Bali – Part Two

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).

Jimbarin Beach

Jimbarin Beach

Outdoor Shower, the simple things

Outdoor Shower, the simple things

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!

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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.”

The long guy in the back is oursssss

The long guy in the back is oursssss

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?!?

When happiness collides with overwhelming excitement

When happiness collides with overwhelming excitement

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View from our table

Sometimes we think we're fancy and get overpriced cocktails on rooftops

Sometimes we think we’re fancy and get overpriced cocktails on rooftops

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!

Pandawa Beach

Pandawa Beach

The soccer pitch

The Soccer Pitch

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.

Gasoline in a vodka bottle

Gasoline in a vodka bottle

Bali roadwork..they are paving the road outside my hotel and the process leaves me speechless

Bali roadwork..they are paving the road outside my hotel and the process leaves me speechless

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.

My favorite beach with mah scooter

My favorite beach with mah scooter

Dude from Jakarta

Dude from Jakarta

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.

My cozy cove

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On my ride back home I stopped at Padang Padang and Bingin Beach. Both beaches are rocky beaches, but beautiful in their own way.

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Padang Padang

Bingin at Sunset

Bingin at Sunset

Secret passageway to get to Bingin

Secret passageway to get to Bingin

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.

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Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua

Benoa Beach

Benoa Beach

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.

Balangan

Balangan

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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!

 

 

Bali – Part One

Bali! We landed in Bali, time for a healthy balance of gorgeous white sand beaches and monkeys. When planning this trip back in September I really didn’t have any intentions to go to Bali. Haley has work connections here and knows a few people who’ve lived and vacationed here extensively, so she planned Bali to be her last stop before heading home. In my uneducated, New Zealand driven mind, I looked it over and said nahhh, I’m just gonna go straight to New Zealand. A month later, not sure why, my mind opened up and slapped me across the face. Why wouldn’t I go to BALI? It’s right THERE, it’s FAMOUS, it’s MAGICAL, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?

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So here I am, sitting in a cafe in Bali escaping the tenacious sunny rays. I have 10 days here, the first 5 with Halez, the last 5 on my own. Our first 2 nights were spent on the coast of Canggu (Shang-Goo). Canguu is 10km north of the partying tourist city of Kuta. Canggu is a laid back and peaceful surfers paradise (which I found out, is everywhere in Bali, except for Kuta.) We stayed at Andy’s Surfing Villa which had 3 bungalows surrounding a tiny pool shaped like a gourd. “Uncle Andy” was great, we didn’t exchange money at the airport so he lended us a bunch to go to dinner with. We headed down to the beach (3 minute walk) and found ourselves in seafood paradise. We chose the BBQ option which (depending on what kebab you got) was roughly 4 dollars for 2 seafood skewers, all-you-can-eat organic salad, and yellow rice. It was so filling and delicious. Midway through it started to DOWNPOUR. Turns out, it’s the rainy season, and we again, HAD NO IDEA. When it rains in Bali, it REALLY rains. No worries for us though, we tucked away our iPhones and ran across the beach in laughter all the way to our bungalow. Hopped in the pool fully dressed and hit the hay. Bali, is gonna be good.

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After the most humid run of my life, I hit the beach and got the worst burn of my life. Those darn clouds, they fool me every time. Ate some more great food and took it easy for the night. On our last morning at Andy’s we were out by the pool where we met a fascinating lady named Barbara, or as everyone calls her, “B.” B is from Northern Ireland and in her late 40’s. She is not married and has no kids. She lived the corporate life for awhile and during the past several years has worked overseas for 9-12 month contracts in countries she has chosen. Very well-traveled, friendly, and an inspiring bungalow mate. She quit her job because she wants to write. She has a 24-day stay at Andy’s and is hunkering down and writing most of the day. I was very inspired by that idea and loved hearing about her travels and how she got to where she is now. She told me I have until at LEAST my 40’s to figure out what I want to do, and not to worry about figuring it out in my twenties. She said a lot of people waste their 20’s on, “figuring it all out” when your 20’s are meant to be enjoyed, and for having fun. She just told me that if I wanted kids to start get going on that by 32, hah!

Best attempt at self-timer jumping pic

Best attempt at self-timer jumping pic

It was a moment of realization that I needed. When describing this trip to people I found myself describing it as a journey to hopefully figure out what I really want to do with my life. I mean, HOW ABSURD is THAT. I’m 26! The moment I stop looking so hard for my passion is the moment it’ll hit me like a ton of bricks. I have worked hard to enjoy this trip, so that is exactly what I am going to do. No more over-thinking, just gonna let it rideeee. (sorry mom, no 9-5 for me anytime soon!)

