Bitesize Ep 52 - Pt. 2 of a Trip to Bali. Charlie Chatter

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode Charlie continues to update us on his personal life. Join him as he travels through Bali before flying back to England to start a new chapter of his life as a Brit back in Blighty. Listen in to find out where he is going.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 052 - Transcript

Hey there, Charlie. Here, as always. Just in case you forgot my incredibly important name. You could just think of King Charles if you want to remember it. And there we have my legal name. It's in my passport and not the king bit. Unfortunately or fortunately, considering the drama the royals are being faced with at the moment. Hmm. I don't want the drama, but I do want my own helicopter. Yeah. Tricky one. Remember the perks the head of state gets from a previous episode? I remember that he doesn't need a driving licence, and I think he could technically go on a mass murdering rampage and not be prosecuted because he's above all members of the court. So a judge's boss is the head of state, right? I mean, I know he doesn't actually get called every time they want to prosecute a criminal. Imagine how busy his phone would be. He'd be busier than a switchboard operator in the 19th century.

King Charles:

Judge 1:
Your Majesty, I have a citizen who hasn't paid for her TV licence. Is it?

King Charles:
Sorry, old chap. One second. Hello.

Judge 2:
Your Majesty, I have a citizen who claims to have tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They're seeming rather smug about it all. What shall I...?

King Charles:
Forgive me, Lord Bernard of Maldon, Please hold for one moment. Yes. What is it?

Judge 3:
You Majesty, we have a certain actress from across the pond still claiming to be a Duchess of Sussex. What shall we do?

King Charles:
Oh, good heavens. Why on earth would they ever give this job to a man? I can barely tie my own shoelaces together, let alone remember three different conversations at the same time. I should have written these down, but my ruddy pen is still not working. Right. Let's. Let's. Let's just go with hung, drawn and quartered on line one, a full pardon on line two and send the third person to Wakefield Prison for a few years. That ought to teach them a thing or two.

Sorry. Got a bit caught up in my thoughts there. Anyway, if you didn't listen to any of that episode about King Charles, then you might like to listen to Bitesize Episode 44. Did King Charles actually want the throne? But today we are talking about a completely different topic, one that is a million miles away from Buckingham Palace. Actually, let me see. And to be exact, we are 7747 miles away. And if you aren't great with your distances from Buckingham Palace, which you should be, you know, just like our times tables, we should keep these things on our fridge doors and, you know, glance at them as we get the milk. So, yes, if you don't know where 7747 miles away from Buckingham Palace is, I'm in Bali, in Indonesia. In the last bitesize episode, I told you about my arriving in this smoking, hot and friendly island. And today I'd like to continue telling you about my adventure. So let's imagine we are there now because I'll come clean and admit I'm no longer in Bali as of this recording, I'm using my my brain to go back in time to a time where I was not freezing my little titties off because I'm in England now and currently have two pairs of joggers on and a couple of fleeces as well. But yes, let's, let's get some sound effects for Bali to transport ourselves over 7000 miles, shall we?

Right. So welcome to Canggu, Bali, a rather hectic part of the island that might have more mopeds than people. I don't know. I would guess. A moped, a small motorbike that you put your legs together in front of the seat. Anyway, what else can I say about Canggu? It also has half a dozen instagrammable brunch spots on every single road. But I've got to say that in between the cafes, restaurants and spas, there are bars, but there are probably more spas, there's a lot to be desired. In between these places, there's a lot to be desired. For some reason, I was expecting the whole of Bali to be one big beautiful rice paddy field. But yeah. Slap me sideways and call me Sally. I can't see a single bit of tropical rainforest in this built up area of Bali. No, I knew I was coming to a more westernised area in Bali first, which has less of an authentic feel to it because we wanted to suss out the remote working options.

