To The TPA Readership…

Dear readers,

Apologies for personally not having updated this blog for some time. I know you’ve been missing my semi-regular ironic musings on sport, despite the content having become increasingly less about sport and more about whatever topic manages to elicit enough bile  from within me to hastily pen an ill-reasoned opinion piece. Peter FitzSimons, for example.

But I pledge to have a batch of fresh articles up over the next couple of weeks for you to feast your insatiable, free-loading eyes upon. After all, the NBA playoffs are here and that’s always an entertaining lark, while we are edging closer to the Ashes series in England – and I’ve already ghost-written an article on how Dave Warner accidentally stumbles into an embarrassing ‘cottaging‘ scenario while sight-seeing in South London after a 5-0 series loss.

Then there’s rugby league and AFL to think about… and don’t think I’ve matured enough to stop writing about the stupid off-field drunken/group sex-oriented dramas those blokes get themselves into on a (literal) weekly basis, because I haven’t.

So sit tight in your office cubicles, CityRail trains, or where-ever you may be while reading this, and rest assured that The Public Apology, as you know it, still exists.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Edwards, The Public Apology chief editor and founder

The Bali Journals (Part Eight)

Al McClintock’s ridiculous re-telling of one rugby league fan’s descent into madness while searching for Braith Anasta’s wedding continues. Read on for Part Eight of this epic series…

PART EIGHT: GILI TRAWANGAN/LOMBOK

Shame has forced us from the island!

Mad Dog only emerged from his slumber this morning and had little to no memory of the events that unfolded yesterday evening. He mumbled something about ‘Blue Lagoon’ then demanded breakfast. I fear he is losing it. When we did leave the room in search of food it became apparent the rest of the island was not suffering from such memory loss. Smirking glances and poorly hidden laughter followed us everywhere.

“Are you feeling better today Mr. Donny?” the young scallywag who lured us to our accommodation on the first day asked me when he saw us in the street. The genuine concern in his eyes was what put me over the edge. This tiny little grifter is obviously no stranger to tourists coming over and getting messed up, so when he becomes genuinely concerned for one’s safety you know you have crossed the line.

Regrets, I’ve got a few

On the bright side it appears Mad Dog didn’t save my life. I asked the young fella what actually happened and it appears a couple of locals from a nearby boat jumped off and came to my aid when they saw me floating around like an unflushed stool. Mad Dog apparently hadn’t even noticed I was in trouble, so caught up was he in his own drug-induced haze. He gave me no more information than that and scampered off to harangue some newcomers fresh of the boat, before I could ask of the gentlemen (or gentle ladies?) responsible for saving me. I guess my thanks will have to be left drifting in the breeze, or in the note on my soiled board-shorts I am forced to leave behind.

Perhaps leaving was an overreaction, but the combination of sobriety after a few days of partying, and the embarrassment of almost drowning in a couple of metres of water whilst off my chops, has left me with a less than overwhelming desire to remain here. Plus there are so many more beautiful places within spitting distance we may as well head somewhere else. We have decided to go to Lombok! The mysterious Islamic Island with a smoking volcano and white peppercorn beaches (I have been told).

“So where does ‘Lonely Planet’ say we should go next?”

We were accosted almost immediately upon reaching the wharf by a pony-tailed fellow named Sonny. He swooped in and swept us off our feet and before we knew it, here we are, on our way to his mate’s place on the slopes of Mt.Rinjani– The Great Volcano.

I write this on the boat ride over. My heart lifts as the Gili’s fade into the background. I feel destiny approaching…

*  *  *  *  *

Later:

Lombok is… interesting. The first thing I noticed was that the people aren’t quite as friendly here. Not unfriendly, but there is definitely an underlying edge to how they perceive you that doesn’t quite sit at ease with me. The motorcade of young men with assault rifles as we drove from Bangsal to our accommodation did nothing to dispel this sensation either. Our driver, who had to this point been driving like a character from Grand Theft Auto, had a sudden new found appreciation for the road rules when we encountered that lot. I don’t blame him. He said something and laughed when they had finally all passed, but I’ll be damned if I know what it was. “Thank fuck for that!” probably.

Much like Bali, I was amazed how the landscape transforms from barren to luscious green in the blink of an eye. What the fuck kind of micro-climates do they have here? I need a meteorologist – I need Tim Bailey.

Bailey: Australia’s premier meteorologist

Our accommodation is substandard, but it is only temporary. Sonny’s mate clearly doesn’t care too much for house-keeping given his place is only a stop-gap before climbing the mountain. Tomorrow we begin our trek, but this afternoon we were taken to a nearby waterfall to pass some time. Our guide was never without a cigarette, and even more impressively never out of breath. I assume he is some sort of machine fueled by tar and if he ever stops smoking he will completely break down, melting black into the earth like the Witch of Oz.

I indulged in some much needed Misogi under the ‘falls, washing the sins of the Gili’s away, and felt a new man on the walk back. Great excitement came in the form of some monkeys! A family of them! Our guide seemed very uneasy, but I could have watched them play for hours. They fled as soon as they became aware of our presence, but the brief encounter excited me no end. MONKEYS! I fricken love monkeys!!!

We now retire to bed for our early morning assault on the volcano. Despite the heat I think I may have to sleep fully clothed. This place has bed bugs written all over it…

By Al McClintock

Previously:

The Bali Journals (Part One)

The Bali Journals (Part Two)

The Bali Journals (Part Three)

The Bali Journals (Part Four)

The Bali Journals (Part Five)

The Bali Journals (Part Six)

The Bali Journals (Part Seven)