June 22nd, 2018
Let the first Bali blog commence!
Day 13 (technically Bali day 1) was my return to actual travelling. Airports, passports, visas and usually stress. Surprisingly I was incredibly calm this entire day (super experienced traveller now). I flew from Ho Chi Minh to Kuala Lumpur with no memorable issues and then waited for my connecting flight. I was supposed to land in Bali at 5pm but didn’t actually get in until at least 8. Did I get picked up from this airport by my group leader this time I hear you asking eagerly? No, no I did not. Although with the flight delays, this one was justified (I'm still bitter Adam). After a twenty minute car ride that turned into an hour, I finally made it to the hotel, got settled, showered and went to meet my new group after a weird first encounter from “I’m a hugger” Mark (just because you are doesn’t mean everyone else is Marcus). More bad first impressions with DJ Morgz, Heena and others I’ve genuinely repressed already (I’m not good at meeting people). I again bailed early and this was the summary of my first night in Bali, riveting I know.
Day 14 or Bali day 2, if you hadn’t caught on yet. This is when I first met my roommate, Emily, despite us having slept in the same room that night, weird I know. Also when I first noticed I was sick. We met downstairs for breakfast, I had pancakes that put Vietnam’s to shame, got my second Intro band and headed into our welcome talk. First activity with the new group was Uluwatu temple. This is where Daisy got her flip flop stolen by a monkey which still brings me joy to think about. I don’t remember much else about this temple visit except Daisy’s first Bali misfortune. Post monkey theft, we headed to Padang Padang beach (a lot of stairs man, why so many stairs?) and then left for a sunset dinner. This is where I first learnt about Bali weather. There was a literal (not figurative) twister out at sea. Within ten minutes an ocean of water was dropped on us in rain form and we all had to sit in a bus for half an hour (depending on traffic right Morgz) drenched. Back at the hotel, we showered and got ready for a night out in Kuta. I did not even make it to the club. I still have no regrets though about my early night.
Day 15 was surfing day. Was I excited? No. Was I prepared? No. We’re at the beach putting on rash guards, getting a safety talk and that is when I knew this would result in a near death experience. This is also where I forced Chloe to be my friend soon to be known as Chlomoney. Had a really in depth, thorough two minute lesson about how to surf and now that we were all prepared it was time to drown, sorry meant surf, easy mistake to make. It was all going pretty well, the instructors were laughing at me because I refused to stand on my board, but I was having a great time kneeling, would recommend. I did stand up once and was doing honestly amazingly but someone was in my way and to avoid a murder charge, I had to jump ship. A few mild drownings later came the big one. The only truly memorable part of the day. A tsunami level wave was about to hit and I was trying really hard to keep control of my board so I wouldn’t hit the people behind me, I’m considerate. But the girl in front of me was not. That bitch hit me so hard I thought I was going to finally meet Poseidon. I really thought that was the end for me. ‘Goodbye world, it’s been real’ thoughts as I drowned post surfboard attack to the head. I mean I lived, but it was touch and go. That was the end of my surfing experience. I decided I had suffered enough and dragged my board out to sit with my fellow quitters. Post surfing, we were moving to Cangu with a minor detour of Fiona jumping out the car to throw up, yum. We got settled, ate some food, and explored a little before going to see the sunset on the beach. One of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. I kept thinking ‘wow, it can’t get better than this’ but then it would. A highlight of the trip.