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Canggu was a really cool place to check out, but less beauty and more rough n’ tough surfer waves. Next stop is inland to Ubud (ew-bood). Ubud is said to the be the artsy and cultural center of Bali. We were expecting a tiny little town with local art shops, temples, and of course, the monkey forest. What we got was a congested, medium to large size town with a ton of yogis. There was so much going on we couldn’t believe it. We were so overwhelmed (by Bali standards) that we almost extended our stay by 2 nights. We stayed at the Jaya Jungle Bungalow which was rather glamorous at first. The room was big, the bathroom bigger, and a pool surrounded by the greenest of greens. We were in the jungle, and we were really excited about it. What we didn’t realize is how many ants and bugs we would be sleeping with at night, and how non-existent the air circulation would be. It was hot, really hot.

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Bug net essential.

Bug net essential.

After eating raw pizza and sucking down superfood smoothies at Clear Cafe, we stopped in a tour office. Not knowing what to expect, we ended up customizing our own private tour for the next morning. It was pretty funny, we told him what we were interested in, negotiated a price, and he said he’ll pick us up at 8:30 the following morning. Done.

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While out on our veranda (i hate to love that word) enjoying a nice bottle of red from the Balinese Vineyards, one of the guys came over and told us about breakfast. He was basically like yeah, once we see you come outside we will start cooking for you. So in the morning, I walked outside (onto the veranda) and there he was watering the flowers down below and goes “Ready for pancake?!” and I was like “Ready for pancake!” haha, and 10 minutes later, he brought it up to our (here we go again) Veranda and we were ready to go.

Banana Crepe!

Banana Crepe!

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Our tour guide, Ade (Ah-Dee) was a really cool 31-year-old dude from Bali. He went to college in Jakarta for Tourism and he drove us around and told us all about the sights and culture of Bali. We went to the Rice Terraces first, then up to Mt. Batur (Volcano), and back down to the Coffee Plantation. We got a 16 (or around that many) tasting platter of coffee and teas for free! I couldn’t believe it, nothing has been complimentary on this trip so far, and we got free peanuts! So we bought stuff at the gift shop to feel deserving. The big thing about Bali is the Luwak Coffee. They cage up this weird looking cat animal and feed it until it poops. They use it’s poop (washed multiple times) and grind it up with the coffee beans. The end result is a very expensive coffee that I don’t think tastes very good, but then again, I’m new to this coffee game. They call it “Cat Poop Roast” or the kicker, a “Catpoopcino.” Ended the day at the Monkey Forest where all these funny monkeys have gray mustaches and look like old men.

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Cat POOP

Cat POOP

The last morning in Ubud we are UP and READY for the SUPERBOWL. Gametime: 7:30AM. Emailed the bar a few days beforehand to confirm they would be playing it. We walked in at 7:29 and plopped ourselves on a bench in the back. They had it on a big projector screen, the picture was very fuzzy and it kept freezing and cutting in and out. I was really nervous. The audio worked great thank goodness, but not until midway through the 2nd quarter did the picture run smoothly. The bar was filled with white people, mostly Americans, but a few Europeans did show up for the early morning booze. I think they were disappointed when none of the players were using their feet. But they stayed till the end anyways. When Butler intercepted the ball for the win I just let it loose. I erupted from that bench and couldn’t control myself. There was a guy from Boston right behind me who was way more obnoxious than me, so it was a fun celebration. If I wasn’t so consumed with the victory and had time to look over at Haley, I’m sure her head was down with embarrassment of knowing me. She was a good sport, she came and went throughout the game but whenever she came back she brought me snacks. She cheered for the Patriots, even though she hates both teams. It was an appreciated effort. The rest of the day just kept getting better and better. It was such a memorable experience celebrating the Patriots win at a jungle bar in Bali. Couldn’t beat it.

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A Collection of Thoughts: Southeast Asia

I’ve been backpacking for exactly one month. Haley is gone (sad face) and I am currently alone in Bali for another few days before I fly to New Zealand. I’ve been adventuring around Bali and been given a lot of time with my thoughts. Since the Southeast Asia portion is over I thought I’d make a concluding post that displays no facts, just observations, from my point of view. No one use any of this information for school papers, it probably won’t make any sense. Although unlike other posts I am going to actually organize this one, maybe even with bold lettering and CAPS LOCK.

