November 14, 2014

Stray puppies, brown water and a deluxe sunset - Bali Day 6

Remember how I said we wanted to go snorkeling? Well, we did on day 6 and it was fun but mostly scary and super underwhelming. I snorkeled through parts of the Great Barrier Reef before and quite frankly, underwater Bali looked like a wasteland in comparison.

We went to Nusa Dua and bought a tour off yet another business our trusty taksi driver Ketut had some sort of an affiliate deal with. We then got shoved on a boat with a guy that spoke no English whatsoever and since none of us spoke Indonesian, we barely made do with sign language.

The surf was insane, there were waves breaking around us like it was dooms day and we were passing boats so closely I could have reached out to them with my hand. Surely we weren't going to jump into the water with the waves this high, surrounded by commercial and tourist boats, speed boats and other potentially dangerous crap? I was used to an idyllic, calm and clear sea in proximity to an island in the Whitsundays as a snorkeling background, not pure chaos. Well, I was wrong.

We stopped amidst an array of tourist boats and were told to get started, when we could barely stand on the boat. Ah well...what am I supposed to say, it's Asia, safety standards are different. So we put on our gear and jumped into possibly one of the dirtiest parts of the Bali sea to feed the few fish that were cruising below the surface. No three eyed mutations or sharks were spotted, but a shitload of plastic bags to make up for the lack of marine life. The waves carried us away from the boat so fast we had to peek out every 30 seconds and swallowed a shit ton of the brown brew that was the ocean water. Needless to say we all felt a bit sad after that experience.

The "tour" included a glass bottom boat ride and here is some well meant advice - if you have to pay a surcharge for the glass bottom boat, don't worry about it. All you see is water splashing against the bottom of your boat. Also if you go with a dodgy tour the glass bottom might be just as sloppy a DIY job as the one in our boat. There was black silicone poorly applied around the edges of the glass plate and water slowly filtered through into our boat. So bad. So bad. But it still makes for good stories to tell.
We did get to steer the boat though which was fun.

Now there is a turtle conservatory called "Turtle Island" and if sadness needed a place to stay, this is where it would go. To be clearer: Don't go there! If it is anything it is a tourist trap and nothing like a conservatory. We didn't even sign up to go there upon booking our tour, we explicitly said we didn't want to go there as we read about the mistreatment of animals in advance but language barriers (and likely the intention to scam us) lead us to this place anyway.

You are asked to give a donation that supposedly goes towards conservation efforts. Then you are shown dozens of turtles all crammed into tiled pools (!) and they are being picked up and shoved in your hands. We all repeatedly told our obnoxious guide to leave the animals be and refused to hold them. A little further in there is a tiny rock pool with no shade that harbors at least fifty large turtles. The water stinks, it's luke's simply a horrible, horrible place. Our guide then showed us other animals such as toucans and eagles, all clipped and chained to poles and constantly being handled. One toucan was locked away in a cage completely full with dirt and our guide told us he had not been taken out once for the past seven years, as he started attacking tourists and zoo keepers. That's when we lost our shit and started interrogating the crap out of this guy. There was a python with its mouth sticky taped shut, for crying out loud. The guide assured us there were six other pythons and they would only showcase each snake once per week. When we requested to see the other six snakes, he said they were sleeping in wooden boxes in the closed off part. He then pointed towards the public toilets, which ultimately gave away that there is no closed off area and only one abused python. Then they had baby monkeys inside a cage in bright sunlight and when we asked where the parents were, he said they don't take the large monkeys because tourists only want to see the babies. When they get too big they supposedly put them back into the jungle and take new babies.
We got the hell out of there as soon as possible and I still hate myself for going in instead of simply refusing to enter this place.
One super awesome lady on Turtle Island looked after these stray puppies. She was a ray of light in this bleak place. When she fed the puppies they all started attacking and intimidating each other like tiny wolves. Then, after finishing lunch, they snuggled up again.
We went back to our hotel and got into a mini argument with Ketut as he refused to understand that we didn't need him to take us anywhere else that afternoon. He threw all these names of tourist attractions at us and repeatedly yelled "temple, I take you to temple!!!!" but he finally caved after the two-hundredth "no thank you" and took off into afternoon traffic. Haha, ah man. Culture shock for sure.

For the rest of the day we worked on our tans, philosophized about life and tried not to laugh at all the Scouse people with their hilarious accents at our hostel. (ahh I am just kidding, I love all my Scousers)

And then we went to Kuta beach to watch the sunset and it was incredible: