A Balinese Goodbye

A Balinese Goodbye

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Bali Part Two! Dislclaimer: this part is really long and everyone has said the other ones were long so maybe grab a snack if you're really determined to read this part. Okay let's go.

Day 19 was really just a travelling day. We had a long drive to the port, because no journey in Bali is short, and had lunch there. This is where Fiona found a fly in her food. Sucks for her, my fries and chocolate milkshake were great though! We had a long time to wait before the ferry came so a lot of us hung out in a little hut thing by the beach. This is where ‘schnacks’ was born. I don’t recall being the first person in the group to say it, but apparently, I take the blame for everyone having to say schnacks instead of snacks the rest of the trip. I just wanted clarification on my schnack buying opportunities! Seven years later, the ferry finally arrived and let me tell you, the process of actually getting on the ferry was one of the most stressful twenty minutes of the entire trip. Firstly, it was three million degrees with the sun mocking us as we all poured sweat out of our bodies. To add to this, we had all our luggage so include a giant (7.5 kilo) bag plus day bag. Secondly, despite being given some kind of warning from Morgan and Mark, I don’t really listen so could be wrong, there was no clear instructions on what was going on. Chaos. Anarchy. Pandemonium some might even say. Basically, it was a lot of people with a lot of stuff in a very small but incredibly hot space. So after all my schnack worry, I was too stressed and confused to even buy schnacks for the two hour ferry ride. Genuinely gutted. The ferry ride consisted of me and Daisy taking travel sickness pills (dumbass Daisy chewed hers??) and sleeping the entire journey only to be woken up by all the oceans splashing us through the window. I mean surely a ferry ride couldn’t get worse right? (heavy foreshadowing). After getting settled at the hotel on Gili T, we began our bike ride around the island towards the sunset swings. Memorable parts of this bike ride follow: 90% of the chains broke off the bikes, waiting for bikes to get fixed, watching the sun set half way there, DJ Morgz disappearing with a broken bike, Aaron discovering his true calling as a bike repairman, and finally making it to the swings with a reappearance of Morgz. Generally very good quality bikes, would definitely recommend if you’re ever in Gili! We’d already seen a couple sunsets in Bali but I didn’t ever get tired of them. After a quick photoshoot on the swings we headed back on our great quality bikes in the pitch black with a few close calls to relax before dinner. This is where dumbass Chloe fell off her bike tearing her leg up while I laughed. I’m a great friend. In my defense, she was falling for a good three minutes before actually hitting the ground. We went to a bar after dinner where my shoulder dance made its first Bali appearance. Found out Heena and Daisy aren’t a fan of circles. Even freaky circles. Also where I was enlightened to Bintang radlers. Beer for the weak. My kind of drink. A club followed where Heena and I bailed from within about two minutes. When we got back to the hotel we found the two Swiss girls, Nadia and Jasmine, by the pool so we sat with our feet in and had a late night chat with them about the trip so far. A very relaxing way to end the night.

Day 20. The final full day with the nine dayers. Breakfast was the first part of the day and I’m still really curious as to why everyone is so obsessed with pancakes and bananas in Bali. Day 8 of the trip was effectively a Gili islands tour. We were snorkeling again. Can’t tell you I was that excited about it. This time was different though. We were given flippers. I had my snorkels on, my flippers on, feeling real confident in my swimming abilities right until I jumped in the sea and these flippers were dragging me down to the pits of the sea. I thought I was above using a life jacket but the life jacket knew I wasn’t. I had to put one on while trying to keep the too big flippers on my feet that were trying to drown me and dealing with my supportive friends laughing at me. My jacket was not correctly tightened so apparently, I looked like the hunchback of notre dame. One of the snorkeling guys (his job was literally to make sure none of us died) looked at me multiple times and did not help me until Daisy begged him to help me. Just another person in this world knowing I’m a lost cause. I’m happy to say my snorkeling abilities improved a lot from the first time. I was living my best mermaid life with my flippers, saw some cool fish and more importantly saw a real life free turtle in the sea all while using proper snorkel technique. Taking the flippers off in the sea was one of the weirdest feelings and something I feel worth mentioning for some reason, my tiny little feet were suddenly so useless compared to my mermaid flippers, an odd sensation. A different snorkeling location followed where I left my flippers on the boat because the stress of trying to keep them on my unusually small feet was giving me feet cramps. It’s a hard life. More fish, more sea, more seafloor art and we were back on the boat towards Gili Air for lunch. Morgan had been hyping us up for the “best oreo milkshakes ever” so my expectations were very high. It was a restaurant made almost entirely from bamboo and as much as everyone in Asia trusts bamboo I still feel skeptical. I did not fall through the bamboo floor but can confirm the oreo milkshake was good, 10/10 would recommend. We were back on the boat after lunch moving onto our last snorkeling location. This time I was kind of over the whole looking for cool things in the sea and just wanted to swim for a bit. I left my flippers, life jacket and snorkels on the boat leaving with just goggles. I have never been so exhausted in my life. I was in the water for less than five minutes before dragging myself back to the boat. Flippers and life jackets really change the game man. After snorkeling we headed back to our hotel and most of us ended up at the pool trying to decide what we could do for the rest of the day. After much procrastination over getting out of the pool, we all got showered and ready to explore the island a little bit before going to a bar. A solid ten minutes of exploring later we ended up at a beach bar and settled into some beanbags and just chilled. It was the dream team of 12 dayers plus Miz and was a great time despite most of us (mainly Daisy) being very sunburnt and anything touching our backs hurt. We made our way back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. Daisy and I got stuck at the end of the table separated from the group by the sisters and despite our best efforts they were not interested in conversing with us. This dinner is called Daisy and Victoria date night as it was just us the entire time. Chloe tried to help us but all attempts failed. Also the night my cold moved to a cough and a relentless cough I might add. (Remember I was sick all 12 days I was in Bali!!) We left early from the night to get snacks for Heena who bailed on dinner. She was not impressed with our snack choice (pringles), so we ended up going to get her a pizza and having snacks and chats in their room for the rest of the night. Cute night.

