Tag Archives: Bintang

The Hamster Rides Again

After a few weeks spent tearing up the skies above Nusa Dua and keeping the fine folks who brew Bintang in business, Alan and I packed up our gliders and headed to the gorgeous Balinese village of Candidasa to continue our adventure. Within minutes of hitting town we were up on the hill, launching out over the sparkling ocean. Alright, I went into a tree first, but after a while I managed a half-decent launch and climbed into the sky. As a flying site, Candi is one of the best of the planet. With a 400m cliff jutting out of the water, it’s easy to rise to 700 or 800 metres, which offers not only a top view but the option to practice all sorts of fun stuff like wingovers and spirals without worrying about splatting into the ground. It’s an awesome spot, and I was stoked to be able to test my new-found skills and experience at a place where, just one year ago, I was terrified to fly. Al and I landed after a few hours and raced back to our luxurious hotel, the Puri Oka, to have sex with each other meet up with the notorious Richard ‘The Hamster’ Ham, who blazed a path of destruction through Candidasa last year. A big fan of a good knee-up and known to get legless at any opportunity, I couldn’t wait to smash a bucket bucketload of Bintangs with him. Hamster’s the sort of bloke you’d expect to find swigging metho-and-Fanta cocktails and shitting in his neighbour’s letterbox, so I was surprised when he sashayed into the Puri Oka wearing clown pants and carrying a yoga mat under one heavily-tattooed arm. “Point me towards the nearest gluten-free lentil burger, and then I’m going to re-align my chakra in the spirt dojo upstairs,” he lisped, while Al and I exchanged astonished glances. “Oh, and from now on you can call me Ocean. The power of my positivity ebbs and flows across the planet.” I thought he was taking the piss, but Hamster did indeed order a bland, salad-stuffed meal, while lambasting Al and I for tucking into chips and schnitzels. As he continued to dribble on about healthy diets and the power of positivity, I couldn’t help feeling like I’d lost a mate and gained a hippy imbecile. When he started praising the Black Lives Matter movement and passionately talking about the importance of gay marriage, I realised I had to put my foot down. I ordered three large Bintangs, hoping Hamster would have one and return to form, but I was left heartbroken.

“I’ll have a glass of tap water, served at room temperture, but only if it’s been sourced ecologically,” he minced, before looking up an astology app on his phone. Al and I decided we’d seen enough, and took matters into our own hands. Al, a former professional wrestler (under the name Balls Sackington), took Hamster down and prised his mouth open. “I abhor violence!” Hamster tried to splutter, but I stepped over him and poured a full bottle of Bintang into his mouth. From the way he shook and struggled, you’d think I’d poured acid down his throat. The effect, however, was just what I’d hoped for. As soon as he calmed down, Hamster reached into his pants, scratched his balls, perved at a hot chick walking by in a bikini, and told me to get him another fuckin’ beer or he’d smash me. He had a couple of icy cold Bintangs in his hands within seconds, and was soon on his way to oblivion. The Hamster was back and better than ever! He started cracking jokes and snapping the bras on any girl who made the mistake of walking past him. We ended up in town at a disco, with Hamster gyrating in an incredibly sensual manner, and he soon worked up such a sweat that he needed to remove his clothes or risk a nasty case of spontaneous human combustion. His disrobing caused girls to rush the dancefloor, and in their lustful rage they managed to tear all of my clothes off, too. They left my undies on for reasons I can’t quite explain, so try to overlook that obvious loophole in my story. I swear this is true, though. Anyway, long story short, after I boned half a dozen babes and Hamster resisted because he’s gay a happily married man, we needed to rehydrate, so we swaggered over to the nearest Alfamart for a drink. “Oh no, not you fuckwits again,” said the little bloke behind the counter, recalling a similar incident 12 months earlier that almost got us kicked out of Indonesia. “But what happen to the one of you? Weren’t you a fat cunt last time? But this other man with the tattoo, he is still sexy. I dream of him every night.” We managed to get the shop assistant to stop wanking for long enough to take our photo, then raced out of there before we could be arrested. As we hurtled down the street, we saw Al arm-wrestling a lesbian and dragged him home with us, leaving the locals of Candidasa wondering which Hindu god they’d pissed off enough to deserve another visit from the Flying Hamster.

