SO FAR… (Or Bali Belly and bulls!)


By Katrina Griffiths

So far on this trip, I have to say, everything has gone pretty well. Travelling in Indonesia can be hard going but nothing has been tooo bothersome.

We haven’t had too many mozzie bites, the girls have pretty much mastered the art of using a squat toilet without weeing all over their shoes, and have overcome their horror at the state of some of the squalid public toilets. We have had a dose of worms, but Combantrin is in ready supply so “tidak apa apa”, and I know there will be further use of worming tabs as our adrenaline junkie has taken to licking dogs in greeting and every now and again will even lick shoes left outside restaurants (ohhh why why why why why?). Believe me I KNOW how horrifying this is to imagine! This kid gives me a heart attack about every five minutes.

As a tourist, I don’t expect to pay “local price” except for in supermarkets and warungs however I do think that I am entitled to the “tourist price” in other

places. There seems to be another special price called the “Look here she comes lets rip her off”, and that’s the special price for me. I cant help but be reminded of the Harry Enfield sketch, the one where he says to the posh lady who spends a fortune on junk in his shop, “I saw you coming”.

I am also the only one so far who has had a real “Bali Belly” crisis, which struck me early on New Years eve, in the middle of a torrential monsoonal downpour. That morning, I decided that it was imperative to get to a particular resort on the other side of the island as I’d heard it had WIFI. I set out with my backpack and my laptop and a vague idea as to where I was going. I was as happy as Larry (whoever he was) and not particularly concerned with details like directions or distances. About 2 km into my journey the first pain struck and I realised at that moment that I needed to find a toilet. ASAP.

It seemed to me that I had actually come too far to turn back and my best bet would be to carry on, as surely I must be nearly there.  So I walked on a bit further until all of a sudden I was in deep trouble and anyone who has ever been caught short with Bali belly knows exactly what I am talking about. Here I am in the middle of the road with my legs crossed over each other talking to myself like a weirdo saying things like “Turn back! OH my god! Bloody Hell! No don’t! Keep going! I cant!  Shut up!!!!!!!!!!!”

I seriously didn’t know what to do. Should I run into the jungle and hide? As disgusting as that seems, I would have done so had I thought that I wouldn’t get caught.  Even though there was no one around and the rain was lashing down, I would put money on it that as soon as I went behind a tree a crowd would materialise out of nowhere and they would all laugh at me before escorting me off their island. Oh the shame!!!

Eventually I flagged down a motorcyclist who directed me to a narrow muddy pathway that cut through the jungle to the right. I must have looked terrible.

My legs were wobbling and my face was the contorted picture of a pasty, sweaty, grimacing tourist who has been eating way too much. The cyclist could probably hear me swearing to myself loudly as he approached and figured I was completely mad too.  So down the slippery muddy pathway surrounded by jungle I slid… in my thongs in the rain, all alone except for some pigs that ran past me squealing and then I slipped over. The whole time I was thinking, “this is madness, I am a complete idiot and this could not possibly get any worse!” when, there in the distance through the trees I spotted a building. I had no idea if it was the one I was after but it was a building nonetheless and would likely have a bathroom. OH Thank goddddd for that!

And then …


Right there in my path was a bull and it was looking straight at me.

I nearly shit myself. (Seemed to be the theme of the day!) Into the jungle I ran like the clappers, like Laura Dern in Jurassic Park, although she only had a dinosaur to deal with whereas I had a bull AND Bali belly.

Since I am the one writing this story, we know for sure that I survived. I lived to tell the tale even though I really did think that I might die a death usually reserved for matadors. Miraculously I emerged from the jungle in just the right place, in one piece, and up to my thighs in mud.  Once I had regained my composure, I walked into the hotel restaurant just like a regular citizen and politely asked the first person I saw, “May I use your bathroom please?”

PS Many of you may wonder why on earth I went alone in the rain in the first place, well, I really needed to get online and make contact with a few people.

As it was, I managed to do my one and only status update on facebook before the internet cruelly dropped out…

PPS The bull was a cow. A pet. The thing is, it had MASSIVE horns and it looked angry and I swear I saw steam coming from its nostrils. I think I need to some time on a farm and learn the difference.