Archives for posts with tag: Uluwatu

The countdown has started. David and I have just 9 days left before we get on a flight back to the States. My best bud Eliza left a few days ago to head back to NYC after a fun week snorkeling on Gili Trawangan and swimming and celebrating my birthday in Kuta, Lombok. And now David and I are hunkering down with our last dollars and preparing ourselves for our next culture shock. Home.

Eliza and I on the boat to Gili Trawangan

It has been an amazing and unforgettable 5 months.

I’ve started to make a list of the things I will miss.

Dodging potholes on the motorbike. The drive at night on the motorbike back home from Yeye’s in Uluwatu, looking up at the starry sky. Sweat. Banana juice. The smell of incense. Being barefoot. Calling out “cow” or “monkey” while driving. The sound of flip-flops. Nightly rain showers. The friendliness of the Balinese. The deafening sounds of nature. The ease of starting conversations with other travelers. The smell of satay sizzling on the street. Vivid colors everywhere. Smiling and highfiving children. Ants in my food. Hearing Indonesians sing Justin Bieber. The feeling and sounds of life everywhere – plants enveloping you and thousands of bugs crawling and flying, geckos scurrying, chickens clucking and roosters crowing, rust-colored cows, algae and mud covered water buffalo, dogs barking or sleeping, leggy goats.

David and Eliza on Gili Trawangan

It’s going to be weird going home. Real life. Ugh.

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Sorry for the brief sabbatical in blog entrying. I promise I’ll be better. Since arriving back to Bali from Thailand a month ago, David and I have been incredibly busy playing host and tour guide to friends who arrived from other parts of Southeast Asia as well as friends who flew all the way from the States to visit little ol’ Dav and Taz.

David and Eliza in Nusa Lembogan

Our first arrival was my best bud and home girl Eliza O. who flew from NYC and met David and I at our trusty home at Susie’s Beach Inn in Bingin Beach. I had been looking forward to her arrival for months, and was ecstatic that this lady friend had decided to stay for a month – long enough for us to show her around most of Bali, as well as do a side trip to Gili T. and Kuta, Lombok.

The first day Eliza arrived we met up with two friends that David had met while traveling down the Vietnam coast, Dain and Tesha from San Francisco. We spent the days between swimming at the pool at their Westin Resort in Nusa Dua, and swimming in the ocean at Uluwatu and pooling it on our turf of Bingin. Dain and Tesha left a few days after and flew to Australia and are currently spending the year living out of a van and working down the coast of Aussie.

After a few days in Bingin and getting sunned out on the Bukit peninsula, we three headed up north to Ubud where we spent a few days getting us$5 massages and facials, buying monkey masks, loving a little dog we named Boners, and making a second trip to the delicious Naughty Nuri’s for some more bacon cheeseburgers and the subsequently unavoidable food comas.

Shane, Jenna, and Eliza at Espresso Bar. Kuta, Bali.

We then made a stop in Kuta where David and I planned to extend our visas as well as show Eliza the not-so-great part of tourism in Bali. Surprisingly however, we spent two nights here discovering the most-delicious-and-best-for-your-money-restaurant I have been to in Bali, the Smiling Frog, and our late-night-live-music-bar, Espresso Bar. The Smiling Frog on Jl. Benesari is an unexpected breath of fresh air in the noisy and sense-assaulting streets of Kuta. Owned by the generous and personable Alex of Italy and his wife, David, Eliza, and I stumbled upon this restaurant one evening and never looked back – frequenting at least 5 more times and raving about it to our friends. The ingredients and preparation of the food make this restaurant stand out from what would appear to be similar establishments throughout Kuta. Everything from the welcome drink to the fettucine al funghi to the chicken curry hits the palate just right, and Alex hands-down has the best arak madus I’ve tried throughout my travels. Finished by a cup of Italian coffee and the best (and also complimentary) desert of a rich, fudgy, thinly sliced chocolate cake make the whole experience a decidedly good one.

Our favorite late-night hang out spot is the Espresso Bar, a hole-in-the-wall dive that has the best (Indonesian) cover band singing renditions of everything from Lady Gaga to Rage Against the Machine, always with their own hardcore rock twist. They are a blast to watch, and the whole vibe of the place is far cooler than the nearby clubs that make you want to Purell your body. Literally, 40 year-old prostitutes in police outfits and young Australian guys in tiki skirts and Mr. Miyagi headbands. Literally.

