That’s what I did.
New Years was an interesting experience. There’s only so much crunchy granola and more extreme yoga than Pam K. I can take. I went to Ubud, (same as the day trip from last time I was in Bali – where Wayan’s office is.) and chilled with Carrie, Courtney, Kelly, Lolly, Lolly’s sister Sarah. We vegetated with the help of Kafe (get the salad bowl), Bali Buddha (get the banana bread), Mojo’s Flying Burritos (just go there), and just chilled. I had been running around doing this, that, and the other thing for the rest of December that it was nice to slow the pace down. I decided the night before to hop on a train to Bali. Yes, there are trains that go “between” islands, there is just a bus transfer over a ferry. I didn’t plan too well apparently, but this is Indonesia, and plans usually don’t go according to plan.
I couldn’t get a return ticket to Surabaya.
Planes, trains, busses, or travel cars were ALL BOOKED after the new year. I could (for $350,) fly first class from Bali to PAPUA, then fly to Jakarta and back to Surabaya and be back for class Monday morning, or I could wait until Monday morning and fly back to Surabaya through Mataram (Lombok) for $75.
You know me, I’m borderline frugal, and I’m not allowed to go to Papua.
Bemo drivers in Bali creeped me out after the first 3 attempts in getting to a nearby beach from the airport. Too many empty angkots and too many, “you can stay with me” suggestions with raised eyebrows. Ew. No thanks. I’ll be less frugal than normal and spring for a taxi to the next town over.
He must have thought that when I said, “surfers, backpackers, murah,” I meant, “Nusa Dua, Club Med and Hilton: MAHAL.” Because that’s exactly where he dropped me off. Hysterical. The Ritziest place in Indonesia. So ritzy, if fact, there might have actually been a Ritz.
I walked past scores of 5 star resorts and walked into Club Med’s lobby just out of curiosity. I was turned away since I didn’t have a prior reservation. I was told to go to the reservation office. Apparently I was shunned since I had a backpack and a plastic bag instead of a hired bellhop and a Gucci like all the other Bule guests.
I kept walking. I finally started to see a few locals after I walked past the St. Regis. The main line of bule hotels behind me, I could actually talk to a few people without having to pay them. Thank god. I asked if there was a homestay or cheap place to stay, and the answer was “di atas di sana.” On top over there, pointing to a hill at the end of the beach. Closer to the hill were more confirmations. Di atas di sana. Okay. At the base of the hill, there were people that stopped me to converse, to practice their English, and to interrogate why there was a bule by the not-Nusa-Dua beach. “Walk to the top of the hill and follow the road to the end, there’s a backpacker place where the surfers stay on the right.”
Well, apparently that was also hilarious to somebody. I walked all the way up there, got a few great pictures, then kept going. That hill was endless. I finally made it to the top of the hill where the road ends, and there was literally nothing. Cows. A few houses and a trail to a temple on the cliff. None of those places housed surfers or backpackers. I kept going out of desperation and frustration from the botched directions. If anything, I could call a taxi to come rescue me, (then I would have rather gone to Papua for how far from civilization I was!)
Just then, a motorcycle rode past. Bule? No way.
He stopped. “Are you lost?”
Buddy, you have no idea.
In a place like Indo, it’s usually safe to hop on a motorcycle with strangers. I can’t tell you how often I’ve paid to do it, but this time it wasn’t an ojek. Simon was visiting from Canada and was the hero of the day. We ended up hanging out for the afternoon since we were both traveling solo for the day. He was flying out that night and I was flying out the next morning. We went around the southern part of Bali and it was great. The temple on the cliffs, Pura Luhur Uluwatu, was really beautiful at sunset. Nothing but water from there to Africa.
In exchange for saving the day, I took him on the motorbike down from Uluwatu/Leggie’s Bungalow at Bingin Beach Hill to the airport. I think I really got the good end of the deal. I was near the beach, I was on a bike, and there was that infinity pool at Dreamland that I could literally spend an entire day in watching the boogie boarders below. It was rad. There will definitely be more solo trips before I’m back in Oregon. Maybe I’ll take one when I get home, too.
PS, Just because it has pretty colors, doesn’t mean you should eat it.