When researching for my recent holiday to Bali I turned to tripadvisor.com for some help on places to stay, visit, eat, and experience. Trip Advisor (or TA for short) is a resourceful website that features reviews and advice on hotels, attractions, and destinations around the world. Anyone can provide reviews and advice, giving readers down-to-earth and unbiased feedback about travel related issues. Sure, you can get the odd crazy on there though.
I’ve researched quite a few destinations on TA, however this was the first time I found such a lovely place that was TA’s Bali Forum.
There are many experts in the Bali Forum that provide fabulous information and advice such as Linda52, TML-Sydney, Tannalee, BrisbanyLizzy, wendybushell, Whinnie – and heaps of others too. An expert that was of particular humorous help to me was happynoodleboy_uk. His quirky responses made me wonder about the person behind the posts. I decided to pluck the courage and ask him to do an interview so TA members could get cozy with him.
So what do we know about happynoodleboy_uk (and where on earth did this name even come from??!)? We know that he loves Bali and that he has just become a TA expert for honeymoons and romance. We know that he has a sense of humour and often posts with unique detail, such as ‘The pavements are terrible and I’ve seen people fall flat on their face. I’ve nearly done it myself thanks to a rogue dollop of dog excretia which sent me pave surfing for a few metres…’. If that doesn’t paint a vivid picture then I don’t know what does!
He is a thoughtful fellow, wondering the big questions in life, such as whether he should wear black socks to prevent an upset tummy while travelling – noting of course that it would look smashing with his sandals. He also has the forethought to suggest that pashminas are great to use as a shoulder cover on cool evenings.
His profile tells us that he is a ‘International Man of Mystery’. Hmmmmmm. International. Man. Of. My-ste-ry…..
So let us all learn a little more about happynoodleboy_uk – also known as noodles.
When did you first discover Bali and how many times have you been there?
I think it was the Portugese who first discovered Bali in 1585, but I first visited back in 2004 just for somewhere different to go as opposed to Thailand or Malaysia which I’d already explored. I was instantly taken by the friendly Balinese and their infectious smiles, the intricately carved statues and architecture that was adorned with frangipani flowers and the omnipresent black and white poleng cloth, the beach sellers making their serene daily prayer rituals before coming to try to sell you a fake watch that would break down 4 hours later, the little canang sari rice offerings everywhere, and the sense of pride that the people have in their little island that it attracts so many visitors. It’s the only place that I’m drawn back to and have since visited 11 times, but I have to balance this with the fact that there are many other fascinating places around the world to visit, and I only have so much vacation time. But I try to make my visits last as long as possible by packing as much into a day as I can, aided by copious amounts of strong Bali kopi.
If you could share one secret tip/place/experience/restaurant/shop in Bali for all TA members to enjoy, what would that be?
Then it wouldn’t be a secret would it? I really like interacting with the Balinese, and it becomes more entertaining when it turns into an impromptu language lesson for you both, so my top tip would be to learn some Indonesian and try it out. You’ll make mistakes, you may not understand what’s been said to you, but it’s a great ice-breaker, and also good for haggling. You may also learn some interesting words that you wouldn’t ordinarily.
Which place in world would you call your second home and why?
Singapore – I’ve visited there perhaps more times than anyplace else, either in transit, for a half day or for a few days on my way to or from another SE Asian destination. I’m a city boy at heart, and it’s my idea of the perfect city; clean, safe, orderly, cool, funky, the people are terrific. It has amazing vibrancy and an unshakeable self belief and pride. I’m not naive though and appreciate the restrictions on personal freedom there. However, if I had a choice as to where to live, I think I’d choose Fremantle in Perth which has a really relaxed, cool vibe, despite the terrible buskers.
What are the top three things you cannot travel without (except for CC, passport, cash)?
A good novel, my trusty Swiss-Army penknife which has gotten me out of all kinds of tricky situations, and clean underwear.
Tell us about your worst (strangest) experience of culture shock.
I still find it unusual when Asian men “expectorate” in public, then there’s the added danger of trying not to slip on all that phlegm.
What is the most awkward thing that has happened to you while travelling?
In Sri Lanka we hired a tuk-tuk driver to take us to the old Dutch fort of Galle, so we could spend some time exploring. He took us there no problem and dropped us off, but then followed us up and down every single street in his tuk tuk, very slowly, the engine noise behind us a constant reminder he was there. At one stage we ducked into a museum and left via another exit and through a busy market to try to shake him off, but then he just appeared from nowhere again out of a side street. It wasn’t unlike the classic movie “Duel”, but with a tuk tuk rather than a rusty old tanker truck.
Do you speak any other languages, and if you could learn one language, what would it be?
I don’t have a natural affinity with languages, but have a freakishly good memory and always try to learn some basics for every country I visit, so can speak basic Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Japanese, Thai; enough to do the important things such as ordering beer. Because of my fairly regular visits to Indonesia and Malaysia to a lesser extent, I’ve been learning Indonesia for a couple of years now. This is more than enough to learn, and I occasionally get the languages confused, especially the European ones.
What is your favourite food/dish?
Crispy aromatic duck with pancakes and hoi sin. Followed closely by salmon sushi.
If you were a biscuit, what would you be?
A Kit Kat.
Tell us something that we don’t know about you.
I practice Shotokan Karate.
Finally, how did you come up with the screen name of happynoodleboy_uk?
Well that not for general consumption, a guy has got to have some mystery!
So there you have it. Did you learn a bit more about noodles? We now know that noodles has been stalked by a tuk tuk, he can order beer in over 6 languages, and he never travels without his underwear.
More than that however, we know that noodles travels not just to see the sights, but rather to experience the rich culture on offer and subsequently he holds a deep appreciation for the people he meets. Except maybe, for men who expectorate (I had to look that one up in the dictionary!). It is obvious that no matter where noodles travels, he goes with the intention of soaking up a bit of each country. He certainly is a well seasoned traveller by anyone’s standards. However noodles remains a tad elusive about anything juicy and personal about himself. I know one should not get on his bad side though, as one might be on the receiving end of his karate expertise.
I guess that really does make noodles an International. Man. Of. My-ste-ry………A BIG thanks goes to noodles for agreeing to be ‘interviewed’. All photos were kindly provided by noodles so please don’t rip them off before asking his permission. Otherwise I might be subjected to his wrath!!!