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Soppy don't Surf

by Soppy

Soppy returns to Bali

It had been awhile coming but 6 months after his first research trip, Soppy eventually made it back to the isle of the gods, missing by a few short weeks Dubya's own fleeting visit. That first trip, 6 months after the bombings of 12/10/02, had been a melancholy affair, Soppy's first visit in 12 years and much had changed. How quiet that had been...like tip toeing through someone's own personal nightmare.

Second time around and time is the great healer. What happened has not been forgotten - witness the black memorial and Paddy's Reloaded - but the people are returning in numbers, the beach is filling up, the bars are pulling them in, especially down Seminyak way, and watching videos remains a popular way of spending one's holiday on a beautiful tropical island.
And with the punters returning, topless bule flitting from one designer outlet to another, the touts are resurgent with their shouts of g'day mate and other Aussie inflected phrases irrespective of the whitey's own country of origin. Hashish, massage, young girl/boy, copy watch, football shirt, dvd's, these are as much a part of the Kuta experience as the beach n the bar. It's pointless getting angry, they were here before you arrived and will be here long after you leave.

Early afternoon and the bars are pretty damned quiet. Bagus Pub had a list of movies for the days entertainment. Er, guys...wot you on about eh? You spend hours squeezed into cattle class digesting plastic cuisine to be disgorged onto one of the most beautiful places on this rock with gorgeous mountain scenery, sandy beaches, a living breathing culture and you...watch the worst hollywood trash imaginable. The hippies of the early 70's must be pulling their beads in frustration and yelling 'hey mannnn"

With the plethora of Polo outlets, fast food restaurants and English football Kuta is about as Asian as Orchard Road but as a resort seeks a more up market clientelle then up sprout the shopping malls that attract visitors like happy hour attracts English teachers in Bangkok. Even Bangkok is trying to promote itself as a shopping destination to rival Singapore and Hong Kong. From hippie hangout to backpacker banana pancake emporium to family destination is a tried and trusted evolution but comes at a price. The high rise concrete monoliths expand in direct correlation to the contraction of the soul of the place.

It was about 3pm when Soppy first bumped into a kindred spirit in DD Restaurant and Bar on Jalan Legian. A totally wasted old geezer stood at the bar, swaying in his own personal tempest and spouting the usual hyperbole one expects of the species. Another was to be found in Oscars just round the corner, an all singing, all dancing drunken numpty who persuaded Soppy, some persuasion, to stick around a while. It was heartening to find that the discerning drinker had not fully abandoned Bali to the dead head movie goer and the Seminyak see n be seen merchant.

As it was in area a visit was made to Indo National. Soppy was unable to get here last visit, it was a bar too far, but recalled the friendliness of the staff who accosted him in the street. You know, these trendy name places might serve a purpose, they might even serve a porpoise, but in the Indo they serve you with a smile and they will engage in conversation with a weary punter that far exceeds the hello...where you from...what your name monologue. It is no secret that some of Soppy's most loathed bars are those pub from a manual efforts where, if you're lucky, the chilly service is matched by the chilly beer. They have a name, a presence...but lack soul. The Indo will never win any awards, will never have people queuing to get in...who cares, Soppy will always pop in here for a swifty.

Talking of lack of soul...Stadium Cafe. Existing purely for sports fans to watch sports so it appears - though sometime pissedupasia.com contributor Randy Andy, got um lucky here one night, allegedly - and a long wobble to the dunnie.

But Seminyak was chocca. With motorbikes, cars, punters. JP's Warung Club was comfortably heaving, The Bush Telegraph less so but the band was long and loud. Santa Fe was also full, minus a band but still a popular venue. Naff name though lads. The Belgian Way has gone, replaced by WoW which to was crowded. Liquid was quiet but the nite was young for the late nite urchins who prowl this street before the sun rises. The rain was flowing freely down the street but didn't dampen the attraction of the main drag which sees bars still being developed.

As Soppy headed for home, the days of binge drinking seem to be gone for ever bless him, as Seminyak geared up for another heavy nite, as more people were planning their Bali vacation, as new bars and resorts are planned, as more guys checkout the surf, as more touts learn strine...

This article is dedicated to the dead and injured in the Bali bomb blasts


This story was offered by pissedupasia.com, the lifestyle website for the discerning drinker... in other words, your guide to drinking yourself silly across Asia.


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