I feel I need to explain the strange sentence I just said before going on. I said Slap me sideways and call me Sally, which is a very long expression to suggest astonishment or amazement when you have just learned something that is almost unbelievable. And like the way that I used it, people use it in an ironic way because they should have really known that thing. Like I was stupid in hoping for rice paddy fields in an urbanised location. Now this phrase slap me sideways and call me Sally has loads of variations and might even be the origin of some shortened more common expressions that show a similar amount of surprise from hearing something new. So let's go through some of the amusing ones after explaining how this phrase came about. I mean, as always, you can't be sure, but the best origin story I have come across is that Sally was apparently a common name for a mule, donkey or ass, and this was in the southern states of the US a few hundred years ago. And to get these animals moving, what would you do? You'd slap them on the bum. And that is why one of the original sayings was Slap my arse and call me Sally. So it's like saying I'm a bit of a donkey or a light hearted way of calling yourself a fool. Poor donkeys. They're not known for their intelligence, are they? But, you know, they might be fooling us. So that phrase has also created other ones, such as Butter my butt and call me a biscuit or slap my forehead and call me stupid.

And a character in a well known British comedy series called Alan Partridge says Butter my Arse, which I would guess is a blend between slap my arse and call me Sally and butter my butt and call me a biscuit. And because his character is known for not liking Americans, he's perhaps making fun of an Americanism because it is from there, this phrase. But yeah, I also saw some way less common ones, but still quite fun. Let's see, we have: Well, love me tender and call me Elvis. Now thank you very much. I mean. Oh, thank you very much. I honestly just tried to Google how to do an Elvis impression for about 10 minutes and got nowhere. Oh, thank you very much. That's all I've got. Oh, thank you very much. Uh-huh, Uh-huh. That's awful, absolutely awful. That's annoying that, when you go down a rabbit hole on the Internet, you think you can learn something and then you end up realising I've just wasted a lot of time. But it's good to know when you should cut your losses. Admittedly, I was 10 minutes too late on that one. The next one is: well, shut my mouth and call me luggage, which is pretty random, isn't it? And the last one that I found that was amusing for me and maybe for you is: Well, feed me nails and call me Rusty, which I'll let you digest. Not the nails, because I don't want to call you Rusty unless your name is Rusty.

So anyway, people really have adapted it. That's my point. It's it's been played with. So hopefully you understand what I was meaning was that I was stupidly surprised that there wasn't a lot of nature in an urbanised area of Bali. But at least we've also learnt a few fun variations of a phrase. So let's see, we brunched in some incredibly inauthentic yet boujee places. Boujee is this kind of new word really that's come about in the last, let's say, five years. Or it's it's trending more now or maybe relevant people are using to just swap out for luxurious. It just really means luxurious. But yeah, we went to some nice boujee brunch places, did some work in a load of nice spots until we couldn't take the heat and then we'd head back home to our air conditioned accommodation to make the most of the fact that the accommodation was really nice and the communal pool as well. The other thing I noticed with the architecture, it's all very concrete heavy. Very modern and yeah, architecturally interesting. Then we would go for dinner either by going out to some well-reviewed places like you would, and still pay a quarter of the price that we're used to. Or we went to these places called warungs. A warung is the word for a type of small family owned eatery in Indonesia.

Apparently it can be a small business, be it retail, etc. but I only saw them as little restaurants and they varied massively. I mean, some were nothing more than like a hole in the wall selling a pot of noodles or rice. And then others were fully fledged Indonesian restaurants cooking up some delicious rendang curries and nasi ayam. Nasi is rice, ayam chicken, so it just means rice and chicken. But they do it well. Very tasty indeed. But before long we were ready to set sail to our next destination. Admittedly, we didn't need the sails up because we were going by taxi.

