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Regent Seven Seas Voyager Asian Cruise Blog #6

Ben Hall

I'm hurtling down the steep hill gathering speed and a sharp turn comes at me a little too quickly. As I brake into the corner, it occurs to me that I really don't want to end up in a Balinese hospital. I make the corner safely and then ride the brakes the rest of the way. This is the end of a Bali Bicycle tour which took us into the local villages and its people behind Padang Bai.

Our guide was a local farmer called Tomato - don't know why - and he showed us a slice of Balinese life which is far removed from the tourist image of five star hotels and backpacker joints down at Kuta. The ride in and out of Padang Bai is a challenge but the reward is an authentic snapshot of what life is really like for the locals.

We visited a couple of temples and found out just how important these are to the Balinese people who are mostly Hindu and along the way we were able to ride through traditional villages as parents nursed young babies and school kids in immaculate uniforms walk home from school.

I stopped to take a photo of a village street and and young mum and her little son wander out to say hi, and before long the whole family is out as well … husband, grandma, aunties and a few more kids and they seemed to regard us all with some humour.

We're at sea at the moment, and unfortunately we had to miss Sandakan as we were late leaving Bali which meant we missed our window of opportunity at high tide to enter Sandakan so we missed the Orang-utans at Sepilok. The upside is that it means we get an overnight in Manila and the Filipino crew get to spend more time with their families.

The crew work so hard that very few people have complained about missing Sandakan, which is a good thing.

We have a butler as we're in a penthouse suite and Bejoy tells us he and his crew of Indian butlers are out on the town tomorrow night .. so look out Manila!

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