Friday, March 21, 2014

The final Kuta

I avoided Kuta the first time I came to Bali, and I made sure to tell people about that just in case they were under the impression I was the type of person who goes there.

I'm the kind of person who proudly avoids Kuta. The same way I've been to Thailand plenty of times but never sullied the experience by passing through Pattaya. The way I would have avoided Manila, Angeles, Cebu and other horrible cities in the Philippines if flight connections hadn't required it. Those places are for certain types of people that aren't me - we're all better off if I stick to fogey resorts in the more peaceful, boring areas and you can enjoy your pitchers and prostitutes in peace. Or in extremely noisy surroundings, whatever you prefer. Oh, it's the second one.

But now I've crossed that line and conformed, having promised my souvenir-hungry girlfriend a few days at the end of our trip in a place crowded with stalls selling tourist tat so we wouldn't have to think about it the rest of the month. But then the end of the month arrived and it wasn't a fair exchange. Kuta is fucking awful, and even the usual attempt to channel the stress and offence into a sarcastic blog hasn't lifted my spirits. At least I got to head back to my temporary 'home' afterwards. Bloody holidays, what's the point?

Jalan Legian

Some of the tourist tat offended me with its laziness, which isn't the sort of offence it was presumably going for. Like these stickers (and T-shirts) creatively designed with a default font on a white background, making various crass statements and available absolutely everywhere. I have to assume it was a case of these things being extremely cheap to produce, rather than there actually being demand for it. Don't disappoint me, humanity.

They could just be advertising their custom printing options, but I prefer to think these shirts are just hanging around for years in the hope of specific scenarios cropping up

By the way, you can get tattoos here

Jalan Poppies 2

Indonesia supposedly takes a terminal stance on drug dealing and use (though not really). While some visitors will delight in the clearly lax attitude of the police towards magic mushrooms being advertised on every corner and from every motorcycle driver making the flattering snap judgement that you look like a stoner, it didn't fill me with confidence that these rubbish cops would be any use if I actually fell victim to a crime.

If we don't spell it correctly, it isn't legally binding

You can't walk to the beach without having to decline the generous extortions emitted from every identical store, like interactive trailers before the main feature. I wish someone would come up with an Adblock Plus for them, headphones alone don't work

Kuta Beach

If you don't like surfing or burning in the sun, there isn't much here for you.
A beach, then

If they're already laughing in the face of your death penalty for drug trafficking, they're not going to heed your health and safety advice are they?

Can't even escape traffic on the pissing beach

It gets harder to sustain my anger when the sun starts going down and things start to look really nice. Those drug dealers and sleazy masseuses are just trying to make a living in difficult circumstances, I know that. They didn't get the same breaks I did

I love everyone


I was genuinely so relieved to find a pedestrian boardwalk after the most severe motorbike stress since Vietnam

I didn't even care that the sea had all vomit in it

There you are! Where have you been hiding this past month?

What about the previous three years?

Come on, I'm taking you back to the Philippines. You've got a lot of work to do

Today's irrelevant soundtrack: Patrick Süskind, Perfume

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