When you picture Bali in your head, you probably picture the most perfect beach God has graced us with. We have not seen that yet, but we are on our way. After the Superbowl we had our buddy Ade pick us up from the bar and drive us down South. Hidden in the local neighborhoods of Jimbarin, we found our last Bungalow. It’s called, Ahh! Bed and Breakfast, and ran by a fantastic couple, Bali Bob and Lydia. Bali Bob moved here 5 years ago from the US and says he’ll never return. He knows everything about Bali and absolutely loves the lifestyle. He runs a great bed and breakfast, super nice and very homey. Pool with a waterfall, outdoor shower, a movie selection of over 3,000, and FREE COOKIES. The price is a little out of our range but it was Haley’s last night so we decided to splurge ($38).
Bali Bob gave us some bikes and we hit the beach. We each had, as Oprah would call it, that “ah ha!” moment when we saw the ocean. Long stretches of white sand, turquoise waters, cafes on the sand, bliss. It was beautiful, it was Bali. The sun was a raging, the brews were flowing, and the water sparkling. We then had what we like to call, in our deepest sentiments, THE BEST DINNER EVER!
Bali Bob told us that this area is known for fantastic Seafood dinners on the beach. It was Halez last night, so she was ready to go big. He told us NOT to order off the menu. “Go to the back, pick out whatever fish you want. There’s red snappers, white snappers, crab, tiger prawns etc. Look at the eyeballs, if they are clear, it’s good, if they are foggy, it’s bad. They will charge you by the Kilo, grill it, and serve it with seasonal vegetables, rice, and fruit. They catch these guys every morning so it’s as fresh and local as you can get.”
Halez beat me to the tank so by the time I got over there she had picked out a 4lb. Barracuda and was telling the guy “no, no, just for me.” Haha, he was like, so big! for 2 people! Sometimes, she gets really, really excited about things and doesn’t think very realistically. We ended up sharing it and it was amazing. We even ate the eyeballs! Downed a bottle of wine and watched the sun set on the beach. We got there early enough that we were Table 1 and right on the water (so close we thought the tide was going to sweep away our table! Wowza!). Dinner was heaven, but then we realized there was a rooftop bar on our way home and stopped there to toss out more money. Then we realized free cookies and movies were waiting for us back at the bungalow and got even MORE excited. This whole day started with the Patriots being crowned Champs, and ended with free cookies and Melissa McCarthy. I mean, does a day get more memorable than THAT?!?
Halez left flew back home the following evening. I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t think I’d have to fight back the tears ALL day! hah! Mainly, I am scared of being on my own with the heavy amount of uncertainty ahead. It’s a difficult transition starting out with somebody there for every moment to having nobody there, for any moment. I am prepared to take on New Zealand alone, but overlooked spending 5 days in Bali on my own. I was scared, I was worried, and I was sad to say goodbye to my buddy. What ended the cry sesh was a random memory. All of the sudden I thought of this one night in Laos when Haley sat up, turned on the lights, and told me she thought her appendix were going to burst. She just knew it. I kind of feel bad for laughing at this but it’s really very funny, because clearly her appendix didn’t burst, she just totally freaked out. I started laughing at that memory and put another Melissa McCarthy movie on. After I pulled myself together Bali Bob hooked me up with a good deal down the street to spend my final 5 nights. I would make it through this. I miss you Halez!
The final days in Bali have been pretty lonely. I am pretty sure I’m the only person in my Hotel, and in an area that is 90% locals. All the locals are very nice, but they don’t speak English so not many conversations are had. For the 10% of tourists here I would say all 10% are Europeans on their Honeymoons, so they aren’t any fun. I have alternated my days with adventuring around to different beaches, and staying put getting ready for New Zealand.
The days I spent adventuring I would rent a MotorBike for 5 dollars a day. I am legally not suppose to do this because I don’t have an international license, but they said if I see Police just to “smile” and don’t carry much cash on me because they will take it. I passed a lot of Police and kept smiling, none of them followed me. Thank ya Thank ya! In Bali there are no laws for the road. Most people drive on the left side, and most motorbikes do whatever the Hell they want. I adapted this strategy and have lived to blog about it. Roundabouts are the funniest, no matter where I was going I would follow the guy in front of me. Never did it lead me to the right place, but I wasn’t in any rush, and that way I never turned into oncoming traffic. I’m so brilliant.
I took mostly the back roads to the beaches which was my favorite part. Narrow shady roads overtaken by bright green trees and bright blue skies. You passed so many locals you couldn’t help but really feel the magic of Bali. My favorite beach I saw was Pandawa beach, at the very edge of Southern Bali. I spent the most time there. I was too cheap to rent a $4 beach chair and don’t own a towel, so I walked a bit until I found a shady cove. It was perfect, hidden in the rocks, view of the turquoise water, and surrounded by a couple of local fisherman. I read my book, closed my eyes, and prayed a crab wouldn’t scurry across my face.
On my ride back home I stopped at Padang Padang and Bingin Beach. Both beaches are rocky beaches, but beautiful in their own way.
A few days later I went to Benoa Beach (water sports capital) and Nusa Dua Beach (rich tourist capital). When trying to get to Nusa Dua I was greeted with gates and security guards. “Where are you going miss?!?!” “uhhh THE BEACH.” “The BEACH?” “yeah….?” “Okay, straight ahead! Enjoy!” hah! What did they think I was going to do? Bomb all the rich people in their fancy resorts? When I saw a sign for “Club Med” I knew I wouldn’t last long. The beach was really beautiful, but the atmosphere stunk.
The last Beach was Balangan. It was surrounded by rocky cliffs and had the most amazing colors to it. There was a hidden Temple in the rocks, and even platforms where ceremonies take place. There was definietely a lot of barrel surfing going on, and locals playing soccer on the beach. If Pandawa is my favorite Bali beach, Balangan is my second.
I am not going to lie, it is sunny, hot, and humid in Bali, and I am ready for New Zealand! I leave tonight, and am scared to death. Bali has been amazing, but boy, I can’t wait to get back to the Mountains. I have heard New Zealand has really terrible internet, so not sure how much blogging will be taking place. The plan is to buy a car in Auckland and travel around until May. Yesterday I joined a backpacking forum and within 12 hours lined up a weeks worth of conservation volunteer work. It will be at the end of February in the Te Urewera Mainland Island, but after that I’m on my own. Lots of camping, tramping, and learning experiences to come!