"Solo" in Bali
Trip Start Jan 20, 2008
53Trip End ??? ??, 2010
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Hi Everyone! It's Ings!!!
I just spent 3 glorious weeks (and $300 measly dollars!!) in tropical paradise. My solo adventure began by picking up a new travel mate on the bus on the way to the airport in Darwin:) I didn't even make it to Bali by myself! But it was awesome:) Irene my Austrian and I had 3 of the most amazing days of my life, making memories up and down the beaches and bars of Seminyak, Kuta, and the Bukit peninsular. My couchsurfer Jacopo the Italian surfer had organized me a trusted driver at the airport, who would also take me to a trusted money changer and to the grocery store on the way to his house, (and he had my name on a sign!!) So I offerred Irene a ride with me, then she could find a place when we got to Seminyak. But Jacopo said it was all good if she stayed too, so we crashed together on our "couch" - a massive kingsized bed surrounded by a pretty white mosquito net (why does a mozzie net make me feel like a lovely lady in a pretty princess bed?) Jacopo was fantastico (that's Italian for Fantastic. !), I am so thankful for him and for couchsurfing - it compltely removes a level of anxiety from getting to a completely new place with a new language and culture, by knowing that you are able to talk to a "local" and have immediate access to so much helpful information. Freaking Bagus! (Bagus is Indonesian for Good! Freaking Bagus is Ingridnesian for HOLY MOLY MAN!)
He told us all we needed to know about the neighborhood layout, the beaches, the beautiful Balinesian people. He gave us ball park ideas of how much things should cost in Rupees, ex. a big bottle of water is 3,000rp or about 30 cents, and a big Bintang (the 32 ounce beer 'round here) cost 16,000rp. He showed us where to get an Indo sim card for my cellphone--I never thought i'd use my cellphone once i got travelling, but the prepaid sim card is the duck's nuts, (Ingridnesian for the coolest thing to travel with). You do have to get a new phone number in every new region, but texting is so cheap, and having a phone has been so incredibly useful for making connections and meeting up with people and organizing things, and for just feeling closer to home by sending a quick text to Mum and Dad, and a friend! that is if you can figure out the international calling rules, i can't seem to access that part of my brain yet. Or the part of my brain that does counting - for all my years as a Bean Counter using a ten-key calculator and computer for everything has seriously dulled my own math skills!)
And finally, Jacopo also assured us that women should very much feel safe in Bali travelling alone and walking at night - it was so true, and i never worried about my safety there. Of course that does not mean i wasn't very aware and cautious, mmkay?! i just wasn't ever anxious or afraid:)
In general, Bali was bananas. Literally, since every place you stay includes breakfast which is always banana pancakes with palm sugar, and figuratively in the most Gwen Stefani sense (B.A.N.A.N.A.S I threw that one in for you Kori and Karen!!)
I felt like I did back in Fiji, where everything was so new and exciting, and colorful and envigorating. And my focus fell in line with that- i didn't feel anxious, insecure, worried or stressed about little things, I was all appetite for newness and interaction. And i was so lighthearted. grins and giggles, Man! It's such a stark contrast between my focus in Australia and NZ, and back home. When i'm in the western world, and everything I'm surrounded by is familiar, similar, and the day to day stuff is not challenging, i get so deep into Self Reflection and figuring myself out. But here - I just love the feeling of not anazlying myself and my mind for a little, and instead of trying to understand myself and my emotions, i'm just freaking living and breathing! The first morning, Irene and I hit the beach. We each paid less than a dollar for a pimp lounge chair and umbrella right on the beach, and spent the day playing in the water, running on the beach, meeting so many friendly travellers and locals, and laughing it up at the waves of hawkers that would come thru and try to sell us anything and everything. They are so fun if you decide not to let them bother you, and just have fun with it, make jokes and speak to them in their language, and once they know you're not going to buy anything, they become genuinely friendlyand enjoy the interaction with us. ( i RULE at picking up new languages and i absolutely love it - it's my favorite souvenir, and way easier to fit in my back pack than a sarong or a coconut!) Fruit lady's would walk up and down the sand with baskets of yummies balanced on their