. We had a bit of a drive to get to Mount Batur and Lake Batur, lovely views of the volcano, you could still see the signs of the last eruption even though that was around 40 years ago. On our way we stopped off to take some photos of rice fields, truly a remarkable sight, rice fields as far as the eye could see, all stacked in terraces like giant steps. Our final stop was a waterfall, we were meant to go to Git Git Waterfall which is the more popular, touristy waterfall in Bali but our driver convinced us to go to the Nungung Waterfall instead, at first we started cursing the driver as we had to make our way down 650 steps covering close to 1.5km to see a decent-ish waterfall but then we ventured round the corner and were treated to the sight of a very nice 50 metre high waterfall. We did start cursing again as we remembered we now had to climb 650 steps to get back to the car and that the light was fading.
Finally in Kuta, the driver had to do a few rounds of the traffic filled streets as he could not find the hotel but soon we were in our hotels and settled. Walked the couple of kilometres to Krish's hotel and ate at a seafood restaurant where we got to pick the fish and prawns we wanted to eat. Went to drop off Krish but as soon as we got to her hotel we were caught up in a huge downpour so stuck around for another hour or so until it stopped before making the long walk back at the end of a very long, action filled day
After a few busy days in Singapore and Bali, we got chance to chill a bit, had a pretty lazy day then in the evening Krish came over to join us and we went for a curry at a restaurant near our hotel, very nice it was too.
Already it was time for Krish to leave, she would be departing for Australia to visit Alice Springs, Ayers Rock then travelling down the East Coast before we catch up with her again in Sydney in time for the new year. Walked to Krish's hotel then the heavens opened again, must be something something about this walk as it always rains once we get to the hotel. Got the taxi to the airport, dropped off Krish then got a taxi back, all in heavy rain. Thought Bali was meant to be a tropical paradise, instead we've experienced more rains than what Manchester
Being that Kuta was the biggest area in Bali and we were spending the next few days in more remote parts of the country, we tried to get some money changed. There are plenty of money changers all over the place, in fact you can't walk more than 10 steps along the main roads without passing at least 3 of them, all offer varying exchange rates so its best to shop around and most state no commission
. After a quick trip up an down the road, I walked back to the money changer offering the best rate and handed over £100 sterling in crisp £20 notes. First he counted out a million Indonesian Rupiah then made another pile counting out the remaining four hundred and fifty odd thousand, I started thinking how cool it was being a millionnaire, he told me to count the million pile while I did and it was all correct, then he told me to count the other pile which again turned out to be correct but while I was counting the second pile he started counting the first pile again. I thought either he was not that impressed with my counting (or his the 1st time round) that he wanted to check again or he was playing a game so I decided to copy him but this time round the money changer who may have been trained by Paul Daniels made managed to make this pile that once upon a time contained one million rupiah shrink to six hundred and fifty thousand rupiah, I passed him back the rupiah and grabbed back my £100 wishing him all the best in his future career as understudy to David Blaine.
Went back to the hotel and told Dips what had happened, as we were going to go shopping I said next time we go together so both of us can keep an eye on the magic tricks. Went to the next bloke, again he counted out the money in two piles then I counted out the money and all was present and correct, now maybe I'm being cynical due to me previous experience or the fact that he might just have been very shy and having two pairs of eyes constantly watching him gave him stage fright and meant that he could not perform any tricks but he started looking at the £20 notes all weird, looking for the metallic strip and holograms, then rubbing the note furiously against the wall, even though the notes were genuine and none of the ink rubbed off on the wall, the moneychanger said he thought the notes were fake, returned our money and took back his rupiah
. Tried to make it third time lucky at the next one, this guy was just blatant, he started counting the money on the counter, waited till I had counted it then took the pile again and started counting the notes behind the counter. When he had finished I noticed a few notes behind the counter that he had taken off the main pile, when I questioned him about it, he lost all ability to speak English and called his wife over who said that it was commission, I showed him his own sign which stated no commission, took the pounds and left. We saved a lot of time and effort withdrawing money from an ATM, at least you don't get stung by over 25% unofficial commission that way. Makes you wonder how many people they manage to get with their tactics, can imagine them fleecing over quite a few unwitting tourists and drunken Aussies this way.
We booked a day trip that would take us to the sights of central and northern Bali, we hired a driver for the day that would pick us up at our hotel then take us to various sites in Bali before dropping us off at our hotels in Kuta. First stop was Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave, we had to don on a sarong as you must at all religious areas, not happy about that. Not too sure why its called Elephant Cave as no elephants have even stepped foot on Bali soil but there you go. Next up was Pura Penetaran Sahih or Mount Temple, lovely place with very interesting architecture and dips couldn't resist buying some wooden 3 wise monkeys, more stuff to carry. We went to another couple of temples, more of the same as previously described, India's gonna be fun! Stopped off at a plantation where they grow coffee and cocoa as well as many other fruits such as pineapples and other fruits I'd never seen or heard of before but they were delicious. We had a tea tasting of various flavours of herbal teas, coffees and hot chocolate. Then Dips and Krish went to the plantation shop and didn't leave too many things on the shelf as they carried bags out