Battered in Bali, edgy in England

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 28/01/2010

Machetes and a motorbike accident drove me back to Blighty — where the terror threat level is severe

By the way, before I forget, did I ever mention that mine must be the only Jewish family in the world where all three of us — my brother, sister and me — have Chinese children?

Anyway, my sister lives in Bali. “It certainly beats Bushey,” I tell people.

Three weeks ago I flew out for a holiday.

The first afternoon at the beach bar, I was rugby-tackled to the ground by a huge Aussie rugby star called Ryan Cross. “How was I to know it was his wife I was dancing with on top of the bar?” I should never have asked what he was drinking.

Ten Tequila slammers is quite a lot, even if you are a giant, I thought, as I staggered to my feet.

Unfortunately, he spotted me again later and, picking me up under his arm, walked off with me and threw me into the swimming pool.

My BlackBerry was in my hand. It drowned. I decided not to ask him to reimburse me.

That evening at dinner at the Karma Kandara resort, I got up from the table, and fell flat on my back into a 12 in-deep water feature (created by the Death Trap Design Company?) that looked like the floor, and was an inch away from my chair.

My head narrowly missed a stone pillar and I only just avoided falling 10ft from the balcony onto the paving around the swimming pool below.

“Isn’t that rather dangerous? Has anyone else ever fallen in before?” I asked the three Balinese waiters hoisting me to my feet. “Oh yes, sir, they are falling in all of the time.” One said with a smile.

I called my sister, but she said she couldn’t talk to me as one of the night guards at her house had just been caught making obscene gestures to the local women, and a machete wielding mob was now outside, wanting a quiet word with him.

“Would you like me to help sort it out?” I asked.

“No. I don’t think that’d be a good idea.” she said.

The next morning, I set off on a motorbike, heading to the beach for a swim.

I got 200 yards down the road when I hit a small piece of loose gravel and fell off.

I was lying in the middle of the road, when a bike came towards me.

“Oh, it’s you again sir. Good morning.” It was one of the waiters who had helped pick me up out of the water trough.

My knee and elbow were badly scraped. The doctor said: “You mustn’t go into the water for two weeks.”

“Peter, listen to me. You’ve got to get the first plane out of there and come home immediately, before it’s too late. The place is obviously jinxed,” my friend Steve said on the phone. “Bali Hai? “It sounds more like Bali Bedlam!”

At the airport for the plane back to London, I checked the latest BBC news headlines:

“UK terror threat level raised to severe.”

It’s always good to get back home.