So this week was a bit of a rough start with an amazing finish. I arrived at Bali airport, purchased my visa, changed my money, found my shuttle driver, bought some water, and reached my hotel with no incident. Being that that was the first time that I had been able to do that without a plane delay, cancel, missed flight or something else go wrong should have made me wonder. Arriving at my hotel I was shown To my single room and single bathroom (never good for the solo traveller- makes it much harder to Interact and meet people when you are alone.) I was so tired though I welcomed sleep like a good friend I was missing.
Bali is an island located in indonesia, a country made up of tons of a large number of islands. Bali is also one of the largest tourist filled islands. Ubud is a city inland in Bali that is known for it's art and culture. Culture is exactly why I choose to come to Bali. While Indonesia is one of the largest peaceful Islamic countries, Bali remains a predominately Hindu island. Everywhere you look are statues of different Hindu deities and everything people do is about Hindu celebrations and traditions. Everywhere you look people are making offerings to god and their culture is seen in every interaction you have. It is a Truly beautiful culture full of spirituality, wisdom, and kindness . I have never been somewhere and seen an entire culture and population so impacted and so passionate about their beliefs. It is often known is the island of over 1000 temples. Next to this amazing culture you are also surrounded by beautiful green rice paddies and a sky is full of magically decorated kites.
In such a great place you may wonder what happened to me...
Well my first day I called my parents to tell them I arrived and they told me they really missed me and were worried about me. This made me incredibly homesick and sad. I then walked around the city trying to take in the sites and thought I would sit down at a cute cafe and have lunch. I ordered an amazing veggie wrap dish ( not sure of it's actual name) and was so thrilled by how delicious veggies rolled into japati could be (sorry kiwis and Aussies but your foods are not always big on veggies). I realized while I was eating that I forgot my book- this is a bummer because when traveling alone and you spend time eating alone you want something to distract you from all the other people eating with their loved ones. I finished lunch then headed off to tour the palace. I also made a plan that day two I would participate in a bike tour around Bali so I would meet some people.
This plan was great until I woke up at 3am with an awful stomach ache and an urgent need for the toliet. Anyone who has ever travelled the tropics or seen Guns Germs and Steel Into the tropics, knows this is not a good sign. Tropical diseases or sickness don't give you warning they just hit you head on like a semi truck. Being alone can be hard but being alone and sick is awful. I cancelled my tour at 6 am, walked my sick self to the 24 hour convenient store at 630am, bought some version of gaterade and stomach pain medicine and went back to sleep. I slept for about 36 hours on and off and became pretty familiar with the layout of my hotel bathroom. Finally at about 6am Thursday morning (I arrived on Monday) I started to feel hungry again. I was determined to see more than my hotel room so I dragged my weak body to breakfast where I had some pancakes. And that is how I survived what is known in Bali as the Bali belly.
After my rocky punches in the air in celebration I decided to walk to the monkey forest- a sacred place where monkeys are protected and the major temples of Ubud are located. It was a bit freaky as monkeys try to steal your stuff and jump all over you. My scared self latched onto a park guard and asked for his protection. It worked because the nice man walked me to the temple and I was not touched my a single monkey. After the forest I headed to the art museum- ARMA - it is a pretty cool museum mixed with traditional and cultural pieces of art. All in all i know it sounds great but my original homesickness followed by my being sick and then I was surrounded all day with people traveling together and cute families that I was sad. All I kept thinking was, "Why do I keep doing this to myself? Go to all these awesome places only to remind myself I have no one to share the experiences with." I know a bit depressing.
So I went back to my hotel and thought- get your act together and stop feeling sorry for yourself. I showered and walked to a local cafe for dinner. Remembering my book this time. (I am reading Rob Lowe's book and I love every page). Anyway at the cafe the hostess took me to the back and gave me this amazing seat overlooking the rice paddies. And there eating dinner, watching the sunset over this amazing place, while Bob Marley was playing in the background I had an apiphany. I realized I do this because I love more than anything watching the sunset over mystical places you only see on tv and books and being able to say I have been there. I have experienced that.
The next day I went on my bike tour. We ate breakfast at the top of an active volcano, rode through local villages, saw how indigenous crops are grow and harvested, tasted different types of coffee, and enjoyed the breeze in our hair as we rode downhill. I met some amazing people and saw some amazing things. And that night I went back to that amazing view at the cute cafe and sipped some ginger tea while Bob Marley played in the background.
This week I am going surfing- stay tuned.- and due to the awfully slow Internet signal I might not have pictures up for a while- but I do have some on Facebook so look there.