Touch his tusks it's lucky...okay!

Touch his tusks it’s lucky…okay!

FOOD

Why wouldn’t I start with the best part about this month? Going into it I didn’t think I’d be as excited as I was about all the food, which is really weird if you know anything about myself and family. We grew up with cosmo brownies, pasta, mac&cheese, frozen pizza, pork chops, and always, always ending the night with a gallon of ice cream, each. It was wonderful, we may all have intense sugar addictions, but so does everyone else in America so I’m okay with that. Point being, the McCloskey Cuisine was carbs and ice cream, nothing cultural and no spices added. The Southeast Asian cuisine is noodles and rice. Okay, so carbs and gluten, not that different.

Breakfast

Breakfast

Not being a huge rice fan, I always went for the fried noodle dishes. Each one was different in it’s own sauce and use of spices. I was nervous about dishes being too spicy as sometimes when I have too much ketchup I start to sweat. I was careful about it and walked away with a big victory. I stayed away from meat, only got chicken and seafood when it was in a visibly clean restaurant. I basically got a ton of seafood and veggie stir-fry. When entering or exiting a new country (which was every 2 days) we would always try the local dish, so during the in between time it would be yogurt/fruit/muesli for breakfast, fresh seasonal salad for lunch, and a noodle stir fry for dinner. To our surprise, and lack of historic colonization knowledge, the French were everywhere. We had no idea how much the French influenced and carved these countries. With that being said, you couldn’t go 2 blocks without seeing a baguette/croissant vendor. At last! I will get my bread fix! I’m SAVEDDDDD!

Lunch

Lunch

Favorite Food Country: Vietnam. Maybe because we spent the most time there, or maybe because their food is really darn good. I also began drinking coffee in Vietnam. This stemmed from having to wake up at 6am for the AFC Championship game and the only place to watch it was a local cafe. Nothing on the menu was in English so I just pointed at something. Out came a (very strong) drip coffee with sweetened condensed milk. It hyped me up and now I’m an addict, thanks a lot, Patriots. They also had a lot of great local healthy Juiceries, which is my favorite find.

Dinner (I think I need more food)

Dinner (I think I need more food)

Everywhere had great food, and to my surprise I didn’t cave on a Western option until essentially Singapore. I kept it local all the way through. I did not, however, order rice or noodles for breakfast like the locals, but that’s only because I’m thick headed and could not justify it.

Siphon Coffee in Hoi An, Vietnam

Siphon Coffee in Hoi An, Vietnam

I’d also like to note the Pad Thai in Thailand was not AMAZING like everyone thinks it would be. My thought is that it’s one of those completely Americanized dishes. Kind of like how America markets Fosters as an Australian Beer, when if you’ve ever been to Australia, not only is it near impossible to find, but they laugh at you when you ask for it. Big, whole-hearted judgmental laughter, you stupid, stupid, American.

PEOPLE

As I’ve said before, the Cambodians are my favorite people. They are genuine, friendly, and give a smile whenever they can. They are welcoming and seem very happy to share their beautiful country with you. The kids are my favorite, never too shy to shout HELLO as you walk by. You can barter a bit here, but it’s so poor that it’s hard to knock them down, and you never feel good doing it (unless you KNOW you’re being scammed).

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With Thailand being the hottest vacation destination, everyone seems to be in the tourism industry. Constantly trying to get your money, constantly trying to scam you. It’s the easiest country to barter in though, so that is a plus. You could cut their asking price in half easier than in Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam.

Thai Baby

Thai Baby

The Vietnamese gave off the best first impression. I think that’s due to luck with the hotel we booked. The staff was so unbelievably welcoming, accommodating, and adorable that we fell in love immediately. Stating that, after a full week in Vietnam we were running for the border. It was the most exhausting country with the haggling. You couldn’t walk 5 steps without a guy on the street saying “tuk tuk?” “hello lady, tuk tuk?” “where you go?” “motorbike?” By the end of the week I knew my fuse was severely shortened when I started to take it personal. Is it because I’m a GIRL that they think I can’t WALK anywhere by MYSELF? Am I not CAPABLE of getting around on my OWN?? hah! I continued to smile and say no, and then just ignored them by the end. If you want to walk in peace, don’t go to Vietnam. Even on the beach people were approaching you trying to sell you CD’s, Sunglasses, and Bananas…relentless. I had one lady in Hoi An grab my arm on the street, start schmoozing me, and drag me 1/2 mile to her Tailor shop and try to fit me for a dress. After giving it some thought, I told her I do not need a dress but thank you. She followed me out to the street yelling “okay okay I give it to you cheaper, CHEAPER!” I just lifted my head to the sky, accepted this was life, and smiled.

