Wow, I'm still nursing a hangover I think. Can't seem to get my head to attach to my shoulders. Friday afternoon we went to Kuta, about 15 minutes from Sanur, for some dancing/drinking fun. ...but first things first...
I'm stoked on kiting...it's so much fun, I think someone may make it illegal soon because it's too much fun. I went out last Thursday on Mike's 12m Naish Helix as there wasn't a ton of wind, but there was enough to get me going. I did three runs over the course of about 2 1/2 hours in front of the Inna Grand Bali here in Sanur. They seem to have one of the best (and widest) beaches around for pumping up and launching kites, and the beach patrol keeps spotting us lugging our gear down the path - they come running up and tell us to kite in front of their hotel. Maybe it sells them some beach chair rental? ...we should be getting a cut, I think!
The first run was not pretty. I was a little too gung ho and kept diving the kite too hard, which resulted in several face plants in the water, finishing up with getting dragged a bit on the sea bottom, as it was low tide, and you can walk out about 100 yards in water that varys in depth from 6 inches to 4 feet. I was on the 6 inch part! Ouch!
Mike picked me up and wrung me out and told me to stop being such a sissy. (Not really, but he should have!) I hit the water so hard with my face that I thought water had gone into my eye sockets and out through my ears and nose...that hurts!
I attempted another run right away, and it was great. I eased up a bit on diving the kite, and ended up going down wind in several short bursts...I kept dropping my butt back into the water, but I was really getting the feel for how much to dive the kite given the wind conditions and where to put my feet/body. It doesn't look so difficult to do when you watch someone like Mike do it, but for me, it's been tough! I also have no board skills whatsoever, no skateboarding, surfing, wake boarding, nothing! I had a beach lesson in Vietnam from Mike, and I think that made all the difference. We put the board onto the sand and he stood in front of me while I sat behind the board with my feet in the straps. I grabbed his arm with both my hands and he simulated the kite pulling me, with varying levels of tension, so that I got a feel for how to really use my legs and hips to stay on top of the board. Before I was expecting the kite to do all that for me, I wasn't using my legs really at all, except for straightening my front leg and bending the back one. After that lesson, I've been getting some short rides in!!!
So the last run was freakin' awesome.
There are several man-made, stone retaining walls jutting out from the beach, which as a result becomes a series of several small beaches. You can't walk along the water all the way down the length of the beach, you have to walk up onto the sand and around these stone walkways. They're in place to stop the sand from eroding which would mean the end of the beach entirely. This has, to this point made me nervous. If I complete a run and end up beyond the first retainer wall, I have to land the kite on another part of the beach...most of which have lots of boats tied up or lots of people on them, or they are very very narrow, with no place to land at all!
So, after my first attempt on the third run, I was hauling ass across the water and I could hear Mike shouting "Keep going, keep going!" When I got over the shock of how fast I was going and the feeling of walking on water (!!!!), I glanced toward the beach to see where I was, and all I could see were tons of boats and people flying by! I was well beyond the first retainer wall, and almost at the second one. Our hotel is right behind the narrow beach between the 3rd and 4th walls. That's when panic hit. And I did my patented KimPlant, face first into the water. I was a bit worried about 1) wrecking Mike's kite if I crashed it onto the rocks, 2) entangling a bunch of little kids in my lines, 3) wrapping myself around a boat, 4) a combination of 1-3. I finally recovered enough to get to the end of the run, and ended up fine on the beach, despite the throngs of teeny brown kids who started swimming out toward me when I landed the kite in the water just off the beach. They're so curious about the gear...I don't think they've seen kiting here before. Lots of people were taking pictures of us and the kites. The lines are so sharp though when the kite is in the air, it could slice someone in half, or take their hand off...that's mostly what made me nervous.