Oh yeah. This is worth mentioning. To get around day to day, we were going on the back of a moped driven by a moped driver, but because they only fit one person on, the done thing is to both order your own moped taxi at the same time and then wish your travel partner good luck and hopefully see them at the destination. It was actually really good fun being driven through the chaotic traffic. I did see quite a few western travellers with bandages on that looked like they had had an injury related to being on a moped. So I was very nervous to begin with. But I reckon the more dangerous thing is actually hiring one yourself, especially if you're inexperienced, because I hired one for a day in our next location, which was called Uluwatu because it was a quieter location on the coast, right at the bottom of the island. But still I was getting myself into more trouble with very few people on the roads, purely because I didn't have the experience that these moped taxi drivers did. So yeah, I really enjoyed putting my trust in these moped drivers, trying not to squeeze them to death with my thighs and at the end giving them a little thank you by bowing slightly with my hands in a little prayer position. Not saying 'namaste', but thinking it all the while.

Talking of which, Uluwatu is the place to go, if you like yoga. Namaste. Yoga. Right. Stacey dragged me along to a couple of yoga sessions and I've got to hand it to them. The yogis in Bali know how to create a nice studio with all that bamboo, palm trees and and tropical climate. It did feel a bit like I was stretching in a in a spiritual way. Sorry, a little bit of vomit just came up when I said that. Brits are generally pretty allergic to any talk about spirituality. I'm going to generalise and say guys are more allergic to this than girls in the UK. I do emphasise the word 'generally'. I've met loads who lap all of that up. But yeah, just saying. I'd go easy on that stuff until you know what the person opposite you thinks about it all. And if you're wondering, I think it comes from the humour. I think humour often encourages satire and with that comes a bit of no nonsense and no nonsense can often translate into I need facts and figures to make up my opinion, otherwise I disregard it. That's my 2 cents. It could be well off, but there you go. Where was I? Yes. So, you know, maybe go easy on anything spiritual with a British person until you know that they're into that kind of thing.

So whilst in Uluwatu, we spent our days doing yoga, going to the beach. Oh, I did some surfing because, you know, my middle name is Rad. Charles Rad Baxter. And we went to some lovely spas. I'll be honest. I got an inappropriate amount of massages. Stacey was like, You're coming for another one? Yeah. Shameless right here. I absolutely love it. I tried not to groan too loud because I've heard that is what can get you locked up. But at the same time, if I were a masseur or masseuse, I'd like to know that what I'm doing is nice, is being received well. I'm always confused about that. But yeah, we enjoyed the place we stayed at. It was actually my favourite by far, the accommodation that I'm talking about. And if anyone wants to go on holiday to Bali, I really, really recommend this particular place. I'll find it now. What was it called? Oh, yeah. Terra cottages, Bali. Terra cottages, t e r r a cottages. Beautiful place. I'd give them all the stars. All five of them. All five stars? Yes, five stars for Terra cottages.

Now, the next thing we did was apparently a cultural thing, but I don't know. I felt a bit strange about it. So we went to see what is called a Kecak ceremony or a Kecak fire dance. So, yeah, it's a fire dance that has a lot of chanting with it, which is steeped in tradition. But the whole set up seemed a little too touristy for me. I mean, the location was really impressive. It was on the side of a cliff overlooking the sunset, and the storyline was intriguing as well. But we were in these purpose built stadium-like seats and it was crammed with holidaymakers and the ticketing system just made me really conscious that I'm a bloody tourist. Yeah. So there was something about it that made me feel a tad uncomfortable. I guess if you were to imagine going to a Roman amphitheatre, but instead of the rows of stone benches, they had replaced them with seats from a modern cinema and popcorn was available before entering. It wasn't that extreme, but you can hopefully see where I'm coming from. So it wasn't for me. But my partner Stacey, she loved it. So take what you want from that. All right. Let's take a break. And when we come back to it, I'll tell you about our final destination. That was my favourite by far.

