Monthly Archives: December 2008

Boxing Day

Boxing Day

Ok So its getting more and more difficult for me to actually find the motivation to want to sit down and write my blog. I have been surfing until sunset each day, meeting new people and developing relationships with the ones I have met so far. I am establishing a routine and although I am not working I feel busy and finding the time to write my blog feels hard to make.

It is for these reasons really; Just being alive in my skin when the air is warm and the sun is shining is such a wonderful mind space to be in. I am not subject to any newspapers, television propaganda or any glossy magazines. It seems that now I am not subjected to it, I have noticed what a very negative effect it had on my spirit. Talk of recession, terrorism, rape murder death, threats of this and that. So much fear based nonsense it is great not to be a part of it. My laptop still feels in someway part of that media machine.

Kuta,

Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia

Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia Surfboard Hire

Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia Surfboard Hire

Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia in the shade

Kuta Beach Bali Indonesia behind the trees

Kuta, above where I am staying feels like one of the most lively and active cities/towns I have been in. The moped ride to each beach never ceases to have me chuckling in my spirit as swarms of mopeds weave relentlessly in and out of traffic moving at 3kph or 85kph. Every journey back from a surf session is just after sunset which seems to be peak rush hour. Mopeds are riding up and down pavements in and out of the dirt verges aligning the road. There are whole families on mopeds in the midst of this organised chaos. Mother, father, two children sometimes a small baby in arms. Hindu and Muslim women sit side straddle as they are chaperoned hair raisingly through what seems like the starting grid in the international Paris – Dakar rally with entrants on bikes trucks cars and jeeps, the only difference is the crowds on the starting grid never seperate, instead the gridlock finds a way to move along through roads with huge pot holes and cracks.

I really want to get a ride on the back of a moped soon and video film this experience to share with you all, it really is a stark contrast to the traffic situations in Europe i have experienced here. It feels really quite dangerously normal just the level of risks one takes here on every manouveure that you may only take once a month or year on a European road. Interestingly here i have only encountered smiles from all the other road users and road rage seems non existent, everyone accepts and makes allowances for all the weaving and bobbing in and out. Indonesians use their horns to let you know they are coming up from behind and intend to cut you up safely rather than an an angry response to the fact you feel someone is taking a liberty like in Europe. People in the Uk on the roads seem to behave as though they have some God given right of way in life and react to anybody else crossing their path with such contempt. It is so wonderful to experience a completely different mentality to this.

On the odd occasion when you feel a vehicle on your inside coming up dangerously nudging you off the road refusing to give way, when you glance into the drivers seat almost guaranteed you will see a fat white European or Australian with a ugly pisssed off grimace on their unhealthy full faces. Their really is something so damn fxxking ugly about the way westerners consume food, material goods and even what little space their is on the roads when they are on holiday.

However on a more positive note,

The other day I was weaving in an out of traffic with my surfboard strapped to the side and a policeman on a bike pulled up alongside me on a moped. He smiled and said, “surfing, you surfing? where been surfing?” I replied Sarangan and he said “me surfing too, this morning, me surfing Canngu, good wave Canngu in morning, no wind, I broke my board, heavy wave” this was so great he was soo friendly and happy he just wanted to tell me all about his surf in the morning but I wanted to concentrate on the road one lapse and thats it ill have a hole in my board from someone overtaking. He wished a good surf and good waves for my stay and he then sped of with the word POLISI accross his shirt and helmet. a totally surreal experience for me that makes me realise how far removed the UK is from so many other cultures in the world.

Anyway Boxing day was a great surf until sunset!..

A Very Happy Christmas!!!!

Dec 25th 2008

No blog for last 3 days as waves are picking up and sun is shining!

Ok this is going to get boring I am sure, basically the sun is scorching and I have turned dark brown and am surfing between 3 and 6hrs a day until sunset. every day I am sat in the sea 28 degrees in shorts watching the sun going down in a whole array of warm orange, pink, yellow and purple tones, the waves rolling in and basically feeling the most content I have felt at any point in my life. No newspapers so no bad news! no television so no junk thoughts no propoganda or corporate brainwashing, polluting my stream of consciousness. Food is good and affordable my accomodation is great, I have been meeting really interesting and friendly people, surfing every day on small waves but now each day for the last week the waves have been getting progressively bigger and I am becoming slowly more competent and confident, catching some of the big walls that just rise up out of the ocean across the horizon.

Life is good, I want to live here

19th,20th and 21st Dec Matt Bain in the house!

Blog put on hold for three days

An old time served work colleauge and legendary skateboarder from England called Matt Bain has been in Bali for 3 weeks so not much going on Blogwise, Instead we have been just having fun surfing together, small waves still. Also we experieced some Indonesian punk live in Kuta on Legian street and have been sampling the local brand beer Bintang and a Local whisky mix called Arak that comes in a plastic flask with guiness coke and honey. Matts going back tomorrow great to see him again. Due to hanging out with Matt my last 16 sobre months have temporarily taken a 3 day pause and now my head and body remembers all the benefits of an alcohol free lifestyle so it is back on the healthy tip again.

Health update

No illness or stomach upsets so far, eating street/local food at least once usually 3 times a day. Starting to feel the effects of eating rice 2 / 3 times a day (eg all carbed up with no real fibre). I have turned a similar colour to many of the local Indonesians and my chest is red raw from surfing bare chested 5 hrs a day. Life is great, I really am feeling at home here and settled now. I know my way around many of the seats on my moped. I am getting most of my food at very low, local Indonesian prices and some of the old women working in the restaurants at the beach called Sarangan are really looking after me in the most mothering of ways.