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Thelma and Louise Go Flying

If there’s a more inspirational film than the 1991 classic Thelma & Louise, I’m yet to see it. The tale of two lesbians who smoke some poor bloke and then travel all over the place in a fancy car before driving it off a cliff provides lessons that we should all live by. Also, Geena Davis was pretty hot back then. So when Al, who looks a little like Geena in the right light, asked me to fly into uncharted territory with him, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

We were cruising around above Pandawa Beach, when the wind shifted south and we realised we could start edging further and further around the bottom of the Balinese coast. Kilometres of rugged and remote beaches lay begging to be explored, and before long we found ourselves cruising through uncharted territory. The height we found was extraordinary, and it was exciting to escape from the restraints of the popular flying sites.

It’s a beautiful part of the world, with shear cliffs topped by million-dollar houses and exclusive resorts. Bikini-clad babes looked up from their expensive cocktails to watch us float by, most likely hoping that we would land nearby and pop in for a shag. But Al and I had eyes only for each other the end of the island, so we kept pushing forward. There were a few dodgy moments, but we stuck together and made it work.

“How far are we going to go?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“To the end of the world, baby,” came the unwavering reply. “To the end of the world… together.” The landscape became even wilder and more amazing as we swept past stunning beaches and misty mountains. Finally, we reached the headland that marked the start of Uluwatu, on the western coast of the island. We’d made it as far as two brave pilots could ever hope, and swung around to start the long, slow slog back to launch. The sun was fading and the headwind was powerful, but we knew we could make it.

Unfortunately, just like in Thelma & Louise, this story was not to have a happy ending. Coming back around a monstrous headland, we ran into wild rotor that threw us around and sent us scuttling towards the beach hundreds of metres below.

“Looks like we’re going down on each other,” Al called over the radion.

“Don’t you mean we’re going down together?” I asked, sure that he’d simply made a linguistic fuck up.

“Erm, yes, I guess that’s it,” he replied slimily.

I fluttered to the ground next to an ancient shipwreck, and looked around at a beach seemingly untouched by the hand of man.

I was packing up my gear and wondering how the hell I’d get out of there, when a funny little man wearing oven mitts climbed out of a nearby bush and started talking to me in broken Engrish. I thought he was a local hobo and was about to brush him, when I noticed he was plucking his wing out of a nearby bush. He introduced himself as Lee, from Japan, and an instant bond was formed between us. I saw him as a mentor; he saw me as the son he’d never had.

Even though our landing spot was as remote as the chances of Penny Wong taking out the next Miss Universe competition, it’s never hard to get a beer in Bali, so Al and I relaxed with a few Bintangs while Lee kicked back with a cocktail served in a coconut, complete with tiny umbrella and extravagant crazy straw to suck it through. It was a surreal vision in such an out-of-the-way spot.

It was fortunate that we rehydrated, because the climb back up the cliff was steep enough to have a Nepalese sherpa calling it quits. When we finally made it to the top we were treated to a (well-deserved) hero’s welcome by the local villagers, who showered us with love and affection and free nasi goreng. It was the best day of my life… until I caught Al and Lee walking out from behind a tree with guilty looks on their faces. I was crushed.

What a fuckin’ day! It was an epic journey and one of the most memorable flights I’ve had. Al and I pushed our limits and tested our skills, and we were rewarded with stunning views and an effort that we can be truly proud of. Every day of flying in Bali is brilliant, but that afternoon spent high above the beaches of southern Bali has to top it all. And after having some time to reflect on what happened, I wish Al and Lee all the best in the future. Keep flying high, you crazy kids.

