Visiting the site of the Bali Bombing

Sunday 11 July 2004 – Seminyak, Bali

Had a very good long sleep, helped with having obtained some ibuprofen for my headache, and woke feeling much better. Took some time over breakfast, then took the hotel’s free shuttle bus to Kuta Square. The driver helpfully pointed out the bombing site as we drove down bustling Jalan Legian.

Legian, Bali
Legian, Bali

I walked back up later. The site was just a small vacant block in the midst of the rampant Kuta development strip. The buildings either side must have been new, they appeared undamaged, quite large shops. There were tatty banners along the fence, plus a few personal mementos left by those who’d lost loved ones. A banner on the back wall said something about a peace garden. It was terribly banal and life bustled around, not taking much notice but as I walked past and glanced at the photos of the dead, I was fighting back tears.

Scooters at Kuta
Scooters at Kuta

I did see some t-shirts being worn, saying ‘Fuck the Terrorists”. I think I’ll seek a couple out to take home. Had lunch at a very ordinary tourist place in Legian – not a patch on yesterday’s nasi goreng from a warung. And three times the price, with not a fried egg in sight!

The crush on Kuta beach
The crush on Kuta beach

Spent a relaxing couple of hours by the pool before joining a family staying at the hotel for a complimentary transfer to Jimbaran Bay to watch the sunset and have a meal at a seafood café (literally) on the beach. Sunset was gorgeous and also quite close to the airport, so sunset with numerous takeoffs and landings. Jimbaran Bay is also home to a large fleet of traditional looking fishing boats – all terribly picturesque.

The seafood restaurant was, of course, a tourist trap, charging inflated prices for meals – although a feast of calamari and prawns still only cost around $50 (RP300,000). The restaurants are lined up along this stretch of beach with tourists bussed or driven in from their hotels. Still, not a bad experience.

Seminyak Sunset
Seminyak Sunset

Today was also the day I became a millionaire – at least and Indonesian one! Changing AUD$200 resulted in the princely sum of RP1,288,000. The small bookshop where I did the exchange seemed genuinely stretched having to find this amount of cash, doling it out in RP20,000 notes, resulting in a very fat wallet indeed.

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