|Thursday March 25th
It is a fright to realise that it is over a week since I last put finger to keyboard - once you get out of the habit it really goes! Overall, I think that we are just coming out of a recovery period after the perpetual motion of our time in Indochina. We are now in Bali, which we saw as a bridge between the “adventure” part of our trip and the “roadtrip” part, but it has taken us some time to settle, due to a number of things, not least the intense heat and humidity of our first few days here.
After our flight from Laos (the airport did not improve, and chaos reigned when they had to cope with three planes at once) we spent four nights in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Our hotel was very nice, set in acres of gardens, with a small zoo and a boating lake(!) but slightly surreal as, for the first three nights, we were the only guests in one part of the hotel. The staff then proved the adage that if you want something done quickly, ask a busy person to do it – with only four guests the staff were not busy and found it a bit of an effort to rouse themselves. Unfortunately my tooth problems had returned and it actually proved cheaper (thanks to Air Asia), and took only marginally longer, to fly to Bangkok to see the dentist who did the root canal work than it would have done to see a new dentist in Chiang Mai. Thankfully the problem was just that the new crown was too big, and a bit of work with the sander (or whatever they call it) seems to have laid the problem to rest. On the way back, I did have one of my strangest airplane meals ever – after my sweetcorn relish sandwich, i tucked into what I thought was a jellied sweet, assuming it to be dessert, but frankly, I am not sure whether it was, or whether I ate the complimentary children’s toy.
On our last morning we decided to be bold, and go on a zip wire adventure through the jungle canopy. Unfortunately disaster struck, as Dougie banged his elbow on the platform as he was taking off on a zip wire. He finished the course, but he pain did not ease and a trip to the hospital confirmed the worst – he had a hairline fracture in his elbow, and needed to spend four weeks in plaster. While this did not stop Dougie rating the zip wire trip as ten out of ten, the realisation gradually sunk in that he would not be able to do many of the things that he loved – particularly swimming (a nightmare, as we had built Bali up as the place where the could swim all day, every day).
He was still down when we reached Bali, as were Ally and I, who had developed nasty colds. The weather in Bali did not help – it was 41 C when we arrived and very, very humid. During our trip to the north of the island a tropical storm hit, which reduced visibility to about zero, but did briefly reduce the temperature. By the time we had reached Lovina, however, the heat and the humidity were both back, and I must admit that I found it very difficult for the first couple of days (it is interesting to notice that we do seem to find it difficult to settle for the first couple of days in any new place, but then we get to know our way around, and learn a few local words and phrases and suddenly all seems good again).
We are now on day three here, not having done very much “action” stuff, but the colds are almost gone, the heat and humidity have dropped and are now bearable, we are into a routine on schoolwork, Dougie has been able to go in the pool, at least in the shallow end, we have ordered a waterproof cast cover for Dougie that should catch up with us in Sanur (our next stop) and we have identified a doctor in Sydney who can do the next assessment on Dougie’s arm next week (thanks Steve & Ajinder!). we are due to go on a dolphin watching expedition at dawn tomorrow, so I think it is time to close down, finish my beer, and get to bed.