Back in Balangan

After three weeks back in Australia, I was sick of winter and ready to head back out into the big wide world, so I hitched a ride on a Qantas jet and zipped over to Bali to go paragliding and chase backpackers for a month. Actually, it wasn’t quite that easy – some Islamic terrorist knob jockeys have been doing their best to blow up Aussie planes, which meant an extended journey through security. I guess rocking up with a backpack full of radio equipment and other electrical goodies probably wasn’t a great move. Sadly Fortunately, I didn’t end up with some customs dude lipping his arm up my arse.

Oh, bloody hell, it's sunny!

The other hassle during my flight over to Asia had less to do with bearded Islamic terrorist bum boys and more to do with my own goofiness, because I wasn’t allowed to check in without having a return ticket booked. With only $126 to my name, a flight back to Sydney was out of the question, so it looks like I’ll be spending a week in Darwin on the way back. Cold beer, hot Euro travellers, and heaps of crocodiles to punch. Oh shit, however will I deal with that?

The place I'm staying at looks like it was built by drunk children

Much like last year I’m kicking off my Bali sojourn with a few days in the hidden paradise of Balangan. If you want to know more about it, just read my award-winning post from this time last year. The only real difference is that I’m 20kg lighter this year, so I’ve been spending every morning jogging around in the heat and trying not to shit myself the whole way. Thanks to the rabid dogs that chase me everywhere, I’ve actually been cracking out som good times, and the seven litres of sweat that pours out of me each morning clears plenty of space for Bintangs.

Olympics, here I come

It was on one such not-so-fun run that this story begins. I was doing my best to sidestep a cow when a motorbike came to a spluttering stop a few metres from me and a stunning sort climbed off. She pulled off her helmet, sending blonde hair cascading halfway down her back. I did my best to hide my erection.

“You look like you have plenty of stamina,” the babe said in a thick eastern European accent. I just nodded dumbly and hoped she wouldn’t realise I was about six steps away from collapsing into a bush and spewing on myself. “You should jump on the back of my bike.”

We've all woken up next to someone who looks like that, right?

I was faced with two options. Either I could continue on my run, improve my health and fitness, and live a longer life, or I could climb on the back of a conked-out bike ridden by someone barely old enough to have the training wheels off and drastically reduce my life expectancy. I’m not a fucking idiot, so I went with the option that offered the best chance of getting laid. By that I mean I got on the bike – I guess I could’ve porked one of the cows wandering around, but even in Indonesia such behaviour is largely frowned upon.

Alright, they are kinda cute

Milana (for that was this lovely lass’s name) took me to a gorgeous bar on the beach, where we ordered icy cold Bintangs and did our best to piece together a conversation, despite her being from Estonia and possessing a looser grasp on the English language than your average Bauer editor. When she told me that she’d been in Balangan a year ago and had a disappointing sexual experience with another Aussie paraglider, who looked like me but was much fatter and had longer hair, I just nodded and pretended not to be hurt.

The long-haired, overweight disappointmnt may have looked something like this

Long story short, after 15 Bintangs each we found ourselves in a run-down shack on the beach, the waves crashing beneath our heaving bodies. After a few minutes of fumbling around like a drunk seal I felt very contented and was ready to roll over and have a sleep, but Milana was somewhat less pleased with the proceedings.

“I take back what I say about you have stamina,” the babe said, struggling into her dress. “Maybe you is more like 100 metre runner.”

“Luv,” I replied with a smile as I swaggered out the door, “that’s the first time anyone’s likened me to Usain Bolt. Cheers.”

I like swingers' parties

Bali is still a beautiful place, but it’s time for me to stop looking at it from ground level, and instead check it out from a couple of hundred metres in the air. I’ve got a brand new wing and an almost aggressive desire to spend as much time paragliding as possible. Let’s just hope I can keep it up for a bit longer than I did with poor bloody Milana!

Final landing

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After nearly three weeks flying through the buoyant skies of Bali, from Nusa Dua to Candidasa, it’s time to pack up my wing and get out of here. During my time here I’ve ridden on dodgy motorbikes, danced in the street, met cool people, eaten weird food, been chased by monkeys, chased women, upset the locals, been hauled around in a rape truck, and sunk more bottles of Bintang than my liver wants to remember.

