It is a damp late evening near Kuta (Bali) as I am writing this. Outside is the sound of the water filtering system, combined with the sounds of several animals and insects strange to us. Geckos climb the walls of the swimming pool terrace and are sometimes found inside the apartment we are renting. The apartment is quiet in contrast to the crowded street we are about 5 metres away from. At the moment it is a ‘cool’ 28 degrees and we have had a net gain of 27 degrees and 4 hours in the 12 hours flying from Christchurch. The owner of the apartment is Dutch and his friend has been helping us out with getting sim-cards (because there is no such thing as living without internet) and he got us in touch with Arif. Arif is a local taxi driver, English speaking (as well as four other languages), who laughs a lot and is a great guide. Today he drove us to the touristic heart of Kuta. The drive was interesting as the roads are filled with scooters and everyone just goes as they please. There is no such thing as sticking to a lane, one-way traffic or “give way”. Also, you’d be surprised to see how many things (or people) can fit onto one scooter. This chaos goes hand in hand with long driving times. Where in New Zealand you have to sit in the car for hours to get to the nearest so-called city, here you spent hours in the car: stuck in traffic in the same city. It took us more than an hour to get 30 km further! It is a good practice for a skill I have yet to master: patience. I am glad my mom and I decided we will not be driving here and we’ll gladly enjoy the privilege of being a passenger. When we got to Kuta, the whole ambience of the city centre ‘spoke’ to me. It is a lovely atmosphere. Yes, people want to sell and will tell you to ‘please buy this, it will look so good on you’ in their best English, but if you tell them to bugger off (in nice phrasing) they actually do leave you alone. People are friendly and kind; I was recognised as a ‘kiwi’ and greeted with ‘Kia Ora’; my surprise about this was invalidated when my mom reminded me of the beautiful jade around my neck screaming: “I am from New Zealand!”. We took a stroll down the beach which was absolutely lovely and then we proceeded to eat something appropriate; we ate pancakes with icecream. Nomnomnom. We walked around, bought some comfortable 30+ degrees clothing for a reasonably low price and great quality, and enjoyed being a millionaire while it lasted. As you can “only” get 1.2 million rupiah out of the machine per transaction, you can go from being a millionaire to completely paper-money-poor in approximately 22 pancakes. [1.2 million rupiah is equal to 82 euros or 128 nzd]. After being picked up by Arif, we went to the Carrefour, which was very –very- fancy. It had almost everything ranging from ‘Chocolade Hagelslag’ (= Chocolate Sprinkles, a Dutch sandwich decorating habit), Old Amsterdam (Dutch cheese) which was 10 euros for 4 slices (and they say that cheese is expensive in New Zealand ;)) and green bread. You read that well, green bread. We have yet to taste this, the results of which will be published in the upcoming days. Anyway, it is great here. The weather is nice, the people are nice and it is a proper vacation. Tomorrow we’ve got another exciting day planned: going to Ubud. Love to all.