We’re back!! After the drama of having our hard drive crash in Indonesia, we are functional again!
Our time in Indonesia began with meeting our friend Raz, once again, in Kuta, Bali. He had met another guy, Evan, from Victoria, B.C. and we all decided to stay our first night in a guest house that cost us a whopping four bucks a night (including breakfast)! Our goal for our next day was to find a place with a pool that was still within our under ten dollars a night lodging budget. We found it for seven dollars at Suka Beach Hotel! We had a large room that was passably clean, breakfast, and most importantly a great pool that cooled us off in Bali’s hot and humid summer season. While in Kuta, we also met a couple of Evan’s friends from Poland. While out one night we came across the memorial for the Bali bombing that killed around 200 people in 2002. The memorial was only about 200 yards from our hotel.
Adam was quite excited to be in Bali and have a beach to surf in, so he wasted no time on our second day finding a surf board to rent. Although he tried to make the best of it, he couldn’t get past the fact that he was surfing in a garbage dump. Even while merely wading in the surf, Shawn walked out of the water with three garbage bags wrapped around her arms and legs! You would expect that tourism would be responsible for all of the littering, but it is mostly from the locals. They empty their garbage into the storm drains, and will opt to throw their trash their even if they’re standing next to a trash can. Out of the water on Kuta beach could be a little difficult as well. Trying to relax on the beach was nearly impossible, as people would approach you every few minutes or so, selling anything from ice cream to pearls. Even trying to appear like you were sleeping would not keep them away. Walking down the maze of streets, we would be swarmed with people yelling, ‘yes…transport- taxi- hello, boss-t-shirt, good price for you- massage- yes- yes- yes-‘ bef0re you could even respond with a “no thank you” they were already saying “YES”, and even after you would say “no” they would say “yes”. After awhile, this just becomes very tiring.
After four days in Kuta, all six of us had decided that we had spent too much time there, so we decided to book the ferry out to the Gili Islands. Before getting out to the islands from Lombok we had to catch a motor boat, we had been hearing about this dock all day and were told that the guys here were not to be trusted and to listen to nothing that they had to say. They were most definitely right and we heard everything from “your boat has been canceled today, but I have a guesthouse for you to stay in tonight” to “if you don’t buy mosquito repellent from me, you will die of malaria”. After a twelve hour day on a series of buses and boats we made it to Gili Trawangan and were not at all disappointed; it was worth it. The place was beautiful- surrounded by white sand beaches, it had a strip of bars and restaurants to hang out at, and there were no motorized vehicles. It was great! Adam immediately noticed all of the dive shops advertising for PADI certifications and immediately began thinking of doing his open water certification. Before he made this commitment of our time and money he decided to check out the snorkeling off shore, so we strolled up to coral beach on the south end of the island. This was probably our favorite spot on Gili Trawangan, it only had a few restaurants and accommodations, but it was clearly the most beautiful place on the island, had thatched roofed shelters with pillows to relax in and sack out in like the locals often do. Adam also found the snorkeling there to be amazing and saw schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, and a white tipped reef shark on his first outing from here. He then convinced some friends to go out so he could get some great photos.
Here he is as a fish.
This just shows how big this brain coral really is.
Adam’s sea turtle friend.
Love the colors of the reef.
This is just how beautiful Coral beach was.
One of my awake moments hanging out on Coral beach.
Chillin with Raz (our fellow American RTWer) and Evan a RTWer from Victoria, B.C.
Gili Trawangan had a weekly party schedule where three of the islands largest bars took turns throwing parties on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. We didn’t ever hear why they chose this schedule, but these parties were well attended by locals and tourists alike.
Here we are at Rudy’s, probably our favorite watering hole on the island. Local rum and coke- $.70, but it was “local” rum and more toxic than the Bacardi or Captain Morgans we are used to.
Gili Trawangan also had plenty of dining options at amazing prices. We ate a lot of fresh fish while we were there such as, snapper, tuna, and barracuda. At many of the restaurants you could choose the type of sauce it was cooked in and some our favorites were a garlic butter, and a soy ginger sauce. We also came across another great restaurant owned by a very highly trained chef called “The Living Room”. He did a great tuna steak sandwich on a baguette, and also a great snapper sate. It was great to have all of this amazing food and only pay a couple of dollars for a meal.
Here I am at “The Living Room”.
We also met LuLu, who was a pet monkey owned by one of the hotel owners. She had earned the name “the monkey fish” on the island, because she would go snorkeling with her owner nearly everyday. This was a very popular sight on the island and the hotel drew many tourists because of LuLu. Sometimes LuLu would spend her day on a leash tied to a tree in front of the hotel and her cat friend that grew up with her would come to play. I think this had to be the most tolerant cat ever, because it would endure all sorts of torture from LuLu, such as being hung by its tail and being pinned down onto the ground. LuLu was on a leash and not the cat, so the cat did have plenty of opportunities to get away. LuLu was also very good at getting her leash tangled in the tree, while climbing and jumping, but then knowing exactly what branch to climb and where to jump again to untangle herself.
There’s a monkey on my back.
We left Gili Trawangan only because we ran out of money due to the fact that the island does not have even one ATM. We were more mentally prepared for the long journey back to Bali this time, and had some very rough seas. Adam and I are both prone to motion sickness so we made sure to take a Dramamine right away. This made our journey much more tolerable than it could of been, but we still had to listen and see the retching locals who didn’t have the meds.
That evening we arrived in Ubud, Bali. Ubud is a great town that has a great Hindu culture and enough art to keep anyone satisfied and inspired. They also had gamelan music playing just about every evening and it would be extremely difficult to go to Ubud and not hear the gamelan. The people of Ubud also seemed to always have a ceremony going on and you saw local people parading down the street, going to or away from the ceremonies. To get into a temple you were required to wear the traditional dress, so us and a fellow American couple on their honeymoon from Texas, found a bartender with clothes for us to borrow. The bartender and his friends had a great time dressing us up and made jokes about the guys head size and the girls top size and told us that “when we went back to America we would need to lose some weight”. We explained to them that Americans didn’t like to hear that from complete strangers, and they were really puzzled by this and wondered why we were so taken aback by them saying this to us.
Here we are all dressed up, the photo isn’t the greatest but it was raining that night.
Our seven buck hotel with a great view of some rice paddies out back. We were in an old family compound which was very traditional and all family homes were built in this way, with twenty or so family members living there, and always had a temple on their grounds.
How much stuff can you carry on your head and not fall into the missing spaces in the sidewalk?
One reason we had in visiting Ubud was to find babi gulang, which is fire roasted, suckling pig. We had seen a warung, Ibu Oka, that made it on an Anthony Bourdain episode on Bali and made up our minds then to make sure to find this place. When we arrived in Ubud, we asked some locals about it. They warned us to make sure we got there early, as it was an extremely popular lunch spot with locals. This pig did not disappoint us, as it was very tender and juicy, as well as spicy with peppers and served with rice. It is also very inexpensive, only around $2.00 for a regular portion.
Hold on tight for Adam’s dive post in the next few days here. You can see his pics of this experience in our photo gallery now.