King of Cambodia

King of Cambodia

Laotians, very laid back. A lot of pushiness here as well, but not nearly as bad at Vietnam. Most shop owners were too busy taking naps in the middle of their stalls. The worst was at the market when everyone was selling the SAME thing and saw you looking around and pushing menu’s in your face. That was pretty intense, had to escape that area quickly before I got too frazzled.

SERVICE

Working in the service industry for most of my life, I think I have a good handle on what people want, and how they want to be treated. People like space, time, and efficiency. You do not get that in Southeast Asia. You walk into a store or restaurant and automatically have someone on your hip. They may or may not talk to you, but they are there, matching your every move. I’m the type to leave a store in the mall if I am greeted to aggressively. HELLO HOW ARE YOU WE HAVE A MILLION SALES GOING ON RIGHT NOW AND I AM GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT ALL OF THEM REALLY QUICKLY WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. I know this is their job, and they are being nice, but I gotta go.

Happiness in .50 cent beers

Happiness in .50 cent beers

Okay back to Southeast Asia, they are magnets and they do not leave you alone. In a restaurant they sit you, place the menu down, and say “what would you like to eat.” Hah! Do I look like a local? Do I look like I know what the heck I’m doing? I’m gonna need at least 10 minutes to look this over, and you want my order now?? Those are all thoughts in my head by the way, gosh I sound like such an outspoken ungrateful biatch in this post. I smile and say “ohhh more time please.” They are very friendly and nice, always smiling, so that helps. Also, they won’t give you the bill until you ask for it. This is a nice approach, but a foreign one for me. Working in a high volume, get ’em in, get ’em out restaurant I can’t afford to wait for them to ask for the bill. Nowhere is understaffed so you have a lot of people just standing around with the hands behind their back, waiting for the nod. This is super helpful because you can ask anybody anything, whether you are their customer or not. They can do it all.

RUNNING/SAFETY

Everyone who reads this blog knows I like to run. I had no intention of running in Southeast Asia because I thought it would be dangerous to go off alone. This was reasonable, I thought. The second morning of the trip I went out for a run in Bangkok. It was phenomenal. It’s very hard to run in these countries because of the traffic, narrow roads, congested sidewalks, sweltering heat, and uneven terrain, but I managed to get out about 5 days a week. I’d find parks or low traffic areas. I even went for a night run in Vietnam, talk about DANGEROUS! hah, not so much actually.

Playing around with my Monkii Bars!

Playing around with my Monkii Bars!

Thai guy working out those legs

Thai guy working out those legs

Okay, okay, so I have a large trust in humanity. I know there is bad people everywhere, and I’m not stupid about the places I run or explore on my own. Turns out, I have never felt in danger in Asia. Both Haley and I have felt very safe in every country we visited. We also met another solo female who has traveled the world and says she feels the safest in Asia. This worked out really well for Haley and I. Whenever we had a “free day” (days with no traveling, designed to explore the town/city) we would do our own thing in the morning. I’d go for a run to find a park and new areas, and she would go off and find the trendy streets and find the best place to get her coffee. We’d usually meet up midday and go on from there. It’s a routine we’re used to when traveling together in the States, and a routine that picked right back up (rather effortlessly) in these Southeast Asian countries.

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RANDOM ROUND-UP

Overall, the first month went, how do I say this, perfectly. We had I believe TWO rainy days. When we were in Northern Thailand/Laos/and Northern Vietnam we were not aware it was winter. It was perfect temperature during the day but rather cold in the mornings/nights, that was the only curve ball. We were able to book all the transportation we needed very easily. We took $10 buses, $30 trains, and $40 planes.

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For the curious, between transportation, VISAS (about $45 for each country), and tours I spent $1,487 (including Singapore, excluding Bali). That includes the $555 flight from JFK to Bangkok. That number is on the higher end because of all the flights we took instead of 24 hour sleeper buses. It.was.worth.it. As I stated in my Singapore post our cost of accomodation was covered by renting out our Jackson Apartment. Food was super cheap, but we ate well and we ate often, so I have no dollar amount for that!

