Looking For Love in Jakarta Part 6
I was looking forward to my 9 days trip to Bali. I had not been there for at least 10 years so I was curious to see how the place had changed. But first I had to meet a new girl in Jakarta. I had met Alin on
Indonesiancupid site just a couple of days ago. As chance would have it she was staying in the same street as I was staying, in a Kos not more than
300 metres from mine which was very convenient. So we decided to meet that Wednesday evening after her work. Alin had a motorbike and we had arranged that she would pick me up at the front of my place with her motorbike.
She came around 7pm and I hopped on the back of her bike and we were off. Of course not before we had first introduced ourselves. We had not really planned where to go but she knew a place she had said so I just let her decide.
Alin stopped at a nice restaurant somewhere in the Menteng area and we got off the bike and went inside. Now I could observe her better because during the trip she had had her helmet on. She had nice long hair like virtually every Indonesian girl has and a beautiful Javanese face just like in the picture. She was very curvy and sexy and also quite tall. We sat down and ordered our food. While were waiting for the food we talked about this and that. I was a bit out of shape and shy initially but got better and better because she was a very bubbly and friendly person. She had some kind of IT related job and she seemed to know a lot about it so we had something in common there. She was not a nerdy type though. She had a very sexy aura and we were sitting next to each other in the restaurant as opposed to sitting opposite. I have learned it is quite hard to get a connection with a girl when I sit opposite of her. That works only when I have a business meeting with somebody. When you sit next to each other you can touch the girl or try to touch her and see how she responds. It is also possible to move ever closer to the girl with your face and body and check her reaction to that. If you do it the right way and she responds well to the touches and the closeness chances are that things will go the right way. Indonesian girls like this kind of approach if you do it the right way. They are used to it because Indonesian guys also use this tactic.
Alin responded well so we got along better and better. We had our food and talked. At this stage I did not know if she was ok with coming to my place after the food. Because she was living so close to me it should not be a problem. It would not make a difference if she would go to work the next day from my place or hers because we were practically neighbours. Still I should not try to rush things because then it would certainly not happen.
It was still early when we finished our dinner so I asked Alin what she wanted to do next. She thought about it and then she asked me what I wanted to do and I suggested we go to a movie. She thought this was a good idea so off we went to a movie theater nearby. There are many to choose from in Jakarta and we chose a nearby one in Sarinah area. Sarinah is a central area near Jalan Jaksa where all the backpackers stay. We went inside to check if there was a nice movie. There were not too many but one took my fancy, the movie Insidious. It looked like a scary flick which I like. Alin also liked this type of movie so we went inside to get tickets. It would run in 30 minutes and there were still plenty of seats available so we selected 2 seats at the back. After that we went to the Oh La La Café in the front to have a drink and wait for the movie to begin. We were really getting comfortable with each other at this stage so I could not wait for the movie to begin. Then it was time and we went inside. We had some popcorn and drinks first and went in the right cinema to get our seat. We sat down and waited. It was really cold inside. The movie started. The first bit was not too exciting but after about 20 minutes the movie got scary. There were a lot of frightening moments which made Alin crawl against me. Of course I did my best to comfort her and soon after that we were kissing and feeling each other up. Even though I had reached the next stage with Alin I still did not want to miss the movie because it was quite good. But it was not easy to keep my attention focused on the movie while I was busy with Alin so I missed parts of it. I decided to get the DVD and watch it again at my place later.
When the movie was finished I was quite heated up and I think Alin too. We were now holding hands while leaving the theatre and I asked her if she wanted to come to my place. She said yes so we got in a taxi. While we were going to my Kos we passed hers and she asked the driver to stop. She told me she wanted to get some clothes and other things and told me to wait. I waited and about 4 minutes later she was back and 2 minutes later we were inside my room. Nothing happened right away. Alin first took a shower and then she brushed her teeth. She came back from the shower in a nightgown. After that I had a shower and brushed my teeth too like a good boy. After that we went to bed like a long married couple. I wished her goodnight and a good sleep and she wished me the same. But we did not sleep any time soon, soon we were cuddling and kissing again and one thing lead to another, a great night.
