52 more days until I board.
About 16 hours later I’ll be back on Balinese ground, where a hot breeze will caress my skin as a warm welcome, and the sun will pull my face into the broadest smile, the way it does with all the locals. I might take a while to get back into the game, but I’m sure I’ll find a friendly taxidriver to take me to the Perama busstop in Kuta for a reasonable price.
The haggling rules as I remember them:
They’ll ask about twice the fair price, so start at half the asking price, but don’t forget it’s a game, keep smiling, and be willing to give a little.
We’ll get in his car, or rather on his bike, he’ll start his engine and we’ll pull out onto the narrow roads that meander the island between the green ricefields, sudden shrubs of jungle, and countless temples and shrines, all decorated with daily offerings of colourfull flowers and incence still burning.
Traffic will be crazy around 10am, but we’ll swoosh between the honking cars, and I’m guessing we won’t take more than 30 minutes.
I’ll get my 60.000rph ticket for the 4 hour ride on that bumpy bus with the old-school shove-down windows. I could go the fastlane and have that taksi from the airport take me right to Padangbai in an hour, but the view from the highway is so dull. Whereas the bus takes the scenic route through diving, snorkling and surf-town Sanur and creative capital Ubud. Also the bus is a good means to meet fellow travellers.
I’ll contintue to Padangbai. A busy rumble during day time as harbortown to Lombok and the Gilis, but a quiet slumber falls as the sun sets.
Not as quiet though when you know the locals, a music loving folk. Every night the bars take turns in having a band playing well known covers, interspersed with local hits. Everybody plays an instrument or jams along where they see fit. And they will invite you to do the same. Always a party with these friendly people!
My friends at Sunshine bar will most likely tempt me to a shot of arak, the reuniting will be reason for celebration, and the night might last longer than I can handle…
When I wake up the next morning the sun will have already risen. I’ll pack my beachgear, and on my way I’ll pass those dear ladies, selling their sarongs and massages, and the men trying to get you to take a tour with them. “Where you from? How long you been here? What’s your name? How long you staying? Transport?”
I might see some more familiar faces.
I’ll make my way out of town, up over that steep hill with such a reward at the top : a fresh oceanbreeze cools the sweat on your face, the broad blue will show itself, and if you look down you’ll see the most idyllic, hidden whitesand beach, palmtrees swaying over the little shacks.
One of them is run by the sweet Pari family, who bake a mean banana pancake. Goes well with their fresh gingertea.
After breakfast I’ll let the break hit me, wave after wave, washing the worries of homelife away.
There will be some local boys, practicing their guitarskills, or playing frisbee. I’ll join them from time to time, in between playing with the waves and crabs.
When the time is ripe we’ll enjoy a cold bintang before it’s time to go back into town for the next gig.
I think I’ll be well able to keep that up for a week.
Then I’ll get myself a bike and start exploring those windy roads through greenery. There’s temples to be visited, town to be checked out, surf to be had, volcanoes to be climbed.
Anyway, I’m trying to get one of my best friends to book himself a ticket to Bali, to join me in November. He’s just graduated, wants to quit his longterm collegejob at the museum, but hasn’t found anything new or serious yet. He wants to get a new appartment. He has the budget. All points to one singular direction: GO TRAVEL!
But he’s not sure. Bali is all the way to the other side of the world. And he’s never been on holiday for a whole month. And he doesn’t like heat… He can be a bit of a grumpy old granddad sometimes.
But I love him to bits and want him there. Why visit Bali
So this one’s to you, dear! Please come to paradise with me! The bounty beaches, beautiful jungle and cold bintangs are awaiting us!
Have I convinced you yet?!