Day 16 was the drive up to Lovina with a few pit stops along the way. The first pit stop was Tanah Lot temple, very interesting, lots of culture, a snake for a reason I don’t remember but everyone else went and touched it. Part of the temple we couldn’t get to because the tide had come in which seems equally flawed and equally the best designed temple ever in my opinion, I can’t decide. The next pit stop was Jatiluwih Rice Terrace which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage site, fun fact. We had a photoshoot, met a dog, had lunch, I had my first of many Balinese chocolate milkshakes, a confirmed good time. After a very long drive, we finally made it to the villa in Lovina and relaxed before heading down to the Nyepi parade for the Balinese new year. All the kids make scary statues that they carry while dancing and chanting in the parade to ward off evil spirits and it was really cool to get to witness that. Dinner was next which is where I was officially given the nickname nuggs/z (full name Princess Nuggets) which I didn’t love but it could be worse. Heena appointed herself Queen while Daisy and I were princesses but for some reason Daisy decided to give herself the position of chancellor instead of princess (we’re all still confused too Daisy). This is where I found out just how impatient Heena is, useful future knowledge. Also where I got to know Liz and Mike more fondly known as Miz. Back at the villa we brought beanbags around the fire and played the box game which I actually wasn’t terrible at, we also somehow started a riddle marathon. I only like riddles I already know the answer to so this green glass door business I was not about. Emily didn't like not winning so we made a great riddle solving team. Through these riddles I learnt that I was not a big fan of half of my group but with such a big group that was okay, I could avoid them if needed. And avoid them I did, not necessarily on purpose it just worked out that I only had one conversation with certain people. Purely coincidental.
Day 17 otherwise known as my sad day. The 17th was Nyepi day meaning no-one could leave their homes, make any noise or have lights on to trick any returning spirits that the island was empty. This meant we were stuck in the villa all day and was the first day in over two weeks where I didn’t have to do anything. So I didn’t. I was sick the entire time I was in Bali which was a legitimate excuse for sleeping and avoiding people all day but really I just needed a day to myself. I napped, I watched Gilmore Girls but mostly I tried to recover a little mentally from the whirlwind that is travelling. I pepped up enough later for the big quiz but unfortunately, we did not win. Mainly bitter that my team name didn’t get us bonus points “N’yep’ we’re gonna win” because it was Nyepi day!! I was robbed, I know. We watched the sunset from a lookout point, had some unexpected deep chats, I ate toast for the first time in weeks (bliss) and then went to bed ready for the busiest day of the trip.
Day 18 the busiest day of the trip. We were making up for the day we lost because of Nyepi which meant it was going to be a full on day. It started with breakfast on the beach before moving onto the dolphin watching boats. I get why people would want to go see dolphins, what I don’t get is why the technique to seeing these very intelligent creatures is to chase them like some weird whack-a-mole game. To clarify, the dolphins won. Another near drowning experience followed where I snorkeled for the first time. Went about as well as my surfing experience. I don’t think water sports are my thing. I don’t like not being able to breathe out of my nose but saw some cool fish when I wasn’t panicking about the nose breathing thing. Next was the Balinese family visit. We had a tour of the garden and got to try all the weird fruits they grew there. The only ones I vividly remember are durian and mangosteen. Once you learn what durian is, you can never unlearn it. You know when it’s near. You form a radar for the worst smelling and apparently tasting fruit ever. After our garden tour where Aaron nearly died eating a mini chili, we got coffee smeared on our faces by the kids which gave me vicious flashbacks to work (barista) and we moved on to basket weaving. I was okay at the actual weaving part of it, but the bamboo carving was not my greatest skill. I shouldn’t be trusted around sharp objects. Turns out Daisy is not going to give up her career to be a basket weaver either, as every five minutes we heard “I’ve done it wrong!”. There were only three steps. Despite our creations being bad, we got given a little souvenir basket box with some of their coffee to take with us before our next destination. Since we missed the waterfall from day four because of Nyepi day, half of us decided we still wanted to see it so this was our next long drive. Over an hour drive later half the group arrived at the waterfall, walked about seven miles down seven million stairs and finally arrived to see a waterfall like no other. Beautiful brown water streamed over with so much force a constant wave of wind was hitting us at all time. Most of the group didn’t even bother walking down to see it but I thought it was amazing. We didn’t get to have insta worthy pics in the waterfall because we probably would’ve been dragged away with the current as soon as we stepped in, but we did do a few Titanic impressions, so I mean a win’s a win. Back at the villa we chilled and ended up playing cards against humanity for most of the night which I’m terrible at because what I think is funny, no-one else does. The game really wreaks havoc on my comedic self esteem. Daisy didn’t win a single round though so at least I wasn’t the unfunniest. To summarise, day 18 was a good day.
Bali Part One is complete. Stay tuned for the final part of my Asia travels!
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