Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Komodo

Back in Kuta, needed to change Thai Bhat to local currency. I had to walk the whole day with the money looking at different exchange offices, as there were different rates. In one place 200, 10 meters away 330! Did they just make these numbers up??
I went surfing!!! Oh man, the famous Bali beaches. Every time I jumped on the board I was all wrapped up in plastic bags, chips bags and other garbage. Kuta, maybe go there for a party, not a beach.
Speaking of parties, we finally went there!! Kostya doesn't dance, but that didn't stop me getting on the stage and dancing 2 hours non stop. Then I danced all the way on the street till the hotel to the sounds of whistling passerby-ers.
We slept for only 2 hours till our flight. Got to the airport, flight is delayed, then delayed some more, then cancelled. Apparently there aren't enough people on the flight, and they wouldn't get any profit from it. Ok! Good to know for the flight back, book it in advance! They transferred us to a hotel for $45/night in a bad location. Why pay so much? We paid $12 for a bungalow (of course it didn't have TV or AC), but it's set in a huge beautiful garden minutes away from the beach and restaurants.
Kostya and I are continuing to have troubles, and he decides to quit smoking! Oh oh I thought. But it was so strange, he never took a cigarette in his mouth and he barely has any withdrawal symptoms. But actually when he blows up, maybe these are withdrawal syndromes??
We fly to Komodo in a small/big plane, first one in my life! When you see how it works, it's hard to imagine how it flies! :)
We got to a non touristy, extra dirty, mountains of garbage and naked kids town, situated in a beautiful harbor. Too bad they made such a shit hole out of it! Locals are dirty but very friendly. I'm bored, there is nothing to do in this town, and I'm tired of just lying on beaches watching sunsets!
Our tour in the morning got cancelled, so we had no choice but to take a private tour just for the both of us. Surprisingly it didn't cost much more than a tour with 10 other people. off we went to see the dragons. 1 dragon attacked a ranger 3 days ago, so now this area is not safe for visitors. It's closed for a week in hopes that the dragon won't be as aggressive. We only walked for 20 minutes, saw 5 dragons which were lying next to the kitchen. They smell food and blood from 5kms. The staff never feeds then, but they still keep hanging around. There are usually 3 males per 1 female, and there are always mating fights (too bad it's not the season :( ). The female protects the nest only for 3 months out of 7, and when the babies hatch, she can eat them too. That's why babies live on trees until they're 5 years old to escape the predators, and once they turn 5, they lose their ability to climb trees anymore. They only need to eat once a month, and can eat up to 80% of their body weight.
I'm scared of the dragons. Thankfully we've seen only 1 in nature. You can barely see it. They have a really good camouflage. I was always scared to accidentally walk by one. Our safety, a guide with a stick, doesn't look very safe to me! Was also worried about what colors to wear and was hoping that they're colorblind :) But they just lying there peacefully, it's hard to imagine how dangerous they really are.
We slept in the boat. At night I went to the washroom, and I thought i was hallucinating. I took a bucket of water to flush, and the water was luminous green. Then I poured it down the toilet and it was twirling green. Oh man, I completely forgot about the luminous plankton! They're awesome!!! :))
In the morning went snorkeling, and it was one of the best snorkeling areas ever. I saw a turtle, 3 blue spotted sting rays, 2 big groupers and a big orange jelly fish. The list is longer than I usually write in my log after diving.
We then asked to be dropped off on an island where there is only one resort. Kostya for some reason just wants to be alone, and even 1 resort was too much. He just wants to be all alone on an isolated island. Strange to want that ... I wonder what are the reasons.
I swam around the whole island. Saw pretty much nothing, and in some places the visibility was less than a meter. Not good as there were many rocks and big waves. In the evening there was a big storm, and a month ago a big storm destroyed many boats, a pier and half of the coral reef :(
In short, Komodo islands are a waste of time and money, so don't go!

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Komodo

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Gili

Next morning we took a fast boat to Gili. It's a set of 3 islands. What a beauty. It's the best combination of beauty, views, sand, water, corals, price, atmosphere that I've ever seen. Bali beaches? Forget Bali beaches. I think Bali beaches are the worst I've ever seen, have you heard of anything else to do in Indonesia other than Bali? Koh Tao in Thailand - world famous scuba diving, with the most scuba diving certificates issued in the world, is the worst diving site for me. Phuket in Thailand, the worst island in Thailand. Thailand, probably the least interesting country in Asia. The point is ... stop listening to advertisements and smart ass marketing people!
Went snorkeling off the beach, something that you dream to see while scuba diving, turtles, are easily seen off the beach here. I've seen 4 in 1 hour. 1 of them was 3 meters from the shore. Others I swam to so close, I could see it's pupils :) I think we'll stay here longer than planned :)
There are 3 Gili islands, all are great. Wide, clean, white sand beach surrounds all the islands with turquoise water. No cars, no bikes, just a few bicycles and some horse carriages. There are hotels and restaurants for all tastes from backpackers to millioners. We walk along the sand streets bare feet with shorts and a bikini top, and pass some couples with beautiful evening dresses with diamond necklaces. Everyone is always smiling and is super friendly. A lot of the restaurants are right on the beach with either tables or puffs in the sand, and when the tide comes in, the waves caress your feet. We sit with a live band playing, candle on the table, eating fresh catch, with the cat sitting on my lap drooling over it :) In the hotel which is a bungalow sitting in a green garden, we eat breakfast served on our balcony of a fluffy tomato/cheese omelet with fresh fruits. Then we snorkel, then we watch a beautiful sunset and I feel like I'm in heaven. Seems like in a lot of places in Indonesia I feel like I'm in heaven.
Went to Gili Meno for a day trip. It's so relaxing, barely any bungalows, barely any people. We decided to stay there. Picked a bungalow 3 meters from the water, with the front wall made out of a bamboo which can be rolled up. First 3 days it was nice, on the 4th day I started going crazy. We did a lot of snorkeling, took too many pictures, relaxed too much, walked around the island a few times collecting shells. While snorkeling I saw turtles, a lobster, a big puffer fish, huge schools of thousand and thousand tiny fish, corals in a valley, then a coral cemetery, of white, broken, destroyed corals. And in the middle of that, I bumped across a lion fish! There is beauty to be found in any ugliness.
We played chess, and with my prolonged thinking it was a good time to waste :) On the 3rd game I even started to show my teeth and to scare him, of course it cost me a few figures, but that's not what matters, right? And between his moves when I was thinking for a few minutes, and he was sorting his pictures on the computer, I even managed to eat his pawn :)

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Gili