To take a break from traveling, we decided to go to Bali for a week to unwind. We arrived at night and went through customs to get a visa on arrival. It was so bootleg though, there were immigration guys asking people if they wanted to pay them so they can cut the line and get out faster. WTF. We took a taxi to our resort called The Grand Istana Rama, in the main touristy spot of Bali called Kuta Beach. It is very built up but was newer looking and clean. It had resorts, restaurants, bars, shops, and clubs. We thought we would get annoyed with it but actually enjoyed it in this area a lot. We dropped our bags off in our resort and went to eat. Our resort was really nice and we got it for $50 a night by booking last minute. There was a pretty big pool with a pool bar. There was also a tequila bar with a restaurant and nice free services like a free massage, free banana boat ride, free water each day, and a free beer for lunch and dinner. It was a great place and it was right across the street from the beach. We went to eat at Hard Rock because we wanted some American food for a change. It was sooo good. I got a huge burger and devoured the whole thing without having any diminishing taste with each bite. It was so good. We needed this. I need more meat than a few pieces of chicken in rice. There was a live band and it was a good atmosphere. We were pretty tired so we walked around a little bit, then went back to our resort to pass out.
We woke up early to get a full beach day in. We crossed the street and went to the beach to find it very trashy and gross. The sand was ok but there was garbage washing up on the shore and huge tree branches everywhere. We walked it for five minutes before we decided F this, we are getting a moped for the week. We bargained with a guy who rented out mopeds and we got one pretty good one and two helmets for around $4 a day. We looked up the best beaches on the island and went to different parts each day. I’m really glad we did because I love exploring places by driving around it. It’s the best way to see and experience the most. It’s so much better and cheaper than doing organized tours. We decided to go to a beach called Sanur. It is another popular tourist spot but itsnt really built up so it’s more relaxed and laid back. The ride took us an hour. Bali traffic is the craziest yet. I’m actually pretty good at driving in these Southeast Asian countries. I like the way they think. They don’t follow traffic laws. They simply do whatever is most efficient, even if that means ride on the sidewalk, ride on the other side of the road, cut off cars or mopeds, speed through cars or squeeze through loads of mopeds at traffic lights. It’s a rush to drive around in this environment and is fun once you understand how and why they drive this way. It’s simply the quickest way from A to B. We got to Sanur after about an hour of driving and hung out at the nice beach all day. It was pristine sand and water. We rented some chairs and chilled there for hours alternating between laying down and swimming. The water was really nice and warm. There were no waves because the waves and therefore surfing are all on the same side of the island as Kuta, which is why it got built up in the first place. This was the right side of the island and was more calm and relaxed. Around dinner, we headed back to Kuta and ate at Johnny Rockets! Burgers and milkshakes all day, ‘ery day. I love American food! We walked around the big outdoor mall called Beachwalk. It was nice and had most restaurants that I could think of. We then walked down Poppies Lane 1 and Poppies Lane 2. These are the famous tourist narrow roads for small shops, restaurants and bars. When you walk there though, you get bothered constantly. You literally have to treat the people who are calling for you like they are less than human or they pounce on you. At first, we said, “no thank you” but that is apparently an invitation to come up and sell me stuff. We then tried “no” with a smile but smiling is showing weakness. We then tried “no” but the fact that you address the people trying to sell you sunglasses, a tshirt, souvenirs, and rent mopeds makes you an easy target for more to come up to you. The only way to somewhat stop them from perusing them is to ignore them alkimh completely and walk right passed or shoe then away like they are flies or bugs. It’s sad that it came to this because it shows that there is a lot of competition for sales and they aren’t making enough. Some people are reductions though. As we were walking from our moped with moped helmets on, people tried to rent us mopeds. They saw us arrive on one and still would still pursue us. And they wouldn’t take no for an answer until you shoe them away. People who try to sell you stuff here are pretty bad like that but the people of Bali who dont have anything to sell are actually the nicest people we met all trip. Everyone was so nice and helpful. At first, when people would ask us where we are from, we would assume they are trying to sell us something and kind if brush them off. We realized quickly that these people are just really great people who love to learn more about you and help you with directions or recommendations or whatever. This place has the two extremes of people you deal with.
