After sleeping in two different terminals and watching a premier league and bundesliga match at Don Muang Airport between 12am and 5am on April 3rd, I finally took off for the last plane ride that would take me to Bali for my spring break. Here I go! Completely free off on my own! Wahoo! It feels like my first vacation from Thailand. It is really. I took off a few extra days from school (shh don’t tell my professors) so I could have 14 full days to explore and enjoy Bali. So stoked.
From the airplane window Bali came into view as white sand beaches met by lush green jungle and awesome mountains climbing high into the clouds. I let out a huge breath of relief I didn’t know I was holding in. I was going to be just fine wherever the mountains meet the ocean. And its Bali, I’ve got roots here thanks to Opa.
The first thing I noticed after stepping off the plane into the heat was the smell of crushed flowers in the Bali airport and the huge smile the customs officer bestowed upon me when I greeted him in the Bahasa I had been practicing on the plane. (I just learned the basics: hello, how are you, spicy, more spice, bathroom, beer, one more please! and the numbers so I could bargain – there aren’t as many tones in Bahasa or Balinese like in Thai so I devoured these beautiful new languages, I couldn’t get enough of them).
My driver, Eric (ha!), who took me to Ubud taught me about the language, explained the bamboo offerings lining the street for the special ceremony taking place over the next week, and recommended the best spots for sate ayam and mie goreng (yum). All the balinese I met over the next two weeks including some Sumatran and Javanese, were terrifically friendly and warm.
I arrived in central Ubud, my base for the next few days of adventures, dropped my stuff at Ode Hostel and grabbed a new friend, an Argentinian woman traveling solo as well, and headed for a cold Bintang and Mie Goreng. Ahhhh vacation tastes like a cold Balinese beer. Good stuff. It started raining (rain hasn’t been seen in Thailand for months so this was glorious) and the two of us headed to the Ubud market with a mission of purchasing sarongs. I made friends with a vender in my limited bahasa and ended up getting a great deal (1 beautiful sarong = IDR 20,000 or $1.50). We grabbed a fun cocktail while hiding from the down pour 🙂 I had Nasi Compur, the dish with everything ( I even asked for chilis in Balinese 🙂 And headed to bed early because I was waking up at 2:30am to climb Mt. Batur to watch the sunrise! ha! that’s the next adventure!