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Phespirit goes to Bali
Sanur     September 2004

This was unfinished business for Phespirit. He had originally arranged to go to Bali for the second leg of his March 2003 tour around southeast Asia, also calling at Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. On the 7th October 2002 he paid his deposit; on the 12th October 2002 two car bombs exploded in Kuta, killing 202 people. A misfortune for Phespirit; a tragedy for the victims, their families and the island of Bali.

In the wake of the bombings, the U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office advised against all non-essential travel to Bali - effectively compelling all British travel companies to abandon the island. Phespirit resents being denied the right to use his own judgement, particularly in an isolated and unprecedented case like this which had arguably made Bali the safest place on the planet in the immediate aftermath, so he was doubly determined to go there at the earliest opportunity. Eighteen months later he made it, flying twelve hours from London to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he transferred for the three hour hop down to Denpasar.

So what did he do in Bali? Well, he pretty much had the run of the place. Foreign visitors were so few in number as to be unnoticeable. Tourist hotspots which before October 2002 would have been relentlessly overwhelmed by tour groups were all but deserted in 2004. Phespirit aimed to see as much as possible, from the east to the north to the south to the centre, the temples and towns, valleys and volcanoes. The most wonderful place was the sea temple of Tanah Lot where crowds of people gather to watch the sun go down. Despite the rampant commercialisation around the site it still creates an air of silent infectious serenity during the pinky-orange crepuscular moments before darkness.

On days when all he wanted to do was relax by the sea, Phespirit was set fair at the Grand Bali Beach in Sanur. The hotel has lots of space, clean and comfortable rooms, good food, good service, reassuring security, no hassles, no worries, an excellent location on the beach, and it didn't break the bank.

How can the world have given up paradise for fear? Disasters can strike anywhere and any time, but Bali remains as peaceful, friendly, welcoming and above all safe as it has ever been. Now is the time to see.

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