I was completely exhausted after that, so I sat my happy ass on the beach while Mike walked back up and grabbed the other kite and gear off the beach...what a trooper! Thanks Mike! ...did I mention we have video??? =) The "kite cam" attaches to the kite and takes video of the kiter...pretty slick! It gets beautiful ariel shots of the beach and sea. We're not able to use the Mac right now as there's not wifi anywhere here, so we're paying for internet at an internet cafe - tough to post pics as it takes too long. We'll post pics and videos when we leave here, so you'll have to wait until probably August...sorry! You could talk me into emailing you a couple pics and short video clips if you ask nicely.
We treated ourselves to a night out after that fantastic run...well, the next evening. We went to Kuta for some dancing. Kuta is like most typical spring-break-type places - LAME! I say that because there are WAY too many people all over the place. The beach is packed, the water is packed, the streets are all lined with shops selling basically the same things...my basic nightmare. I prefer places that are quiet and laid back. The clubs were fun I suppose, but overrated. I'd never seen a "foam party", and hope to never see one again. It was one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. The area where the foam party takes place is inside a nightclub, and it looks like a hockey rink, but there are waterfalls of soap suds flowing from several places overhead. Several things come to mind: Did people wash before entering this area? How do you keep the soap out of your eyes? Why would you want to get your self and your clothes covered with soap when you know you can't wash it off afterwards? ...you could spot people sitting at the bar looking like they were covered with shaving cream...it was gross.
I've never seen so much ass crack in my life...all the guys seem to be out in their boardies and no shirt, which is cool, but come on, crack kills! =) Everywhere I went, I was surrounded by coin slots...it was like Vegas. Well, no, more like Reno or Atlantic City. Anyway, the music wasn't that great, at Bounty (where the foam party was) or at Paddy's next door. Paddy's, however, had a funny performance by their so called "sexy dancers". They were 4 girls and 4 guys - all of whom were relatively cute, but the guys were all wearing speedos, and when they got out onto the stage, they were doing bodybuilding poses! LOL I've never seen that at a club before - it was hilarious. After they finished, the bartender got on stage and that was great. He was dancing with a metal drink shaker and doing all these tricks with it, such as rolling it all the way up one arm, across his back, and down the other arm. He had a little safety crew with him, and I wondered why until he lit up a liquor bottle full of fuel that had a wick coming out the neck. He was flipping the bottle all over the place! Then he lit up another one, and started flinging them around - he was really good! ...it made me miss my poi terribly.
So we headed to Deejay Cafe at 2am when they opened, and I was surprised that there wasn't anyone else there. That didn't stop me from getting my groove on! The music was fantastic - house and techno - and the place was huge, with the back wall completely covered from floor to ceiling with multicolored lights, kind of like an installation I saw at Burning Man, the Disorien installation. We ended up leaving at about 4:30am and walked back to our hotel. We were awoken at 7am by the hotel workers tearing out some cement near our room. WTF??? My head hurt so much I was unable to lift it from the pillow, which was made of stone, I think. On top of that, we had the WORST bed I've ever slept in. It was a piece of foam on top of a couple boards in the shape of a "+", so the mattress slipped down in between the boards. My butt was about 6 inches lower than my head, so my back was twisted up in the shape of an "s"...a lovely way to sleep when you're drunk/hungover. Ouch.
...by checkout at noon, I was very ready to get the hell out of Kuta. It's cool to check out, but definitely not my style. I'd rather be around lots of people when I choose, and the rest of the time be left to my peace and quiet, my isolated blanket in the sand, and my kiteboarding. Dancing in Kuta was fun, but there's definitely a ton of kids on the make, which is not my steeze either.
Did I mention that kiteboarding is just too much fun???
...it's ironic that I chose to title this blog "Kiteboarding Southeast Asia...con tequila por favor!"...you can't get a decent bottle of tequila here - it's quite sad. I've almost given up drinking completely (except for Friday night) because of the lack of Cazadores. Beer is too filling, and I can't bring myself to imbibe Jose...I'd rather beat myself over the head with my board than deal with a Cuervo hangover.