Before I get into this rant (for that’s what it is), let me preface it by saying that most of the people here are charming, polite and attentive (probably too attentive, see earlier post), and that restaurant standards are excellent, if a little bland in terms of offering… I also realise that this is not most peoples’ opinion: maybe my hotel is in the wrong place, maybe I’m just not a ‘resort’ person…
On with the rant:
I’m staying in Bali in an area called Seminyak, actually it’s just to the north of Seminyak in an area that is developing fast. This development is ad hoc and seemingly unplanned, which has resulted in ribbon development of narrow roads running off the main highway down to the beach. There is often no cross road linking between these ribbons, so something a few hundred metres away requires a detour of several kilometres to get there. In this heat and humidity that means the walk from hell, a taxi or motorbike hire.
The roads are narrow, often lined with drainage ditches and the traffic is fast. Whatever your mode of transport (including foot) it’s dangerous – and I’m used to cycling in Chiang Mai. Maps are hard to come by and no one seems to know where anything is; and all in all, I’m getting a bit pissed off.
I just asked the reception staff if there was anything resembling a centre to this place and would it be feasible to get a taxi for a few hours to drive around. Blank looks all round, but after involving 3 staff, 2 phones and a computer (I have no idea why) a taxi was duly summoned. When it arrived I was quoted a price which I immediately halved and 10 minutes later ended up in downtown Seminyak.
Well, it’s a bit like West Bromwich with humidity really, except the cafés play that fucking Ibiza drone music that never seems to begin or end, just hangs there in space, like a migraine…
I appreciate that I’m getting a very narrow view of the place, and will get up into the hills, but I’m really not warming to Bali. The beach near me is filthy, absolutely covered in plastic and rubbish; I’m told this is because it’s rainy season and it’s being washed down. Franky I don’t care, it’s a mess and in a place that makes its living from tourism it’s unacceptable; they are happy the take the tourist dollar, they need to deal with this. There are some very swanky beach clubs overlooking this tide of plastic, perhaps they don’t expect their guests to get off their loungers and actually venture to the sea.
I suppose the most disappointing thing is that it’s neither one thing or another. What I’ve seen so far lacks character and yet fails on simple things like being able to get around easily, have clean beaches etc… It could be anywhere on earth; its not what I expected.
Other annoyances include addition of service and tax to displayed prices, street hawkers’ constant badgering to look at their tat and I have had a hell of a job getting hold of a bucket, but that’s another story.
I hope the interior proves more interesting, the prospect of which is the only thing that keeps me here.