Day 1 on the beach.
Jula and I signed up for a two day trip to Bali via the famous Gunung Bromo, a volcano in eastern Java. Leaving Yogyakarta we saw that the Canadian couple from our previous days' trip was once again on our trip as well as a very PDA inclined young French couple and an English guy, Hackim. In true Indonesia style our mini bus breaks down within two hours and we are forced to push the bus down the busy road until we find a place to pull over. The random men hanging out on the street (because there are always random men on the streets no matter where you are) come over to offer their professional help and after 45 minutes or so we're on our way.
Not the typical beach attire.
We luckily make the rest of our 10 hour ride with no problems. I had a lovely chat with Hackim, about 70% of which I actually understood due to his accent, but it was great to talk to him. He's been a teacher for the past 20 years and was the first English person who I talked to about America who didn't seem to want to fight me about every little thing. Hurray, progress!
We arrived at Bromo late at night and when shown to our rooms, Jula and mine cries of "wow, what a great room!" met with replies of "..what sort of places have you guys been staying in?" If they'd only seen our room in Yogya. And apparently the rooms had thin walls since while taking my first hot shower in months and shouting to Jula "OMG I don't want to get out!" we heard them all laughing.
Sea turtle conservation!
That night Jula and I were in bed at 9 and had the pleasure of listening to an array of sounds, including people talking, a weird "robot" buzzing noise, a nocturnal rooster, kids shouting, and of course, my favorite, the Ramadan call to worship. It was actually quite hilarious. The next morning we woke at 3am for our hike up Bromo to catch the sunrise. It was Hackim, Jula, a Slovenian guy, and myself who chose to walk. Everyone else opted for the jeep tour. Wusses. We walked about in the insanely foggy night down a desolate dirt road with nothing around us. It felt like we were in a desert with no directions. We started up the first mountain we came across only to bump into two men with donkeys who pointed the other way and said no.
Cute baby turtles.
That was almost the extent of their english, but we managed to talk them down to $5 for their help in leading us to the stairs up Bromo. After walking awhile the guy stops and asks for money, no stairs in sight. We couldn't see a thing and we were hesitant to give up the money. Finally we gave in and found that they were honest. The stairs were around the corner. We climbed to the top just in time for the incredible views of the sun coming up over the other volcanoes. Amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
After our hike it was time to head on to Bali. When boarding the bus there there was about 8 seats too few for all the passangers. I was one of the lucky people to not have a seat for the 6 hour ride.
Surfers and sunset. So Bali.
Jula, being her outgoing self, decided to ask if the people with no seats were going to get their money back. Well, the guy FLIPPED OUT. He literally started screaming in Jula's face saying she was always causing problems, yelling that she can get off the bus, saying "f*ck you motherf*cker" over and over. Woah, a bit overreacting. Everyone on the bus fell quiet and myself and a couple Italian guys near us had to start pulling him away from Jula and telling him to stop, to calm down. Jula, Lord bless her, did not cry, as I surely would have. I've never seen anything like that happen, especially not from a business person towards a client. Gah, I hate to complain about a country's people, particularly from one intense incident, but I can't say I love the Indonesian people.
A few minutes later.
The majority of them are ok, but none were as friendly as other country's, and more than once I saw them get outraged and cause a scene. But hey, maybe that's just me.
We arrive at Lovina, a quiet beach area in north Bali, and eventually find a cheap room. While we wanted a low key place to relax at the beach, Lovina's beach was not exactly what we wanted. The town was almost empty and the black sand beach, while pretty to look at, was kinda dirty and no one was there. We ended up spending most of the time at the hotel's pool and having heated debates with Dominic, one of the most arrogant, insulting people I've ever met. Another English guy who hates American politics.
Pregaming in the room. Jula has her newest..um, souvenir.
Whoop-de-doo. By the way, all Americans are heartless millionaires who hate poor people. Just thought you'd like to know. Anyways, next we head to Ubud
, in central Bali which is considered the artsy, cultural spot on the island. Which is was. Tons of art galleries, shops, and performances. And tons of tourists.. wealthy wealthy tourists. We bumped into David from Jakarta and the three of us, luckily, were at the same point in our trip where we were getting faded. Want to go see a temple? Ah, I've seen hundreds on this trip. Want to go to a museum? Nah, been to a dozen. Want to rent motorbikes? Well.. and so on.
So we walked around, ate some food, and mainly read our books and chilled out. Quite nice, actually. Also got to see a half naked 90 year old woman. So all in all, not bad.
Lastly the three of us headed to the famous Kuta Beach, aka the party center of Bali. We immediately headed to the beach, which was big and crowded and full of everything you'd expect of Bali. Lots of surfers too. And of course, vendors walking around selling those much needed bow and arrows. Seriously. Down the beach was a turtle conservation center which released baby turtles daily into the ocean. That was pretty cool to see. I love turtles and it's nice to see that Indonesia, one of the world's biggest offenders of turtle slaughter, is doing something to combat their shrinking numbers.
View from the Sky Garden.
Good for them. At night we went out and hit up the large club Sky Garden for their 'End of High Season' party... aka free drinks for girls! Yay! haha we snuck David some, no worries. Overall though, it was fairly quiet and not the crazy Bali experience we were expecting. We had a few other low key nights out on the town and lots of quality beach time admist book searching. On my last day I said goodbye to Jula and David as they left for other islands and treated myself (ok so it was only $4) to a massage. My first one ever and at first I didn't really like it, but after awhile I relaxed and really enjoyed it. Definitely good to try it while it's cheap. And that was it for Indonesia!
I can't believe this is my last entry from Asia. 5 months flew by and I got so used to the lifestyle of Asia that it seems almost impossible to return to a Western country again. I loved Asia and cannot wait to return someday to see more of that beautiful and culturally enchanting continent.