Internet and dating sites are a kind of lifeline for me. Had it not been for Indonesian cupid, I would never have met and bedded Alin. I would perhaps have seen her on the street or in the mall but I would have been too shy to approach her or start talking to her. I am not the type of guy who is comfortable approaching girls in public places like malls or discos or restaurants or pubs, and unlike many Western guys I don’t experience many girls flirting at me or looking at me or smiling at me at such places. I am not that bad once I am actually talking to a girl but to get to the stage of seeing a girl and actually sitting down and talking to one seems almost impossible for me. If it had not been for the Internet I would hardly ever get a date with an Indonesian girl.
Friday morning I was busy packing my bag for Bali. I decided to take as little as possible with me. I left most of my clothes behind because long jeans and long-sleeved shirts are not typical attire on Bali. I could always buy some T-shirts and shorts there. I also decided to leave most of my shoes behind and to take only sneakers and flip flops. I was thinking about whether I should take my laptop or not? My room did not have a locker so it could get stolen, but on Bali it could also get stolen. I would not need it on Bali because I could go to internet cafés to check mail and secure dates and my work was finished for the moment. I decided to take it downstairs to ask the office lady to keep it for me. I trusted that she would take good care of it. I was sure. So I did and the lady put it in the office. She assured me it would be safe.
Then I got into the taxi with only one bag to the Lion Air check in desk at the domestic terminal. Everything went smooth and around 4 pm I had arrived at the Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar. It is one hour earlier in Bali compared to Jakarta. I got out of the airport to get a taxi into Kuta. There were some white vans who took most people but I decided to go to the main road to look for a taxi instead of following the crowd. I had not booked anything but decided to go to one of the places I had often been before on Kuta, Poppies legian. The taxi dropped me of at the Poppies intersection of Legian street. I got out of the taxi and recognized nothing. I had a look up the jalan Legian. Opposite the corner of Poppies 2 a memorial had been erected for the victims of the October 2002 bombings. I remembered this as the site of Paddy’s Bar where I had been quite a few times in the 90’s. I remembered the Sari Club had been next to the Poppies 2 corner but there was nothing to be seen now. The last time I had been in Bali would have been around the year 2000, way before the bombing. Further on the other side of the road there were only clubs and discos and bars I had no recollection of having seen before. The road and especially Poppies Street was really busy with young western people walking around with surfboards or riding motorbikes.
I walked up Poppies Street to find some accommodation first. There had always been lots of cheap Bali style places to stay here but I could not find one anymore. It looked as if the old cheap places had all disappeared. Poppies luckily had not changed that much for apart from the disappearance of cheap “penghinapan”. There were some places but the rates were shockingly high. I really had not expected that prices had gone up this much. I remembered that I could easy get a room for 30.000 rupia per night in 2000 here. Now they were asking between 150.000 rupia and 250.000 rupia per night. Finally I found a place where they asked 100.000 per night and I decided to take it. It was one of those typical Bali style places meaning small huts (pondoks) centered around a Balinese garden. Balinese houses and hotels etc, all have a nice gate through which people enter the place.
I went into my hut and got myself organized. After that I had a shower and a shave and went out to look for some food. It was getting close to 7pm now but it was still not dark thanks to the one hour difference with Jakarta. I chose one of the cheap eateries that luckily still line the Poppies Lane. The place I went I still recognized from my last time in Kuta, a small blue painted Chinese owned café-warung. I ordered my food and a big Bintang. A nice surprise was that the Bintang was cheaper priced here in Bali compared to Jakarta. In Jakarta I paid at least 28.000 for one bottle of the beer where it was only 24.000 rupia here.
I was starting to feel relaxed. Even though it is very busy with tourists and locals, Kuta feels like a real holiday resort, and I could literally smell the sea. It is also a lot hotter than in Jakarta and the sun shines a lot brighter but it was cooling down now. I had my meal and my beer and ordered another Bintang. The young people were already getting ready to go out to the bars and pubs and clubs. The nightlife starts really early in Kuta, around 8pm you see most people going to the small bars and pubs to take advantage of the happy hour they have in most places. There were lots of young westerners milling around on Poppies which is really the epicentre of the nightlife in the Legian area.
