21st March – Nyepi

Today is Nyepi, a day in which Bali shuts down completely.  No outside electricity, ATM’s, or stores are open.  All windows are boarded up and their are extreme noise level rules.  On the streets, Tourist Police navigate the roads to make sure the foreign visitors keep to their rules, while the hotels and hostels run on skeleton staff to keep the customers happy and inside.  Even if that means putting bike locks on the doors.

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Thanks to the crazy night previous, I just took the excuse of not being allowed to leave as an incentive to sleep in till noon, only dragging myself out of bed around 10 to scarf down breakfast (I decision I would come to appreciate in later hours) before crawling back in.  Pretty much everyone was doing this, so at least our hostel managed to maintain the low volume until 1.

Most people ended up in the front reception area since it had the most chairs and tables, and after last night the jacuzzi area was pretty dirty and there was no one to clean it.  I managed to run into old friends Sandra and Jo, and we were later joined by Ollie and Eddie, and a few other gentlemen they’d befriended during the drunken antics of last night.

It was a pretty great atmosphere, with the only hiccup being a guest who unfortunately had an allergic reaction to a bite, resulting in some very panicked staff and neighbours trying to get their hands on a car/bus that could take him to the hospital (and getting permission from the people patrolling the streets since it wasn’t technically ‘life threatening’).  However, things started going downhill after 3pm and the kitchen opened up for lunch hours.  Kayun had clearly not quite figured out how they were doing food, as although they had a much smaller menu, there didn’t seem to be much order – what you ordered and when you ordered it seemed to have no bearing, and the amount of food coming out of the kitchen suggested the chef was making one meal at a time.

So, with 70% of the hostel ordering lunch, no apparent order for it coming out, and extremely slow service resulted in people waiting…and waiting.  I ordered my meal at 3:30…and didn’t get it until 5 – and even then, I only got it because someone else sent their version back.  The rice on the plate was also uncooked, and the majority of our table was complaining of their food being lukewarm, if not outright cold.

When people had been waiting close to 3 hours (and the kitchen was closed for new orders), it got even crazier.  People who made orders an hour before were getting their food before 3 hour waiters – because they were hanging around the kitchen door and grabbing food as it was walked out.  I had a second dish ordered but just cancelled it after 3 hours – I honestly didn’t even want it anymore.

In the evening, Ollie decided to brave the dirty waters of the jacuzzi pool, and everyone else followed him just to cool down.  When the noise levels pushed the majority out of the front room, my dorm room turned into music central, with a full own musical powow including a guitar camped out until 2am.  Not fantastic for me, as I had to endure it for a good 2 hours while trying to sleep – but better than some of the other rooms, who had been woken up the previous night by people having sex in the beds next door!

All in all – think changing back to Kayun Downtown was the right decision, as it meant I got to have conversations and some air conditioning instead of a pool.  Everyone I actually hung around with in Bali was in this hostel today, and the only real issue was food.  In hindsight I should have hit up a shop the previous day and bought some snacks to get me through, but was caught off guard by how quickly they shut.

If you’re ever in Bali for Nyepi, keep that in mind.  Everyone starts shutting down on the 20th, and there’s no guarantee the food at the hostel will be any good, so consider grabbing some instant noodles just in case!

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About Batale

I am an aspiring writer - though since I haven't written anything original in about 2 years, so calling me a writer is like calling a man who makes dinner every night a 5 star chef. I started this blog to force me to write. From the 1st January 2013, I intend to update this blog every day. If nothing interesting happens, I'll write about something that does interest me, whether that is a movie, a book, something I've heard about, or even some of my stories growing up.
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