Bali: Part One

Naively I had every intention of blogging my Bali trip as I went along but it was so jam packed that any down time was strictly for napping or full body massages.

So now I’ve been in Oz a while and more or less recovered from the Bali whirlwind, I’m playing catch up. Here’s part one:

Day 1: Arrived in Denpasar airport after a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As you saw in my previous post the aeroplane food was pretty decent until the last leg when I had a Malaysian curry which wasnt too great and shrimp paste which they use alot in their foot smells SO bad! I went to sleep to avoid having to smell it!

Had to wait an age for my bag to come out and in the meantime I admired all the decorations in a sleepy daze. Eventually it made an appearance and I made my way out to arrivals to meet the driver.

Facing a sea of faces all holding name signs at varying heights would have been a challenge at the best of times but after being awake for well over 24 hours I could hardly face looking at another human being. I found the driver and we made our way to the car park. It was so hot and I was so out of it that I did not see a puddle and did a fairly impressive backward somersault which definitely woke me up. Silver linings.

Zig-zagging through the traffic, I took in Bali craziness as we ventured towards Canggu (prounouced changoo) where the Koa surfers hotel is tucked away. I couldn’t believe the driving, there’s four lanes of ever changing traffic across two actual marked lanes. No speed limit. No rules. Basically they drive where they want to drive and don’t slow down when the traffic ahead is slowing instead they find an alternative route. Dodging in and out and the bikes even going up on the pavement if necessary. It was madness!

When I finally made it to the hotel in a bit of a jetlagged daze, my roomate for the tour, Trish, had left a note saying she was at the pool and wouldn’t be back for a few hours so I could have an uninterrupted nap. Well I could have but for the life of me couldn’t fall asleep so after a few hours laying with my eyes closed I just gave up.

That evening, we went and waited on the rooftop and had a look around up there until some more people congregated and we all got to know each other.

A bit later we decided to head to the beach to go to a bar. In Bali, the typical going out procedure consists of pre-drinking outside a newsagents that also sells alcohol and much cheaper than the bars. By this point I was slightly delirious so didn’t need or want a drink but figured I’d go anyway and tire myself out so that I’d be able to sleep.

Though I was beyond tired it was a good time and we danced the night away right by the sea and under a full moon. It was a stunning spot.

Everyone looked like professional surfers and very tanned so I felt a little under dressed and dancing in the uneven sand is actually quite difficult lol. After a few hours we got bike taxis back to the hotel. When in Bali 😂 it cost the equivalent of about £2 and you could fit two people on the back so was a very economical travel choice. It was quite refreshing to feel the breeze and drive through the streets in the moonlight with dogs roaming in and out of houses and crickets singing all around us. We ordered room service pizza for so cheap and decided it would be a good idea to eat it on the roof. It was not! We got bitten to bits by mozzies!

The next day, the tour official started and we visited two temples Tanah Lot and Tamun Ayun. They were both very busy as multitudes of both tourists and local families were attending en mass to receive blessing and show gratitude to the Hindu gods. For a small price you could wash in the Holy Waters and receive a frangipani flower blessing, or if you wanted to you could visit the holy snake in a cave. We also met a luwak and were offered “shit coffee” which has supposedly been through the luwaks intestines. People pay through the roof for this stuff ( anything up to £400 a kg) there’s a whole history behind how it came about you can look up but essentially the luwak coffee market has been industrialised to make money and the poor animals are caged and force fed coffee cherries all day so if you ever go, dont bother buying any. It’s probably not genuine and if it is has an added dose of animal cruelty. If that didn’t convince you not to then you should read more here.

That night we walked into Canggu and passed so many beautifully decorated restaurants I could have stayed there a few days and tried them all. We ate at a really cool food court with all sorts of different cuisines on offer. I opted for chicken satay which was to remain a theme. It was delicious! Oh and one of the stall owners had a pet rabbit which was really cute.

Day 3 started with a bus ride just up the road to Kuta beach where some very chilled locals gave us a surfing lesson. I managed to stay up a few times but not stay up for long. The act of pushing oneself up from laying on the board was certainly an arm workout. More to the point I felt sorry for the instructors having to have their faces right in our arses as we got on and they turned us around ready for the incoming wave and then told us when to get up.

I

t was really sad to see all the plastic in the ocean and washing up on the beach. At one point I even got up after falling off the surfboard to find a plastic wrapper stuck to my leg. Gross but honestly unavoidable there was so much of it.

Apparently it was particularly bad that day as it had rained which brought all the trash in from ocean land fills further out, but still, peeling it off myself and also watching people raking endless amounts of plastic waste from their beautiful beach is a sight that will always stay with me, and make me alot more conscious of buying single use plastic and recycling wherever possible. Its so easy to just mindlessly purchase and dispose of plastic when we don’t see the consequences first hand.

After surfing we had the afternoon free so we all decided to wander the main strip and do some some haggling. I bought some Haiviana flip flops and some fake birkenstocks for the grand total of 200K rupi (£10).

Day 4 we said goodbye to Kuta region and headed for Ubud,stopping off at an epic waterfall on the way. There was a bridge made out of bamboo we had to cross (in FLIPFLOPS!) to get to the main falls and it wasn’t high but was narrow, wet and above fast moving water and having jittery granny legs I was quite nervous about crossing but lived to tell the tale.

Also saw this comical sign that I laughed at and then actually felt quite sad that this was maybe widely believed in Balinese culture. Everyone’s journey is different and this sign just makes tick boxes of peoples lives. Not cool!

That brings us to about half way on the tour so part two to follow.

Lauren x

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