After a shopping spree in the Kuala Lumpur airport where I finally broke down and bought a camera to replace my broken one I boarded my short flight to meet Jess at the luggage carousel in the Bali, Denpasar airport. A short taxi ride later got us into Legian (a 10 min walk from popular Kuta beach) where we found ourselves wandering down dark side streets looking for a respectably priced homestay that was still open so late at night. It was a shock getting used to the new currency since $1 was equivalent to about 8500 indonesian rupiah and all the bills had way to many zeros on them but we managed do ok. We celebrated our arrival and reunion with some of my recently bought duty free vodka and caught up on each other’s lives for a few hours. It was a bit funny because I guess you don’t realize how much you miss your friends until you’re back together. After over 6 weeks of meeting strangers and have many of the same repeated conversations I found that I couldn’t shut up once I met Jess. I guess there’s a lot that you don’t say when you aren’t with close friends.
The following morning we woke up early since Jess was still adjusting to the time difference and after an interesting breakfast of this custard bread we set out to explore our new town. What were discovered wasn’t exactly to our enjoyment since sadly tourism has boomed like crazy in recent years and Kuta has gone from being a surf haven accessible only by a simple dirt road to a becoming an over developed tourist town . It is impossible to walk a few streets without being asked to buy sunglasses or if we need transport or if we want to get a massage etc to the point that you have to be rude and just ignore all the hawkers. It wasn’t long before we were formulating our plan for escape and after consulting my guide book we decided to spend the day trying to learn to surf then to head up to Pemuteran near the national park on the North West coast of Bali. Although we were planning to just rent some long boards and try our luck we were quickly convinced to get a surf lesson from some locals on the beach for a pretty reasonable price so it wasn’t long before I was getting up on the board looking like the most awkward and unstable surfer who’s ever existed and trying bail gracefully before washing up on the beach. Although Jess quite on very quickly, no doubt with some help from her snowboarding experience her sensitive skin wouldn’t give her a day off and she ended up having to end her lesson early due to an extremely uncomfortable rash on her thighs from the board. The rest of the day we walked around, got some nice sandy massages on the beach and watched the beautiful sunset. We enjoyed some delicious nachos and Caesar salad at an Aussie bar for dinner, a real treat for me having not had much western food recently then got ready to experience some of the famous Kuta nightlife.
We woke early the following morning to go for a run on the beach, some of the little exercise that I have gotten since leaving from home. It wasn’t until we were packing up to leave that I realized that I had lost my credit card. This resulted in a very stressful two hours where we had to post-pone our shuttle bus, find a phone number for the airport where I had left it and for the credit card company to cancel the card. All of which was proven to be much more difficult than should be possible and still I we achieved none of these things before we embarked into our shuttle to Lovina. After a few hours of driving through the windy hilly roads of central Bali, during which we got to see some monkeys much to Jess’ delight we arrived at the bus station where we caught a bemo. These are the form of public transportation in Bali and it was a very cramped and sweaty 1hr drive before we landed at our homestay in Pemuteran. Although quite beautiful Pemuteran was not a budget location to stay in and to top that the owners of the homestay we were at did not seem very friendly or welcoming so we set out to find a better place to stay. We were fortunate to locate KubuKu eco bed and breakfast down the road which had a room in their own home which was much more tour liking. The owners were very friendly and helpful and by staying there we were supporting their non-profit afterschool program which helped children to develop English language skills and teach them about traditional Balinese culture through music and dance. The following morning we rented a scooter to share and drove up to the nearest town so we could use their atm then went to the nearby hotsprings. Despite the rainy weather the hotsprongs were quite beautiful and it turned out to be a very nice relaxing afternoon moving from one bath to another and trying to stay afloat in the very heavy mineral water, a feat that seemed quite difficult in comparison to the nice buoyant sea water I have become accustomed to.
We finished off Jessica’s last full day in Bali with a fantastic snorkelling trip in the Tasman Selini national park. This was probably the most beautiful snorkelling I have done to date. The coral reef was extremely beautiful and there were loads of fish. Jessica brought her waterproof camera allowing us to take awkward pictures of each other underwater and to snap a picture of the massive triggerfish that I had a near encounter with when I freaked out to see it so close to my face.
We finished off the day with a trip to the sea turtle reserve where that hatch baby sea turtles and protect them until they are three months old before releasing them into the sea. There was also an adult turtle there named buddy who had refused to leave so we got to pet his shell. After catching up on a few episodes of grey’s anatomy (just like old times) we called it an early night so that we could wake up at 5am to get to the airport on time for Jess to catch her flight to Montreal. At the same time I checked for my credit card but it sadly ws not amongst the huge stack of cards people like me had left behind at the airport so I am very lucky now to have a good friend in Jess for lending me hers. I owe you Jess!!!!