Natural born Mothers

This is great as my mum died of cancer aged 41 when I was 17 so I am enjoying this. The Indonesian women that I have been meeting at Sarangan are very kind and community minded. Sharing and genuinely caring, it is very easy to be cynical coming from England about people who care to asume that they want something from you, especially as Indonesia is still classed to my knowledge as a third world economy. However they have agreed and do only charge me half price for my food. I have explained that this will help me stay twice as long if they do this. They agreed as long as I did not tell any other tourists that visit in their restaurant. I have agreed and all is good. They are becoming familiar faces in my world that laugh smile and joke all day long each time I see them. I cannot easily articulate eloquently just how truly wonderful it is to be greeted by smiley faces every time I go and return from a surf.. very simply so far…

I really like the Indonesian people…

Wednesday 17th Apa Kabar?

Apa Kabar? Balinese Indonesian for; How are you?

Nikon Camera delivered by hand to my hotel door, £40 from Jakarta airport, very pleased have a small camera for discreet photo capture,

SARANGAN;

This is a beach with a good long wave about 20 mins on a moped from my hotel went here yesterday and today no swell at the moment infact no waves forecast for next 5 days.

I have been hanging out with Anna and Villa from Holland having some fun went out and ahad a dance last night, they are loving there surfing at the moment so they are a very positive influence to be around and very funny and friendly.

Whilst waiting fro my camera to be delivered 6pm turned into 9.30pm I ended up meeting the local skateboarders who have their own Surf skate clothing brand CIBOLA. It turns out one of my neighbours is a 20 year oldBalinese pro surfer who recently came 3rd overall in the Indonesian surfing championships. He has just come back from Hawaii and suggested that we should go and do some surfing filming and photography together. Totally friendly young lad, told me his life story and offered me Bintang (Indo Beer) all night having travelled the world surfing he is a very grateful and grounded young man, watch this space for info and surf footage.

His crew are great really talented positive and creative, between them they have produced the first surfing dvd featuring all Indonesian surfers, filmed, edited, produced and promoted entirely by themselves. It is really inspiring as they are all early twenties and are taking back some of the Industry in Indonesia which seems to be entirely run by multinational Australian and USA surf brands. All good stuff here, I know I will be getting some great shots when the waves pick up..

Last two days have been great for getting camouflage padded camera cases made networking with the types of people I feel inspired by and having a fun time..

Still getting better each day, I can feel the next swell should bring some good waves to surf..

Monday 15th Dec, a Happy Monday!

No Rain but No Surf either today;

Woke late this morning feel tired from surfing all day, spent much of the day with alocal surfboard tailor/bag manufacturer helping to design a few items handy for travelers and surfers eg, small wallet and passport waist bag for travelling. He has some cool fabrics nylons and trimmings so today was a fun day on sewing machines and a computer updating my Blog. not much in the way of waves today and the email connection has been real slow.

RE; Balinese moped Grandprix

I never mentioned in yesterdays Blog that as I was driving along the main by pass two locals on a moped came off pretty hard the driver was catapulted over the handlebars, he was wearing a helmet . The passenger a heavy young Indonesian lad hit his head clean on the floor and was out cold, the fact he was not wearing a helmet did not help his situation. His eyes were rolled back into his head and there was a stream of blood pouring out his head. I heard the impact but did not see the actual slam. Pulled over to help move the bike out the road, did not really want to move him but he was lying in the middle of a merciless dual carriage way, I saw everything up close, he was in a pretty bad way.  Some locals literally ran to his aid and just dragged him out the road to the dirt on the side and placed him in the recovery position with no concern to possible damage to his spinal coloumn. Luckily for  him the Hospital was on the other side of the road so no doubt he will be fine. To his benefit the ambulance only took 3 mins to arrive.

A Warning to myself on my moped;

life seems cheaper here in some way, hard to explain but maybe its the belief in reincarnation the locals hold or just the fact it is so densely populated, I am not going to attempt to articulate this statement with acuity at this juncture but it is just a feeling you get when you see the organised chaos on the roads. If people drove cars here instead of mopeds I am sure nothing would function at all.The mopeds run around like ants and if each one was a car like in the uk It would be complete gridlock all day everywhere, alway, so there is some sense in it all somewhere..

Afro / Indo Percussion Session;

Met a drum maker today so I stopped to check out his crafts, I was invited to sit down and play, so we spent an hour having a percussion session in his shop with about four of us playing, Great fun on locally made mahogany djembe drums, great sound for a djembe drum. They liked my playing which was a compliment and I have been invited to come and play with the shop owner and his band in Bondi Bar tonight, Legian Street (the main Street in Kuta for Boutiques and Nightclubs) I may just go and see how that works out as I have spent many years playing percussion and having percussion lessons, so it could be fun.

Emirates;

are arranging delivery of my Nikon camera that I left on the plane to Jakarta for tomorrow afternoon, $60 us to be hand delivered, I am looking forward to getting it back so I can document the small details of my day and the things I experience. This is to share with you all on my blog. My Digital SLR feels to big and a bit too valuable to be taking around Kuta as I am still a bit worried about losing it at this stage.

Today was a mellow day no surf, organised a few things, getting a coldsore tingle on my lip, feel a bit run down having surfed in the sun for a few days running. A day of rest.

Sunday 14th Dec 2008, Nikon Camera found on Plane!

Nikon Camera Found on Plane

I received a telephone call from Emirates Jakarta Office today and they have my Nikon camera that I left on the plane,.. This is great news except they want me to collect it, I suggested a delivery however I do not think they trust Indonesian postal services. This is not possible as I am in Bali now, so I have emailed them an address and we will see what happens. I am very pleased about this as I have a few precious pictures of my time in Brighton and some video clips of Dubai airport and the plane journey etc.

