best and worst just an hour apart
Yep, that's Bali for you. I arrived last night, and went to Kuta, the most common tourist destination in Bali, and it turned out to be hell in a 5mile radius. If anyone has visited Virginia Beach, you never need to go to Kuta. KFC, Starbucks, Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, Pizza Hut, and every other Western brand you can think of lined up along a strip beside a fairly grubby beach, which admittedly, had good waves, which weren't even that crowded. I only stayed an hour and a half, but that was more than enough for me. I got a shuttle bus to Ubud, where my Intrepid tour starts, and dear lord, what a difference. Ubud is a small artist's town in the centre of Bali, and damn, its so beautiful and tasteful. Its a Luang Prabang, a St Ives, a Westport. Furthermore, my hotel, which is supposed to be for backpackers, is the most luxurious place I have ever stayed in my life, the Balmoral excepted. Balinese sculpture ever, a little private place for me to take my tea and contemplate life, and a pool with a wall of sculpted gods looking down on my as I bathe. Dear lord. Luckily its my birthday, so I feel that it is just about justifiable.
My birthday present to myself? A mocha frappucino and a raspberry muffin from Starbucks. Tomorrow, its back to the muesli, fruit and yoghurt.