A Dire Experience


Pak Wayan has either had an unexpected windfall or, we’ve been paying him far too much for his taxi services; I suspect it is the latter.

It was the gleaming, dent free, almost brand-new car that came to pick us up from the airport last Saturday that was the giveaway. ‘Pak, you have a new car!’ I said to him when we were at last sat in the back of it and heading home. ‘Yes Ibu and look’ he said proudly pointing to the a/c controls which he then turned up so high, that my nipples instantly stiffened due to the unfamiliar sub-zero temperatures that we were being treated to courtesy of Pak’s all singing, all dancing, fantastic new set of wheels.

Theo, my youngest, has come out from London to stay with us for two weeks. It’s a joy to have him here, and it also gives Irishman an excuse to do ‘boy’ things with him such as fishing, snorkelling and climbing volcanoes. I shall be writing about their adventures in the next post.

Our recent adventure however was a trip to Balangan, a surfer beach down on the Bukit peninsula. Balangan is one of Irishman’s and my favourite beaches on Bali as it is relatively unspoilt and very beautiful. We happily sit for hours and watch the giant waves and the surfers and when we tire of that, we go for walks and collect shells or gaze into rock pools when the tide is out. Along the furthest end of the beach there are wooden beach shacks built on stilts with alang-alang roofs. The shacks are where the surfers hangout when they are taking a rest from the waves and where you can also get basic meals, and cold drinks. Most of the shacks have rooms to rent so I had the bright idea last Sunday, of renting one for this Wednesday night thinking it would be a treat for Theo and fun for us all to watch the sun go down, have some supper, and then go to sleep with the sound of the Indian Ocean and it’s crashing waves just a few feet away from us.

Against my better judgement, I booked the room despite us all knowing that the place was infested with rats. The evidence of large, vocal rodents didn’t seem to put Theo or Irishman of in the least, but I have a pathological fear of them as you will know if you’ve read my post ‘Ratus Vagina’. Not wishing to be a sissy, nor a killjoy, I paid 170,000 rupiah (£7.50 or $10) in advance to secure our room.

My secret plan to overcome my fears (aka Dutch courage) was to drink as much Bintang beer as I possibly could during the course of the evening so that by the time we all went to bed I would pass out in a stupor, rendering me comatose and blissfully unaware if any rats ran over my face or knawed my feet whilst we slept. The only trouble with this plan was that I knew that at some point in the night I would need a pee, and as the steps leading down to the bathroom were treacherous enough as it was when sober, they might well prove fatal if I were still under the influence. I decided to err on the side of caution, which was a mistake as I was to find out later.

After an enjoyable evening, a reasonably good meal and just about the right amount of Bintang so as to make me sleepy, we climbed the wobbly steps up to our room and lay down on the mattress on the floor. After a while the soporific sound of the waves sent us all to sleep.

I don’t know what time of the night it was, but I was woken up by what I can only describe as intense labour pains. These pains, where also combined with a distinctive percolating sensation in the lower bowel area, which I now know from previous bitter experience,  heralds the start of a violent bout of diarrhoea.

Clutching my stomach and clenching my sphincter muscle with all the strength I could muster, I crept out of the room as quietly as possible and groped my way to the top of the stairs. As I gingerly felt my way down the steep stairs I prayed I’d get there without a disaster. Fortunately I got to the only toilet in the place just in the nick of time. I was in such a bad way that I was quite sure that the explosive noises now emanating from the toilet were bound to wake up not just Theo and Irishman, but all the other guests whose rooms were unfortunately not only within ear shot, but also smelling distance of the bathroom. (read bathroom as basically shit hole)

After my internal storm had died down, I washed (mercifully someone had left some shower gel in the communal bathroom) and then went back up to the room. Amazingly my boys were still asleep but I was still in pain and restless knowing that I would probably have to make several more journeys back to the toilet before sunrise. As I lay there I tried to calm my self by listening to the sea and the gentle breathing of my men folk. All was going well until I heard a loud squeak and scratching sound right behind my head and then more squeaks and suddenly an almighty crash as a saucepan lid hit the ground. The rats were having a ball in the kitchen and their nocturnal activity was going on just inches from where I was lying. This beach paradise had now turned into my idea of hell.

At last dawn finally arrived and my long and tortuous night was over. Irishman, Theo and I watched the early morning beach activity from our balcony and drank coffee. First the dawn surfers and then later on the sun worshippers arriving for their day on the beach. Irishman too had had to make several mad dashes to the toilet so I was not the only one struck down with Bali belly. Amazingly Theo was unscathed but then he’d opted for a pot noodle for supper and we had been rather more greedy and gone with salad and chicken. The plot was thinning rapidly.

A trip later on that morning to the kitchen confirmed our worst fears. Not only was it a playground for rats and cockroaches, but it was so indescribably filthy that it contained every known pathogen to man. It’s no wonder then that 30 hours down the line, Irishman is having to sit with his pants down on a bucket whilst taking part in an important conference skype call to the States, and I’ve been to the toilet at least 5 times in the space of time it’s taken me to write this. I’m sorry; this is probably way, way too much information from your S.E Asia correspondent.

21 thoughts on “A Dire Experience

  1. LOL…never too much information Lottie! I am glad to see though you recuperated fully from the ordeal. Now do you have any life lesson you learned? 🙂 Besides the obvious to reconsider the amount of money Pak is making from you (although on the plus side you did have a nice cool ride)

    Aaron

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    1. There’s a really nice hotel just up the road….that’s were I’m staying next time! Pak Wayan is a dream and he deserves every penny that he earns. In all honestly I don’t think we pay him too much but we do give him splendid tips – if it means a better car, that can only be a good thing especially on long trips which we often do. As for the rats yuk yuk yuk!