Cool British dude

Cool British dude

We spent no more than 3 nights at any one place, with the average being 2 nights. We loaded up our days with mostly independent exploring, and mixed in some guided tours. We ate the local food, drank the local beer, bought the local goods, and mingled with the local folks. We were upbeat, energized, healthy, and made the most of everyday. We went to bed at 9pm every night, asleep by 9:01, and up with the sun (well, sometimes). Aside from the constant pushiness in some areas, nothing seemed to bother us. If something went wrong, we laughed at it. If something went right, we marveled at it. Because how in the world, had everything gone so right? It was a month of unabated joy, it was a month of incessant learning, it was a month I’ll never forget.

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“One life on this earth is all that we get. Whether it is enough or not enough. And the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.” Frederick Douglas

1st World Pit Stop — Singapore

When planning our flights for this trip we decided, after several seconds of intense analysis, to extend our layover in Singapore by a couple days. “I mean we might as well, we’re flying past there anyways.” Done.

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Instead of going directly to Bali, we spent 2 nights in Singapore. Our mindset this whole trip has been to see as much as possible in the allotted time given. This approach has worked out great because we have not felt the need for more time, we have always been ready for the next place.

I don't remember what or where this was

I don’t remember what or where this was

Singapore is fabulous. The very opposite of what we’ve been traveling through, and a welcomed break from it. It is way bigger than I thought, way cleaner than I thought¬†and WAY more expensive than I could wrap my big head around. It is bright, new, futuristic, and environmentally conscience. There is toilet paper to be used, clean subways to be ridden, and luscious green parks to be explored. I really, really enjoyed Singapore, but only for a day.

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Southeast Asia has been costing us between 10-20 dollars a night for a private room and bathroom. The highest we spent was 40, some low 30s , but mostly around 20 total for the both of us. And, since we are so savvy, rented out our Jackson pad all month to several ski vacationers and used all that income for our hotels. Those ski bros covered January rent AND 30 nights of traveling, BOOYAH. Big shout out to Halez for handling all that, Air B&B can be pretty needy as we found out.

Big mirrors came out of NOWHERE

Big mirrors came out of NOWHERE

When searching for accommodation in Singapore we realized it was back to the hostel game. Even a shared 8 bunk room was 37 a night, but it was either that or emptying our pockets for the big boys.

Our hostel, the INNcrowd (get it?) was located in Little India and a well enough run hostel. The bathrooms were clean and the staff friendly. If it wasn’t for the loud Indian music (think live band chanting spiritual things with drums) blaring all night, our bunk mate puking in a plastic bag off the side of her bed (I remember my first beer), the stench of feet, the dust from the top bunk dropping into my mouth, and the lack of a mattress, I’d give it a 10. But seriously, it could ALWAYS be worse, so I was happy.

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Singapore's marketing strategy to get people to be nice on the subway. The middle one looks like my sister Laura. It's a good thing I doubt she reads this blog. Billboards like this make me laugh so hard

Singapore’s marketing strategy to influence people to be nice on the subway. The middle one looks like my sister Laura. It’s a good thing I doubt she reads this blog. Billboards like this really get the message through, don’t you think?

My full day in Singapore was spent running in Fort Canning park, educating myself in the spice garden, walking along the marina, sweating, enjoying an iced Kopi Coffee (coffee with sweetened condensed milk, it’s what the locals do, and yes, the locals are mostly all overweight), exploring the cleanest most organized China Town I’ve ever seen, sweating, people watching at Raffles Place, touring Clarkes Quay, getting blessed by a Buddha man in the Buddhas Tooth Relic Temple, sweating, and spending an absurd amount of money on “happy hour” drinks (we couldn’t find beer for less than 10 dollars during this supposedly cheap time of day).

Typical Singaporian Breakfast, Kopi Coffee and a Kaya Bun (dense and toasted with butter and coconut jam). If I spent more than 1.5 days here I'd have a weight problem too.

Typical Singaporian Breakfast, Kopi Coffee and a Kaya Bun (dense and toasted with butter and coconut jam). If I spent more than 1.5 days here I’d have a weight problem too.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

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Singapore was a really nice change of pace for a day, it’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer. The Singaporians were not as friendly and welcoming as I hoped, and prices on everything were so outrageous I was ready to leave the next afternoon. A lot of business people walking around, like, people in nice clothes, that was weird…let’s go to Bali!

Boats and Planes

Boats and Planes, adios Singapore

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