Singapore and Bali: Bali Belly

By Thursday, January 16, 2014

Two thirds of this entry are decidedly uneventful, thanks to the body's immaculate immune system when it comes to pathogens.  

Day Seven - To The Beach

Woke to the most horrendous thunderstorm I have ever been in! The rain came down in heavy sheets and all at once and the thunder sat directly above us. We waited until the worst of it had stopped and then slipped off to a very simple breakfast. Scrambled eggs like the day before but no veg and it was one egg per person. We were still able to fill up on toast with blueberry jam and fresh watermelon and papaya so we didn't go hungry. 

When the rain had completely stopped, we ventured out to get a taxi round to Kuta Beach. The tranquil landscape of white sand and turquoise water we expected was not what we got. Kuta Beach was dirty. There was so much litter that had washed ashore that the experience of being on a Balinese beach was completely marred by thinking 'oh god, what did I almost step on?' With the waves as big as they are, it's a wonder why there isn't an attempt to clean it up a little. I can't imagine it's a pleasant experience to jump off a surfboard and land on a needle!

There were a load of people trying to get us to rent deckchairs, sign up for surf lessons or buy a variety of cold drinks from a cooler - a sensible business at midday. The clouds had burnt off and I knew I would have to reapply sunscreen.  

We stopped briefly at an Italian bar and then moved on just a short distance down the road to a restaurant for lunch. We sat for a while there just enjoying the breeze and watching the comings and goings (and profits) of a moped parking bay on the side of the road. With Kuta Beach being a disappointment, we took a taxi back to the hostel.

M Hostel's main entrance is actually down a back road away from the main street, so it gave us nice insight into more urban Balinese living. We passed a family who ran a sort of food and drink stall out of their house. They had two little puppies in a crate beside the house, and while it was cruel, I think it must have been to stop them getting really ill while they're young. We could also hear quite clearly through the walls of the hostel (even though they're pretty thick) the announcement noise from the neighbouring Bintang supermarket. 

We had higher hopes for Seminyak Beach that evening as it had been noted to be the less-touristy area and we were right. While there was still a considerable amount of litter but it was a lot cleaner in comparison. We grabbed a beanbag each at a beach bar and watched the sun go down. It, of course, still being the wet season meant of view was obscured by clouds but we still saw a bit of it! 

Couples were having their photographs taken in a variety of clichéd jumping and frolicking poses during magic hour and we spent a long time snickering at them. They all wore matching outfits - an apparent unironic craze in Asia - and we lost it when a stray dog got behind their shot to 'relieve' itself in the water. We ate further along the beach at a restaurant that was decked out with paper lanterns and again, bean bags, and watched a tractor rake the sand in an attempt to clear the beach of debris. 

We crossed a bridge over a sewage outflow pipe (mmm) to reach a paved road. I spotted Blue Ocean, a bar I had read about on Trip Advisor, and made sure we went in for a drink. Bintangs all round, naturally. Their seating featured what were basically beds build around tables and we were lucky to get the very last one in the row. The downside to this was that it became a great challenge avoiding falling asleep. 

We called it a night not long after that and walked the short distance back up to the main road and to our hostel. Kate seemed to be lagging behind for some of the way and the reason for that became apparent when we got back to our room - food poisoning had hit! 

Day Eight - The Perils of Bali Belly

By morning, I was the only one not to have been struck down with what is affectionately known as Bali Belly. Despite doing our level best to avoid using the tap water, the same level of caution cannot be extended to restaurant kitchens. 

As Kate and Carolyn were obviously not up for galavanting around Seminyak and hitting the beach again, we were confined to the hostel. Unfortunately, we had to check out of our room which led us to commandeering the common room. Kate had barely slept that night and Carolyn looked wrecked so they spent most of the day conked out on the sofas. I didn't have an issue with just sitting as we hadn't really stopped since we arrived in Asia. I was nice to actually turn my kindle on and read for a bit! 

As we had missed breakfast, I slipped off to the supermarket to grab some lunch and gifts for back home. I ended up with a 'Blessing Chocolate Bun' (a pain au chocolat) and a packet of crisps to take back with me to the common room and some coffee and little flower shaped tea lights. 

A loud woman entered the common room not long after I returned and put on a dodgy copy of Mandela which woke my patients up. Interestingly, ripped DVDs in thin, plastic wallets are all you can buy here. I booked us an airport transfer at the desk for 8pm and by that point Kate had recovered a little but Carolyn was still needing quick trips to the loo. Luckily our driver had a very pleasant car and didn't drive too crazily so we made it to Ngurah Rai in good time. 

We paid our 150,000rp to leave this time and spent an age queuing at immigration, being jostled by a rowdy Australian family (one of whom had a peculiar tattoo of maths related symbols and phrases like pi and soh cah toa). By the time we finally boarded the plane, Kate and Carolyn were out like lights. I had a simple meal of chicken and potatoes and watched agast as a Russian coupled caused chaos for the flight attendants, asking to be upgraded and for bundles of blankets. We filled out a visa again to enter Singapore and Carolyn's lovely parents picked us up from the airport. 

Day Nine - So How About That Airline Food?

So there I was counting myself lucky to have been spared the torment of Bali Belly when I wake up at around 8 or 9am feeling nauseous. No biggie, I think to myself. I drink a little water to try and settle my stomach but after ten minutes I realise, no, wait, it is a biggie. 

I got very well acquainted with the downstairs toilet for a small portion of the morning and then slept feverishly until around 12, where I felt strong enough to watch the last episode of Sherlock from series 3. I can tell you I definitely saw it but other than something about a thin corridor and a fancy modern house, it's really all pretty much a blur. I surfaced again later to see around 15 minutes of The Wolf of Wall Street (again, all I remember is Leonardo Dicaprio throwing lobsters off a boat) before bailing for the toilet bowl once more.

Over the course of the trip, we concluded that we either all picked up a virus or all got sick from separate food, which seems the more likely cause. Carolyn had a seafood pizza in our last night in Seminyak, Kate ate a salad which had probably been washed with local water and we think I got sick from the food on the plane back just because the timings were so bizarre. I honestly don't know how they dealt with a fever like that in a place with such shoddy air conditioning. Highlight of the sickness was probably my vomit coming up a watery blue colour. The internet assures me it was either a serious metal poisoning or nothing to worry about. As I'm still here, I'll go with the latter... 

Singapore and Bali
Day One: All The Pretty Lights Day Eight: The Perils of Bali Belly
Day Two: Dinosaurs, Chickens and Hawkers Day Nine: So How About That Airline Food?
Day Three: Monkeys and Cocktails Day Ten: Recovery
Day Four: A Taste of Real Asia Day Eleven: A Cleaner Beach
Day Five: Get Up, We're Climbing A Volcano Day Twelve: Goin' to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo
Day Six: An Elephant Never Forgets Day Thirteen: SEAside
Day Seven: To The Beach Day Fourteen: Marina Bay

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