Round The World – week 20 (taksu)

Oh Bali, where do I begin…

These past few months have been a real challenge, mainly good, but there have also been challenges that have really tested us, and there is no question that there comes a point when you are just utterly exhausted from being resilient, fixing travel issues, managing the rentals and on and on. I don’t like to talk about it much, because the fact of the matter is, I truly believe that we are probably 90% responsible for our situations. And belly aching about it or complaining really doesn’t solve anything. So we put our heads down (after a quick cry) and get on with solving that and doing our best to have a positive attitude. At the end of the day, we are beyond blessed to be on this trip, so why would I spend any longer than 5 minutes complaining about our “situation”?

When we arrived in Bali, we were hit with the feeling of disappointment. Bare with me here. We arrived late after 2 long days of travel and the following day we were stuck in a small village where everything was closed, we had no food and no transportation. We managed to find a small corner shop and ended up toasting my birthday over ramen noodles and ritz crackers.

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 groceries. For someone who likes to cook, Bali is not going to wet your whistle. The foods that you buy are mainly processed food, rice and fruit (which is amazing, but you are worried constantly about Bali Belly). Thankfully, eating out in Bali is super cheap. Each plate of Indonesian food is approximately $1 – $2 so we ended up just eating out most days.

Having a car has allowed us so much freedom, but it comes at a cost. The driving here is CRAZY 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.

What the driving does allow us though, 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. 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. We never would have had this opportunity if we had a driver who was taking us from one hot spot to another.

Kadek, our housekeeper 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 while she tells us stories of how her family has time and time again been taken advantage of by outsiders. She doesn’t say any of this with a hint of resentment or anger, the Balinese people believe in Karma, and all that matters is that they live their life in a way that is good and right. It is incredibly inspiring.

When our car broke down, all the locals came together to help. One sped off on a moped to try to find a mechanic, the others were trying to push start our car and the last of them were keeping myself and the kids occupied and happy. When the mechanics did arrive, they even hesitated being paid.

Even our driver, Made (Kadek’s nephew) is just a wealth of information. Our hours on 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. I eat this stuff up, it’s heaven for me.

The people of Bali have restored my faith in humanity, they have so little and yet are so humbled and gracious.

I guess I can sum up our experience in Bali like this:

Bali is dirty, hot, loud, stinky, and busy. But despite all this, Bali is the most beautiful place I have ever been. My heart and soul are happy here.

The beauty of the land, and the beauty of the people are unlike anything I have seen. I truly feel like I have been welcomed into the family.

Now back to the reality of travel… must find a house in Australia after being bailed on two weeks before arriving. Lovely.


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