Janet's Travel Blog (Part Four - Bali and Lombok)
So after we'd spent the afternoon sleeping from our massive night out we weren't very exciting that evening. We just had a wander around town and got some food. Alyson and I both stayed with Ellen at the Swastika Bungalows where our tour ended.
A day trip to kuta for some surfing was on the cards for the next day. I was really excited to hit the beach. It was a different beach experience to back in Australia. At kuta beach there are hundreds and hundreds of beach chairs with umbrellas all with someone there to hire them out to you. There are also hundreds of locals with food, drinks and beers, and surfboards of various quality all wanting you to buy from them. I was so keen to get in for a surf I grabbed the first board I saw, (which happened to be an awful board!) and caught a few waves. Ellen and Alyson were more than content to lie on their beach chairs burning themselves (otherwise known as getting a tan).
For lunch we all caught up with Meg Savage from cricket. Again it was awesome to hear an Australian accent! We spent the arvo wandering around Kuta bargaining for things. It was quite fun. We also stopped by the memorial for the Bali bombings. I must admit it sent a little shiver down my spine seeing how many people lost their lives. They would have been just like me. Going to Bali for a holiday, heading out on the town and then bang, all over. Scary really.
That night we farewelled Alyson for her flight to Sydney then Ellen and I had dinner at Ronald's cafe. (I got lots of pictures of me in my cafe!) I had a super early night, I think I was asleep by 8:30!
Ellen and I spent the next day chilling and planning the next part of each of our travels. On our last night together we had a few Bintangs of course, listened to the standard Bali/south east Asian western live music such as hotel California, layla and bob marley and reminisced about our travels so far.
I'll miss Ellen. We got on really well. I'll miss teaching her all about technology, discussing how many dollars she'll need to change, talking to each other in dodgy English and Aussie accents, her dancing with her ipod on the bus to biffy clyro's cover of love.sex.magic... "simon!" (ok no one will get any of that last bit, I know you will though Ellen!) I think she missed me too. Eg, Ellen's Facebook status update after two days, "Technology has failed me and I've lost my hotel key... come back Janet!"
After that Ellen flew back to Bangkok and I took a fast boat over to the Gili Islands. OMG, amazing is all I can say! The Gili islands are three small tropical islands just off the northwest coast of lombok which is the island east of Bali in Indonesia. The sand is white, the water is an amazing blue, the island is so chilled out and relaxed, the local people are lovely and the tourists that sunbathe on the beach are all beautiful. It's the perfect place to go to unwind for a few days. I was there three nights. I stayed at Poro Poro homestay. It was lovely and clean and breakky was included, (i now love banana pancakes!) but no air con... bloody, bloody hot!
On the first afternoon I ran into my last tour group who had continued onto Lombok and the gili islands. I was so glad I ran into them. I spent the arvo relaxing on the beach, swimming and chatting with Nan (tour leader) and Richard from my last tour and also Rose and Becky, two English girls doing the lombok tour. I had dinner with those girls as well then headed out to the Irish pub for a drink and a dance with them. It was a fun night. I especially loved kicking off the thongs and having a dance on the sand!
Oh, on a completely random note, I ran into Andy Gilligan who I went to school with. He's now a dive instructor on Gili Trewangan. How random is that!
I had a pretty cruisey day the next day. I hired a bike and took my time to ride all the way around the island. I also got myself a book, a pack of chips, some water and I was set for the day. I stopped off at lots of places for a rest and a nap along the way. It was a really lovely day. In the evening I went down to the southwest corner of the island to watch the sunset. And what an amazing sunset it was! I walked up to the top of the hill where there were amazing views of Gili T, then back down to the water for the sunset. For some reason I can't just appreciate a sunset, I have to take heaps if pictures, searching for the optimum sunset picture! As a result I have lots of sun rise and sunset pics!
The next day was a snorkelling trip. Like manjungan island off Bali, it was really good and this time I got to see a turtle! I also met some other travellers who I hung out with for the day. I was going to head out with them that night but unfortunately Gili Belly got the better of me and I had a night in.
Back to Kuta the next day where I just went for a wander about around some of the shops and on the beach. There was a surf competition happening so I watched that for a while. They made it look so easy!
I hit up kuta beach the next day for a day of surfing. This time I sussed out a good board for a good price and had a much better time in the water. I also splashed out on a beach chair and umbrella and a foot massage (mostly to get the local lady to stop bothering me... I know it sounds bad but they can be very persistent!) It was a really relaxed enjoyable day. Even though the surf was pretty ordinary (lots of white wash) it was very fun for a lazy surfer like me!
In the evening I wandered up to Legian and had dinner, Nasi Goreng, a banana pancake and my final Bintang. Perfect.
The 15th November and I left Bali for Bangkok. The travel took most if the day so I managed to get lots of my book read. A murder mystery by Dorothy L Sayer, nice easy holiday reading! It felt good to be back in Bangkok. I was a lot more at ease that day than when I arrived for the first time a month ago.
I made my way to Bangkok Centre Hotel where I had the evening and a whole day to explore Bangkok again before beginning my second GAP tour, Indochina Discovery. In my free day I managed to find my way to the Chao Phraya river from my hotel where I took a river boat up to Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha. Had a good look around there for a while before jumping back on the ferry and up to Khao San road. I kind of felt at home there! Bought myself a Chang singlet to go with my Bintang singlet (and my little creatures top from Fremantle!) before making my way back to the hotel for our first group meeting! On the walk back home I ran into some locals playing a hacky sac type of game with a woven wooden ball. It came in my direction so I stayed and had a kick with them for a while. That was fun!
Stay tuned for further updates!