the nothing whatever...

Getting to Seminyak

Wednesday was the day we were to return to the mainland and see the Reubley’s (our friends Reuben and Hayley) in Seminyak on their holiday. A week or so earlier, Semanya One had happily booked our return boat trip to the mainland with absolutely no foresight, and when it came to the 27th, of course, they weren’t running due to a public holiday. This left us with two options; wait till the following day, or fork out more money to another boat provider and try reclaim the trip we missed out on as the return journey to Lembongan. In an effort to conform with schedule, we went the second option.

To be brutally honest, I was hesitant about what Seminyak was going to offer. We had been to Kuta the year before and at the time its seediness had shocked me a little. The incessant offerings of “cheap transport” in unmarked vans, cheaply synthesized drugs, pirated DVD’s and clothing rip-offs, it was something that I hadn’t been previously exposed to in such bulk quantities, and it felt like I had just somehow found myself in the wrong part of the internet. So, my thoughts were that if I anticipated the possibility of a repeat experience I might shield myself from the unwelcome culture shock that came the first time. I approached it like I would a Collingwood game; just assume the worst and be pleasantly surprised. Or right. However, as we were driving past the sleek modern bars and restaurants playing Jack Johnston and Bob Marley and other artists that epitomize relaxation, I knew it would not be as high octane as it was in Kuta.

The place in which the Reubley’s were staying, Heliconia Villas, must be fairly new establishment, as our driver had no idea where he was going and eventually had to ask a skinny smoking man on the street for directions. When we finally got to the reception, the Reubley’s had gone out for lunch, but they must have left a message that we were due to arrive because it didn’t take much convincing for reception to let us into the Reubley’s awesome Villa so we could drop our heavy bags off and go get some lunch (not to mention recalibrate our body temperatures in their private pool).

They were swimming in their pool when we returned from lunch, and we all spent the rest of the afternoon chatting about what we had been doing and what were going to do for the next few days. From what Reuben and Hayley had to say, while it was not as obvious as it was in Kuta, it turned out that Seminyak was not without its seedy underbelly. I could not stop laughing at the story Reuben told me of how he was motoring along on his scooter with Hayley in tow, and from the side of the street he heard shouted at him with the unmistakable Balinese inflection “hey Baldy, want some Viagra?”

It wasn’t the nickname “Baldy” that did it for me, a fairly standard ribbing of somebody who has decided to opt-out of the whole ridiculous “hair” thing. It wasn’t because the product he was offering was a well-known cure of erectile dysfunction, and subsequently implied that Reuben was in need of such a thing. I was laughing about the fact that this vendor thought that the most appropriate way to distribute his merchandise was to yell at people from the side of the road with as little tact and discretion as possible, and if that wasn’t enough, in the process, come up with an semi-insulting nickname. I profess that I am no expert in the intricate world of marketing and persuasion, but surely, if that bloke wants to make a sale, there needs to be some serious strategic adjustments.

As Nic and I had not booked a place to stay for the two or three nights we were in Seminyak, Reuben and I decided to go to work on the guys at reception to see if they could do us a good deal on the Villa above theirs. Heliconia had nobody booked in for that night or the next, and even though Nic and I were on a fairly strict budget, and they were asking $120 AU a night for the room, Reuben and I were bargaining on a logically sound argument; there was a budget we weren’t going to break, so our money was either going to them, or it was going to somebody else. With some rigid posturing, eventually, they succumbed to something more in our ballpark. $120 for two nights, affordable with a charitable donation from the Reubley’s. Such lovely people.