Matt Bain; I met up with an old skater and work colleague of mine going back 20 years today. He is using up some paid holiday from his employers Fenchurch Clothing Uk and booked a last minute flight to Bali. He is staying Canngung Bali.He came to visit  Kuta beach today, Matt Bain is a Harrow Vert skating Legend, was great to see him again and was hoping for a surf together, however I could not get him in the water for a surf today though so we will be meeting up again for a surf asap..always great to see Matt…

Swell report for next few days

Not looking so great waves are pretty small for a while now, below is the swell report for Nusa Dua for the next week. this is from a great website called www.magicseaweed.com I have a photography page on the site if you are interested to see some photos from Cornwall this summer. www.magicseaweed.com Jason Lunn photos I also aim to upload any photos I manage to take whilst in Indonesia too

As you can see small swell but very warm water and offshore wind

As you can see small swell but very warm water and offshore wind

Report for Nusa Dua Above

Blue zones on map mean small swell but Nusa Dua is on east Coast and the wind is blowing east so what ever waves there are will be offshore clean and glassy, this will still be fun to play on. Its looking like sunshine for a while too..

However in contrast take a look at the swell report for Achill Island in Ireland. Ireland has recently been claiming Hawaii sized waves of epic and regular proportions. Take a look at the swell report for Ireland now

As you can see the swell is pumping but the wind is coming from the west to blowing east so the waves will be Huge Onshore and in super cold water which is as dangerous as it can get really. The Irish surfers are super hero tough guys, if you would like to see take a look at this photo from earlier this year posted on magicseaweed.com

Very large waves!

Very large waves!

Ireland waves PUMPING! check this out!

Yellow and Orange means very low pressure at sea and large swell

Yellow and Orange means very low pressure at sea and large swell

But it looks like Portugal France and Spain are the place for some large waves right now, I am happy however with small waves in warm water.

So I spent today with Anna and Villa from Holland we surfed most of the day at Nusa Dua and had a fun time, they left however and I decided to surf another two hours as the waves picked up a bit towards hightide at sunset. Came back a darker shade of brown and ate Indonesian local cuisine total cost meal and juice £1.50

Another great day in Bali!

Saturday 13th Dec, Kuta Beach Bali

Kuta Beach,

I have not said to much about Kuta so far except my first impressions, Kuta is busy and it has been described as The Aussie Benidorm to me before. It is however the most central place to base oneself if you want to surf as many spots as possible (See map below) Kuta beach is on the west side of Bali. The wind is blowing from the West at the moment so there is a lot of rubbish being blown into the sea and the beach. It feels filth surfing at the Kuta beach because of this, the waves are also onshore and small. I had a puncture on my moped so I surfed Kuta this afternoon. not a first choice but still good fun as the sun was shining.

I am starting to meet a few new people in the water I met a friendly Brazilian surfer called Jamahl, really pleasant guy and then I met two woman from Holland a woman called Anna-Gerdien Bruna and her friend Villa. They are both out here to surf the islands of Indonesia. Anna is also a photographer and graphic designer who speaks great English so it was good to have a bit of geek talk about camera equipment and Adobe computer software products as I am sure any design heads reading this will understand..

Bali Surfspots copyright wannasurf.com

As you can see her from the map from www.wannasurf.com This is a really helpful website and as you can see from their map, there are absolutely loads of surfbreaks here in Bali. All the spots on the west coast or onshore wind until March so all the good waves are to be found on the right. They all have cool names and at each spot there is usually about 3/4 seperate surf spots with ther own names. Eg Nusa Dua bottom right has nearly 6 different surf breaks under the heading Nusa Dua

All the Famous breaks that are the best are on the East coast, but I will have to wait a few months until they are working properly. I plan on surfing all of them and uploading as much info to this blog for those who are interested.

However today was a good day, I am turning a medium shade of brown and my chest and nipples are red raw from lying down and paddling around on my surfboard for many hours each day. This is one positive aspect of a wetsuit is it does offer some protection to this. I could wear a rash vest but I am enjoying the freedom bareback is offering and am sure my delicate English skin will soon toughen up!

Friday 12th December, Balinese Moped Grandprix

Monsoon Evening;

Rained all night still struggling with my sleep patterns, I had every good intention to be asleep by 1am so I could be up at 7am and in the sea at Nusa Dua by 7.45am. The reason for this is because it is high tide at this time and the water level is about 5ft where the waves break compared th 2.5ft to 3.5ft at low tide which is around 1.30pm. Another thought was that because it is an east facing beach I could enjoy the latter part of sunrise in the sea. However after writing my blog and finally getting to sleep it was 4.30 am and I awoke much later than expected.

Pole Position in the Bali Grand Prix,

Well I ended up in the sea at approx 2pm it was dry and clear leaving Kuta but along the journey another Monsoon downpour. This is becoming a regular experience, riding flat out at 90kmhr on a moped with a surfboard strapped to the side, in a vest and a pair of shorts. A quick note here is that the roads are all teaming with people single and two, sometimes three up on mopeds. It feels like a starting grid at a grandprix at each set of traffic lights. A great experience though as every one looks across and acknowledges you with a smile and many say “good surf Bali?”. They can see you are here to surf and they all seem to respect surfing here. Often people start a conversation, they all seem to speak reasonable English, ask where you are from?, where are you staying?, how long you be here? Its a very friendly experience.

NB;The police so far just smile and nod as you pass them and all the security guards guarding the posh boutiques and hotels always acknowledge you and smile tipping their heads politely.

This is very different to the security guards and bouncers in the UK, no explanation needed here as we all know what the stereotype conjures explained in a quote from Mike Skinner of “The Streets”, a bouncer is just waiting to bounce you around like a bunny, or words to that effect, can not remember exactly.

Low Tide at Nusa Dua,

arrived at the beach drenched but the waves in the words of my good friend Paul Morgan were “Peeling like a banana!” so rain or no rain I was just going to go in as it was empty and looked like I would have the sea all to myself. However by the time I had walked over to the point and climbed in there were 4 of the same young Indonesian locals as yesterday. All very friendly again today and within 10 minutes rain stopped and surf was on. The difference today was the waves were breaking in 3.5ft of water over the razor shop rocky sea bed, I felt super intimidated as I cannot surf that well and I have been caught up in many waves before as I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is best described as what it would feel like to being in a washing machine. If this happens today it is going to be a bad day.