My little warung was filling up to a point that all the tables were occupied with dining tourists or locals who were drinking. An older western guy came inside and asked if he could sit with me, as I was the only one occupying a table for myself with 3 empty seats. I told him to sit down and he got a beer. He seemed to have been in this place many times because all the staff came to greet him and they were all smiles. The guy and I started talking. It turned out he was a native from Perth, a city I had also lived in for almost 2 years in a previous life. So it did not take long or we were talking about the beaches and delights of Perth. The Aussie had been living on Bali already for 9 years and loved it here. He was married to a local girl (a real Balinese). He proudly showed me a picture of her and I can only say she looked like a real princess. No wonder he was a happy guy. He told me he came to this place at least 3 times every week because the beer was cheap and the staff friendly. We really had a nice time together and before I knew it our table was full with empty beer bottles and it had turned 10pm.
I had totally forgotten about my appointment. What happened was as soon as it was sure I was going to Bali I had contacted a couple of girls living in Denpasar and Kuta. A few had responded positively and had given me their phone numbers. This morning I had contacted the prettiest one of them to tell her I was arriving in Kuta that afternoon and had made an appointment with her for the night. I had told her I would call her again when I was ready to meet her and I had totally forgotten about it.
Now I was inside this warung well on the way to getting sloshed with an Australian, but I decided to call her anyway. So I got my phone and called the girl. She picked up and even though it was getting late she told me she wanted to meet. I told her where I was and she knew the street so would get a taxi and be there in about 20 or 30 minutes. I arranged with her that I would pick her up at the memorial.
I told the Australian that a friend would meet me in about 30 minutes and he said that I had exactly time for one more Bintang so he ordered more. The beers came and we both paid our share.
Around 40 minutes later I got a phone call from the girl telling me she had arrived at the monument. I told the Australian to keep the seats because I would be back and headed to the monument. I spotted her sitting on the stairs and she got up to greet me. We greeted each other and she asked me where I wanted to go. I told her to join me to the same place I had been and she agreed so we went back to the place. I introduced her to the Australian and we sat down. The girl Yuni was also up for a Bintang so I ordered 2 more. Yuni was an average looking but sexy young girl from some part of Java. She had been working in a hotel in Denpasar for about 2 years now. Most of the girls on Bali are actually from Java and so are most of the local guys. Especially in Kuta one does not see very many real Balinese girls and most if not all of the young girls working in the tourist industry are Javanese.
At this point both I and the Australian were quite pissed. Yuni did not really seem to care as she was probably used to seeing western people like this. Around 11.30 I asked her if she wanted to go to a disco or something and she told me Sky Garden would be ok. I had never heard about the place but Yuni assured me it was very close, almost next to the monument so we said our goodbyes to the Australian guy whom I would meet again many times and off we went.
Sky Garden was a big place with many floors. We went up to the so called Hip Hop room which was filled with young Western guys and young Western and Indonesian girls. I really think I must have been the oldest guy inside but I did not care anymore, I was too pissed to care.
Like I said already, I am not a dancer and normally shy to dance but when I am drunk I tend to get the feeling I am a Michael Jackson reincarnation or something and it was no different now. I was soon dancing away with Yuni who had switched to Long Island Teas, on my account of course! So we drank and danced and drank some more. This Long Island Tea was strong stuff, I could still feel it. For only 60.000 per glass it was not such a bad deal, at least not compared to the prices you pay in similar places in Jakarta. Yuni bought and paid the next 2 glasses herself and offered me one even though I was quite full at that stage. But I did not want to disappoint her so I drank mine. We had a good night and Yuni got quite drunk too. We found ourselves outside the disco around 3 in the morning and I told Yuni she could come with me if she liked. She agreed because it was a little bit late to find a decent taxi at this time so we went to my simple hut. Inside we had some delicious times together and then we went to sleep.
The next morning Yuni had to go up quite early because she had to work. Many of these girls work 7 days a week or at least 6 and she was no exception. I gave her some money for the taxi and some extra even though she told me she did not want it and gave it back to me. I insisted so finally she accepted. The money was maybe a week's wages for her, because I had heard that most girls in Bali make very little money where they work, often not more than 1 million rupia per month.
