Samil is an Aussie IT professional (actually he has lived in many places) and has been to Bali a number of times before. He is currently also in Kuta alone on holiday, although he has friends joining him soon. He seems happy to have company for dinner and good chitchat and has picked up on my nerves regarding safety and has come to meet me at my hotel. What a gent! :)
Samil has great ideas of where we can get food. Awesome! I ruin these quite quickly with my "ahh I'm gluten free so let me just look at their menu... Hmm!". Luckily for me Samil is pretty much as laid back as they come and takes everything in his stride. Eventually I turn to google to help us out and we head off to GF safe territory :)
It's just hit and miss which restaurants know about gluten-free. We end up at a restaurant which actually has GF items printed on the menu... Win! Tourism is so important to the Bali economy, I think they feel compelled to cater for us special people. ;) It's currently low-season but apparently there were lots of cancellations after the Jakata bombing so things are unusually quiet :( Bali could easily be a target and so people stay away.
I go for the GF thing on the menu that seems most local and I end up with this next picture. It is tasty but quite spicy and I don't manage all the veg to enable my mouth a chance to heal ;)
Samil tells me about Legian street. This is the clubland, party area of Kuta, and Kuta is the party area of Bali so this is where the party is at! Whoop whoop! I was quite nervous to venture there on my own at night which I didn't mention to anyone - since I want to keep my pro traveller image of course - but I think Samil picks up on this and offers to show me around and I gratefully take him up on this.
Legion street has the feeling of a densely packed clubland. The building go: club, bar, club, bar, bar, club with the occasional shrine squeezed in where possible :) It's hot and people are drinking the 2-for-1 boozy cocktails.
There were warning posters at the airport about booze being sometimes found to have methanol added. Samil tells me what not to drink (the cheap who-knows-what-this-is coloured drinks) and says, if I want to drink, to stick to the normal drinks and I'll be fine. He tells me that the methanol problem has sadly taken tourists lives here. Eeek!
Here I am in Legian street.. It's pretty and clubby and I make no apologies but I blooming loved the music! ;)
As we walked down the street we get to a point after the clubs where there is a ground zero monument to all those 202 people who lost their lives in the 2002 Bali bombings; a further 209 were injured. :(
We enter a few clubs so I can have a look around. Samil tells me he has never seen these places so empty. There are still people around through and still plenty of people drunk on the street with one girl laying passed out on the path being tended to by a concerned looking friend. The clubs are colourfully lit on both the inside and outside and have the latest tracks playing loud enough to prevent decent conversation. Some guys are trying to body-pop on stage in this picture and they were pretty bad. I felt like having a go myself ;) I didn't but I was in Legian street at night and I had already been on a scooter ride so I felt I had already proven myself quite the badass today ;) You can see the large colourful drinks Samil told me to avoid ;)
I discovered pool tables! So we paid for a few games and racked them up. The pool tables were situated next to a small bar area with a stage being used for kareoke. The singing was by far the worst I have ever heard and Samil kicked my butt at pool - it's the jet lag ;) - while some tourists murdered many of my favourite songs. It was a fun evening :)
Finally we went into a bar and sat down for a drink. I have only had water or juice on this island so far, as travelling alone I wanted to keep a clear head, but sitting listening to a live band made a single Cubre libre seem like a nice plan :)
Then I was tired and, as Samil had invited me to join his island tour the next day, I decided to get some sleep and we headed back to the nice hotel area of Kuta. I was greatful that Samil walked me back to my hotel because it's down a sort of series of alleys off the main road which I find a little intimidating. He then gave me the details and time to be at his hotel to get the tour car the next day :)