Catching Waves;
well I am catching a few waves and when I jump off at the end the secret seems to be to lie splat out like a pancake to stop your body really going below the surface. This works for about 2 hrs then a few large sets of waves roll in and I am in the wrong place by a few feet, as I went to duck dive through the top of one of these larger waves I popped out the other side at the top then next thing I can feel is being sucked backwards with no where to go, this is called “going over the falls” I was pulled backwards into the crest of the wave and then it slammed me back first with my board facing up into the bottom of the sea bed. I quickly spread out to minimize the impact but I then feel a sharp rock push up into the base of my spine, Ouch! have a bit of a graze but this was a direct hit into my vertebral column. Damn wake up call! then 10 minutes later knee hits a rock and graze number two, then my foot, graze number 3.

Try and imagine this, your sitting on a surfboard waiting for waves then as the sea bobs up and down you feel the knuckles on your toes catch the sharp rocks on the ocean bed, it is that shallow. The locals absolutely tear up the place apart though, there was not a single wave un ridden all the time they were in the ocean today.

If the waves were really pumping in these conditions, sharp torturous physical anhialation would be the most fitting description to what the sea bed here could and would do to you..

Lesson learned; Hide tide at Nusa Dua from now on..

Michael Grando surfboard bag manufacturer

Near the street here I am staying in Kuta, as well as surf shops, there are quite a few surfboard bag makers, they have open shop fronts with sewing machines and rolls of tough nylon on display. They can make any padded bag that you can image. I really needed some individual padded cases for to be made for some of my camera equipment. I asked if he could and he said yes, so I have designed them in a mix of black and camo tough nylon. They came out great one day to make, So now I have decided to design a laptop bag and a few wallets and other cases. Michael Grando sits outside his shop playing a djembe drum. He is like the old man from Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi.

He has made me two bags so far..photos soon to come, now I have all kinds of ideas about getting prototypes made for our brand Chilled Heat,

I really am having a good time, rain or no rain its is great..

Thursday 11th Dec, NUSA DUA day

Thursday 11th Dec NUSA DUA day

Its been one whole day without drinking coffee, for me this is a record as I have slowly become highly habitualised to my morning Americano in Cafe Gusto Bristol. It has also been one whole day constipated and feeling backed up with a stomach full of convenience store junk food..Looking for an internet/ cafe with a good fast internet connection has not been so easy in Kuta, everyone and their dog has a laptop and bandwidth is shared out amongst quite a few people and it is not that wide either.

Coffee addiction progress report;

COFFEE 1 – JASON 0
Coffee has won for the time being it, unfortunately it just happens that the fastest internet connections in Kuta, Bali happen to be in the chain store coffee shops where the aroma at the desk and the muffins are a hard test to overcome.. when the alternative is, well a hot chocolate. As a justification I seem to be able to map my position in the morning after a strong black coffee and a pan au chocolate and 15 mins later all inside digestive workings become regular once again like clockwork..

Today consisted of getting my blog up to speed and ready to go live and picking up my newly repaired surfboard. Great job just like new no evidence of any repairs all for about £8 unbelievable value, especially including a hand drawn map to a Surf Spot called;

NUSA DUA;
located on the south east coast of Bali, its approx. 40 minutes on a moped (20 minutes through traffic, 20 minutes open roads) The sun was shining bright today and factor 40 sun cream was the order of the day. the journey to Nusa Dua was an absolutely wonderful experience;

Firstly;

because I am going to be surfing as often as possible and will be in the water, the moped has nowhere to leave anything valuable except for a small space under the seat large enough for surf wax, a rash vest and a few small notes for parking and loose change for a snack on the way back. I have been warned that locals occasionally lift up seats of mopeds with surfboard racks parked at surf spots knowing people may leave wallets and watches there.

In reality traveling from ones hotel to any surf spot means you are riding wearing only shorts and a vest. Todays journey was through unbelievable “free for all style” congestion and then along dual carriage-ways. Only reef slippers on, no possibility of shoes as there is no where to leave them when surfing in the water. This means wearing what amounts to almost nothing, one step up from barefoot traveling at 9okm/hr. Its going to be a fact of life from now on so each day this is going to be one hell of an experience..

I arrived at NUSA DUA late afternoon today and along the way I was blessed with first hand view of the marvels of Indonesian Architecture, Sculptures, Temples and Statues, I will definitely be taking my camera for an outing here to bring you some of the beauty I saw today. Nusa Dua consists of 3 small secluded beaches, beautiful palm trees and plants all around. Nusa Dua is host to a whole coastline of magnificent 5 star luxury hotels and the roadside plantations and gardens are like a landscape gardeners dream come true, no expense spared, spotlessly clean, wonderfully managed and authentic in their feel and established appearance. Wonderful gorgeous place to come and relax. Now the best part…

There were waves!! so pleased, two days in a row now…

Offshore wind, small to learn on and a beautiful backdrop to look at whilst bobbing about in the sea. There were about 15 local Indonesian boys in the sea and a Japanese and Australian surfer. Each local Indonesian knew exactly where each wave was coming from and where to be to catch it, they were all amazing surfers. Lots of smiles and laughter in the sea today, a great opportunity to meet some locals and experience their friendliness, we exchanged a few words with a japanese surfer on holiday, and I learnt Indonesian and Japanese for clouds, sea and cold but I’ve already forgotten.. Stood up quite a few times today but not as many as i would of liked, needed to win favor with local surfers as the waves were being shared out in rations today…and I plan on making this a regular spot this next month.