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It’s been a truly special few weeks that I will carry with me forever. But it’s time to move on, and there’s a plane waiting to take me to Korea, so that I can explore another strange land and get myself into trouble with a different set of locals. More than anything, I just want to sleep, because me and Rich got on the Bintangs last night and I didn’t make it to bed until 2:30am. The best bit is, it wasn’t my bed (and it wasn’t Rich’s. either, before you come to conclusions).

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Big thanks to everyone who made the tour so fucking awesome. Mark and Chris from Cloudbase, who organised it all. My mates old and new, who drank with me until two in the morning most nights (you’ve gotta love the fact paragliding is an afternoon sport). The Indos who cooked me food and brought me cold beer on command. And the Hindu Wind Gods, who certainly came to the party. Right, I’m off, see you all in Korea!

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Sunsets in Bali-dise

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I love a good sunset. They’re pretty, they don’t take much effort to enjoy, and they perfectly compliment an icy cold beer. If I found a woman with all those qualities, I’d be sorted for a long and happy life.

Bali is a great place to watch the sun sink below the horizon while sinking a Bintang, so that’s how I’ve spent a lot of my time. Here’s a bunch of photos (and a really awesome video that should win an award) so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out. Aren’t I a nice guy? Set me up with your hot sister, won’t ya?

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Bingin there, done that

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I’ve been itching for somewhere new to explore in Bali, and today i scratched that itch by visiting one of the beautest beaches around. By sheer coincidence, a lady friend of mine happens to be in Bali right now and staying only a few kilometres away from me in Bingin, so today I decided to rock on over and see her. And see if I could give her one, because she’s pretty hot and knows how to make sex better than my good buddy Geoff Jansz knows how to make pineapple quiche – and that motherfucker knows how to make pineapple quiche.

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Bingin is pretty much the bigger, more developed brother of Balangan – which is pretty much the same role I play in regards to my brother. I certainly can’t match him when it comes to eating Dagwood Dogs, however. The track down the cliffs to Bingin is steep and winding and offers awesome views out over the ocean, with all sorts of shacks and restaurants clustered around it. I’d say it’s not recommended for wheelchair people, but a little Balinese bloke would probably carry you down for a few dollars, so go for it.

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The beach itself is really nice and quite unique. Cliffs rise up from the water, completely covered in huts and hotels and places to drink Bintang. It’s heavily developed, but in a nice style that makes it feel like the way it is right now is the way it was always meant to be. Of course, the wooden shacks will probably be knocked down and replaced with a fucking McDonald’s in a few years, but at the moment it’s pretty perfect.

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Unfortunately, my date didn’t progress as hoped. I saw a funny-looking dog and chased it with a stick for half an hour or so, and when I got back my lady friend was kissing a Brazilian dude with a full sleeve of bad tatts. When I mistakenly asked whether a threesome was on the cards, he chased me with a stick for half an hour or so, which I believe is the definition of irony.

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The Brazilian bozo didn’t order me off the beach with a threat of beheading me and defecating down my neck (he was too busy kissing my lady friend, which he probably wouldn’t have done had he known where that mouth has been; spoiler alert, MY PENIS!), so I spent the afternoon splashing around in the water and checking out the sexy bikini-clad European women ambling about. It was a bit like one of those black man rapper videos where every chick is really hot and there’s not a fatty in sight, although when I started spittin’ sick rhymes about bitchez and money and stuff like that, I wasn’t met with nearly the same amount of applause as Jay-Z or Vanilla Ice would be.

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With my lady friend edging ever closer to having a Brazilian baby and few other people on the beach looking like they wanted anything to do with me, I made my way back up the steep track (I’m lying – I paid a Balinese dude to carry me) and raced back to Balangan. When I got there, I was treated to a sunset that was truly a gift from the gods. Sometimes everything goes wrong, and sometimes life isn’t easy, but a sunset can put everything into perspective and let you know that it’s going to be cool in the end.

