Hard to think that Ive been here in Bali for nearly 2 weeks, the time has flown. To my shame, have to admit I haven’t even made it to the beach yet!
Im not here for the tourism, but have come here to take my diving to a professional level.
I started my PADI dive master training (DMT) 9 days ago, and am yet to have a day off. (PADI unless you know is the “Professional Association of Diving Instructors” http://www.padi.com/scuba/)I have been reading, answering lots of questions, watched instructors teach people brand new to diving, tried demonstrating dive skills in a pool to an imaginary group of students, been diving, tried to map a dive area with limited visibility in current and been learning Danish, well, at least listening to lots of it (“Hvad en dejlig sprog”) as the dive centre I attend attracts many people from Denmark due to its instructors!
More about my training in a later blog, but I will just add a sneaky little mention of the fact I saw a manta (my most favourite of all sea creatures!) last week
OK, not a great piccie, we waited 40 minutes for this little beaut to come say hi, and my camera was not at the ready – caught it before it headed off, too shy to roll and come back to play.
I liked this little guy too……
The dive centre to which Im attached is a busy, well run, professional outfit which prides itself in excellence with its training of dive professionals, (www.goprobali.com/bali-idc-internships/)and I am one of a group of 5 studying for dive master – all at different stages. You have already met Lumi and Sonya – now I would like to introduce you to another DMT – Roberto, an Italian gentleman, from Como in the North of the country. He is a great guy and we instantly hit it off together. He has a great personality, is great fun to be with, intelligent and has a great “PADI smile”. Let me explain about the PADI smile. We started our training at the same time, and watched the Dive Master PADI DVD which tells us all about our role. Throughout the DVD, divers, instructors and just about everyone is depicted with a big beaming smile and nodding heads – and we have adopted this style!
As we started our training together, we are sharing our PADI journey which is lovely – we are also sharing lots of meals out as we like similar foods. This photo was taken in a local restaurant where we were asked if we were on honeymoon…..I said yes with a wicked glint, trying to smooth out my wrinkles which could give away the fact I am 18 years older than him – gulp!
Im kept pretty busy doing my work but find that I am settling into the area and feeling more at home. The dreaded jetlag has finally passed and Im more or less sleeping at right time. I have fallen for the place….quite literally!
Without any influence of alcohol, I have managed to crash to the ground as I walked the short distance from the dive centre to my home stay. I have now learned that you cant easily walk along the pavement unless you are looking down
There is an alternative to walking – I could do as many thousands of others do (including Roberto) and rent a scooter.
Im a little sore, but feel more silly than anything else. Never mind, I soothed myself with a nice massage which I would like to tell you about before I head to sleep.
I visited a little place 1 min walk from my homestay in my attempt to get me a better night sleep. I was escorted to a little cubicle, asked to remove my clothing and lye face down on a table by a little lady who called herself “Angel”. She had tiny, yet extremely strong hands as she asked me if I liked it “strong” or “medium” – I opted for the latter and soon wished there had been a third choice as her fingers worked my back. As I was face down initially, I couldnt see her, but I could feel the fact she had jumped up on the massage table, sitting astride me and working out all my tension areas. When she started massaging a new area, she applied a few thumps, I knew the time had come for that part of the massage to finish when the slapping began. All sounds very strange, but was surprisingly pleasant!
During this hour long massage, I could hear the guy in the next cubicle talking all the way through his massage in his Australian droll, as he chatted his masseuse up. I indicated to Angel the “talk alot” hand signal, to which she whispered “he come here every night” As I finished my massage and paid the extortionate fee, he appeared in the reception and made me feel a little queasy as he waddled along, Michelin like – all 160cm of him, layers of fat wobbling as he moved – I felt more than a touch of sympathy for the poor woman who had to massage him for a whole hour each devening and listen to him chat her up.
Never mind – she is well paid…….for a full hour massage cost 60,000 Rupiah – sounds alot until you convert it and realise it is only £3.12 ($5.62AUD)
The women work from 9 in the morning until 11 at night to offer all these treatments to their clients. If they work continuously, the maximum fee they would raise is £43.96 – its astonishing!
However, this wasnt my first massage in Bali. I bought some oils and honey from a woman who was going around the shops selling her wares, and she struggled to find me the change (2000 Rupiah) so I told her not to worry about it (Im not that generous – its only about 19p) . She was so happy with this, kissed my hand and asked me to sit on the floor. She then proceeded to massage my hands, arms, neck and back – right there sitting on the shop floor. She was bloody good and I would have invited her back to my room to continue it further , but somehow, it just didnt feel right to do so. She even read my palm as she massaged – I didnt understand what she said, but it sounded positive and she did utter the words “good life” – I hope she didnt meant it in the past tense!
The people of Bali are so generous and warm, and seem delighted when you take an interest in their lives. They have ready smiles and happy to help when they can. If I think back to my first night, just 12 days ago, when I felt so vulnerable, I now find I sometimes go to sleep at night without even locking my door. I feel safe walking around here with the biggest danger being the footpath itself!
Anyway – writing this made me feel like another massage, so at 9.45pm I popped round for a foot massage, Im just home and my legs are tingling – another little lady with hands of steel – part of the massage was more an endurance test.
Speaking of endurance tests, I really ought to get some sleep as I am attempting my “stamina tests” tomorrow. These are timed exercises – 400m swim, 800m in mask and snorkel, tired diver tows etc etc all to be completed within certain limits to achieve points – will let you know how I got on!