(Left to Right) Eliza, David, Arlene, Shane, and Aram. Breakfast at Villa Kresna, Seminyak.

After Kuta we took the boat to Nusa Lembogan to chill out in the cleaner sun and sand for a few days before my good friend Aram and his friends Shane and Arlene flew from L.A. to meet us for a fun-filled 5 days in Bali. Aram helped treat David, Eliza, and I to a 2-bedroom villa with a private pool at Villa Kresna, the most beautiful hotel I have ever stayed at (and also the best breakfast). David’s friend whom he had met traveling in Vietnam – Jenna from San Francisco – also joined us for some time while we were in the Seminyak area. I had some of the best days of my trip hanging out and going on adventures throughout southern Bali with our gang. Thank you guys so much.

Aram and David walking on Uluwatu beach, Bali.

And now it’s back to David, Eliza, and I. Tomorrow we head to the Gili Islands and then to Kuta, Lombok to relax for a bit and show Eliza my favorite spots of Indonesia (so far). It has been a great experience and a fun time being the tour guide to both friends and acquaintances for the past month. Some people have already been traveling for months in Asia and are just on a stop in Indonesia; some are on a short work vacation from the States; some people have traveled a lot in their lives, and others not at all. Regardless, sharing my knowledge about traveling (especially if it is my favorite place in the world) – whether it is about the people, the food, the language, the environment, the religion – gives me a rush. Perhaps it’s an adequate reason for not noticing that I hadn’t posted a blog entry in a while. Too busy doing what I love.

Today David and I made a realization. We only have 3 weeks left of this epic adventure of ours. I don’t think either of us are ready to say good-bye quite yet.

….And my birthday is in 5 days!

David and I are in the Bukit peninsula of Bali – generally called Uluwatu, but more specifically staying at Bingin. The beaches and surf breaks here are legendary – Uluwatu and the fabled Padang Padang, along with Impossibles, Bingin, and Dreamland.

A view down the cliff to the surf break at Uluwatu (on a bad day)

We arrived here via Ubud after a terrifying ferry ride back to Bali from Lombok, the enormous boat violently swaying in the tremendous swells. We had left our new friends – the Webster brothers of Long Beach, CA – in Kuta, Lombok, with plans to meet up again in the next few days in Uluwatu. We had already formed ourselves into what we dubbed “Team America” with our adventures and antics beginning on Lombok and hopefully continuing in the southern surf haven of Bali.

David and I arrived to Uluwatu and set up camp at Susie’s Bungalows, a simple and friendly homestay run by a bunch of giggling women set on top of the cliffs above Bingin beach. We spent the days descending and climbing the impossibly steep and painful steps (work those buns!) that led down to the beach, visiting the shantytown woven into the cliffs of Uluwatu proper, and getting the lay of the land via our rickety red motorbike (which we eventually traded in for a newer, hot pink one). A couple of days later we met up again with our good friends from the West Coast and we all settled in at Susie’s along with our new acquaintances: Jay and Linda from an island off of southern France, Anya from mainland France, and Nikki from Brussels.

The boys and I became a pretty solid unit, searching for surf during the day or belly flopping into the nearby infinity pool or settling down for banana milkshake time and an endless series of jokes and stories.

The boys lounging by the pool. Bingin beach.

We spent one day outrunning the corrupt police on our motorbikes on the way to give a farewell to my mom in Nusa Dua. David and I barely escaped while the Webster brothers – having been pulled over for some made-up reason – ingeniously adopted the Spanish language and annoyed the frustrated policeman out of his monetary bribe.

Another day was spent at the surf spot Greenbol, where we all witnessed a Planet Earth– style moment of a large snake using its muscular body to climb the precipitous wall of a cave to strangle an unfortunate bat for its lunch, while waves crashed violently and a storm brewed around us.

A storm brews at Greenbol

Adventures and escapades during the day gave way to often boisterous and deboucherous nights. Whether we were out and about or lounging with our books or a stack of cards, David and I could hardly have been in better company and feel fortunate to have met these new friends on our trip. Often, a downside of traveling is that you lose the emotional connections you have with people, save for a traveling companion if you have one. People float in your lives, but the nature of traveling necessitates for them to quickly float out. However, we were lucky to have these guys in our current traveling lives for two weeks and we had a great time. Alas, they left to go back to real life and David and I are once again stuck with each other (love you buddy!).

A heartfelt “Namaste” and “claro que sí” go out to the brothers.

And thus, a chapter ends in the epic saga of Dav and Taz.