Posted by: aitzko | December 1, 2009

I’m in Bali!

Hello!  This will be my blog while I’m on my crazy trip, to fill in family and friends on my whereabouts.  Enjoy!

Just a brief rundown on what’s been going on so far:

My plane trip here was LOOOONNNGGGG.  A 12 hour flight to Doha, Qatar, then a 7 hour layover in the airport, 6.5 hours to Kuala Lumpur, an hour on the runway, and then another 3 hours to Bali.  Whew.  By the time I got here, it was around sunset.  When I got to my hotel, I pretty much crashed immediately, after a much-needed shower.  Blech.

My hotel here in Kuta is adorable.  My room is actually pretty big, with a gigantic, king-sized bed.  I’ve got a fan, which cools you off more than you’d think.  There’s a beautiful courtyard with a pool, and it’s a less-than-ten-minute walk to the beach.  It sounds weird, but my favorite part of my room is the door – it’s this ornately carved dark wood – it’s a floral kind of motif, with two birds.  I can’t wait to post a picture of it.  I feel like a lot of things are like that here – beautiful attention to detail in random places.

Yesterday was my first day, so I pretty much took it easy.  Kuta is overwhelming! It’s pretty much the tourist center – a zillion surfers, lots of nightclubs, and a TON of traffic!  Motorbikes far outnumber cars – people go zipping by on them all day long, and all night.  The streets are narrow, and the motorbikes share the road with cars and pedestrians.  Honking is more like a “hey, what’s up, I’m here!” sort of gesture, and happens frequently.

One of the greatest sights I’ve seen here is the entire-family-rides-the-motorbike phenomenon.  Dad will drive, with the little one in front holding the handlebars.  Mom sits on the back, balancing the baby in one hand and the groceries in the other.  No joke!

Another thing that you notice immediately here is the offerings.  Offerings are everywhere.  It’s a part of Balinese daily life that you make your offerings to the gods.  They’re typically in little square baskets made out of palm (?) leaves, and filled with flower petals and other odds and ends.  From what I understand, you make these several times a day.  They are everywhere – in front of stores, in front of houses, on the beach, in the middle of the street.  You have to be careful not to step on them – although from what I understand, as long as you’re not intentionally stomping on them, it’s kind of expected that they’ll get trampled.  This morning, I saw a man stop to make an offering in the middle of an intersection, the mopeds swerving around him.  While I was in the internet cafe earlier, they started their offerings – the incense kept making my eyes tear up!

Also, it appears that the gods enjoy Ritz crackers.  Who knew?

Yesterday was mostly beach, and exploring Kuta.  I walked aallll over – every two feet or so, someone tries to sell you something.  From the ubiquitous cries of “Transport?” to “Yes, massage?” everyone is offering something.  At first, it’s a bit disconcerting – do you reply?  Then, it starts to get kind of annoying.  But once you just accept that these people are just doing their jobs and feeding their families, it starts to bother you less.

I got sunburned my first day – despite the copious amounts of sunblock and spending most of my time on the beach under an umbrella.  It’s nuts!  the sun is brutal here, and I learned that you really need to reapply, and frequently.  Luckily it’s not too bad – just my shoulders.  Not nearly as bad as that time in the Bahamas!  *shudder*

Today I lounged by the pool, booked a hotel for Ubud, and wandered some more.  I had lunch at a warung, which is just a little food joint.  You can find one about every two feet here, so I looked around for one that looked like it had an okay crowd of people.  It was AMAZING.  It was my first foray into a warung, and it was delicious.  It was just chicken fried rice, but it beat anything I had back home.  It was so much food I couldn’t finish it, and it (along with a Coke) cost under $2.  Awesome, Bali!

Sadly, there’s one reason why I’d never be able to live here – I can’t bargain.  I just can’t do it.  It’s sort of expected at a lot of establishments, and esp with anyone trying to sell you anything on the beach.  It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, especially since I can’t help thinking that the prices are cheaper than anything at home anyway, and these people have families to take care of… so I can’t do it.  I try my best, and of course if they were charging something ridiculous I’d say no, but if it sounds reasonable… what can I say, I’m a sucker.

Tonight I’m off to Pura Luhur Ulu Watu, a temple on the southern coast – I hear the sunset is spectacular.  More later!

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Responses

  1. Now that I think about it, I could see Ritz crackers as a food of the gods.

  2. BARGAIN! For transport, for massages, for clothes, for knick knacks, for lodging. For pretty much anything. They expect it. And bargain hard. It’ll be fun by the end of the trip. I promise. Its a game!

    • Haha, I’m trying! I bought a bunch of necklaces as souvenirs for friends and family, and attempted to bargain him down, but I lost my nerve. I think he took pity on me, cause he threw in one more for free!

  3. Wow, sounds awesome!

    Don’t worry, I’m terrible at haggling too. I paid about twice as much for my shofar as someone else on my trip did for a similar one. The key, I found, is to honestly not want the thing they’re selling. That’s the only time I ever successfully bargained for anything.

    Anyway, keep on enjoying!!

  4. I love your blog! Everything sounds like it’s going well so far. I miss you already and I can’t wait to see you in a few days! Enjoy the warm weather it will be cold in Japan 🙂

  5. Feel free to non-bargain me a magnet!!!


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