Day 21, a ‘miz’erable goodbye. All packed we headed down to our final Gili breakfast. Back to the beach we went with our giant bags after some goodbyes to half the group staying in Gili. Apparently, there is a set time for the ferry but I don’t think the ferry people know about this schedule as everyone seems pretty content with the ‘eh it’ll turn up eventually’ attitude. The wait did however give Heena time to try the ‘best corn’ and it is as good as advertised according to her. After seven years of waiting we finally moved off to board on the Titanic again. (Although I think the Titanic would’ve been more fun because at least Leo would be there you know.) My parents Daisy and Heena saved me a seat and the journey began. The first issue was other people having the audacity to want a seat on the ferry too. We had to lose our row of five seats to make room meaning I was stuck in the middle seat in the row. Next the ferry was clearly going through some pirates of the Caribbean level sea storm with how much we were being thrown around and the amount of water flying through the windows. Then it became three hundred degrees because everyone closed their windows. Now people were throwing up. A lot of sweat, mental and physical turmoil later, we made it back to Bali. Now it was the sadder goodbye. Morgz, Miz and the Swiss girls were leaving us for good. Who was going to check if we wanted more drinks and dj our journeys now?? Tragic goodbyes and sad hugs followed. Our group of 22 had shrunk to 10. Lunch was weird because we’d suddenly halved and lost some big personalities. We had a long bus ride to Ubud where the basic bitches name first took hold and our new group bond began. I just wanted some singable tunes man, if they happen to be in Mark’s basic white girl playlist, that’s not my fault. Our new home in Ubud was supposed to be amazing because we’d been upgraded according to Mark!!! The rooms were exactly the same as the rooms we’d been staying in the whole trip. But Ubud was our home so we did the best with our hotel with two infinity pools. It’s a hard life. We did the usual routine of getting settled in our new rooms and then most of us headed off to explore the town. Again, this exploring lasted a good 10 minutes before we retreated to a bar fittingly named ‘Chill Out’. The only artist this bar played was Ed Sheeran. I love Ed a good amount, but clearly my love was nothing compared to Chill Out’s. After our thorough exploration of all of Ubud, we went back to get ready for dinner and the night out to end all night outs. Nothing that memorable happened at dinner apart from the start of Mark’s midnight joke which I have tried to explain to people who weren’t on the trip and I can’t do it justice, so I won’t try again. Just know this joke was referenced at least five times a day for the rest of our travels. And it was funny. Post dinner we moved to the salsa bar of dreams and creepy men. It took a while, but eventually we were all on the dancefloor with more creepy shoulder dances than actual salsa, but I didn’t see a salsa referee. At midnight Chloe would turn 19 so you know we had to make a big deal about it. Happy Birthday played about seven times. I convinced the bar to give Chloe a free shot. We all took a picture behind the bar with the bartenders. Chloe received multiple lap dances from Aaron and Mark which I can’t express in words how funny this was to witness. Heena danced on some tables after making song requests. We shut the place down. After being kicked out we all sat by the pool at our hotel and continued our chats with more drinks. Everyone else left and our little group of four were left. We retreated after a while into Heena and Daisy’s room where within five minutes they all fell asleep so I took a pic of their weird sleeping positions and slipped out back to my room. My favourite night.

