Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bali begins...

So it's a rainy 13 degrees outside and I'm here in bed wrapped in my robe and bundled in a double layer of comforter. Welcome to Melbourne, where the weather is crazy and my fingers are freezing. They say the best way to beat the cold is to exercise and keep the body warm. So fingers we are in for a long exercise.. type away... ;)

Where do I begin?. Oh yes. I've been meaning to blog about my Southeast Asian backpacking experience for the longest time now, but for some reason I just kept on keeping it at bay. I don't exactly know why but I think I have a pretty good idea why. Wait.. I know why... because somebody failed to send me the "promised memory card" from the other cam. So somebody if you're reading this, you are that somebody I'm talking about (may your conscience be with you). But whatever, moving on (no pun intended ;p), today I've decided to revolutionize by opening my 16GB memory card. 16GB worth of pictures that I just didn't bother with. Sorry to be a party pooper pics but you're not gonna get a dusty anniversary celebration inside the cam. ha! Aside from incomplete, my pictures aren't really that great and so is my memory of the experience, but I'll try to relive as  much as I can, starting with Bali, Indonesia.

I really don't know why I wanted to go Bali, maybe it was because I planned the trip with my friend Bally that it just seemed appropriate to have her first out of the country trip to where else but Bali. Ha! Corny. So Kyle, Bally and I took the red eye flight to Bali and went our separate ways so we could enjoy the cultural side of Bali and he with his surfing.

Ubud. That was our first destination. The cultural side of Bali. The place where you can do your Eat Pray Love moments that Bally and I utterly failed to capture. So what it's in this side of the island? Culture. Art. History. Tourists.

The great thing about this place, that I kept on raving on, is how they were able to preserve their history and cultural practices despite the influx of tourism. I think it's just amazing how the houses (a lot of which became bed and breakfasts)  were preserved the way they were. It's fascinating to see how they  were able to master the art of cultural conservation knowing that somehow this is the kind of thing that tourists go for. They even stepped it up a notch by organizing a weekly Kecak Fire Dance that involved the participation of the whole community. That my friends is what you call a real collaborative art and of course the tourists were digging included..

What else have we done in Ubud? Biked around and gotten into a minor accident, katangahan lang, check! Flirted with the some lonely monkey at the monkey temple, he wasn't charmed (I wasn't his type of monkey I guess), but check! Gate crashed into a house we thought was temple, seriously! an-honest-to-goodness-mistake-and-you-cant-blame-us-really, check!Struck a deal with a driver in a very very broken English and  made his delivery truck van into our personal tour van.CHECK

Let me just expound on it a bit coz for some reason my friends and I recklessly thrive on random moments and this was another one for the books. So, as the ever fit Bally and I were biking uphill and downhill for hours we stopped by the a tiny roadside food shack to energize ourselves. We got into a conversation with one of the locals exchanged the general question of where are you from yada yada.. cut the story short they offered to bring us to the temples for a very discounted rate. With just a shared look Bally and I said yes right away (that's how we make life making decisions by the way haha), and lo and behold the delivery truck van was waiting for us like a shiny carriage on our beck and call. It was perhaps the quietest ride we've ever had, with lots of smiles thrown in to fill the silence of the language barrier between the driver and us. It was hopeless, it was reckless, it was worth the destination :)

After Ubud we went up to Uluwatu to meet up with Kyle where he was surfing to his heart's content til he suffered that ghastly reef accident. I really don't know how you call it exactly but there were wounds A LOT of wounds that just added to his barely healed wounds from Siargao. I tell you that guy collects scars and wounds as souvenirs. Anyway, that pretty much bummed his surfing trip. Much more when he found this amazingly secluded surf spot in Uluwatu, like a surfer's haven on a cliff side stilts that was very dirt cheap. Well that was our instruction anyway, to find a spot within our budget because we are cheap like that. The downside however is the going up and down of those hundreds of steep stairs with our huge backpacks and injuries. I was nursing my swollen toe from my biking fall of disgrace and Bally was getting UTI. To top it off, we learned how filthy the water really is in Bali with horror stories of how a deadly infection  could spread in a tiny wound just by being in the water. Of course the sanitation of the dirt cheap place didn't help settle the paranoia nor did the medical expertise of my two companions regarding infections, diseases and shit. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss, but transferring to a cleaner hotel is more blissful.

That begun our journey to hotel hopping in Bali. I honestly could care less where I sleep and all coz I know that it's only temporary and I'm gonna return to the comforts of my own home anyway (ehem! bullshit! I'm really on a budget! haha). However, I also totally understood where Kyle was coming from about getting the best comforts his money could afford considering how hard he works, the exchange rate blah blah, but on the other hand I don't spend money that I don't have. So we compromised and I somewhat became a semi-freeloader. It really didn't sit well with me so I just gave him free reign of TripAdvisor-ing our trip. TripAdvisor could seriously hire us to stay at hotels for free in exchange for feedbacks. He do the feed-backing, I give the stars. Dream job!

Overall, Uluwatu was nice but the people were nicer.. to look at. There's just something about surfer guys until you see their equally hot girlfriends trail behind them. Oh well back to being tourists. Uluwatu was just really touristy for me. It was such a relief to escape the bus tours of Chinese madness and drove off to Balian.

Aaaaah Balian. I cannot express how much I love thee. You see Balian is a quiet little surfing town somewhere in the central part of Bali. I think. My direction really sucks, but heck it's somewhere in Bali. So anyway, I fell in love with that little town. That was my Eat Pray Love moment right there. Eat the best street noodle, Pray to stay forever and Loooove every bit of it. But just imagine your bungalow sitting on top of a terraces with the ocean as your view and the waves as your music. Just the ultimate Bali experience for me. The combination of greens and blues were the perfect shade of tranquility. I've never seen colors more vivid at that certain day, but that's a different story ;) I would have loved to spend the remaining duration of our stay there but I know how excruciating it was for Kyle to just see the perfect waves not able to surf it. I feel for that dude, but on the other hand I got go to my dream school.

Green School. I came across the Green School in Bali from one of John Hardy's TED talk on youtube. Since then I've always been impressed by it, partly because it was similar to the paper I made on Curriculum Development when we were tasked to make a write up of our dream school. I've written how I wanted an eco-inspired school somewhere in the mountain or ocean with solar panel churvaloo. Then a few years after, I bumped into Green School on youtube and then visited it. How amazing is that?! It was like seeing a dream into reality, only much better, waaaay better. Someday I'm gonna set up one in PH. Oh dreams, just you wait til I get my millions...haha...

What else? Oh so yeah we spent sometime in Kuta, the party capital of Bali. I didn't get to party the night away. I would've have wanted to try it, but I don't quite have the stamina for it. Weirdly enough, the music and lights makes me sleepy... unless I'm with my girlfriends and some cheap shots then we're good to go. But that hardly happens, just a maximum clubbing of once a year. Yes we are a bunch of old boring hags who takes more enjoyment dancing outside the perimeters of the club. Damn, we really are cheap wackos haha.

And that ends my finger exercise for this leg of my Southeast Asian Adventure. Thailand coming ... who knows when.. ;)  

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