“I am never, as long as I live, stepping foot in Kuta ever again. EVER!’ I tell John after a day at Kuta’s new and glitziest mall ‘Beachwalk’ which should come with a sign saying: ‘check your soul at the door.’
I should have known to be suspicious when I took Alula to the loos – brand spanking new and already the locks were falling off, the floor was some weird fake brick linoleum and there were signs warning people not to squat on the toilet seats (actually Alula does need reminding because once a colonic therapist told her she should squat to poo, so she does. Everytime*). But you know what I’m saying. The place is like Hugh Heffner – from the outside it’s had a lot of work done, enough to attract the young and big breasted, looking for some glamorous times, but once you get past the dubious cosmetic work it’s gross and shoddy and corrupted on the inside.
Beachwalk was filled with crazed holiday makers. Who goes on holiday to shop in a mall that has all the same brands as you can get in your home town at more expensive prices? Who does that? Who, in fact, goes on holiday to Kuta? WHO???? My brain demanded an answer to this seemingly unfathomable question. If you holiday in Kuta please for the love of GOD email me and tell me why.
Back to the mall. There was this tinny elevator music which pierced my brain like blunt fork tines. Repeatedly. Violently. Until I wanted to smack a real fork repeatedly into my ear drums to make it stop.
Every single shop assistant had been replaced with manic robots programmed to bounce up to you at the door, grin and then follow you, standing over your shoulder as you tried to browse. And most annoyingly, none of them had been programmed to understand that the subtle subtext of ‘I’m good thanks’ is actually ‘Fuck the fuck off.’
I was not feeling the Christmas cheer. I was feeling like I wanted to hurl myself into the three-inch deep pond and drown myself. And then the choir started up and I almost did.
Alula of course wanted to play in the hellzone. Sorry Kidzone. Where a water feature had been set up with one stinking toilet changing room beside it. John and I stood frozen in mutual horror at the chlorinated, hazlight lit area, ringed on all sides by plexiglass. The shudder rode up my spine.
‘Why is this so grim?’ I shouted to John over the screaming competing Guantanamo soundtracks of techno pop and arcade game back noise.
‘Because it smells like a UK swimming pool.’
Alula was undeterred and went careering in. There weren’t even any seats for parents to watch.
So I do want I normally do in times like these – look for booze. There was none. So I do want I normally do in times like these when there’s no booze. I grabbed my Kindle and immersed myself in a book, thanking god for authors for creating worlds I can escape into (even worlds involving murder and psychotic drug-fuelled crime sprees) – worlds that are infinitely nicer than Beachwalk.
Alula then needed a wee. I hustled her into the ONLY ladies toilet for the entire ground floor food court. And guess what? There were only three cubicles. The queue was out the door.
‘This is because stupid men designed this stupid hell hole,’ I hissed to Alula while people started edging away from me in the line. ‘Only a man would think to design a mall with only three toilets for women. A stupid man or a woman-hating stupid man. Either way said stupid man should be forced to lie down while all the women in this place who need a pee squat on his head.’
I left that mall loathing in no particular order: men, Christmas, shopping, consumerism, elevator music, Topshop and the whole world.
Tis the season to be merry. Good will to all men.
Bah humbug. And screw you Beachwalk.
* I feel the need to make clear that I did not take Alula for a colonic. We had a friend who was a colonic therapist (is that the word? It sort of suggests your back bottom needs its own black leather couch and some trauma counselling). She told Alula the correct way to poo was by squatting, so now she always crouches on the toilet seat for number twos. Combine that with the fact at Green School she is used to using a compost toilet with no flush and you can picture what our toilet looks like at home after she’s done with it.**
**I’m sure she’s going to really appreciate this being in print when she’s an adult. Sorry darling.