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so long bali, see you soon...

departing bali was hard today -- after returning from the gili islands via a somewhat painful 12-hour journey from 8am to 8pm, kuta felt like an old friend. i returned to my US$10 per night fan-cooled room (the cost includes a modest breakfast, as is standard for most budget accomodation on Bali & Lombok) at the AP Inn, had dinner and watched a movie with tow-headed surfers at Swell on Poppies I, and easily reminded the cashier at the minimart who tried to palm a 5000 rupiah note from a water bottle purchase that i needed the rest of my change as well.

this morning, i bought souvenirs from street vendors and gray-market surf clothing (thankfully replacing my not-even-slightly-breathable shows-sweat-like-a-beacon button-down shirt with a more comfortable "Designed in Australia, Made in China, Licensed to Quiksilver Indonesia Pt." buttondown shirt, and getting this sweet Alf t-shirt to send home) at JungleSurf, one of the many surf stores on legian st. in kuta.

growing up, i spent a fair amount of time at the beach, and i've alwas felt at home in neighborhoods by the sea -- there is a mellow pace of life that you can quickly pick up on. that easier pace here, combined with the beautiful artistic touches that enter into everyday life thanks to Balinese Hinduism (statues unexpectedly draped in new cloth, floral offerings left in unusual places, large poles of woven leaves raised to the sky) makes for a really appealing vibe.

sure, there are the very insistent hawkers for stores, taxis, massages, and everything in between, but given the economic condition of indonesia, it's understandable (albeit pretty frustrating at times). indonesia is the first place on this trip where i feel like i've barely scratched the surface -- i plan to return here one day and spend some time really seeing what bali (and the rest of indonesia) have to offer... and to finally get surfing lessons in kuta.

malayasia, i suspect, will also have some of the same issues. visiting kuala lumpur (aka. "KL") and the cameron highlands for 6 days will just give me that first taste that will whet my appetitie for more, not to mention the east malayasian states of sarawak and sabah, where dayak tribes still live in the Borneo rainforest. i've been reading the book "Shooting the Boh" by tracy johnston, which i picked up coincidentally in the book exchange at a new zealand hostel, covers the author's adventure rafting Borneo's Boh river.

this feeling like i've cut things a little short is all part of the fun of how i've structured this RTW trip -- a few month-long immersions in countries, with the rest being either quick glimpses of new lands (and recon for longer future trips back to them), or visits back to countries that i've been to before and loved.

i will remember bali by its coffee, which i drank every morning here... locally grown beans ground up and dumped straight into my cup, with boiling water poured directly on top. once the ground settle, it's delicious (especially with some of the sugar that always gets offered with the coffee). different, stimulating, good. i'll miss it.

(looking for more bali? why not check out my Indonesia photo set, or 60 seconds of time driving through a Bali port town.)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 9, 2006 12:44 PM.

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