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve gained a greater appreciation for sunsets. The uniqueness of each one, how fleeting they are. Every sunset is one less that I get to enjoy, so for now, I’m going to make the most of every fucking one of them. Now where’s that funny-looking dog gone?

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Bintangs in Balangan

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The next leg of the Drunk and Jobless World Tour™ has begun! It’s a journey that will take me from the pristine beaches of southern Bali to the skies of Candidasa, across the mountains of South Korea and deep into the beating heart of Tokyo. It’s going to be a full-on seven weeks, so I’ve decided to start off in the most relaxing of places – Balangan, which is around 45 minutes drive from Kuta, but a world away from that concrete nightmare.

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Balangan’s a really nice beach, with clean, white sand nestled up against volcanic cliffs and palm trees swaying all over the place. Ramshackle restaurants look out over the deep blue sea and surfers either glide through the water, or just sit on their boards because they don’t actually know how to ride but want to say they’ve surfed in Bali.

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It’s not a great beach for swimming due to the reef extending to the sand, so I just bludged around drinking Bintang and perving on the good-looking sheilas who were wandering around. I saw one I really liked the look of – a topless blonde with a bad tattoo that suggested a low sense of self worth – and rolled over to say G’day.

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“We might have to shut the beach down,” I said with a cheeky wink towards her perky boobies. “Because there are a couple of white pointers around.”
I was making my third honking sound when a shadow fell on me, and I turned around to see a very large, very angry man who was covered in tattoos that even Stevie Wonder would agree look shit. He politely suggested that it would not be in my best interests to remain on the beach (actually, it wasn’t all that polite – he screamed something about removing my head and defecating down the remains of my throat, which sounds like an odd thing to do), so I decided to run away in tears and go for a walk.

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During my strut around town, I saw all the usual sights of Southeast Asia – overloaded motorbikes, blokes burning shit on the side of the street, and children urinating in public. I didn’t take any photos of the urinating children because I don’t want to end up on some sort of register, so I’ve put in a picture of an interested cow instead. I also found something that looks like a prison, with barbed wire and everything, and was chased away by guard dogs while the locals laughed at me.

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I sought refuge at the top of a poorly-built wooden tower that seems to serve no other purpose than to give schoolkids a place to smoke bongs and trade porno mags they found in their fathers’ closets (sorry, Dad – I swear I’ll give you back that copy of Sixty Plus one day). I spent a minute or two gazing passionately at a flock of cows milling about far below, then hurried back down to safety because the whole thing felt like it would blow over with the faintest hint of wind.

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It doesn’t take long to get sick of walking in Bali because it’s as humid as a ladyboy’s crotch, so I hailed a cab and headed back to my luxurious accommodation (the driver offered me a happy-ending massage and I said no, but I was disgusted with myself when I realised he probably meant that a pretty lady would do it, not him). With the beach off limits and not much else to do, I’ve just been sitting around with a beer in my hand and a grin pasted on my stupid face. You know, sometimes this strange dance we call life isn’t too bad at all.

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Machetes of Lombok

I could sense that Lombok is a dangerous place as soon as I arrived. The inhabitants of Bali’s dirtier cousin stare at you with angry eyes, yell and swear. And this morning all my suspicions were proven to be true, as I found out just how bad this shining emerald island can be.

No, I wasn’t attacked, but I met someone who was, and found out just how close I’d gone to becoming a victim myself.

I caught a bus to the airport with a young lass who was fleeing Kuta after her and a friend were attacked by machete-wielding maniacs yesterday arvo. They’d scootered to Mawun Beach, spent the day swimming, and scootered back. Halfway home, a couple of deranged bandits came after them on bikes, trying to rip their backpacks off. When the girls stopped, the pieces of shit came after them with their knives, jabbering like fucking gronks, grabbing at them, and generally acting like pork chops. When the girls wouldn’t hand over their things, one of the thugs lashed out with his blade, tearing one of his victims apart and sending blood spraying everywhere.

Thankfully, she wasn’t killed, and both girls got away. The one who was cut got out of town as soon as possible. Her friend left today, vowing never to return.