We woke up fairly early and headed south on Bali’s lower peninsula to Nusa Dua. It was a beach area like Sanur that wasn’t very crowded and had white beaches and clean blue water. The beaches on this island are great and are perfect for pictures, but honestly, the sand isn’t the best in the world. It is very average sand. It is coarse and not as soft as places like Siesta Key, Florida (the softest sand I have felt to this day), or Haad Rin in Koh Phangan, Thailand, or Phi Phi Ley, Thailand which is pure paradise. Also, the Caribbean in general is actually incredible and has very nice beaches. We take it for granted that some of the worlds best beaches are actually right under the USA. I’m glad I know that now. We rode back to the resort and spent the second half of the day at our resort pool. I got some chocolate alcoholic drink popcorn. We walked down to the beach to watch the sunset and it was spectacular. The sky lit up with many colors and looked great as a backdrop to sand and waves. to dinner at Hard Rock again because it was that good two days ago. We ate on the rooftop to enjoy the nice warm breeze as the sun’s light disappeared from behind the ocean horizon. We then walked around again and ran into a girl we knew! What are the chances. We ran into this girl, not once, but twice! We first met her in our hostel room in the small island if Koh Tao, Thailand. We then saw her at our hostel in Kuala Lumpur two weeks later. Then, two weeks after that, we saw her here in Bali walking down a narrow street. Crazy how we keep seeing her. We decided to meet up tomorrow to hang out. Her parents met her in Jakarta and then they flew here together. Crazy how we saw her not once, but twice, far away from Koh Tao.
We woke up fairly early and went on our inland adventure today. We wanted to go to a more laid back cultural town called Ubud and then we wanted to go to Lake Beratan on top of a mountain. The total journey took about two hours to get to Ubud, then two hours to get to the lake. Then two to three hours back to our resort. To get to Ubud, we had to use gps because street signs in Bali don’t direct you very well. They tell you how far a place is but not where to turn to get there. We eventually got to Ubud after a lot of traffic. We ate at this really delicious little cafe and just people watched for a while. People in the cafe were a lot more different than people by the beach. These people were more laid back and into culture of places. They would chill all day, do yoga, and talk with locals. After our meal, we went to a place that we just found out about in Ubud called Monkey Forest. It was pretty cool and there were monkeys everywhere. You walk around the forest and over bridges and there monkeys all around you. There were also old statues and buildings so it was cool to see. We also accidentally watched a cock fight there because there was a small amphitheater with a lot of locals right in the forest, so tourists crowd around to see what’s going on. I then saw two birds fighting to the death over a couple of rounds. It was crazy. People acted as the barrier for the ring and the birds never hurt anyone, just each other. It was pretty savage but it’s the culture here I guess. We then rode out of Ubud and towards the lake on the mountain. The ride was great. We passed many acres of rice terraces. It looks like something from a movie. I loved that drive. We eventually made our way up the mountain and to Lake Beratan. We walked around and went to see a famous pagoda in the water that is one of the main pictures you see when you look up Bali. It was a neat area that looked cool after the rain. It was a little foggy and dimmer. We then made our journey back to our resort for dinner. We ate pizza and pasta at a really good Italian place on the Main Street. We then walked around for a little bit, before meeting up with Marianna, our friend from London who we keep running into. It started raining pretty hard, so we just bought beers from a 7-11 and chilled on her porch with her parents. We hung out all night. It was nice to hear what they had to say about everything. Her dad is very adventurous and loved to take risks. Her mom was really sweet and polite. It was a fun and relaxing night.