heads. My favorite fruit lady Ketut would bring me new fruits to try (snakefruit and mangosteen, look like white garlic inside but yums!) and she also made a special trip to the night market for me ri surprise me with my favorite desert, Balinesian Cake - little green round pancake disks with grated coconut and palm syrup, sweet mother!). I was out swimming in the water and a local boy Wayan taught me how to surf on a really small board. It was the kind of board that a beginner should not mess with, and i was expecting a few rounds in the laundry machine, but i figured it out a little and i could stand up on it!! He was very nice, but i could tell he was probaby the typical Bali Cowboy - they try to get as much money as they can out of a tourist by many many methods - they are also called Jigolo's! but when he figured out i wasn't giving him any money for anything, he was just a good buddy and good fun for Irene and I. Then he took us horseriding on the beach, and on our first motorcycle adventure in rushhour Bali traffic (very much nothing compared to Jakarta but quite enough for me-- i once crashed a moped in the cornfields of Aurora, Illinois, when the pavement ended without warning, Rude, and i "ass over tea-kettled" into the corn, then Kori had to wash my bleeding knees, elbows and thigh in someone's front yard sprinkler and sneak me into the house without her dad finding out. Then i told him I crashed the "bicycle." Ah Confessions!!) Then Irene and I drank big Bintang's on the beach in the moonlight. I planned to stay at Jacopo'sfor 3 days, then rent a moped by myself and begin my solo adventure - I would explore the beaches of the Bukit penninsular, then go to Ubud, the cultural/spiritual center of the island and take a cooking class and do some yoga, and have myself a truly Elizabeth Gilbert time! Then I would travel to Gunung Agung to hike the island's largest volcano, starting at midnight and making it to the peak for sunrise. Then i would make my way to the Gili islands in Lombok and have my beautiful reunion with Heath. But, Irene asked if i wanted to travel together, and i said yes - i really meant no but i said yes...because i was still a little scared of getting up there on my own, and we had a lot of fun together. so i thought we would both rent mopeds and i would go with her to Ubud, then we'd split and i'd follow my plan. So we go to rent our mopeds...and Oh i just could not drive that that wicked machine! i absolutely sucked at it, it was hysterical, i would try to ease on the gas vvvvVROOM, brake! vvvvVROOM! brake! i lurched around for about half an hour in the alleys, with the rental guys grins getting bigger as they watched me, and finally decided that Irene would be my driver and the moped was just not for me.
So on the third day my phone rang and it was...My HEATH!!! Oh my god that voice:) Heath and Yudi got to town a few weeks early, and were staying just around the corner from us!!!! so we met up on the beach and had the strangest reunion, very different than i had imagined, and a little difficult since he had to kind of babysit Yudi and i had plans with Irene, and he also really needed to decompress from his crazy, stressfull journey, and we didn't really get a chance to connect right away, or even get a minute alone. To be honest, it blew for me. I felt pretty disappointed and sad - i had such a beautiful plan to make our reunion in Lombok really awesome and a little something special. And i definitely understand the circumstances and know it was just how the situtation went, and it was certainly ok for me to feel how i did, but i just couldn't seem to let my disappointment be only that, and i let it take me in a crappy negative direction:( BOO. i kind of fell into an indecisive funk, and couldn't get out of my head and just talk to anyone about it. Yuck, it was so good to see him, i was absolutely thrilled when i saw himwalk onto that beach, and then it just fell into all that junk. Then I got my head out of my arse and talked it out with Heath and Irene and everything became once again Freaking Bagus!
Heath and I had 2 weeks of beautiful adventures together, a beautiful reconnection and our very own "Motorcycle Diaries" on the Mighty One. I'll save those for the next entry - i'm being computer hog!! We're currently in Kuala Lumpur with Devon and Chris and Devon's parents, Cheryl and Lief Colson. I'm currently uploading masses of pictures, and plan to blog some great stories...SOON!!
Love you all and miss you very much! I cannot believe it's been 5 months on the road! I will be in touch the next 2 weeks cause i have computer access and i owemany of you emails - thanks for keeping me updated on your news too, i love LOVE hearing from you :)
Hugs and smooches and HIGH FIVES!