SHALLOW WATER

Nusa Dua, Bali, Beaches.. Google maps

Nusa Dua, Bali, Beaches.. Google maps

NB;the water was very shallow today at Nusa Dua, about 4ft breaking over a razor sharp rocky sea bed with crystal clear blue sea, this felt ok today in small waves but I had the feeling that when the swell picks up this rocky seabed would hurt in a big way if you ever hit it falling off. I also noticed one of the local Indo surfers had scars all over his back, seems its almost a rite of passage here.

Mushrooms Nusa Dua, this is the name of the point break on the top of the image, and Nusa Dua Black Rocks is the right hand break at the bottom of the headlands

After the ride back to Kuta, there was an absolute downpour of rain in a matter of minutes, looks like the weather had turned again not unlike the UK but its warm rain! I am feeling a warm glow in my spirit, as warm rain hits me in the face at 90km/hr wearing swim shorts and a vest.. Not in England and I havent seen a speed camera in sight!

AFFORDABLE local cuisine,

I have not yet managed to eat well since arriving, so this evening i was speaking to some locals whose faces have become familiar in the street I now am staying in. I asked one of them if he knew where I could get cheap Indonesian food where the locals eat. He said he would show me. I let him ride my moped with me on the back and he took me to a small restaurant where we had 3 types of spicy Indonesian fish, seasoned vegetables and rice, two bottles of water and the total price 40,000 rupees (£2.35 for two people) It was well worth doing this as the food was wonderfully tasty, nutritious and it seems the Indonesians shop owners do not treat you like a tourist when you are with a local. This local’s name was Ivan and on first impressions he seems like a good guy, he understands I want to live here a while and make the rupees go as far as possible, I found a great super affordable place to eat from now on and he got some dinner.

The difference;

This is great new level of human behavior and interaction that never seems to happen in my world in the UK. Just meeting friendly faces compared to all the miserable ones in the UK is so refreshing, he didnt say he wanted something in return I just offered to pay for his food, even if he had expected something in return thats cool by me. From my experience many (not all) people in the UK all want something to in exchange for anything they do and even when they have don eit and received due rewards they are still too pissed off to even smile.

“Half Bullemia”

What have I learnt, I guess that as a human being just surviving in the world the difference between appreciating getting a meal in your stomach and being well and truly “FED UP” , is the differene between a lean strong fit body or a fat old belly full of junk food sat in front of the TV…

I have not seen many fat Indonesians, unlike the UK.

This reminds me of an Interesting Quote from my gymnast friend Sally Miller

“Jason” she said “I can not believe how many people I know with half an eating disorder”

“what do you mean by half an eating disorder Sally” I asked

she then replied,

“well its obvious, take a look they are all half bullemic”

“what do you mean by half bullemic Sally?” I asked

“well” she said “they obviously have no problem stuffing their faces but never get around to ever throwing up!”

“Oh Sally “I replied you can’t say that

“why not its true, how can someone let themselves get so fat its not right”

So there you go my friend Sally Miller’s take on English eating habits, well the Indonesian locals do not seem to be suffering from”half bullemia” which as a result makes nearly all the Indonesian women appear very attractive as they are all slim with all their facial bone structures on display..

Anyway friendship doesn’t happen overnight so I will see what happens there.. watch this space..

Great day today, the stuff dreams are made of, and all the bits I had not even imagined!

Wed 10th Dec 2008 Today was a good day!

Wednesday 10th Dec 2008, so now I have a room and a moped, I have just dropped my surfboard into a local surfshop to get repaired, basically it has got about 7 dings and holes in it from the journey through the aircraft baggage handlers across 3 flights. If I surf it then it will fill up with water, so this has been dropped in and I hired a board for the afternoon.

Kuta Beach,

Ok this is now my local beach and I have learnt that is not going to pick up much swell during the next three months as it is on the east coast of Bali and the wind will predominantly be coming from the west for the monsoon season, so all the waves will be getting blown into stormy mush during this period until March. This is not a real problem for surfing in Bali as the way the Island is set up means that if the wind is blowing from the west you just surf the beaches on the East Coast and Visa versa. This is one of the reasons why it is such a surf hotspot. Its geography and location means it has been perfectly set up for surfing if you want clean glassy waves..

A brief explaination for my friends who do not surf and would like to understand what certain terms mean.

Surf Lingo:

SWELL; is the movement of water creating the waves approaching the beaches, reefs or headlands. It is measured in;

-.Height

the difference between the peaks and troughs measured by various buoys placed by the Met office in the ocean.

-.Direction

simple enough, it is where the wind or swell is coming from and heading to

-Frequency

how far apart the waves are (also called Hertz) eg every 10 seconds or every 15 secs etc. In reality as a surfer this would in theory be the time between missing one wave and catching the next or how many seconds you have to catch your breath before getting pounded by the next one if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Waves however in reality come in sets so you may have lulls between wave sets. You may just find that you are sitting bobbing up and down enjoying the rainbows, ocean and the skyline

Wind

ONSHORE Wind- the wind is blowing towards the coast, this breaks up the waves and makes the sea very choppy and rough

OFFSHORE Wind- the wind is blowing from the Land out towards the sea and creates flat sea with glassy smooth clean waves that peels off slowly along the part of the wave facing the beach. (The Face is the bit you ride)

NB; LIGHT OFFSHORE WIND is ideal surfing conditions for smooth predictable clean fun waves.

OK so Kuta Beach today has a small but regular swell off about 3 ft high and the wind has stopped blowing which is almost as good as perfect for learning to surf. Kuta is also a beach so the waves are breaking over sand so if you do fall and hit the bottom this is less likely to hurt.

Today was a great day Sunshine small Surf on a great beach up and beyond sunset for about 3 hrs total. In fact I am not much of a surfer but I managed to stand up on about 10-15 waves, not for very long but I was standing, and I did not get hurt. I actually stayed in the sea for about an hour after dark as the waves were slightly lit by the large neon Mc Donalds and other shop lights from the road nearby.