We made an appointment to meet again the following week.
After Yuni had left I decided to sleep more. I slept well and woke up around 10 am. I got up and had a shower and then I went up to the ATM to get some money. After that I had some breakfast in a place next to the place I had been the previous night. The food here was better. I had chunks of Red Snapper with rice and vegetables, the fish tasted really good and it was incredibly cheap.
So it looked like lodgings were the only thing that had gone up in price on Bali. The rest, like food and drinks and nightlife was not that expensive and had not gone up that much.
I decided to have a look at the beach and go for a swim. So I walked the Poppies lane to the beach. While I walked I spotted a second-hand bookstore and went inside to look for a book. I found a nice one and bought it.
On Kuta Beach there are guys everywhere who rent chairs and parasols. The idea is that when you rent one from them you will also buy the beer or soft drink they sell. These guys are really black-skinned from the beach and sea, most of them are also good surfers and equally good at hunting Western women. After a bit of walking I found a nice spot and within seconds a guy came to me to offer a chair so I sat down. Soon I had a small beer in my hand and started reading my book.
After a while I got so hot and sweaty I decided I needed a swim. But what to do with my wallet and key? Well I reckoned it would be safe with the guy so I left my things in his care and went in the sea. I had a nice swim in the warm water.
I saw quite a few people out surfing and wondered what it would be like to try again. I had not been surfing for over 15 years if I recall right. I had lived for 2 years in Australia that time and I had learned surfing there in Western Australia, mainly Perth and Margaret River.
Margaret River was where I had learned to surf and I have to say I had learned it quite well. If Perth would not offer good waves (Perth does not too often have the best waves because of Rottnest Island) I would drive to Margaret River in the weekends and stay there till Sunday evening at my friends house.
Unfortunately I had developed surfer’s ear and had to undergo surgery in Perth for that. The doctor had advised me to stop surfing for a good while and not much later I had to leave Australia so I had never surfed again.
There were lots of locals at the beach touting surf boards so I decided to give it a try. I got a board and got in the water and peddled around to wait for a good wave. I picked some but I could not really ride them well at all. Actually I felt like a first timer again. My muscles were stiff and simply not trained any more to get up in the right quick motion and arm, leg and body coordination I had so many years ago. Timing and coordination is essential and your arm muscles and leg muscles have to be able to move and be strong like springs. I would need lots of exercise to get into it again.
At one time I fell in a wave and my board slammed against my head causing me to swallow a load of sea water. I got out of the water dizzy and felt warm blood dripping down my face into my eyes. It was time to call it a day. At least my ear was ok.
I brought my board back to the guy and gave him the money. The guy was worried about the blood and wanted to treat me but I told him it was ok. I went back to my chair. A couple of Australian girls had joined my place and they told me they had seen me surfing. One of the girls was also a surfer she said. She was from the East Coast near Byron Bay. I told her I had been a much better surfer years ago and that I had not been on a board for at least 15 years. I felt I needed to apologize for my bad performance. Meanwhile the Balinese (or better said Javanese) guy was busy getting acquainted with the other Australian girl who was a real stunner. My God, what a beauty! She looked like she had just stepped out of a fashion magazine. She seemed to be quite happy with the attention of the Bali boy and I think he had a good chance with her.
I spoke a bit to the other girl and then started reading again. Around 5pm I decided to go back to my room to have a shower. I had a bad headache.
I went to my room to get ready for the night. Then I had a good meal at one of the restaurants nearby and after that I went back to the same warung I had been to last night to get some beers.
When I sat down in the warung I felt a pang on the left side in my lower back. It hurt quite a lot so on top of the concussion I had also sprained a muscle while I was surfing. I had a few beers but was not in the mood like the previous night. It was Saturday night but that does not make a big difference in Legian Kuta. Every night is Saturday night there although I would find out that the discos and clubs would be busier on a Saturday night than on a Sunday or Monday night. Later that night I visited some clubs again in Legian (Including Sky Garden). They were pumping with also lots of locals inside but I went home about 1 in the morning for a good sleep.
