Sorry for lack of posts in the last 2 weeks. I have been in Bali with my friend [Frances] and didnt want to spend my time blogging! Also wifi out here isnt exactly speedy/often not avaiable.
Recap: I arrived in Bali, late evening Saturday 30th June. I got questioned and searched by customs for an hour, didnt have any money for the visa/blocked my card and then got ripped off by a taxi who couldnt find my hotel- so it wasnt a great start! The next day I organised a driver, met Fran at the airport [tres exciting] and we headed to our first destination – Ubud – which is in central Bali. Known as the cuture hubspot, and recently grown in popularity from the film Eat Pray Love. We spent x3 nights here. We didnt have that much free time to get to know the place or explore, as we booked up quite a few things: cycling trip, cooking class, yoga at the famous Yoga Barn. We treated ourselves on the last night and stayed in a more luxury hotel, Alaya Hotel Resort, which was totally worth $100! The beds were so dreammmmmmy.
We then made our way to the Gili islands, which are located off the northern tip off of Lombok. The first island we went to was Gili Trawangan, which is the largest of the 3 tiny islands, and attracts a more younger crowd. One side of the island is lined with restaurants and beach bars, in the evening there is a definite party atmosphere, full of backpackers. I have lost count of the number of times i was offered magic mushrooms! Also alcohol is bloody strong out here… some cocktails i have had, i am pretty certain i was drinking pure methanol. Aside from the boozing antics, I could see why people call them paradise islands. They are so chilled out. No moto vehicles are allowed on the island [probably the only Indonesian law that has been put in place] so everyone goes around on bikes. F & I would hire bikes and snorkels for the day, cycle around the island and stop at different beaches. The northern tip has a turtle hatchery and at one point I was snorkelling with 4 turtles- pretty amazing. The West side of the island had amazing sunset views …. sitting on the beach with a Radler [my new favourite drink- lemon beer] and watching the sun go down was one of my favourite memories!
Our last 3 nights were at Gili Air, which was my favourite of the islands. Maybe I am getting old and dont find loud thumping music and drunk gapyear kids that appealing anymore! There were half the number of people and the crowd was a little more grown up. We were staying at some beach bungalows, which had the best restaurant on the island – fish cooked in cocount and garlic wrapped in banana leaf – to die for – and the tables were on the beach #perfection.
Fran left on Tuesday back to the UK :(. I headed to another island, Nusa Lembongan which is closer to Bali off the South East coast. It was probably one of the roughest boat journeys I have had, so many people were being sick. I chose this island mainly because there was a yoga place which I had read about, and i had 4 days to kill before my flight back to Australia, and fancied the idea of doing a bit of yoga. It is called the Yoga Shack and is a relatively small business, they have little advertising so rely mainly on recommendations or word of mouth. The yoga master, Shauna was fabulous, some of the most personal teaching i have had. She holds classes 2 or 3 times a day, ranging from vinyasa, hatha, yin and gentle flow. She explained the postures really well and I liked how every class had a new routine. I found it a beautiful and peaceful place to practice. Their accomodation was very basic, no air con or hot water but I quite like it!
The island is a lot bigger than the Gilis and everyone goes around on motorbikes. One of the local boys rented me one and I had to insist on a helmet, thank sweet, as I probably would have craccked my head open. I have driven mopeds before, but motorbikes are firstly so heavy and i kept mixing up the acclerator and the brake [which most of the locals found hilarious, I on the other hand nearly wet myself].
Most people visit the island as it is quite big on surfing and diving, so i thought i should really do some diving while i am here. I got my Open Water over 8 years ago, when in Tanzania, since I have dived a couple of times but do not feel very confident. I did a Tune Up [Refreshor] when i was in Sydney which i am not sure i actually learnt much from as it was a totally bizarre experience as I was with complete nut cases! I did two drift dives here, which pretty much translates to the name – you get carried along by the currents underwater. It was pretty strong and you have be careful with your buoyancy and stay close to the coral reefs, otherwise you can get sucked further out. Once i got used to my breathing and the current, I really enjoyed it, the marine life was pretty spectacular with some of the best coral reefs i have seen. The island is famous for their resident population of manta rays but sadly my dive wasnt at that site!
Iam currently now sitting at the airport, at Bali and have a late evening flight back to Sydney. I have a longggg wait- 6 hours- ticktockticktock. Lets see how many iced coffees i can drink! I arrive early am in Sydney, and pretty much leaving that evening, the start of my East Coast adventures!
Some photos of my past two weeks
Our first meal: our driver took us to a rather expensive seafood restaurant!
Our homestay in Ubud, which was really sweet. We had a little hut in the trees and were the only guests there!
Cycling Tour started with breakfast with an amazing view [Mt Batur which is an active volcano]
Cycling through the rice paddy fields
The yoga barn – I would love to go back. It was such a beautiful magical place and very hollistic, with emphasis on chinese medicine and buddhism.
Our treat for one night #suchbackpackers
Post spa treatment
Balinese cooking class: started with a market tour and then we prepared the balinese dishes Tempe curry [tofu and fish], Mie Goreng [noodles], roasted white eggplant and fern salad.
Getting my grind on
Taaaa daaa… lunch is served
Gili Trawangan… what a beauty
Frances chilling on a swing
I like this photo of me on the swings, it looks like i am dancing [in fact i was about to fall over]
Lets end on a beautiful sunset
My ipad is going a bit tits up with trying to upload all these photos, so i will post some more later.
Speak to you when i am in Oz! I am excited to go back, I miss my strong coffee, banana bread, trail mix and Sydney!