NB; WATER TEMPERATURE; Please let me just mention I was only wearing lightweight shorts and the water was approx 28 degrees (about the same as a warmish bath…..) In the UK one minute in December without a 5mm wetsuit would be enough to make a grown man squeal like a little child..

Surfed until dark first night, slept in my new room, Today was a good day!

Oh!! how dreams come true!

What a great day!

Oh how things can really turn around in a moment, firstly I went into an flight and Hotel information centre in Kuta High Street, I just felt an urge to see how much flights to Australia were from Bali just as a back up plan. The local Indonesian behind the counter was a slim and calm collected guy, his job was to promote 5 star hotels in the area I explained that I wanted to stay for a while and I asked if he knew where somewhere really affordable and good would be…

What a result!

He was a surfer and was totally down to earth, knowing that I was not a prospectice customer for any of his employers services he pulled out a map and literally drew an x on the spot where he said surfers in Bali stayed for long periods of time.

Secondly, he told me that this was the best place to stay as depending on which way the wind was blowing I could access all the surf spots quite easily by moped.

So I go back to my room,check out, flag down a taxi driver show him the map and for 80 pence he takes me past the beach, at last the sun is beaming down small waves are peeling like glass , the beach is a hive of activity with people surfing fruit vendors and literally hundreds of surfboards for rent are neatly arranged along the whole length of beach like a 70s Hawaiian postcard.

Palm trees are now bright green sea crystal blue and golden sands, Oh yes feeling good! Then the taxi driver turns right down a street named Poppies2, It is a narrow street with stalls selling everything form leather bags clothes jewellry etc the whole length. Then we start passing surf shops every 50 yards with at least 50 display outside every shop. Local Indonesian surfers are all reclining in chairs waving down tourists with their big smiles that pass on foot and moped.

I am feeling all excited as I start seeing tour operator banners with pictures of famous waves thatb I have legendary tales from surfers in the Uk that have been here before, “trips to Lakey Peak” “G-Land Jungle trips” “Sumbawa Surf”, “Dreamlands” “Uluwatu”type any of these into You tube and you will see that I am in surf heaven. The smells of surf wax cocktailed with incense sticks and the aroma of fresh Indonesian street food is just an amazing awakening to all my senses!

Yehaa! the sun is shining, weather is sweet, make me wanna move my dancing feet….

Oh yes and the colours, surfboards surf shorts t shirts, bikinis and sarongs on display everywhere. Brown bareback surfers and slim, fit Australian and Indonesian women in short skirts and bikinis everywhere like walking into a rainbow and flesh fest in the sun, everyone is smiling and happy!! Oh yes what a result!!

New accommodation,

Ok, taxi driver takes a turn into a quiet side street and parks in a small tidy car park surrounded with beautiful tropical plants, about 15 mopeds with surfboard racks on the side are parked. I walk into a beautiful well kept tropical garden to a reception and the owner comes to greet me. He is a friendly smile and great English, I said long stay? he said no problem 1 week 2 months no problem, whatever, I said good price? he said all my customers pay 50,000 rupees per night per room for a twin bed (£2.94) I said yes.

Transport

I said I need a moped with a surfboard rack? he said no problem 20,000 rupees (£1.18 per day with helmet) so as you can guess I said yes! as I saw these beautiful buildings set in a beautiful peaceful garden right by the main beach with convenience stores only a stones throw away

Cost per day; Room and transport £4.18 per day! so to all of my friends in England that are tired of hearing about global recession as the weather and news gets colder and gloomier I have a room with a spare bed that will cost you just over £2 a night if you would like to come and learn to surf with me.

Things Change just need a bit of faith instead of fear, So now I have completely forgotten about the first three days and feeling lonely all I am thinking is what an absolute result, a quick thank you to God, count up all my blessings for the day and remember all the reasons I planned on coming here in the first place…


Not quite what I had expected Dec 9th 2008

Indo Blog Dec 9th 2008

Ok it is Tuesday now, I left Gatwick Sunday morning and arrived in Bali Monday evening.

Story so far;

well It was raining non stop the night of my arrival and the whole of Tuesday the next day, the accommodation I was taken to by the taxi driver was 150,000 rupees a night (current exchange rate is 17,000 rupees to the pound) so it was approximately £9, It was run down and felt grotty, security for my camera equipment felt a little less secure than I could feel at ease with. Toilet didnt flush and bath taps did not work had to stop water coming out of shower head by folding the hose in half and jamming the shower hose in its holder.

Culture Shock;

England seems to rain more often, so I chose to go to a tropical climate in search of sunsets and sea, however I was greeted with heavier rain than I have rarely experienced in England. So it was less of a shock than I expected more like jumping out of a cold puddle into a moist sticky humid one, the main culture shock was the third world accommodation I ended up in and the fact there were not any streetlights. The main shock to my expectation was the howling wind with the sound of Indonesian bells playing loudly in every public place from the airports to the restaurants. It was quite achilling experience in my dazed and confused state.

Surfs Up;

Well not exactly the sea looked like a storm and the wave situation in Brighton the weekend before was better. So I am presently feeling gutted from losing my camera and all the pictures I had recently taken that were still on it. The holes in my brain and memory from the sleeping tablets I took on the plane still keep tripping me up, then having worked out my sums the accommodation was still 3 times what I had been told I could get a place and although my standards can sink, it was definitely in need of an upgrade. But at what cost?..

I hate worrying about money but I had a few concerns now about the cost of living here and replacing my camera etc as I want to stay out at least 6 months. So basically the first couple of days were wet, I could not sleep at all, I was tossing and turning all through the night. My body clock had gone haywire.

To be honest;

It is not easy being brutally honest about my feelings of mortality however the aim of my blog is as much a lesson in humility for me as the trip is a voyage of discovery. So if I am truthful at this stage, I felt anxious, a little scared and had a haunting sense of loneliness that I couldn’t shake off..

