All he did worry about was stocking up in case he got peckish, with no restaurants of cafes open, Paul clearly not intending to fast himself. We made a short trip by bike to his local supermarket which, we discovered, was busy with other non-locals taking the same option as Paul of getting in supplies. In some ways it was as if the Zombie Apocalypse was nigh!
I was to be avoiding Nyepi, and for tourists, including John and Mandy, this seemed the better option. This was to be my last day in Bali, and indeed, the last but one day of my entire trip.
On the way back from the supermarket, Paul and I had a quick coffee in a cafe during which I thanked him for all of his excellent hospitality, before heading back to the villa.
John and Mandy were flying on to Singapore for the last of their honeymoon at roughly the same time as I was due to fly back to Jakarta. With roads due to close early even the day before Nyepi, we were taking no chances. John and Mandy had booked their driver to take us to the airport ultra early to avoid any potential problems.
I said my final goodbyes to Paul, Shinta and little Tulus before we headed off. En route I was finally able to send my postcards as I spotted the post office (they are very few and far between) which I’d first seen in the journey from the airport.
At the airport, it was also goodbye to John and Mandy as we were flying from different terminals, and I was now alone.
The wait at Bali airport was slightly arduous due to the fact I’d arrived so early, but at least they had a smoking section. At one point, a lady asked if I could look after her bags while she went to the loo, something I can’t imagine ever happening at a British airport! I tried to joke with her that I had to fend off thieves in her absence, but I think this was lost on her.
Finally I was back in Jakarta and before too long back at Paul’s apartment. The time was around 9pm and as I was not too tired and my flight back to the UK the following day was not until a similar time the following evening, I decided I could go out for one last night in Jakarta.
Stu had suggested I try a place called Top Gun in the M Block area of Jakarta. Paul had discouraged a visit to this area, but I thought I might as well try it out. The taxi driver didn’t know Top Gun, but he took me to M Block. My first impression was that it was a seedy version of Soho, with lots of quite seedy bars. Some had scantily clad young ladies (very young I should say) who greeted me with several “Hello Meester”s. I didn’t feel particularly comfortable in this area and before long, without having gone in a single bar, I decided to just get in a taxi back to Paul’s apartment. So much for my final night out!
On my final day, I did a little shopping before packing and getting ready to go. There was just the long journey home to face before I’d be back to the comfort of my little place in Cardiff.
I’d experienced a crazy road system and a few crazy drivers, the uneasy feeling of not being able to speak a word of the local language (the only word I picked up was makasi for thank you!), though I was aided by Paul’s excellent Indonesian for much of the trip, I had seen extreme poverty of the Indonesians at ground level, compared to the riches of the lucky few, I had seen huge shopping malls and street markets, I had met my mate’s lovely wives (in Melisa’s case, for the first time), and also met some dubious ladies of ill repute, I’d experienced the Jakartan heat, though as it was the rainy season, seen some thunderous downpours, I’d watched sport from back home, while at night, watched kids playing football from a 23rd floor apartment suite, I’d made new friends and been inspired to find a new job as a poker journalist, I’d drunk a lot and had eaten some lovely meals, of both the local kind and not so local, I’d met a young girl called Bintang and also drunk a lot of Bintang (bintang is Indonesian for star), I’d paid peanuts for some things like taxis, but way over the odds for other things like wine, I’d experienced a sense of vertigo like never before before finally returning back to earth to my little ground floor flat in Cardiff. Cheerio Jakarta! Cheerio Paul, Shinta, Stu, Melisa, Emily and little Tulus!