Change is Good – First Week in Bali

        Wow, first week in Bali, with zero agenda. I think this is what freedom is. I’ve never been on a trip like this before. It’s beyond vacation. Going into week 3, after experiencing a lot of shit all over the island and beyond, we’re essentially living here. And I am loving it! I love how things work around here. I love the unconditional compassion everyone carries with them. I love the smooth flow of moped traffic. The food is fantastic. Just to name a few things..

        Our first week was spent learning the ropes and flow of things. Our beautiful AirBnb’d villa in Canggu was in the best area we’ve experienced so far, by week 3 we ended up back in Canggu after adventuring all over the place. Man is it hot out here. There’s no such thing as the weather “cooling down in the evening”, it’s the same heat without sunlight to magnify it.

        The food here is wonderful, once you find the best spots. It’s all fairly cheap too. If you’re looking to eat cheap, then you’ll want to stick to mostly Indonesia local favorites like Nasi Goreng (chicken fried rice) and Mi Goreng (fried noodles). That gets old after a while. Fortunately, Bali has an eclectic selection of eats. Jayce is vegan and intends to always eat as healthy as possible which has helped me eat healthier than I usually would. More fresh fruit, veggies, whole foods, and meat alternatives. Less fried junk.

        This is from the Bali Buda. It’s a delicious restaurant in Canggu with many healthy, vegan, and vegetarian options to serve everyone. Along with some American style meals, like this one

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        Some other notable Canggu/Seminyak restaurants worth looking into: Deus, Crate Cafe, Nalu Bowls, Shelter, Samadi Yoga, Divine Earth Cafe, Taco Beach Grill. If you do a little research and asking around, there is something for everyone here.

        We had no clue how essential the moped rental was going to be. I knew beforehand that I’d like it, but I didn’t know that I’d come to love it. When we rented that thing for $1.75 a day, we didn’t know it would take us from Canggu, into the jungle of Ubud, the eastern coast, all the way down to the south tip of the island, and everywhere in between. That little Honda did WORK. I found it so enjoyable cruising wherever the day was taking us. Mopeds are way too much fun. I don’t know how I’m gonna go back to sitting in stop and go traffic in my truck without weaving through everyone. We really suck at driving in America in comparison to here. It’s embarrassing.

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        I’ll tell you why. It took a day or so of observing to understand. And if you ever come here, just watch for a day and pay attention to how people drive. In Bali, everyone is completely focused on the road. Nobody’s distracted by their unimportant phone calls or texts. Everyone on the road gets where they need to go and acknowledges everyone else’s same intentions. Drivers are just driving when they’re driving. This makes the roads safe. For this reason, you don’t have to constantly worry if someone’s going to cut you off or back into you out of nowhere, those type of mistakes just don’t happen. That’s why families of four can safely get across town helmet-less. So all you have to do is pay attention to what you’re doing, and everyone else does the same, and everything flows effortlessly. The roads here are half the width of in America, there are hardly any stoplights, and lots of the roads are sketchy. And even then, things go smoothly. The funny realization I had was: in the States, our entire road/traffic system in over-structured around us paying the least amount of attention to driving as possible. In Bali, the cars and roads are designed to be just enough to work with maximum attention. You don’t need wide roads, or four way stop signs, or reflectors, or tons of traffic signs, or grated cement on the side of freeways to wake you up, if everyone’s paying attention! We haven’t seen a single sign of an accident except when we almost created one. Drivers are always passing each other and allowing other to pass. My favorite part about the traffic is the difference of meaning of beeping your horn. In America, it usually means “Fuck you”. Here, it simply says, “Watch out, I’m right here”. And it’s really helpful.

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        Green Bowl Beach was undoubtedly my favorite beach so far. I don’t need to explain much because the pictures tell all. It was a bit of a hike down and back up a steep staircase, but well worth it. Fairly private, local, and secret. Don’t blow it up!

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Lush green tropical vegetation meets white sand, black rocks, coral reefs, fish, and crystal clear water.

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Bintang is Bali’s local cheap beer. Sippin on this one in the waters of Geger Beach.

        The monkey forest in Ubud was an intriguing sight. It’s a trip seeing monkeys in real life. You can feel our common ancestry by seeing how they act and looking at them in the eyes.

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        Conniving little scoundrel, but so intelligent. Just don’t let them give you a rabies bite. We were again a little spooked by the travel doctor and had a hard time just chilling with them. They can tell if you act scared or antsy, and in turn, act more protective and aggressive. But I saw many people letting them climb all over them calmly.

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        We met a couple at Green Bowl Beach that spoke highly of the Gili Islands and assured us it wasn’t something to miss. So, we booked a 90-minute fastboat ride and a bungalow and headed over.

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        The Gili’s are made up of three separate mile-wide islands. You can hardly call them islands when you can walk across one in 20 minutes.
We stayed on Gili Meno, the middle island, which is the smallest. It is much calmer that Gili Trawangan. Gili Air is on the east side, which we never went to. But I heard it is calm and serene as well.

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The beaches there are delightful. White sand and clear, bright blue water all around.

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Elegant sunrises appear on the east towards Gili Air and the mainland, Lombok.

        The place we stayed was cozy and comfy. I was reading a lot of negative reviews from cheaper bungalows so I booked something more pricey. It was the Tropical Hideaways Resort at $70 a night for 2 people. It was certainly a desirable stay, although I think a little bit overpriced. Our room was a little bungalow at a good-lookin resort with a nice pool and worthwhile free breakfast. One thing to know about the Gili’s is that they don’t exactly have fresh-water in their pipes. They de-salinate ocean salt water, but the water is still pretty salty. So this makes for some sticky skin and hair after a few days of showering in it.

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        We spent most of our days relaxing, swimming, and beach-laying. We went to Gili T for one evening to try and experience all the party hype everyone had been telling me about. I was expecting something a lot crazier but we had a great time listening to live reggae music and a bit of club dancin’. We were able to get a boat ride over to Gili T in the evening and have them on call to bring us back. We had less than high hopes about this working out and came to terms with the possibility of being stranded. After a couple vague phone calls at 2am, our boat came and rescued us.

        We hopped on this little boat that was as tipsy as we felt. 2 kids that looked younger than me were our “crew”. One of them asked me for my phone to use the light. I figured he had to look for something because it was pitch black. No, wrong, he used my phone to light the water in front of the boat and guided our boat through the dark night sea to Gili Meno, while the other kid manned the engine in the back. We arrived safely somehow.

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By that time we had island fever and ran out of exciting things to do and headed back to Bali.


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