On Sunday I met up with Justin for my bungee jump at AJ’s, but sadly, no AJ. He was there earlier, but not now. However, we did get him on the phone and he agreed to let me break ALL THE RULES and do a jump with my camera, much to the astonishment of the bungy staff. Hee hee – it’s not WHAT you know…
First Justin’s girlfriend Natalie gaffered my camera to my hand…
(If you look in the background of this shot, you’ll see a bungy menu that includes one called ‘THE FIRE BALL’. Yes – they set you on fire before you jump. Seriously. ‘MOTO MADNESS’ has you going over on a motorbike. I kid you not.)
And then I jumped…
Here’s the video of it:
As I had my camcorder attached to my hand and my glasses attached to my head with tape, I look doubly ridiculous. This was so I could film a line for the trailer for the second series of the TV show – yes, I still have to convince the Vogons at Nat Geo that it’ll be a good idea to commission another series. YGADS! Anyone want to commission a TV show for a fiver?
Funnily enough, you can quite clearly hear me swear that I would ‘never’ do a bungee jump again after this jump in New Zealand back in 2002…
…so you can gauge my commitment to the cause of Series 2, even if most of you Brits and Yanks haven’t seen Series 1 yet (hold on, it’s coming!).
Taking of Series 1, that night Justin and I headed around to scouse Paul’s gaff for some beers and telly – specifically, my TV show which was being screened here in Indonesia. Narcissistic, I know, but I’ve only seen half of the episodes, and I was hoping it was one I hadn’t seen before (it wasn’t, it was the first episode, bah!).
After that Paul (who, obviously from being out of The Pool for too long, is a red) wanted to watch Chelsea kick Liverpool’s arse. Strangely enough, Liverpool won 2-0, but then stranger things have happened – I mean, Stephen Hawking has had, what, three wives?
It was a good night, and the next morning I was up bright and breezy to claim my computer back off Madi and head off on my errands. First up, I headed over to AJ’s to meet with Justin and a guy from the UK called Simon who Justin reckoned was ‘the guy’ to fix my laptop. Simon took down the serial number and said he’d give me a call tomorrow.
Justin and I grabbed some breakfast with a Scottish guy called Dennis who was pretty hilarious and (like me) a huge fan of the Viz. I thought it might be an idea to introduce him the OH SO WRONG joys of K— and the Gang. Woo haha. Ha. Then we headed back to the Bungy place: AJ was going back to France this afternoon, this would be my last chance to bend his ear…
Thankfully, the man himself appeared soon afterwards and I got to sit down and have a good chat with him. AJ Hackett is one of the guys who put bungee jumping into the global subconscious – mostly by his audacious (and illegal) jump off the Eiffel Tower back in the eighties. After over three million jumps (and no fatalities – yet!) his bungee platforms have spread out from his home of New Zealand to Australia, Malaysia, Germany, France, Las Vegas and beyond. His jump in Macau, China is the highest fixed commercial bungee in the world according to Guinness Book of Records.
Having done hundreds of jumps himself, he’s only had one close call, and that was when he plummeted off a helicopter at the wrong height for his length of cord: he smashed into the sea way, way too fast and did himself a proper mischief: breaking a bunch of bones and leaving him with some pretty nifty scars.
Oh, and ‘bungy’ is the Kiwi spelling, apparently – don’t blame me!!
I snagged myself a great interview for the TV show and afterwards, I put forward my proposition: a 400ft AJ Hackett bungy jump in Liverpool – with my Anna as His Girl Friday to run the show. AJ’s eyes lit up on seeing where I had in mind. He had been looking for a suitable site in the UK for years, but never found anywhere…
So yes, my funky little city, if bungee comes to Liverpool, you know who to thank 😉
I said my thanks and my farewells and headed off to the nearby Benoa port and marina to scope out another way of getting to Timor – nah – all the ferries leave from Padangbai a good few hours up the coast of Bali, and you have to island-hop your way there: via Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores. Well, at least I’d get to see a bit more of jolly old Indonesia AND WHATEVER COULD BE WRONG WITH THAT?
In fact, Indonesia has really really grown on me during this trip. I have to confess, when I was here a few years ago, I didn’t really warm to the place. I was on my own (as per usual) Bali just rained every day and compared with Thailand the beaches are blurgh (I’m not a surfer I guess), Java was dull and overcast, the memories I have of Sumatra involved copious amounts of mud and rather large and scary spiders and the LOCAL FOOD here is so damn awful it makes me *SHUDDER* just to think about it.
This time, with friends old and new, good cheer, hilarious escapades and copious amounts of alcoholic lubrication, I have had an utter utter blast: and I’m only a week into this little layover. However, the local food is still so lousy it makes me cry – if you like luke warm steamed rice and cold fish heads (no, seriously) then Indonesia will be your culinary delight. Then again, if you honestly like luke warm steamed rice and cold fish heads you’re a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. I think the food here is what goes on in the head of a rabid Anglophobe French food critic when he lies back and thinks of England.
Other countries where the local food is AWFUL include:
- All of the Caribbean except Jamaica
- Most of Africa
- The vast majority of The Middle East (with the notable exceptions of Lebanon and Turkey).
But naff nosh aside, all I can say is this: don’t think for a SECOND that I’m not having the time of my life doing this adventure. Yes, there are lows: not seeing Mandy for a year, being chucked in jail in The Congo for no good reason, losing my hat, the depressing lack of w00t from the TV show, the crazy bus drivers, the deadly air-conditioning etc. but compared with the highs, the fun, the excitement, the randomness, the sheer joy of having a clear and defined mission to do and a blast to be had, I really cannot complain: ordinary life just doesn’t compare.
Justin picked me up from the port and together with his girlfriend Natalie (she who sellotaped my glasses to my head yesterday), we headed out to find THE LOST CROCODILES OF BALI!!
What what? Yes, any naturalists amongst you will swear that there are no native crocs on Bali, and you’d be right. But these snappers aren’t locals. In the 1990s a Balinese theme park was opened – a mini Alton Towers – with Balinese sculptures, a music hall, an artificial volcano(!) and a rollercoaster or two. Unfortunately, ten years ago the owner went bankrupt (or done a runner) and the bank left the theme park to go to rack and ruin. It has since been slowly – and magnificently – taken back by the jungle: a lost city which will hopefully bamboozle and confound future archaeologists… they made their sculptures out of concrete?
But there was the question of what to do with the crocodiles that had been shipped in and put in a crocodile pit for the thrill and amusement of the discerning public (knowing the Balinese, a daily live goat feeding show wouldn’t be out of the question). Well, this being Indonesia, the answer was simple: they just left them there to die.
But die they did not; fed for years by kindly locals throwing roadkill into the pit (and turning to cannibalism when the locals forgot about them), we felt it was high time to give these poor reptilian castaways a break. So we bought them some KFC.
Now in pretty much every country in the world (apart from the UK) you can choose between two types of KFC coating: original and spicy. I’m quite partial to original myself, but I was quite interested in seeing what these starving crocs preferred. So with a bucket of the Colonel’s finest (and some local cooked chicken as a control) Justin, Natalie and I joined forces to conduct an essencial scientific experiment – original or spicy – what will the crocs prefer?
Sadly, our expedition came to nowt. The crocs had been saved and taken to the zoo a few months ago (presumably as a result of the same magazine article that peaked our interest) and so I was left with a croc-less pit, a bucketful of fried chicken and egg all over my face. Well, at least the chicken didn’t go to waste 😉