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Killing Time in Kuta – Bali (Indonesia) | We're Not There Yet

On our last trip to Bali, we consciously decided against visiting Kuta. The description in the Lonely Planet book alone was enough to put us off; it sounded just like Cancun (disclosure: I’ve never been there either, but R has and confirms that it is the kind of place that would make me want to do body shots of Dran-o). Guess what? That’s exactly what it’s like. We arrived in the night, just in time to see the bumbling of scantly clad girls and boys in Bintang tank tops struggling to keep upright. There is also a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and a slew of shops that sell t-shirts and bumper stickers with slogans too distasteful to detail here.

Since we are on a longer timeframe this go around we decided to come to see what all the fuss was about- it was, afterall, developed for tourism for a reason. The reason for being is the beach. It is long and sandy and boasts easy surfing for beginners and access to some world-class breaks, for those who know what that phrase even means. Unfortunately, our arrival has coincided with an unusual weather system for this time of year; the beach is littered with garbage and all kinds of driftwood (some sizeable enough to leave bruises- trust me) and the waves are too big for beginners to surf in. Not that we’re big sunbathers, but the sun hasn’t even come out for most of the time we’ve been here, which just makes for gloomy grey skies.

So why are we still here? I had had enough after the first day, but we stayed to try out some surfing (possible only in the beginning or our stay here when the weather was okay) and then we ended up hanging around to get our visas extended. R has taken advantage of the opportunity to get his SCUBA certification so that we can actually do some diving once we finally find ourselves in a location that is conducive to that kind of activity. While he has been away, I try to busy myself with cheap massages (a silver lining) and getting caught up on laundry, emails, and reading celebrity gossip online. I could actually revel in this kind of forced hiatus except for the constant hounding to buy t-shirts/sunglasses/massages/transport/etc every time I step foot out the front door. The sales pitches are so aggressive that blocking the sidewalk and pointing pedestrians into a shop is common and I was even blocked from passing and actually grabbed by the arm by someone trying to lead me into his shop to buy some t-shirts. Waaaaay out of my comfort level.

By the fourth day, I was so stressed out by the incessant barrage of hard sales and the crappy weather that I actually started to feel sorry for myself. Then I had to remind myself that I am in Bali on a year-long vacation. Then I felt better, but only in knowing that we’d soon move on and that we have so much more to look forward to after this. I’ve got to say that R doesn’t seem to be nearly as bothered by this place as I am. Not that he’d into the whole date-rape scene, but he somehow doesn’t let the touts get to him and he also has the daily escape of his SCUBA lessons to occupy his time.

The clock is ticking, though, and we’ll soon be out of here. R has one more SCUBA lesson and then we just have to see how fast we can get our visas back the next day. If all goes well, we’ll be quietly tucked into the equally touristy (but significantly more classy) inland retreat of Ubud in just a couple more days. I feel a little spoiled for complaining about Bali, but I think it is ultimately an indicator that we’ve had our fill of traveling and that what we want most of all right now is to be comfortable. I guess the timing is working out nicely: we’re less than 2 months away from coming home. Wherever that will be…..

I am not a happy camper right now.

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