Around the World 1997 Travel Diaries. Part 4, back at the beach and leaving Bali with an amoeba

13 October, entry from Ørjan, no entry from Tanja

This day was used to do absolutely nothing! Beach, shade, swim. We decided to rent a car with a driver to take us around the island tomorrow. We had dinner at the local restaurant and met the two English girls we had beers with at Gilli. They were on their way to Bali and then to Australia. We talked for a long while. In the bathroom we had a feisty gecko.

Tanja having a pineapple lunch at the beach

14 October 1997, Dharma Hotel, Lombok:
Getting a bit fed up with Indonesia now, people trying to sell stuff to us all the time, the garbage, being careful with the food. Feeling a bit homesick, too, miss my family, and we’ve only been away for about two weeks. Looking forward to getting back to “civilisation” again, only 10 days to go now. Imagine being able to eat whatever I want to without fear of getting ill, and if we get ill at least we’ll be in a place where the health care works. Both Ørjan and I are struggling with our stomachs now, he hasn’t been to the toilet for days, while I still have diarrhea. Have tried drinking a lot of water the last few days so to avoid dehydration. Not much for the stomach to work with either with a diet consisting of toast, biscuits, overcooked vegetables, rice and fries. Probably should have eaten some meat, raw vegetables, fruit and whole grain bread. Missing a good steak, nice sauce and potatoes, or meatballs, or salmon. Might think twice before going to places like this again, and to embark on such a long journey, only after 14 days it feels like we’ve been away for much longer. Some of the people we’ve met are travelling for about a year – don’t think I could be away such a long time. But – I’m looking so much forward to seeing Australia and New Zealand. Met the English girls from Gili at a restaurant here in Sengigi yesterday, they’re going to Bali, then Australia where they are going to work and stay for more than six months. Developed some photos yesterday, only about NOK 40 (GBP 4), beautiful colours. We went on an excursion today. Called Tor’s “helper” yesterday and arranged to be picked up at 9 a.m. today. We paid around NOK 150 (GBP 15) for the tour which included a jeep with a driver and a guide, and we were back at around 4 p.m. They wanted to take us to places where they made different stuff, probably so they could make us buy stuff, but we told them that was not what we were after, but that we wanted to see beautiful scenery. We drove through Monkey Forest and got some nice pictures of monkeys – a strange sight for a northerner. They wanted food, but didn’t come too close when they realised, we didn’t have any. These monkeys are apparently shyer than the ones in Bali where they run away with people’s sunglasses, cameras etc… We also went to a waterfall, which was nice, but we have so many of beautiful ones in Norway. Foolishly we climbed down the path to the waterfall, not considering that the climb back for slightly untrained, half sick Norwegians in 40 degrees Celsius and scorching midday sun, without bringing any water was not such a good idea. Out of breath, exhausted from the heat and lack of water we got back, and only felt better after some fries and water for lunch… Lunch was a strange experience, the driver’s food was put on our receipt, while the guide didn’t eat anything at all – maybe we were expected to ask if he wanted lunch? Hopefully Tor would have told us if that was the case, we’re not familiar with the customs. Don’t think we’ll go on any more of these excursions, probably rather rent a car ourselves, or check if Star Tour has any tours in Bali that we can book, I think someone I worked with in Italy had worked in Bali and longed to go back. Maybe we’ll stay here for another two-three days before going to Padangbai, the English girls said it was worthwhile going there – nice snorkelling, and then heading off to Kuta. 25 October is the magical date – when we leave for Australia – feels like the promised land to us now.

Ørjan with locals

Ana picked us up at 09:00 and drove us to Mataram to look at a Hindu temple. We were not wildly impressed. We drove to the monkey forest, and it had a lot of monkeys in and along the road. We drove north to the foot of the volcanic mount Rinjani with its 3726 metres peak. You could trek for around 3-4 days up the mountain to look into the crater with its lake who has a small active volcano in the middle of it! We only had a short trek to a waterfall; it was hard enough in the stifling heat. We found out that we could just as well have driven ourselves, there is not that much traffic on the island if you avoid Mataram. We tried a new restaurant. After having ordered squid with sweet and sour sauce, I got prawns. The waiter said he had written down shrimps, so I had ordered shrimps, end of discussion. Tanja got what she wanted for once, and she was happy! My mixed fruit juice, without banana, tasted almost entirely of banana. They had forgotten to say that the juice I had ordered was sold out, so they gave me a banana shake instead. Good thing I was not allergic. I said that I would not pay for the juice, the waiter said “yeees” and of course we had to pay for the juice. We are dreaming of bloody steaks and chips instead off all that frikkin` rice! We are looking forward to Australia.

15 October, entry from Ørjan, no entry from Tanja

Sitting in the shade reading a full day, followed by the shits in the evening. We have decided to go to Bali on Saturday, possibly to stay a few days in Padang Bay or Ubud.

16 October, entry from Ørjan, no entry from Tanja

Beach day! And suddenly…. We decided at the dinner table to go to Australia as soon as possible. We first had to find out if the clothes we had delivered to the cleaners could be ready the next morning. I had to check if my films were going to be developed in time, and the owner of the shop promised to bring them to our hotel in the morning. Exchanged some traveller’s cheques after a bit of debate after I had forgotten my passport as ID and brought Tanja’s travellers cheques. We booked ticket to go to Kuta Beach the next day. My developed photos came to our room that same evening, great! Bags packed and alarm clock ready!