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      1. I can so understand the good tips if it means a cooler ride! You have to take care of yourself as much as your looking out for Pak…you don’t have to tell him that of course 🙂

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  2. Dearest Lottie,
    Whilst I am excited beyond words about my impeding trip, can we skip the beach hut, bums and rats when I get there?
    Please. please, pretty please?
    Not that a good dose of the squits wouldn’t improve my waistline, and the rats don’t scare me as much as you, but the cockroaches would have had me sitting up all night!
    However, at least you would have had your pal awake all night with you and we could have kept one another company?

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    1. I absolutely HAVE to take you to this beach B, it’s impossibly beautiful and I know that you will love it. I promise we won’t stay the night there and as I’m still feeling crap in every sense I shall never eat there again – this has been the worst bout of shits since I’ve been here and if you could have seen that kitchen you with your H&S would have understood why.
      I can’t believe you are more frightened of cockroaches than of rats?
      Can’t wait for your stay…..counting the days……not long now! 🙂

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    1. Next time I shall definitely be making a picnic!
      I don’t know if you’ve been to Balangan Sherry? It’s so beautiful and worth a visit if you are ever in that part of Bali.

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  3. Oh dear, dear, dear, sister! Really hope you’ve both recovered?? So glad at least your Theo didn’t succumb. It’s never too much info for me, I love reading about ALL your adventures the good, the bad, and even the ugly. It’s all part of the tapestry, yes? But those stairs! Yikes. I don’t know if I’d have made it up them to go to bed, let only down them quickly enough for that emergency pit stop. I may have had an accident on the stairs and perhaps more than one kind! As to the rats, have I told you lately how brave you are? You are. Let no one tell you differently, including yourself.

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, as always, Lottie. My favs are: “arriving sunset”…beyond the beautiful sky, there’s something wonderful about the grittiness of the sand and motor bikes (scooters?) in the foreground and the “bali cows” is such a sweet image of those pretty cows hanging out in the shade with the little one. xoxo

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    1. Sister, I couldn’t leave the house yesterday for fear of shitting my pants. No kidding, it was bad, real bad. Yes, that sphincter of mine deserves an award. Can you imagine the scene if I hadn’t made it in time? Having to hose down the stairs with the rats all jumping up??? Perish the thought.

      It’s such a beautiful place and perfect for watching the sunset and the bali cows hanging out in the shade we passed on our walk back up the hill the next day for our rendez-vous with Pak Wayan and his new set of wheels. Was I glad for the a/c – I felt so ill and so sick by then that it was such a relief to see him I could have hugged him. xoxo

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  4. Golly you must be waif like.
    Buckets and Skype how clever poor you. Do you think it will mean you are going to end up thin bronzed with a cast iron constitution wafting around in lovely cars?
    If so i think the whole thing is a fab idea and you have found the perfect way to stardom.xxxlol

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    1. Mrs, If only! Nothing could be further from the truth!! It seems that getting the shits makes no difference to my waistline whatsoever. You’d think I’d be a size zero or even less by now. Forget it, I’m as fat as butter, even bigger than when I arrived here nearly a year ago. Sadly the Jakarta lifestyle cooped up in an apartment and nowhere to walk means that I get a fraction of the exercise that I used too. Don’t mention gyms, I hate them almost as much as i hate rats.

      Irishman on the bucket – luckily it wasn’t a video call or they would have just seen the top of his head at table height and wondered what on earth was going on.

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  5. So sorry to hear this happened! I’ve talked about my bodily functions with all my friends in Jakarta more than ever before in my life this past year.

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    1. Lydia, it can’t be helped! It’s part and parcel of being here I guess. I actually met a bule the other day who said that they were constipated! I nearly died laughing – it was so mean of me but I just couldnt believe it. They must have iron-clad insides.
      We certainly didn’t have the same problem after visiting ‘Super Steak’ but then that’s a different joint entirely!

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  6. Hi Lottie. Just got to this so hopefully – it now being Aug. 19 – the effects of dodgy chicken salad will have worn off.

    My domicile is on the Balangan road, near enough to avoid any need to rough it overnight within wave-sound at the Hot Shit Hotel.

    Keep writing. That’s writing, not writhing…

    🙂

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    1. What a wonderfully kind offer – we may well take you up on it Thank You!

      Yes, one night at the Hot Shit Hotel is one night too many in my book.
      The effects of ingesting chicken salad with a rat piss/shit viniagrette are now mercifully wearing off but Jeez it’s an experience that I shan’t forget too easily! 🙂

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  7. Good to hear back. We see the sea, don’t hear it … but it’s only a one-Bintang drive home for passengers 🙂 Or I could direct you, if you like cultural experiences, as you hitherto have seemed to, to a new establishment in Jimbaran that is called the Hotel Shita. Only joking… 🙂

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  8. Hi Lottie, I’m sure you’re feeling better … ?! Your post cracked me up, sorry to laugh at your misfortunes 🙂 Balangan looks spectacular though – I will keep it in mind for future trips to Bali.

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    1. Ohh Thanks!! Balangan is beautiful and definitely worth a trip. It’s not the best for swimming as the waves are big, but it’s got stunning rock pools to explore when the tide goes out and lots of shells on the beach. The situation is very pretty and it’s relatively unspoilt compared to places like the dreaded Kuta et al.

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