The Philippines typhoon certainly made my 5-hr flight between Taipei and Bali interesting. I was never so happy to be back on the ground. At least I got actual good food on the flight! After nearly 24 hours of travel and another hour winding through customs, I finally set foot in Bali. Upon seeing Joya’s smiling face the whole thing hit me. I’m in friggin’ Indonesia!! Joya introduced me to my new Bali family: Annie, Oka, and Joya’s new Kiwi friend Jo. We hopped into the car and I couldn’t believe the craziness of it all. My first off-continent adventure!
I can’t even properly describe the drive from Denpasar to Ubud. Everything operates on the wrong side of the street. Thousands of scooters zip all around you in every direction. Cars are coming straight at you, people are coming straight at you, and everything is happening really fast. People walk down the side of the street dangerously close to speeding traffic and scooters weave in and out constantly. Every second everyone is literally millimeters from hitting each other. I just kept my eyes closed and tried not to think about it. It’s amazing to me that bodies weren’t flying in every direction. Even more amazing is that everyone seemed so calm about it. Whole families and babies were being transported by one scooter zipping within inches of other scooters and cars. Sure makes the lane-splitting motorcyclists in LA look tame!
Once out of Denpasar I got my first sweeping views of the rice paddies. Amazing!! We stopped at the supermarket to do some dinner shopping and the strangeness of it all kept coming. Weird fruit I’ve never seen. Food I’ve never seen. Drinks I’ve never heard of. Nothing was familiar. By the time we got back to the Villa it was nighttime, so I’d have to wait until morning to enjoy the views, but I was still in awe of the beauty of the house. Incredible!
Annie fixed us an amazing coconut curry dinner that was spicy enough to put us all through liters of water. And I sampled my first Indonesian fruit. Mangiis are without a doubt the most amazing fruit I’ve ever had. Joya and I discussed starting a black market Mangiis operation once we get back to Seattle. Mangos here are incredible!! Starfruit are amazing. Nothing here tastes like the fruit you get back home.
After dinner I settled into the Villa and within about 20 seconds of lying down was out like a light. I don’t think I’ve ever slept that hard in my life. Halfway through the night I woke up, heard all of the ambient noise from frogs and other animals, and thought for a second I was in the middle of Wild Kingdom. I went back to sleep eagerly anticipating the morning views and tomorrow’s shopping. I have to get decked out in traditional clothing for tomorrow night’s full moon ceremony.