Day 22 was monkey forest day and Chloe’s birthday. We all slept in late for what felt like the first time in years, before meeting to go visit the monkeys. Emily and I prepped our feet by wearing shoes because the last time the group had an encounter with monkeys, they were some flip flop casualties. We walked down to the forest, were made to read a list of warnings/instructions and moved on in to find the monkeys. One of the instructions was not to panic. Easier said than done for most. Quick summary of the monkey forest. A lot of monkeys. Many monkey statues. Heena nearly got stripped by a monkey. Jade got peed on by a monkey. We went on a swing made for humans not monkeys. About half an hour after getting there the heavens opened and we hustled over to shelter with the rest of the forest goers. I was trying to take a good picture of this monkey and her baby that were right in front of me when Aaron starts frantically telling me to get my camera out which was very confusing as I clearly already had my camera out. Then Daisy pinches me so hard you’d think she was trying to tear off a piece of my skin. Turns out there was a monkey on Daisy’s shoulders, but she was too freaked out to verbalise this to me hence the pinch. By the time I realised what was happening, the monkey had moved on so the pictures I did manage to get of her and her new pal weren’t great. Apologies Daisy. There was still torrential rain so we were stuck under the shelter but decided to make the most of it. Somehow our group of 19-30 year olds played a game of duck duck goose in a middle of a monkey sanctuary. Not something I had on my bucket list but again I guess I can check that off now too? Eventually hunger outweighed getting wet and we made a break for it in the storm to get food. After a late lunch we explored the markets a little more and Heena got into her prime negotiating rhythm. Without Heena I bought a headband for 40,000 but with Heena I got a playsuit for 40,000. Get yourself a Heena. The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the pool and getting an early dinner in preparation for the next day.

Day 23 was a very early start. 1:45am to be precise. After dragging ourselves out of bed and into the bus, most of us power napped during the hour it took to get to Mount Batur. We met our three guides who did not find me amusing unfortunately. I mean no-one else in my group did either so it’s totally fine. We were given head torches which I thought everyone was joking about us needing and only confirmed my thoughts that maybe this trek wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. My cough was still pretty horrific at this point, so I was also mildly concerned my lungs would give out on me during the trek. Heena and I ended up at the back of the pack very quickly after a shoelace debacle and started joking about being dragged to the top by everyone else. After genuinely ten minutes I heard Jade and Coral say, ‘it’s probably been about forty minutes, right?’ but no. We hadn’t even made it to the steep part yet. The first hour was pretty flat with no real issues except no-one wanted to laugh at my jokes about me dying on the volcano. Minor issue really. We made it to the halfway point which was the end of the ‘easy part’. Heena and I kept joking about staying there and just watching the sunrise from there. I did not realise that it was actually just me that was joking. Ten minutes after we started the second half of the trek Heena decided she didn’t want to go to the top. Some yelling and encouragement from us led to Heena telling us she wasn’t going to change her mind in as many words. The guide didn’t want to stay with her which led to Mark yelling (not that meanly) at the guide that he had to stay with her or the whole group would have to stay at the half way point. I was very confused, and sleep deprived so I pretty much just watched this whole thing happen. We left Heena and her man Murta and continued the trek from hell. Everyone kind of fell into a concentrating silence while we hiked which was fine until I slipped into a bush and everyone heard. Rocks, sweat and sore ankles followed. A few people started really struggling as we got closer to the top so we slowed the pace down and took more breaks. (Just to clarify, I didn’t slow the group down or ask for a break once just for everyone who gave me crap.) Right before we got to the top our guide told us we needed to be careful and considering I’d done nothing but stare at the ground and my feet for the last two hours, this was concerning. The top was just sand which meant we all nearly slipped down the volcano many a time. Good thing we didn’t have to go down this way right haha (more foreshadowing). Our guides kept telling us we only had five minutes to go for about twenty minutes and then all of a sudden, we were at the top. It was freezing at the top. We had a few hours until the sun would rise so Emily, Daisy and I huddled on the ground using my towel as a blanket. Mark napped off his man flu, Jade and Coral had a photoshoot, I tried not to become a human popsicle, the usual. Our guide brought us eggs and banana sandwiches which I can’t say went down a treat. Eggs ended up in my hood and my bag on multiple occasions, not by choice just so we’re clear. The view honestly wasn’t great because of these things called clouds so Heena actually got better pictures of the sunrise from lower down but at least we can say we made it to the top of Mount Batur right Heena? We started our descent which was ten times less fun than going up. Half the group slipped on the sand sustaining minor injuries. The guide thought this was pretty amusing though and kept telling us to be careful like we were walking down with our eyes closed. I started getting pretty delirious at this point and dragged Chloe and Alex into my delirium until Aaron literally moved back in the group to get away from us. Seven years later we made it to the bottom where our bus was waiting to take us back to the hotel just in time for breakfast. We just hung out by the pool until the dreaded one hour full body massage. One hour. An entire hour. I don’t like being touched, especially by strangers so a full sixty minutes of being touched by a stranger is pretty much my version of hell. I did it though. Did I enjoy it? No, no I did not. I didn’t feel like I’d been touched by God after, but I can tick it off the bucket list at least. (Mini anecdotes to remember for future me: ticklish foot so you kicked her, still had a cough but couldn’t cough and you flashed her a few times involuntarily.) Post oil slathering, we went back to the pool, ordered some food and just hung out as a group for one of the last times. Our farewell dinner was our last official activity and was really fun but really sad at the same time. Heena told our waitress to ‘keep the fries coming’ despite me saying no I’m good so we ended up with two giant plates of fries which I still laugh thinking about. Mark gave a really emotional speech about how fun our group was and that he’d miss us right before handing out a survey form, so seemed genuine you know. We moved onto a bar where Heena and I ordered 12 rainbow shots and played rock paper scissors to see who had to take the next one, not our best idea. We headed back to Heena and Daisy’s room after the bar and had our last group hang out which lasted about twenty minutes before both Heena and Daisy fell asleep even though Chloe and I were not being quiet at all. The last night in Bali.

