Oh Bali, where do I begin…
We arrived late after 2 long days of travel and the following day we were left in a small village where everything was closed, we had no food and no transportation. After spending a good part of the afternoon walking around street by street in the blistering heat, we managed to find a small corner shop and ended up toasting my birthday over ramen noodles and ritz crackers poolside. Birthdays in style!
We didn’t plan on renting a car, but right away we knew we had to get our freedom back. The next day we arranged for a ride into Ubud so that we could pick up a rental car for a week and to grab some much needed groceries.
Having a car has allowed us so much freedom, but it comes at a cost. The driving here is C-R-A-Z-Y and you constantly have to be worried about running someone over or being flagged down by a corrupt police officer looking for a bribe. Thankfully Bryan is a pretty confident driver, and has done remarkably well under the circumstances.
Here everyone drives a moped and they pack on as many people as they can onto it (none of them wearing helmets!). The kids got a kick out of seeing all these “dangerous” situations, our personal favourite being 2 adults, 3 kids under the age of 5 and a PANE OF GLASS. You can’t make this stuff up. Our mouths literally dropped open all wondering if we were the only one seeing this. Yep. That was the best one.
What the driving does allow us, is the ability to really see the island of Bali and to really get to know the people here. We drop into restaurants off the beaten path where the families cook you up a feast right out of their own kitchen (all for a grand price of $13!!).
Their children serve you, and they welcome you into their family hoping that you will stay awhile over coffee, all while doting over your children with massive smiles and questions.
Kadek, our housekeeper at our latest house swap, has also made her way into our hearts. We try as much as we can to lighten her load, but she still sneaks in to do our laundry and make our beds.
She showed us how to open the Durian fruit (ewwww) and brought her niece and nephew over to play with the kids and even brings Lily over to her house to play. Just another reason to love house swapping – you truly get to live like a local and get welcomed into the family!
Even our driver, Made (Kadek’s cousin) is just a wealth of information. Our hours in the car together are so much fun, I just wish I had a notebook to write down everything he says.
He takes great care in explaining the rituals and traditions of the Balinese people. I eat this stuff up, it’s heaven for me.
We told him how we ended up renting a car so that we could get away from all the “touristy” things. We said as beautiful as it is, with all the people there, it kind of kills the vibe.
He said, we call that “taksu”. That is the spiritual feeling you get when you are somewhere, something you feel but can’t see.
Taksu. Yes, I love that.