Today, Matt and I didn’t know where to go, but luckily, a lady called out room and asked us to join her for a free buffet breakfast. Since we booked a week here, they treated us pretty well. Instead of acting civilized, I used this opportunity to get four plates of food and had no shame. The lady worked for the resort and did this with hopes that we would pay to go the next couple of mornings that we are here. She told us about a newer beach that isn’t very tourist yet because they just cut through a mountain to make a road to it. It isn’t that known yet, so we decided to make our journey there today. We ride our moped for an hour and a half south and eventually found the beach. It was white sand and blue water. It was paradise. There were not many white people there. It was mostly locals. As the day went on, a couple of tour busses came in full of Chinese people traveling in groups of 50 or more. But that wasn’t until we were almost ready to leave anyway. The mountain was very close to the beach and pieces were blown up to carve a road to the beach. There were also huge monuments in the sides on the mountain. It was a neat place. We relaxed, lounged out in chairs, swam and walked the beach. We ate lunch at a shack on the beach for a couple of bucks. Once tour groups started arriving, we headed back to our resort pool for a little. I got sunburnt on my stomach so that sucks. I put lotion on too, so that’s very frustrating. We got back to our resort and hung at the pool until dinner. After dinner, we got some free massages for 20 minutes. Our resort transformed a bedroom into the “spa” so it looked nice but was funny that they did that. My back felt pretty good afterwards. I’m happy we did that. We then were going to meet up with Marianna, but her family did the trip that we did yesterday, and were exhausted. We agreed to meet up tomorrow.
Today was our relaxing day. Matt and I slept in for once, then hung around Kuta all day. We were at our pool all day, leaving only for lunch and dinner. For lunch, we got a really good burger with egg on it from a fancy place with good lunch specials. For dinner, we went to a place on Poppies Lane 2 for chicken sandwiches. We were going to meet Marianna tonight but it started raining hard at night, so we agreed to meet up tomorrow for sure.
We woke up early because we signed up for a tour today. We were originally going to go to these islands called the Gilis, but you need to spend a night there. We wanted to do a day trip, so we instead went to a place called Nusa Lembongan. The tour was the worst one we did to date and was very forced. You could tell that people just made up tours to cater to the large number of tourists that visit Bali. We took an hour-long bus to a boat and took that for an hour to Nusa Lembongan. The ride wasn’t that bad but bad enough for some Chinese people to get sick. Our group was us two and then a Chinese family that should have stuck to a huge group of 50 or more. They were in so over their heads and it was such an effortless organized tour as a tourist. I don’t understand it. They got sick on the boat, then were confused when we rode around from place to place on the island. We first rode to a mangrove and rode around the area in wooden boats. It was cool. We then went to an underground house that someone caved out if the ground. I still am not really sure why he made it, but it was neat, I guess. We then went to eat by the water and chilled on lawn chairs for an hour. Then, we were going to get on a glass bottom boat and this was confusing for the family. They kept asking if they should put bathing suits on. The guides kept saying yes but the family just didn’t. Then they would ask again. It was weird. Finally, they put on bathing suits, considering we were on a snorkeling trip. We rode the boat to an area with clean water, coral and a lot of fish. Matt and I swim around and tried to go against the mild current so we didn’t get too far away from the boat. Meanwhile, the family was all in life jackets hanging on the side of the boat as it rocked, begging the guides to grab their hands and hold them above water. You would think they were getting tortured if you would just hear the noise. The one girl kept sinking even though she had a life jacket on. And another girl wouldn’t even get in, so she just cried instead. It seemed like the most traumatizing thing for the family, ever. We took the boat back to shore in silence and the family probably then decided that they wouldn’t take their “day off” from their huge tour group to do a tour on their own. It’s way too much for them to handle. We then took a ferry back to Bali and I’m pretty sure I saw a French couple get a divorce. The wife flipped out and cried and screamed and the husband left her ever though she begged him to stay, so that was fun. Then the Chinese family got sick on the ride back again. We then took a van back to our hostel and went to eat dinner at Poppies Lane 2. Then, we got some Oreo blizzards because frosty’s at Wendy’s were out. We met Marianna and went to a bar for a couple of hours to hang out. Our last night was chill and she is fun to talk with. We then headed back to our hotel to pack up and go to bed, so we could wake up early for our flight to Singapore. It was a great time in Bali.