Bye Bye Bali
Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
20Trip End Ongoing
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We actually only went to the first island, Gili Trawangan, and stayed for about 7 days. It felt good to just stay in one place for a week and get to know the area and locals. Trawangan was a funky little island with no cars or motorbikes either (only horse-drawn buggies and bikes) so it felt a lot less chaotic than the mainland
We met some cool Brits who were excited about watching and celebrating the Royal Wedding on the big screen TV on the island, so we followed them to the bar to watch. That was actually a great experience. I wasn't really that interested in watching it at first, but Colin remembered watching Princess Diana getting married when he was about 5 yrs old and enjoyed comparing the details. It was actually an open-aired Irish bar, jam packed full of Brits and Aussies, all with paper masks of the royal family (the Queen, William, Kate, Harry, Prince Charles, etc) and decked out with red, white and blue paint. They went all out... flagged bikinis and capes, banners and noise makers. They were all singing in unison to the songs..."...God save the Queen", and standing up and cheering when they'd show the royal family
Then I got sick. We had both managed to stay healthy on our travels thus far and were definitely feeling pretty good about that. We were still being what I thought was "overly" cautious ... buying bottled water all the time, taking no ice in our drinks, and even brushing our teeth with bottled water, ... but somehow it still got me. Until then, I didn't know it was possible to be in heaven and hell at the same time, but I was there... in tropical paradise, locked in the bathroom for 5 days. Yikes! Luckily we upgraded to the nicer hotel (thanks Matt and Allison) that had A/C and a flatscreen to watch free movies. Geckos still roamed the walls at their leisure occaisionally,... but hey,... atleast they're cute and supposed to be good luck, according to the locals. Anyway, the last thing I wanted to do on a beautiful island was to spend my days locked inside, but it could have definitely been worse. Colin took very good care of me,... and lucky that he did,... because the day I got better, he got sick, and the tables were turned. We didn't spend the entire time inside,...I did alot of reading and listening to audio books on my IPOD (thanks Mark) in the shade and we did manage to rent bikes one day and ride around the island,..
A couple of the days while I was sick, Colin took a freediving beginner training course, which he loved. I can't speak to it as well as Colin could, but pretty much it's a form of scuba diving without the equipment. He has a mask, snorkel and fins,... but no air tank. They taught him specific breathing and equalizing techniques so he can hold his breath for longer and dive deeper without having the bubbles and expensive diving equipment. It's a meditative and peaceful way to be in the water. And he dove down 60 feet on his second day on one breath of air! I thought that was impressive. His instructor could hold her breath for upwards of 6 minutes... and I think the record is over 11 minutes. That's crazy. Supposedly, they train their bodies to operate on less oxygen and are able to ignore the bodys natural response to expel the carbon dioxide. Pretty cool stuff. Colin, being a lifelong fish, was in heaven.
After Gili, we took the boat back to Sanur and a bus to Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. Art, music, culture... slower pace and fewer motorbikes... Ubud was definitely our kind of place. We could actually walk the streets without constantly being harassed to buy stuff. We were only there for a couple of days, so we went to the Sacred Monkey Forest, did a little shopping, went to another cultural performance (Legong Dance), ate our fill of Indonesian food, and since Colin was sick,... stayed around the hotel researching stuff on Thailand and catching up on emails. It was a great way to wrap up our stay in Bali.
The monkey forest was crazy. I mean, I knew there would be monkeys, hense the name of the forest, but I had no idea there would be so many. Hundreds and hundreds of little grey-haired monkeys everywhere,...mostly eyeing the tourists to see what they could be fed
So, our two and a half weeks in Bali were great! Beautiful country with even more beautiful people. Extremely heart-centered and loving. Colin joked that maybe they should send missionaries over to the US :) Seriously though,... such loving spirits and always willing to help. I actually had a motor bike with 2 grown women and a child on it, stop me as I was walking back from town to ask me if I wanted a ride. I chuckled, thinking they were joking, but they meant it. They would have totally squeezed in to fit me on. Amazing. I'm a little sad to leave Bali, but I'm thankful for experiencing that culture. We are now flying to Thailand...and we'll be there for a month. It's crazy to be on another airplane already. It is such a cliche, but time does fly. We've been on travel for about 4 months now... time and money are zipping past. I try not to think about that though and just take it all in. One day at a time... one moment at a time. For now, I'm just excited for the Thai food. :) Bring on the red curry! Mmmmmm...