Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Amed in a nutshell

The beauty of no plans in Bali, well any holiday to be honest is that your open to whatever random adventure that might come your way. All I knew was that I wanted to dive, Dominik talked me into doing the advanced open water course. Now that the course was over we still had four full days in Bali and no idea what else we wanted to do. I contacted a couch-surfer a hungarian guy who lived in Amed. We decided we wanted to dive more since Dominik wouldnt have a chance to dive in Germany and we had gotten a taste with our course and our appetites craved more dives. Stefan told us about some awesome choices in Amed so next thing I knew we booked in two dives and were off.

 Well ideally we were "off" but the only way to amed was via scooter. AS we began packing all the gear onto the scooter we got some assistance from several balinese guys outside our hotel. They helped considerably laughing at us a little. But then they asked about my helmet.
 "Police will stop you"
 "but there are people driving around all the time without helmets"
 "they are balinese"
 Oh great so my white westerner skin foils me again.
 "What can I do we dont have a helmet?"
 "20,000 rupiah. if one policeman 10,000 two 20,000" with an exchange rate of 9200 rupiah for $1AU I was fairly certain I could handle the bribe amount.
 "No worries" I said grinning. I got a few rupiah from outside my bag and stuffed it into easy to grab random pockets. Then we were off.

 Despite our preperation we didn't see one policeman. so my bribe money was pointless. We made it to our dive company with mere minutes to spare we had booked in two dives with Eurodive @ 50EU for two dives. Our guide was an incredibly skinny balinese local. I forgot his name. We hit a drift dive first. Where you float in the current along the reef. The dive was called buntanan I think. It was so awesome. But I ran out of air so early. I was having a little bit of trouble with my mask so I think it might have added to my stress level. Not sure but I was on 50 whilst dominik was on 80 and all the other times we had worked out that we had the same levels of air. in awesome sync or what! So I had to share the guides air and we floated hand in hand. Man why didn't I think about that with Eric?

 On reaching the surface we had a short coffee break before heading off to the Japanese wreck. wow. wow. wow. the wreck was overrated, but the corals near the wreck were incredible for a short time I was in this forest of sea life. Have i mentioned what diving is like. OMG its this whole new experience. When I travel im not into culture, cities, temples etc. I love everything natural. I grew up in Darwin, Australia. Our culture involves beer & BBQs. we dont really have a culture being such a young country. For me its always been about the outdoors, the wildlife, the natural scenery. So diving just opens another door to mother nature. To think that such intense beauty can be created from such simple beginnings. I think my brain is in spiritual overdrive recantly... when you think about the world as a natural thing race, colour, nationality doesn't matter. I've just realised my brain is stuck on this equality thing lately especially with all my recant refugee dealings. Its hard for me to focus on whats important for me in my life when I am watching the world as a whole. Hence why diving makes me so happy because when i dive i feel that oneness with the world. ok weird. im that drunk vunerable girl at a bar right now.

 where was I up too.. I just caught a motorbike from Kuta to seminyak and now im just chilling waiting to catch up with another old couchsurfer of mine rohdiana. she is a bali local. got 20 minutes, i have just realised that in seminyak beer costs more...

ok back to amed. After our second and LAST dive of our bali adventure we had lunch at a little local resturant wth stefen. it was one of the best meals ive had fish in bali spices baked in banana leaves. I almost ate the banana leaves as I was a little confused on how to eat them, but all good stefan pointed me in the right direction. we attempted to purchase a helmet more to aviod police than personal safety I was quite used to cruising without a helmet now. all part of the balinese expereince right? anyway we ended up with an offer for 120,000 rupiah about 12 bucks but i was not interested in being ripped off and ended up deciding to risk it. heck I still had my bribe money stashed in various places. As we paid up for dinner we realised that we didint have enough cash for much more and suddenly accomodation became an issue. as there were no money changers or atms in amed we were down to our last 250,000 rupiah. Stefan reccomend a homestay for 100,000 RP so we took the bike down. Only to discover that it was already booked out.
 now what?
 but in typical balinese fashion everyone is a friend of someone and everyone can help the other people make money somehow. so the manager of the place we were going to stay at took us to his friends hotel rising star. we told him about our money issues and he informed us that our prices would work. AS we walked down to the hotel I was stuck by how quiet it was. We ran into this guy gardening who turned out to be managing the place for now. He told us 300,000. even if we pooled all our cash together we didnt have that much money. there was no option. so we let him know his friend had told us it would be 150,000 and he grinned and accepted our offer of 50% of the normal price. wow having no money served us well. kind makes you think that no matter what you can work something out.

 As for the room it was actually pretty awesome considering it cost us $16 a night. AC, wireless internet and a gorgeous pool overlooking the ocean. breakfast included. the kind of room you would pay over $100 in australia. cost us less than a shitty hostel in darwin. as we stretched out on the bed we pooled our money together. Dominik tried to pay the guy in US$ but he would have none of it. so after police bribes, fuel money & room cost we were left with about 120,000 to spend for dinner and beer. that was the hard decision with bintangs on average costing 25,000 each we couldnt work out how to afford dinner and beer. so we went for a drive. we saw a local supermarket pulled in and next thing you know we have 3 large bintangs, some weird chocolate bread and some raspberry shit for 89,000. sorted? thats a full meal right?? it really goes to show our priorities when 90% of the money spent was on beer. so we celebrated our last dive with our meagre earnings. and I guess thats Amed in a nutshell, the reef far surpassed anything tulamben had to offer but the Liberty Wreck was way more awesome than Amed. so make the hard choices. At least if you go to tulamben you can meet eric.

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