Reflections on bomb blast island

THIS weekend's bomb blast on the Indonesian island of Bali has torn the image of this popular holiday paradise to shreds. NICK RICHARDS remembers one holiday on the island in Kuta – the scene of the devastating nightclub bomb.

By Nick Richards

THIS weekend's bomb blast on the Indonesian island of Bali has torn the image of this popular holiday paradise to shreds.

NICK RICHARDS remembers one holiday on the island in Kuta – the scene of the devastating nightclub bomb.

MAYHEM and carnage visited Bali on Saturday night – one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Far East.


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Like thousands of other Brits I had heard that Bali, and in particularly Kuta, was a place full of fun and people simply looking for a good time.

Bali may attract thousands of Brits every years, but the number of Australians on the island far outweighs them.

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The island is only two hours by plane from Darwin and no more than twice that time from Sydney or Melbourne.

Bali is the Australian party island – this small chunk of South East Asia serves as rites of passage destination for many Aussies in the same way that Brits flock to Ibiza.

Some come for the weekend, others for longer, and the fact that many casualties of the bomb attack were fun-loving Australians is simply terrible.

The bomb blast on Saturday happened in Kuta Beach at the end of the main road, Kartika Plaza Street.

Most of the hotels are here and sit back from the main road overlooking the beach.

Kartika Plaza Street is a wonderful mix of stalls selling just about anything - massages, watches, baseball caps, toy guns, hair extensions, sunglasses – they're all available here.

On one memorable occasion I was making my way to Kuta Beach late on a Saturday night when I was offered an inflatable Pink Panther balloon!

I passed on the chance, but it kind of shows the good nature of the locals who love tourists.

Derided as an irritation by some tourists due to their continuous hawking of their goods –they are good-natured and have a real love affair of Australian culture.

On Kartika Plaza all the sunglasses' sellers adopt Australian names, which they emblazon across their large wooden-hinged cases.

As you walk down the road, they'll approach you with a "G'day mate" and open their glass cases up like a book in the hope of securing a deal.

'Paul Hogan' offered me glasses. My mate was seen to by 'Skippy'.

But with rooms at £5 a night, beer at £1 for a 750ml bottle of local brew Bintang, dozens of bars and clubs in Kuta and plenty of water sports at nearby Sanur, nobody really complains.

Saturday is the big party night where the fish restaurants fill up early before everyone heads in to Kuta beach, but at 11pm you'll find hundreds of tourists clambering around television screens – for the live transmission of English football.

Meanwhile Entrepreneurial cooks serve up meals from converted motorbikes, which instead of having space for a pillion passenger have space for a skillet to fry a portion of rice and vegetables upon.

Fresh pineapple is available on Kuta beach and they serve rice rather than fries in Kentucky Fried Chicken.

This is the Bali I along with hundreds of other tourists had known which will never be the same again after the weekend's dreadful events.

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