Sunday I had a quiet day in church (just kidding). I got up late and had breakfast and went into an internet café to see if I had some replies from mails I had send to Balinese girls. I had a couple, one from a promising girl from the dating site. I also chatted a bit with a girl from Jakarta. This Balinese girl from Indonesian cupid went online and she must have seen I was online too because she started chatting with me through Indonesian cupid. There is a chat facility on that site for paying members, it does not work as well as Yahoo Messenger but it works. We chatted a bit and made an appointment to meet that night.
After I was finished in the net café I went to one of the bars to have a drink. Legian has a few beer bars. These bars are not the same though like the ones in Pattaya but the atmosphere is still quite similar, with some girls inside who serve drinks and who are probably also on the menu themselves. After that I had a long walk around town. Then I went back and had dinner. The girl Yulianti arrived at 8pm on her motorbike. We first by went motorbike to the 7 eleven on the beach front to have some beers. You can order beers from the 7 Eleven and drink them in front of the store where they have tables and benches. They were not cheaper then the ones in my warung but at least the view was nice. After we had a few we had a stroll on the beach and sat down there in a romantic mood. Nothing more happened between us though than star gazing and a chat but that was ok. After this we decided to go to Poppies to look for the Aussie pub to have some more drinks. We ordered drinks and talked and not long after we sat down there it started pouring down. It just didn’t stop and it was not rain, but a downpour. After an hour or so the rain became a bit less but it was still a very heavy rain that continued for the next 3 hours or so. I was the only guy with a girl inside the place. All the people who had been there when we had arrived were still trapped inside and all were guys so the mood was pretty foul. Some guys even tried to hit on the girl I was with under my eyes but she was not into anything also not with me. Around 1pm the rain became less and she took me home on the motorbike through the puddles. It was as if we were driving through a river. I came back safely and she dropped me off, said goodbye and left and I went inside.
The next day I rented a motorbike to go to Candidasa. I took my baggage because I planned to stay there a couple of days to really relax. I knew the area from previous trips to Bali long ago and I really like the place as one of the nicest on Bali.
Candidasa is really away from the tourist areas on a beach and one still feels the real Bali here in my opinion. At least it had been like this 10 or more years ago and I wondered if things were still the same. The reason I went by motorbike was that I wanted to explore the area in my 2 days there. Inland this area has such beautiful and serene landscapes, and the beaches (though a bit away from Candidasa) are also nice, and you can meet the really nice Balinese people along the way who will not hesitate to invite you into their house for refreshments and food (and to introduce you to their single daughters)
That is why I went there. It took me about one and a half hour to get there because I took the scenic route. I arrived around 1 pm. Just outside the town that was still as lovely as I remember I booked into a small family owned hotel. Again one with traditional Balinese bungalows around a garden. The price was a lot cheaper then in Kuta, I only had to pay 60.000 per night and free breakfast was included. The owners were incredibly friendly people and not long after I had checked into my room and arranged myself I found myself sitting outside talking with them. They even gave me some leftover lunch for free so I did not have to go to a restaurant in town. After that I hopped on my motorbike and went inland to have a look at the beautiful surroundings.
I actually ended up staying not 2 but 4 days in Candidasa as I liked it that much. Not much nightlife and entertainment there even though there are a few pubs and dance venues now there. I mainly went to the beaches nearby or inland as far as the mountains to enjoy nice views. Evenings I mostly spend talking to tourists or locals and eating nice foods especially sea foods.
Friday morning I went back to Kuta on the motorbike. I checked into the same hotel at Poppies again for my last 2 nights and called Yuni again to make an appointment for that night. We had a great night again, even better than the one before and my last day (Saturday) I spend relaxing on the beach again. I would leave back to Jakarta early the next morning so I decided to go to bed early. Sunday morning I checked out of the hotel and took a taxi back to the airport. 4 hours later I was back in Jakarta in my room unpacking my stuff.
While I was unpacking I thought back about my trip to Bali. Bali and especially Kuta had changed a lot, many more girls, many more tourists and many more places to go out but the atmosphere had not changed that much in my opinion.
Sure, Bali is much more developed these days, but there's something about it, about the people I reckon, that makes it a lot more attractive to me than Phuket these days.