After two fantastic weeks in Bali and Malaysia, I am now in Kuala Lumpur International Airport, waiting for my flight to take me back home to Norway. I've written a kind of travel diary and I thought I should post it here in parts, so more will follow..
Day 0: Arrival (7 June 2009)
After a long and complicated series of flights (to utilise the super cheap tickets from London) I finally arrive late in the evening in Kuta, Bali, where my old friend Klaus is waiting. Klaus's friend Ali is also travelling with us and they have already spent two days on Bali when I arrive.
Kuta is pretty much the same as I remember it from last time I was there, ten years ago. It's full of drunk Australians and Western franchising stores (The Mc Donalds logo hovers over the view from the beach at night). The only exception is that mine and Linus's old hangout Sari Club no longer exists, since it was blown up by fundamentalists in 2002, taking 200 lives with it into the grave. Anyway, I don't mean to sound melancholic; it is really good to be back!
Day 1: Padangbai
After breakfast we head out of Kuta and Denpasar's traffic chaos with Klaus behind the wheel of our rented Toyota, in true Balinese rally stile. In Padangbai we check in to the simple but very cosy Sidha Karya homestay and discover that Klaus's old visit in 2002 is still in the guest book. They haven't had any visits for over a month which perhaps says something about how few tourists there have been for the last years here
We spend the afternoon snorkelling in Padanbai's Blue Lagoon; a fantastic coral reef just meters out from a beach. The reef is boiling with colourful fish such as needle fish, blue-spotted stingrays, a moray eel, parrotfish and many more that I don't have a clue about what they are called.
In the evening we discover that the other beach of the village is really destroyed. The whole forest of palm trees that surrounded it are gone and someone has started to build an ugly concrete hotel and a big wall closing in the whole beach. Later we hear that it is a Korean construction company and that they were stopped by the local guvernor, but too late to prevent the destruction. Quite a sad story.
Day 2: Padangbai & Tulamben
We start the day by driving up to Tulamben to dive on the wreck of the U.S.A.T Liberty. She was a American transport ship loaded with weapons and sunk by the Nipponese during the war. Klaus used to work as a dive instructor there several years ago so he really knows the site. We get two really good dives, although the visibility is a but murky, and have a look at the wreck and the myriads of fish.
In the evening we meet Camilla who turns out to be from Vallentuna, which is the countryside suburb of Täby, where I grew up. She has just been to Malaysia and gives a lot of advice where to go there. Some plans have formed and Ali has decided to stay in Asia for another week instead of going with Klaus to Sydney.