give us a much better price on the same shirts - so how many did we want?! Peter pointed out that he was not planning to sell the shirts on E-Bay, and he already had more than he needed, carefully taking the bag from the man.

Kuta Beach

We had been walking to Kuta Beach before we were waylaid, so we continued on down there.

Yeah, it's a beach. Been there seen that. (It was hot.)

Our own Pool

So we headed back to the Park Regis hotel to our own private pool where no one was trying to scam us or sell us anything!

The Park Regis Hotel is very new - only opened 4 months ago - and we really enjoyed our three nights there. The staff were attentive to a fault - several times during a meal they stop by the table to ask if everything is okay.

But Kuta - not a place I would choose to spend more time. The streets are noisy and crowded, and the vendors are always in your face.

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