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Andy’s Travel Diary

Monday, 12 Feb 2007

Location: Tannah Lot, Indonesia

MapGuess I had another insight into how slow the tourist trade is over here and also just how strong our currency is in relation to the rest of the world today.

Got picked up at 2pm after melting this morning in the sun to go horseriding. Only me in the bus, so I thought ok, the others must be meeting me there.

Wrong, it was actually just me! We pulled into the yard after the hour or so drive and there were two horses ready to go. A grey and a chesnut mare. Thankfully as those that know about horses will appreciate I got given the grey! I had realised on the way there that no one had asked when I booked, whether I rode lots or what height and weight I was. Which is a bit unusal, they must just play roulette to see who gets what steed!

Got sat at a posh dining table and given a mineral water and then one of the grooms asked some questions about what I did back home and proceeded to tell me how he is too busy to take holiday's as the horses always need something doing to them. Those out there that have had horses will no doubt know that feeling well!

So I was introduce to my horse, which was called Grease/Greece. Not sure if it was named after the musical or the country. But as I am a fan of John Travolta and Greece should never of won the last Euro Champs I tend to lean towards Grease! I also need to realise how tall I have become as I thought Grease looked huge on the ground, but in my photos I look a bit leggy on her. Makes me realise just how big Alaksa, the excellent horse I had in N.Z really was!

I got on and then the other lad who was wearing just thongs on his feet jumped on the other horse and told me to follow him. I found this confusing as the other groom had Jodphurs and riding boots on, all to bring me some mineral water! Anyway, seems to be the way things work down here.

So we headed out of the yard and straight onto a huge black sandy beach. We walked on this for a bit, then the guy asked if I wanted to go faster. So off we went into a trot and then a canter. Grease was gaining fast on the other horse so I tried to reign her in a bit and basically nothing happened. Which I found a little unsettling to begin with, but after a little battle of wills she decided to ease up a bit.

We then left the beach via a stream and rode up into a village. This was a glimpse at real Bali life. The houses were very poor and people we at work in the fields. Kids came out of the houses to point and wave at the white bloke on a white horse with a funny hat and sunglasses. But was actually quite good fun. When I said hello, they said hello back. They were happy for me to wave at them and not just hold their hands out asking for money like the kids do here in Kuta. We spent the next couple of hours or so meandering through other villages, with various states of amusement at me along the way, both by kids and older villagers!

Then we got back onto the beach. It was too rough to take the horses in the water. The waves were dumping quite badly and he didn't fancy my chances of staying on, so that was a shame. But instead we decided to let the horses have their heads a bit and went for a gallop along the sea. Was great fun! We had to dodge the villagers who were picking up the dead fish on the sea front.

This was one thing I noted when we were first on the beach. There were dead fish everywhere. Not just little ones, but puffa fish and some that would have the avearge Brit screaming Shark if the saw it out in the water. My guide said it was because of the rough sea's, but I wasn't so sure.

Once we had galloped a fair way and walked back, the sun was coming down. So they took me to the beach front hotel where I was to have dinner and watch the sunset. Was quite weird. They took Grease off me then. Was worried how I was going to get her back in the dark!

I then walked into this 5* Hotel complex where I was met and taken to the dining arear, which sat high up on a mound. Apart from a couple of Korean girls I was the only guest insight. So I had dinner, by myself on this terrace overlooking this huge beach watching the sun come down behind the clouds of the massive thunderstorm that was brewing! Very odd! That said dinner was very nice! Just felt a bit of a tool up there, with the villagers scavenging below!

After dinner, my bus was waiting to run me the hour back to Kuta all on my todd again!

Very enjoyable, I love riding and galloping along the beach was great! Just a bit odd having all that done just for me!

One thing I will remember from today was a Mum carrying a little girl of about two who was staring at me. When I waved, the Mum was so pleased I had noticed her and her child amongst all the fish gatherers I thought she was going to explode! She grabbed the little girls arm who was laughing at me and waved it back so hard I thought it may come off!

Nice to see that being a piece of white trash on a horse can make someones day!

Tomorrow I am going to try and get some gifts, without being ripped off. There is definitley a white persons price policy here!

The Wednesday it is my Birthday! That is right, my Birthday! Cheques in the post please! So I am off to the Elephant Park!