Okay, So you know the rice paddy fields I was hoping for that I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, well, a place called Ubud has some delightful ones. They were actually more impressive than I had imagined. The rice terraces were mesmerising, a feat of agricultural engineering. And also just really, really green. Like, so green. I wanted to be a cow. I wanted to moo at the top of my voice and eat it. Talking of cows, I don't want to brag, but I do do a great cow impression. Wanna hear it? What? You don't? Why not? Oh, because this is meant to be a podcast about British culture and British English. And. And you don't see how me doing an impression of a cow whilst telling you about my holiday in Bali is relevant to the theme of the podcast. How very dare you. Well, you know what I have to say to that? Mooo! Mooo! Mooo! Mooo!! Come on. That is good. Honestly, no sound effects. My own voice. Mooo!! Mooo!! No, Moo! I can't do that. Moo! Fucking hell. What am I doing? So back to it. Let's see. So in Ubud, there were great rice terraces, a few decent waterfalls, and the actual town centre or pedestrianised roads in the town centre area were by far my favourite. It felt like the West had had an arm wrestle with Ubud, but lost in a graceful way. So still lots of westernised things, but the place is keeping hold of the original culture.

Yeah, I saw a lot of handcrafted stone sculptures and wood works and. And paintings. Yes, paintings with incredible detail. We were actually taken to one art studio that encouraged local teenagers to come and learn how to paint after school, and some of them, who weren't even 16, had done some real masterpieces. And I know this isn't a Travel Guide podcast, but I again highly recommend our tour guide on that day. His company was called Genuine Bali Experience, and so our tour guide invited us for coffee and breakfast at his own family home compound where we met his wife and kids, his little baby, and he taught us all about the traditional layout in a typical family compound. And I'm saying compound instead of house because they usually have multiple houses built very closely together, all within an outer stone wall. It's really different. I've never never seen it in any other culture before. Admittedly, I've not travelled too much in Asia, but yeah, it was fascinating to me, so I was very happy to be able to ask all the questions I could to this local. So yeah, they have this outer stone wall and multiple generations of the family and like cousins and stuff live in these compounds together. So they have separate houses close together and then they have a kitchen per house, but it's separate from the house and the kitchens are all lined up next to each other in a different part of the compound.

And then they have a large percentage of the compound dedicated to the family temple, which is where their deceased family members lie. I'm not sure if they bury them or cremate them, but they they have shrines on display and they give offerings to them every single day. In fact, that was one of the first things I noticed that was unusual for me. The locals put out these small woven bamboo containers on the side of the road or, you know, on on top of their car dashboard or even by the till of a cafe or a small retail shop. And it's full of flowers, incense, spices and sometimes a bit of fruit or some sweet kind of food. And they do this multiple times a day to offer to the gods as a gesture of gratitude.

And and yeah, after speaking with our tour guide all day about the psychology of his friends and family, it really does seem like the default level of gratitude is so much greater in a Balinese person than a Brit that I would assume it has a dramatic effect on depression rates in the positive sense. Now, I don't doubt that more developed countries have more depression because they aren't focusing on trying to bring food to the table every single moment of the day so they have more time to mull over why they might not be happy every single moment of the day. But still, there's an undeniable positive feeling in the air in Bali, in my opinion, that, I would imagine, is a great repellent of depression and yeah, severe mood swings. So yeah, very interesting and I highly recommend experiencing it and definitely going to Ubud. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Oh, before I leave you, I forgot to say about our favourite day. For Stacey's birthday, she wanted to do a Balinese cooking lesson and this included going to the local markets at the crack of dawn, being taken to a farm and... that sounds like we're going to be slaughtered. We weren't slaughtered. We're still alive. We were taken to a farm and actually were able to pick our own ingredients. And then we spent the next 4 to 5 hours being taught how to make some delicious Indonesian dishes by a very talented Balinese family. And then, of course, we got to eat everything we had cooked. So, yes, a great day indeed that felt really authentic.

Okay, so there we go. I didn't manage to talk about everything, but I suppose you won't really give a crap. Really, will you? I can't imagine you would be sat there feeling miffed that I skipped over the minutiae of my trip. So, yes, we will wrap things up there, I think. Well done for making it to the end of your listening practice for today. Right. Sending you much love to wherever you are whilst listening to this. I hope you have a nice week. My name is Charlie Baxter and see you next time on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

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Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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