Day 24. My last day. Everyone was leaving this day so we woke up early to get breakfast before the first ones left. Aaron, Chloe and Heena were the first to go and I’m still bitter than we didn’t all establish that they were staying a few days after the trip ended because maybe I wanted to go to this dragon island too. But they left us to go adventure more. Daisy and I were left to go on our second date of the trip where we ate fries, reminisced and Daisy repeatedly said ‘I’m not leaving!’. The next round of goodbyes were Mark and Emily. More sad. Then it was Daisy and Fiona meaning I’d lost all members of my sqwod. Truly tragic now. The rest of us checked out and headed off for some smoothie bowl that Jade was determined to have. I have to say my vegan ice cream granola fruit bowl thing was pretty good. We wandered around the markets a bit more to get some last minute souvenirs and then had our final moments by our infinity pool. Even more sad. Our last task was to get food and we happened to pick the restaurant with the slowest service ever. Our taxi was supposed to come at 5:30 and at 5:25 we were still waiting to pay. I still had schnacks I needed to buy! But we made it and rushed into our taxi but in all the stress of getting schnacks, getting changed and sorting my bag out, I forgot to pee. And as this is Bali, no journey is as short as it’s said to be, it’s always twice as long! Long story short, I nearly pissed myself in a taxi and had to have the taxi driver pull over despite us being in gridlock traffic. Good times. We said goodbye to Jade then Alex, and Coral and I waited in the airport for our first flight to Singapore. I sat next to a guy who seemed really concerned about my health and kept offering me tissues and cold medicine. I really tried my best not to cough but apparently it didn’t set his mind at ease. We landed in Singapore and Coral went to catch her next flight to London which left 55 minutes after landing whereas my flight didn’t leave for another 12 hours. I tried to wander around the airport for as long as I could but after an hour I caved and went to find a nap room where I slept amazingly for over six hours.

Day 25. I woke up in my nap room not from the wake up call at 7 like I’d asked but at 8 with someone walking into my room. I didn’t know whether they’d charge me for the extra hour so I slipped out of there as spy like as possible (call me Kim Possible)  and went in search of food. I ended up at none other than Burger King. My heaven in Asia. For the following five hours in the airport I explored every inch of my terminal. I did laps for a solid hour. I pretty much know the entire layout of Singapore terminal three and I really hope I never have to go through that airport ever again. I did find a pret in the airport which was kind of funny. I bought some weird yoghurt fruit thing that was not like Bali’s smoothie bowl but I was starving so you know, got to do what you gotta do. I watched more Gilmore girls, people watched and eventually boarded my flight back to London. The first thing I did on the flight was watch Thor Ragnarok so that after 12 days of Thor references, I finally understood the freaky circle.  After another 13 hours, I landed back in London, hungry and tired but with some new stamps in my passport. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of my Asia trip.

In conclusion, did I ‘find myself’ while I was travelling? No, I’m just as confused, if not more, about my place in the world but I'm okay with that. I’m a lot more confident in myself and my capabilities because I've climbed a volcano so I can pretty much do anything now. I don't know when I'll be back in Asia so until next time folks.

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