17 October 1997, Kuta Beach Club, Bali:
I’m ill and feeling very sorry for myself, as well as being a bit nervous. The feeling that I’m about to vomit has returned, might be from the malaria pills. Haven’t experienced this and the heavy breathing since Bangkok and the first couple of days here, so thought it had passed. Weird feeling around my throat, neck and chest, and ears. Hope it will pass. Going to the toilet a lot, and vomiting, but probably got myself to blame. We’ve been on the go again, from Lombok to Bali with Perama, arrived in Kuta around 6 p.m., although we were told we would be here at 4.30 p.m. The only thing we’d eaten was some toast for breakfast, and we hardly had anything to drink to avoid going to the dirty toilet on the ferry. In addition, we were “smart” and spent three hours on deck in the midday sun without a hat and almost without sunscreen. As could be expected, I felt quite exhausted before we had got halfway, and towards the end of the trip I discovered some red patches on my body that started to sting, the bladder started to feel like it was about to burst even without anything to drink, and I was sweating heavily. The bus ride from Padangbai to Kuta was an ordeal, even if it felt good to be back in Bali with green rice fields, beautiful temples and statues and more people. When we finally arrived in Kuta we had some problems locating the hotel and the agent that Kilroy works with. Wandered about a bit, which doesn’t feel too good when you’re tired and not feeling well, when you feel you don’t exactly smell like roses, and when you’re so sweaty it looks like you’ve just showered – in addition you’re carrying a big backpack and a smaller one in front. Finally located the place, but couldn’t rebook our tickets today, we’ll try again tomorrow, hopefully we can go to Australia sooner, maybe already tomorrow. We agreed that we don’t want to just try and make time pass here any longer, we both long for a bit more civilised environment, without people trying to sell us stuff all the time, new experiences, nice food and access to good doctors. A bit sad that we don’t get to see more of Bali, but the way I’m feeling right now there’s no point in staying here, think I’ll feel much safer in Australia. Nice guy at the travel agency, wanted to help us find a cheaper place to stay than the one we’d booked, and when Ørjan showed his business card and letter of recommendation he got us a room for only USD 25. Although it didn’t feel that money really mattered right then, we just needed to go to a place where we could have a shower and relax. Didn’t really want to leave the hotel room, but realised we needed some food. We had spotted Pizza Hut on our way in to Kuta, and boy did that look tempting! So, we went there and had a feast of garlic toast, pizza, coke and juice. Maybe too much, too fast, because I got rid of it all as soon as I got back to the room… And that after craving some familiar western food for a while… Met a nice couple from England on the Perama bus and had a good time with them on the ferry, but as usual they were taking a different route from us; to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
The last few days in Sengigi we had our normal routine; beach, relaxation, reading, shopping, eating, and getting annoyed at all the sellers… But some of them are quite sweet, our friend with the rastas, has joined us every day for a chat, without trying to sell us anything, and even brought us a coconut for some coconut milk. We wanted to leave our floatable mattress for him, but we left early in the morning, so left it in the reception at Dharma, hopefully he gets it. 

Back on the ferry to Bali with fellow backpackers

Fresh faced and ready for an early start we got up at 07:00 for a banana sandwich breakfast as a batch of freshly ironed t shirts was delivered at the door. The ferry left Mataram at 11:00 and we settled on deck with a couple of British backpackers. Bus from Padang Bay to Kuta Beach took forever! We used a long time to locate the travel agency we needed to change our departure date from Bali. They could not help us that late since the Quantas office was closed. We must come back tomorrow and hope there are seats available. We both got sunburned from sitting on the deck of the ferry, rookie mistake in the wind! Tanja got scorched. Pizza Hut for dinner. Back at the hotel room Tanja said hello to the pizza again. I killed a cockroach the size of a loaf of bread. We are looking so much forward to OZ!

18 October, entry from Ørjan, no entry from Tanja

We got new departure date, not so quick as we hoped, we must wait until 20th for our flight to Darwin. Tanja has taken a turn for the worse, and we must change hotels, since Kuta Beach Club is fully booked. Lots of sweating and walking to find a new hotel not far from Kuta Beach Club, and we could move straight I to our 35-dollar room, and we did. Tanja spent the rest of the day in bed feeling awful, I stayed in as well.

19 October, entry from Ørjan, no entry from Tanja

Slept in. Tanja still not feeling well. After moving out of the room we stayed in the reception, it has aircon. I went on a small shopping expedition, bought a pair of pants and a surfer hat. Took some pictures at Kuta Beach and lost my ring from Rome in the sand. After 12 hours wait in a reception area, we headed to the airport and our flight to Darwin, Australia.

We are both a bit ashamed for being not so nice about some of our experiences in Bali and Lombok and being on the verge of rude to the people. We were disappointed about how the people handled their thrash, not caring about the environment and how they always wanted something from us. We now know that this was our reaction to a foreign culture, and even though we tried to explain many times that we could not afford 5 sarongs since we were on a budget trip, we probably had more money than most of the locals we met. We have also realized over the years that we like more “western” destinations, call it the familiar side of the world, so we are not overly adventurous even though we like to travel to new places. We have since this visit never been back to either Bali or Lombok, but we still remember that straw hut on the beach with fondness, and we still talk about that night in that hell hole in Gilli Trawangan. And we also found the reason for Tanja not feeling so well those last days in Lombok and Bali, she had caught the giardia stomach amoeba, and it really makes you sick. We have never been back to Bali or Lombok since.

Ørjan and Tanja 2022

Coming up next, part 5: Australia, going to the red centre!

Categories:Around The World 1997, Travel


  1. Oh my goodness, the amoeba sounds awful – did Tanja have to have treatment? It’s interesting to read your diary entries, it’s a huge culture shock so I could completely identify with your 2022 comments at the end.

    Liked by 2 people

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