Dec 8th 2008 Gatwick to Dubai, Dubai to Jakarta

NB; WARNING Sleeping Tablets (Temazepan) doctors prescription

Quite simply I have had 7 knee surgeries and can easily if sat for too long suffer from back ache due to skateboarding and the abuse it has served me over the last 20 years, as a result I do not like sitting still for a long periods of time. This is especially true if I am cramped in a window seat on a two 8 hr long haul flights with a four hour stop over inbetween. OK I must say a brief note to my friend Katerina Petropolous, Hey Kat I wish i had followed your advice. Please let me briefly explain here,I have previously asked the doctor for sleeping tablets to ease a previous long haul flight experience to Thailand rlier in the year whilst visiting my brother and friend Katerina Petropolous. Well to my own detriment, I ignored my friends Kat’s advice not to do this again after she found me like a zombie at Bangkok airport in Jan 08. Well I went and did it again, in a daze I ended up in Jakarta and somewhere along the way i have left my Nikon 5100 coolpix camera (small 12mp pocket size camera) on the plane, its not in my bags and I can not remember much else except I last used it taking photos landing at Jakarta… So there goes 1st loss on the trip.. its a gutted feeling but has made me realize I need to wake up a bit now.. So its Monday 8th Dec 2008, well right now I am sat in the waiting lounge at Jakarta airport, it has been a long few days I had an 8hr flight from Gatwick to Dubai a 4 hr stopover then another 7Hr flight from Dubai to Jakarta. I was considering spending a week in Jakarta but its grey and raining here just like England except super hot and humid. My first Buddy

Fabien surfer

Ok In Jakarta and I am undecided what to do and In the corner of the airport I can see a surfer in shorts, longsleeve t shirt and no shoes with cuts on his feet and ankles curled up asleep on his surfboard bag,. I decide to wake him up hoping he has just arrived and might want to go surf somewhere together. I discover his name is Fabien Semini and we have a good chat and he tells me he spends most of his life as a French surfer and in between working he is surfing between Bali and Tahiti. Today, however he is leaving for France as the waves and swell have dropped off in Bali at the moment and the rain is coming.. I explain I am out here to learn to surf and he says the waves are small now so I have picked a good time. He shows me some photos of him surfing, so I show him some pictures of me skateboarding on a vert ramp that i have on my phone and then he shows me pictures of a huge vert ramp he skates in France near Paris, small world. We briefly share our thoughts on the pros and cons of skateboarding versus surfing and the danger and injury factors involved, I mention knee injuries, he mentions ankle injuries and as a warning to me, proceeds to show me the scars on his back from hitting the coral reefs whilst surfing here in Indonesia. He explains how important it is to remember its very dangerous here and tells me stories of him bottom turning on waves and actually getting his surfboard fins stuck in the coral reef as the waves suck all the water off the bottom of the wave to expose the coral reefs. Having seen his scars he told me how he recently watched his friends surfboard explode into 3 pieces on the coral reef when he fell off. He said “the waves here have the effect of grinding you backwards and forwards across the coral reef like cheese on a cheese grater.” So now, I feel a bit anxious and a bit fearful, Fabien then advised me of some good places to learn to surf more safely and that Kuta in Bali although a popular tourist resort would be a good place to head tonight. So on his advice because the waves are not pumping here at the moment I have booked a flight to Bali this evening leaving in an hour. Damn it’s Raining! Jakarta airport was hot and very, humid and feels very much like a locals only destination, outside in the taxi rank it is raining with all the force of a storm in the UK, I am hoping Bali will be dry and sunny. For you info booking a flight was simple and cost about £50, pretty much as easy as buying a train ticket in the uk. Two hours later I am on the plane operated by LION AIR and after a quick flight of 90 mins I arrive to find the downpour in Bali is even harsher. I jump in a taxi to Kuta and suggest to the driver to just take me to a cheap hotel (cost approx 90,000 rupees UK £7.50). Its 00.30 am and all I can see from the taxi windows are old buildings, lots of backlit neon signs with the lights switched off and huge puddles. The air is damp and there are no streetlights. I still feel absolutely dazed and confused from taking way too many sleeping tablets and have this anxious and gutted feeling about losing my camera and start panicking at the thought of losing my passport or wallet…

Thursday 18th Dec 2008 Terimah Kasih!

Terimah Kasih! Thank you

Bagus – Good

Silakan – Please

This is where I am staying,……..Check this out £4 a night what a garden!!!! In the middle of a city with a beach 5mins walk

Feel free to come and stay with me!

Feel free to come and stay with me!

Ok, sometimes in your spirit you feel the need to give thanks for having a roof over your head. I left Bristol without a clue where I was going to end up all I knew is my faith in  God would take me to the places I need to go to learn the lessons I need to learn. Well I have learned that to trust in God and lean not on my own understanding has landed me here for £4 a night. I am giving thanks on the inside. This place rules!

Indonesian Visa.

I really want to stay here in Indonesia for as long as I can forsee however I have a 60 day visa only. I have been doing my research and asking around and visited an immigration and visa office today and it is looking like I can extend my visa upto 6 months on a month by month basis for approx £40 a month so it looks like this place is going to be home sweet home for a while… all good in the hood at the moment!

Tuesday 2nd Dec 2008 Bangok Airport closed down

Bristol Coach Station photo Mark Mapstone

Bristol Coach Station photo Mark Mapstone

8.30pm at Heathrow Airport having spent 2 hrs on the coach friom Bristol and and my flights to Doha then onward to Bangkok are cancelled. This is due to 3000 protestors in Bangkok airport peacefully trying to oust their prime minister. Well I will not go into details here but this is a an obstacle which turns into a blessing when an old school friend Karleene Evans meets me at the airport, says that she will take me back to her home and offers me a place to stay while I rebook another flight etc etc, Anyway the blessing in disguise was I was able to finish my tax return before I left and spent some time visiting some close friends in Brighton that I rarely get to see having moved to Bristol. This was a great experience weather was dry and crisp and I left with a feeling of real love and support that real friends are often only able to show you when you are in a tricky predicament and need real help.