The attack occurred about 50 metres from where I took this photo
The attack occurred about 50 metres from where I took this photo

I’d walked right past where they were attacked just a day before. I walked through by myself, taking happy snaps on my camera like a dickhead, without a care in the world. I knew people were yelling and swearing at me as I went, but I had no idea just how close I was to being torn apart by the pocerty-stricken arseholes. I went very close to walking back along that road alone, as the sun went down, but was too tired and accepted a lift instead. If I hadn’t, would I have been robbed, or worse? It’s very likely.

I’ve since found out that the outskirts of Kuta are a playground for crims with small dicks and big blades, who pray on carefree tourists. People are regularly getting held up, torn off their bikes, or horribly mutilated, all for a few dollars.

It’s sad, because the landscapes of Lombok are truly beautiful, but it’s just not worth the risk to go there. And with having to constantly fend off beggars, dodge motorbikes, run from dogs and put up with scumbags swearing at you (not to mention listening to South American knob-ends kissing each other), it’s not a relaxing holiday destination, either. It’s more like Mount Druitt with sand.

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Jakarta doesn’t look nearly as shit as you’d expect it to

As I write this, I’m sitting in my room in Jakarta in my undies (form an orderly line, ladies). This place is batshit crazy, surprising, frightening and awesome. There are sections that look identical to Sydney sitting next to the worst slums in existence, and the whole joint smells a bit like a toilet. There are cars and people everywhere, pollution chokes the streets, and there’s almost nothing to indicate this place is in Indonesia – it’s just a global city, and it could be anywhere.

After having my first hot shower in three weeks, and using soap for the first time in as long (oi, ladies! No pushing in!) I ventured out to have a little look at the place just as the sun was setting. Streets run in all directions and all were crawling with traffic. It was such an epic mindfuck after nearly a month of hanging out in villages and on beaches that I couldn’t really take it, and instead grabbed myself a couple of beers and headed back here to watch Bob’s Burgers. That’s not a euphemism for staring longingly at some bloke’s arse, it’s the name of a show.

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One of the few photos I took before running away like a bitch

From what I’ve seen so far, Jakarta isn’t a pretty city (although, from the air, it was surprisingly modern), but I’m gunna have more fun than Rolph Harris in a preschool exploring it. I’ll get a good sleep and just head out into the streets to see what I can find. What’s the worst that can happen?

And for the final word, I’m handing it over to Norman, a small child who I met on the plane today. Take it away, Norm!

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Ayyyyyyy, sit on it!

It’s pants-on-head time again!

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I woke up under a tree in the dirt, surrounded by Germans eating their breakfast. I had one thong on, my phone was thrown carelessly in the grass a few metres away, and my hair was full of sand. I had no idea how I got there, or why I’d decided to sleep on the ground about 40 metres from my bungalow. All I knew was that I got really, really pissed the night before.

Oh, and I tried to pick up another lesbian. Seriously, what’s the go there? I reckon I’d have no problem turning a girl from straight to lesbo, but what chick in her right mind is going to give up a steady diet of fish tacos for my beef burrito?

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There we go. That’s my tree.

Back on topic, Gili Air is fantastic, even if I did spend the majority of my time there nursing a hangover that could kill a small army. The island is certainly more developed than Meno – instead of quiet dirt tracks through the bush, the circumference is dotted with restaurants and bungalows, but they are beautiful just the same. In parts, the intricate bamboo cottages set amongst the trees look like something out of a fantasy movie. Just taking a stroll around the island is to escape to another world.

Air is lacking the overdevelopment and drunken Aussie culture (ahem) that has ruined Kuta, and is a great place to just sit on your arse and… well, do fuck all else.

In saying that, it’s a bit of a one trick pony, and a couple of nights is all one needs here. Sure, there are good restaurants and bars, but that’s all there really is to it. Once you’re done with that, you’ve seen all this place has to offer.

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It’s also not a ‘real’ place. As incredible as Gili Air is, it’s a tourist attraction. Staying there isn’t about becoming immersed in a different culture, it’s about being in a lovely place. That’s fine, but I find myself wanting more – to see culture and history. In that way, Air works better as a halfway-point between more authentic destinations.

