Terima Kasih, Bali
August 20-22, 2013
- Arrival in Bali. I rented a whole bemo (a public transportation, a small van that can fit 5-7 people) to get to Kuta Beach, and upon arrival, I realized I over payed the driver. I met with Denny (Donghee Seo), my Korean CouchSurfing (CS) host, afterwards,and the first thing I thought was how much I envied his tan. He offered me a separate room, which I didn’t expect, and I was so grateful for that. He was juggling his schedule, and told me that his good friend is also arriving from Korea, so he had to leave and take care of things which I thought was awesome.
- So this is Kuta Beach. The first thing I thought I’d do was to take a rest. That was almost twenty hours of bus ride and I knew I should relax. But I was too excited to walk around and go to the beach. So with my bulky camera, and my eagerness to get a tan, just like Denny’s, I went out for a stroll at the beach, and then to the streets.
- Anneong Haseo. In the evening, I met with Denny and his friend, Se Young Park (whom we kept on calling Samsung Guy because he works for Samsung, and kept on bantering about him being tied to the corporate world), and learned that they have known each other since they were little. I was afraid that I’d feel out of place because of my low EQ, haha. But it seemed that everything went well. My only regret that night was that I wasn’t able to take any pictures because the place was really nice. After dinner, we went straing home and talked about movies, and I mentioned that one thing I like about Koreans are their “revenge movies”. They ended up recommending more movies, but it turned out that I’ve seen most of the good ones. I still couldn’t believe that the two didn’t like I Saw the Devil (2010), which I though was badass.
- Basking, shopping, and making more friends. Since I stayed by Kuta Beach, there is nowhere to go to but the beach for more tan, and the colorful streets for shopping for pasalubong. I didn’t really plan on doing anything on my second day so I just walked around. A lot. Until my legs and feet hurt.
I spent my morning at the beach again and it was the first time I realized that Kuta beach was indeed nice. I kinda felt silly playing alone with the huge waves but then I wasn’t the only one having fun. There were others, too chasing the frothing waters of the beach, so I guess it’s not so bad.
Afterwards, I strolled around again and made friends with an old souvenirs vendor. We exchanged stories, and told me that his son is taking up medicine. I told him that it wont be long that his family is going to be rich. I also remember him telling me that he heard news about the bad typhoon condition in the Philippines, and I realized that I haven’t contacted anyone from home yet to check on them. haha!
I walked towards Popies Lane II to run errands for my Jakartan host, Rifky, and ask a hostel if they accept reservations. Rifky and his friends are arriving in Bali the next day but haven’t had reservations so I thought I’d help. Unfortunately, the hostel don’t accept reservations, which I found weird. On a lighter note though, I found a small restaurant nearby playing Jack Johnson tracks and thought that I should have lunch there. I was sold to good music. At the restaurant, I met a kind ojek driver and he offered me a reasonable price to go to Tanah Lot, one of the famous spots in Bali, which is around 45 minutes to an hour away from Kuta.
- Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is famous for its temple-by-the-cliff spot and is best visited either during sunrise or sunset. I met with the driver at 4:30 and arrived an hour later. The place was packed with people. Really packed — with Japanese, Balinese, and mostly with Caucs. Before going to Tanah Lot, I thought that the place was overrated. But come sunset, I realized why it’s famous — it has a beautiful view of the sunset which is comparable to the sunset in Camiguin, PH, which displays the vibrant, almost romantic colors of the sky, maybe three, four colors over the horizon. I tried taking timelapse photos of the sunset using my Nokia 808 Pureview, but when I saw the photos on big screen, I found out that I used the wrong settings. But just the same, I couldn’t put my DSLR down because the sunset felt dramatic and beautiful.
- Done with the beach. I was alone in the evening and thought I’d take another stroll again in the streets for dinner and more shopping. It was late in the evening and found one more opened tour agency and had a shuttle scheduled for the next day going to Ubud. I’ve heard so many things about the place, and people would name it as the culture and arts capital of the island. So since it’s my last day the next day and I thought I’ve seen enough of the Kuta area, I thought I’d take a look. The shuttle costs Rp60,000 (6USD) one-way.
- To Ubud… I was already at the meeting place where the shuttle should have picked me to Ubud. I remember it arriving 30 minutes late so I grabbed something to eat while waiting. When it finally arrived, the shuttle, an open minivan with no airconditioning, already had two passengers. I was the third ad the last one. I realized later that the open minivan would send us to a halfway meeting place, and we would swap vans with people coming from Ubud. So in the end, we got the airconditioned van, and the people going to Kuta or the DNP airport got the open minivan.
I remember us stopping during a red light. A couple of minutes later, the light turned green, but it was weird that our van wasn’t moviing. When I looked at the driver, I saw him taking a nap. Haha!
We arrived in Ubud at around 10AM and when I took off the van, I looked for a tourist agency right away. My flight to Jakarta leaves at midnight, and I shouldn’t get stuck in Ubud so I had to schedule my transportation going back on the same day.
Tip: Plan carefully when going to Ubud, otherwise, everything, from ojek and other services, will be way too expensive.
- …To the Countryside… Ubud has this charming countryside appeal that reminds me of the provinces back in the Philippines, back when there were just a few malls, and everyone was into planting rice. The place is very laid-back and very peaceful, completely the opposite of Kuta beach. People said I should go and see the rice terraces, the temples, and the monkey forest in Ubud, but I only got time for the rice terraces. I thought the rice terraces was going to have a huge view of the rice paddies, but when I got there, it was quarter the size of what I expected, so I was a little disappointed. Nonetheless, I took off my shoes and left it somewhere in the paddies, and walked down, up, down, and up again the rice terraces. It was a lovely experience.
- Babi Guling, Oink. When I cried hunger, my (overpriced) ojek driver for the day mentioned that we should stop for a babi guling — their version of the roasted suckling pig. Indonesia is a Muslim country, but Bali is an exception. So he brought me to Ibu Oka, which I think is one of the most famous places for babi guling. The place was lovely, and had a view of the river. The food, too, was nice, although I think the dishes can be improved.
Afterwards, I got to go to an art museum with painting installations from the war era, up to the present. The thing I love most about Balinese art is the huge amount of details and the use of colors in their visuals. I think they are lovely.
- Last supper and tea in Bali. I got back at 5PM and to wrap up my three-day stay in Bali, Denny invited me to dinner along with his two other Korean friends, Se Young Park and Dae Hwan Park (Dae Hwan Park arrived a little before we left the house). We went to a restaurant with a beach-vibe, not too far from our place, and this is when I found out that Denny, too, has awesome taste in music. After a rather quick dinner, it was time to go and Denny and company, and I had to split ways.
I met with Rifky after at a coffee shop in Beach walk, one of the most famous malls in Kuta, to kill time. My flight back to Jakarta was at midnight and I ha a couple of hours spare, so he agreed to meet with me. At 10PM, we had to say goodbye, and it was the first time during my stay in Indonesia that I took the Bluebird. I arrived at the airport and found out that my plane was delayed for an hour. I bumped into these Chinese ladies and had a nice chat with them. They even invited me to China and offered a place to stay if I did go. Who knows, China could be one of my destinations next year.