I went to Bali. After ten months in Indonesia I finally made it. Most people here are stunned that it took me so long. I've then got to explain that I was working in hell, but with worse management, where I had no hardly any time off and even less money with which to buy tickets. I get an "ooohhhh" and an eye roll but I know the truth. So does anyone else who has worked at EF. 'Nuff said.
I was fighting a virus but I went anyway because my soul would have needed hospitalization if I canceled now. Yes, it was everything I hoped it would be. There was sun, there was beach, there were lots of other white folk (bule in Indonesian). The flight was slightly delayed when we (a friend and I went together) left. We arrived in Bali and had to walk across the tarmac to the airport. Just as we reached the building the sky opened and poured a bucket of rain on Bali. A bit of an ominous start. This was torrential Jakarta style rain, just the stuff I thought I'd be escaping. We made it to the hotel and grabbed a ridiculously cheap drink across the street. For the first time in my life, the bar tended looked at me and said. " If it's not strong enough, let me know and I'll add more tequila", I had ordered a margarita. Go figure, it was a little weak. He added an entire extra shot and half a shot of triple sec. He looked like he couldn't have been more than 16 but he was my new favorite person in Bali.
Our hotel offered the option of breakfast in the room or by the pool. Being that I'm not independently wealthy I figured it might be the only time I could "take breakfast at the pool". Banana pancakes and fresh fruit were my morning staple for the entire trip.
The weekend was filled with eating, shopping and lounging. Why don't I live in Bali!?! Probably because I couldn't be productive other than to surf and learn to scuba and the like. Bali also provided me an opportunity for culture shock, something that happens often in Indonesia but not quite like this. We went out on Saturday night to a couple of clubs that are well know for cheap drinks, loud music and partying. I thought it'd be like the clubs in Jakarta. Boy was I wrong. Nearly all the people there were foreigners, a large number of them Australian exhibiting what my friend termed "feral Aussie behavior". They were on football end of season trips and celebrating youth/freedom/alcohol/etc. I think there was a thump when my chin hit the floor. Shirtless, shoeless, falling down drunk, smashing about. . .Was this what bars in Australia were like? My friend assured me they weren't. It's Asia's answer to Ibiza or Benidorm. It is so close and cheap that this is where Aussie's go to blow off some temporary insanity. I wish I could fully transmit the situation to you, but even photos wouldn't help. I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like it, though I'm not complaining. It was nice to be surrounded by fellow foreigners.
Skip to my last day in Bali. I woke up at 06:30 even though this was my vacation to go surfing. I met a local who had a "surf shop" on the beach. It's really just a collection of a dozen boards. He teaches surfing, just like all the guys with all the boards lined up on the beach.
|The boards are all lined up vertically by the trees on the left.|
After a 45 minute walk down the beach to warm up, we had a 10 minute lesson on the sand and then hit the water. It was a dreadful start. I spent lots of time plunging headfirst back into the water. After 3 hours, I managed several rides into shore. Maybe the best 150,000Rp I spent there. I was tired but happy. I checked out of my hotel. After two fantastic tacos, I made my way to the airport to say "so long" to Bali. By the time I got home, I was physically paying for the surfing. I spent the next 4 days hobbling around like a 95 year old due for a hip or knee replacement. My trunk, abs and back, were sorer than ever. I'm finally, 5 days later, barely sore and committed to surfing again.