There was also an annoying rooster out the back of my joint. I don’t know what the deal with chooks is here, but they don’t crow like the ones back home – every time they make a noise, it sounds like a pensioner with haemorrhoids trying to squeeze out a turd. It’s painful and annoying, and I had a grin on my face every time I bit into a chicken dinner, knowing I was eating a family member of that motherfucker.

I can also sympathise with my ex-girlfriends, who also suffered from a lack of sleep due to an annoying cock.

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Sailing the seas in a fucking bathtub

It was supposed to be a quiet cruise between tropical islands. Instead it became a terrifying game of life and death that almost led to dozens of deaths.

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Alright, so I’m exaggerating a bit (and not for the first time. Ask any of my ex-girlfriends). But my trip between Lembongan and the tiny isle of Gili Meno, off the coast of Lombok, was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve ever had, one which had me fearing for my life and wondering whether I’d be going home in a box.

It started out pleasantly enough. The sea was calm, the sky was overcast by not stormy. The boat, but ‘Indonesia’s safest tour company’ Scoot was smaller than something I’d expect to take to the open ocean, but as we piled in there was nothing to warn us about what was to come. Even as we headed out, I sat back, relaxed, and played Sonic the Hedgehog on my phone. And then everything changed.

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The sky turned black, the boat started to rock, and then we were hit from the left by a wave that almost flipped us over. And then another wave barged in, hitting us even harder, knocking one girl out of her seat and sending her crashing to the other side of the boat, splitting her head open. There was swearing in half a dozen languages. One guy with an orange afro started spewing his guts up, and that set off a couple more. Then another wave smashed into us, rocking us so hard that the windows on the far side dipped into the green ocean, sending water pouring into the cabin.

The captain did his best to fight the waves, yanking the wheel from one side to the other while swearing in Indonesian. Water raged in through cracks in the roof and soaked us. The little guy next to me started praying to whichever God he has. I hoped he was putting in a word for me.

One final wave almost skittled us, then the sea calmed and we rolled into the Gili Islands. When we pulled into Gili Air, the boat was caked with blood and bile, tears were flowing freely and most of us were vowing never to step onto a boat again.

Honestly, that boat had no right to be out on the open water. It was little more than a tiny flat-bottomed piece of shit (I think I just described Bill Shorten), and it’s no wonder that these things sink from time to time. If it was the high season, it would’ve been overloaded, too, which probably would’ve been enough to take it down, at the cost of 50 lives. I get that they don’t have the same safety laws here as we do in Australia, but to run boats like that is fucking stupid and shows a complete disregard for human life.

Being heaps brave and shit, I wasn’t too worried. Plus, there was this really cute Indo girl who worked on the boat across from me who kept my mind off potentially dying, and she must’ve thought I was a bit of alright, too, because she gave me her number when we got back to land. I dunno, maybe almost carking it made her feel like taking her chances with the nearest fella, but I think she was keen as mustard on the Row Row. Apparently she spends a few months in Australia every year and  wants to meet up when we’re both there, so I’ll see what I can do to put her off Aussie blokes for life.

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As for my home for the next three days, Gili Meno, from what I’ve seen it’s very quiet and relaxed, with plenty of good beaches. I’d heard that it’s largely an island for couples (with the nearby Gili Trewarrawarrarangayangoontinytoon catering for party yo cool dudes who want to eat mushrooms – no thanks, getting chased through the streets of Amsterdam by fucking cartoon characters was enough for me), but I’ll see what it’s like to be here on my Pat Malone.

Sitting on my balcony, I can hear the music from Gili T and know that, while I love getting shitfaced drunk more than pretty much anything else in the world, that’s not the place for me. At the same time, right now I’m a single man amongst happy couples, so I don’t fit in here. Sometimes I think my opportunities to be part of either are gone, and that’s why I’m still here, travelling around from one place to the next, never content with where I am or what I’m doing.

The rest of the time, I just think I should have another beer.

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