At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to Karleene Evans, Jacqui Clark, Marcus Hill for all your support and help over the last week helping me to make it out finally, emotionally and technically ready…

My surf trip to Indonesia Dec 2nd 08

My surf trip to Indonesia Dec 2nd 08

•December, 2008 •

Ok what you see below is a picture by Surrealist painter Salvador Dali. It is commonly known as the Temptation of Anthony. I had this as my desktop wallpaper for about three years, then one day in approx 2001 when I was with my ex partner Anisa Lokat the picture jumped out of the srceen quite literally and I felt like I had a real insight into what the picture was expressing. It was like a warning and a blessing, a signpost and an explanation to so many things all rolled into one.

I have not really explained this to many people as It has been important to me to pick the right time and I guess the time is now. If you are interested in the interpretation I had in my spirit of this painting i will go into detail separately in an individual post. There is a link to this on the right hand navigation,… Dali; Temptation of Anthony

This painting was like a warning a signpost and a sign from above and within to me

This painting was like a warning a signpost and a sign from above and within to me

This is a low res version I found online, however if you are unfamiliar with the image it is easy to find in a google image search

Ok so this is the Painting that for me started a chain reaction of events in my world and has ended up here with my

Surftrip to Indonesia December 2008

Ok, so a brief explanation On Tuesday 2nd Dec I have made the journey from Bristol to Heathrow Terminal 3 on National Express coach. I have a surfboard and a heavy camera rucksack with 15kgs of digital photo and broadcast filming equipment, the rest of my luggage consists of a mosquito net, a healthy supply of codeine phosphate painkillers and diclofenac anti- inflammatories, a jungle weight sleeping bag, malaria tablets and a laptop.

My personal effects amount to a toothbrush, a pair of shorts, 2 pairs of socks one spare t -shirt and the clothes on my back. 11 years ago I took out a mortgage on a 3 bed semi detached house. Year by year. I slowly filled it up with material possessions, as many do when approaching their early thirties as an adult in the UK. Alongside the material possessions filling up each of the rooms, garage and the loft, each year a few more direct debits attached themselves to my current account. So whilst I was slowly becoming more enslaved to these direct debits I was also getting sick and tired of driving up and down the same road 4 times a day for 10+ years..

So each year as the direct debits eventually overtook my dreams and became my personal too do list, I decided it was time for change and this is the list of what wanted to remove from my daily life, even if only for a short while…

-mortgage
-council tax
-water rates
-sewage rates
-gas bill
-electricity bill
-cooker breakdown cover
-Phone line rental
-broadband rental
-tv license
-cable tv direct debit
-Vehicle insurance
- a few assorted appliance insurances
- mobile phone contract
-mobile phone insurance insurance

Ok 15 direct debits so far that all need paying for and I until these are paid I have not put any clothes on my back, food in the fridge or tissue roll for the toilet…

Include the running and repair costs of a vehicle,
road tax
mot and repairs
and the rising cost of fuel

and the cost is beginning to put a heavy strain on my spirit..
Well the boiler always broke down in the coldest week of December, January and February each year and this would add a nice pre and post Christmas expense to my overdraft facility..

So what do we have here so far, I am living like Mr Average in the UK economic system, labour market and culture.

I do count my blessings for my life, friends and every lover that has passed through, I give thanks for the surgeons and osteopaths that continually repair me and the inspiration and inspirational people that guide me,

however deep in my spirit something increasingly began to feel uncomfortable and unfulfilled in the way of life i had slowly submerged myself into.

So over this 10 year period, I would notice many of my close friends and acquaintances work hard all week then drown their discomfort in a weekend binge drinking session and then numb the mind with assorted methods of recreational self medication..

Groundhog day once again, same roads, same traffic jams, same grey clouds and raindrops still a fallin’ on my head, so the week passes and I thank the Good Lord for my health and daily breath, then Monday arrives and its time to repeat the routine all over again.

Well Oct 8th 2007, I met a very clean and sober woman, Katerina Petropolous who shone a light into this area of my world and her inspiration made me decide that was the last day I would ever be getting wasted on alcohol etc . Now the fire of life burning in my soul grew stronger, the hunger to taste all the ideas and images I had dreamt and places I had envisaged of one day visiting took on a new sense of urgency and reality, so here I am explaining how I have managed the first few steps into my childhood dreams.

SECURITY what is security? a mortgage, a home?

I decided that I needed to sell my home of 11 years, which after some finishing touches to the decor finally happened just before all the talk of recession and house price crashing came to become daily media headlines. I then finished all my paid employment, detached myself from the emotional responsibilities and aspiration to be part of “a happy couple”. Then I downsized the possessions, Now all that remains of value to me are my boxes and hard disk drives of photos, notebooks, poems and writings from my coffee mornings. I removed the fridge, the freezer, the washing machine, sofas, beanbags, chests of drawers, desks, shelving units, rugs and curtains from my world.

It has now been one year and 3 months, clean and sobre. Coffee is the last remaining addiction and that is going to be next to go.

My mind has sharpened up and my days feel longer and i have felt a distinct change in my spirit and outlook since deciding no more! In this time I have managed to visit my brother in Thailand, wander the streets of Athens with my camera for a period of 4 weeks split over two trips and spent 4 weeks during summer living in Cornwall and learning how to surf.

Well that was the beginning of a new era for me
“Learning to surf”

The motocross bike and skateboards are now being kindly stored by my friends alongside the 7 years of accounts that by law I have to keep hold of as a self employed person. yep that is it now, so much has been removed, my world now consists of a passport, a surfboard a camera bag full of equipment and my laptop full of mp3s and my photos.

This is all I value in my material world..