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Traveling with Elsie in Bali

So, 2 months ago, very randomly, I met a fellow American river guide in Food for Thought Café in Chiang Mai and spontaneously invited her to travel with me in Bali for a week or so not thinking she would actually come. She made it happen and she and I spent about 12 days discovering and rediscovering, in my case, many parts of Bali.

To be honest, I like traveling alone. I am very good at it, I get  lot out of it, I learn constantly, I don’t have to feel responsible for the other person, I can go wherever, whenever without checking in with anyone, and I like being with myself, alone. I’m more approachable when I am alone and more likely to approach others if I’m not towing someone Also, traveling solo does not mean I am alone, if I don’t want to be by myself I am very capable of meeting other people or just hanging out with anyone around. Haven’t gotten lonely yet as a result. So, I was on the fence about being into her just showing up, especially when she told me she hadn’t traveled before and had never traveled on her own before and…had never ridden a scooter before. Folks, this is massively important because a scooter equals freedom to roam and in Bali I had been scootering everywhere, everyone bloody rides  scooter or pays handsomely for  car, no thank you.

I taught her how to ride  scooter in the first few days so we wouldn’t be handicapped. It was the first order of business.

Anyways, despite my initial reservations it was a blast and I learned a lot about traveling with this new partner who wanted to learn by experience as much as I did. Very cool girl.

We started off in Canggu surfing, mosying, eating good food, sate ayam and smoothie bowls in true Bali fashion. The choco smoothie at Shady Shack ws aa dessert favorite along with the caramel coconut crunch cheesecake from Betelnut YUM. We cheersed with mango and strawberry ciders on the beach at sunset, IMG_5523chillaxed by the ocean, played in the waves, explored the surrounding villages and tried all the warungs we could before we left.

Next we headed to Ubud where we stayed in Dewa hostel and were welcomed by Bim and the rest of his family there. We did all the touristy things I wasn’t going to do solo like go the rice paddies, Tegallong,

and to the coffee plantation with Luwak cats in cages (pretty depressing). IMG_5559

We joined forces with another solo female traveler for a day for that.

I went off that night and met Aunty Barb’ friend who owns Moksa Restaurant, the most gourmet, delicious food in Ubud.

Not comparing with warungs because this is a different category of food. So delicious. I also needed  a break from the duo.

Ubud market before it transforms into the tourist market.

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I bought papayas, mangos, apples, oranges, coffee, veggies, and breakfast coconut muffins. Yum

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the only sate cart in the morning market! yum

Bought lots of breakfasts of rice creations and other edible looking things just to try all them. The papayas were a safe bet and the vendors loved my little bit of Indonesian (goes a long way).

We went to 2 hours of Sound Meditation in Pyramids, actual pyramids, at a place called Pyramids of Chii just outside of Ubud.

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Sun on the right (we were in that one) and moon on the left

I was more than a bit skeptical of the “transformative nature” of this meditation but I thoroughly enjoyed it came out after having some visions as well as feeling well rested despite not actually falling asleep. They used an assortment of gongs that reverberated around the metal inside of the pyramid we were laying on the floor of. Well worth the $25 bucks. I’d go back and do it again.

I drove Elsie to Amed where she took  diving certification course and then I sped back to Canggu to meet my roommate from thailand, Paige Freel, and 3 more friends to climb Mt. Agung for the second time (my first time with a guide!). This is a separate post.

We met up again a few days later on the north coast where I had been resting in a single room (ahh after 3 weeks of dormitories what a luxury) right on the beach.

We got up at 6am too watch pods of dolphins play in the most traditional outrigger/fishing boats.

Then we snorkeled for  few hours after. It was beautiful. The rest of the day was spent hopping from one café to another on an epic dessert tour. IMG_5839It was perfect because it was pouring rain and bad weather to scooter in.

Next, we hit up some hot springs and jumped off a few waterfalls (ones I had done on my own a few days prior with a bunch of local 20 something balinese guys)IMG_5842IMG_5846IMG_5852IMG_5855 and then mosied up to Bukit Kembar EcoGuesthouse in between the twin lakes situated next the Lake Bratan with the most famous lake temple in Bali. I loved the guesthouse and family so much. Papa and Mama Jeroo and all the staff were other family members. After Elsie left, I spent 3.5 more days here:) Epic views.

We found an 18yr old Dutch guy here who we invited to come check out the lake temple and hike around exploring with us. The dude was up for it and hopped on the back of my scooter. Impressive. IMG_5861IMG_5865IMG_5870IMG_5874IMG_5875IMG_5903We checked out the lake temple then followed a tiny trail around the other side of the lake that I had seen on my Maps.Me application.

It ended up leading us a hike where we discovered a black stone temple completely overgrown with lush green jungle at the base of the cliffs surrounding the lake. IMG_5927IMG_5928IMG_5926None of us spoke above a whisper if we spoke at all. I felt like Indiana Jones discovering a lost temple. There were no tourists. We had walked through a village then I found tiny path through the direction of the top of the black temple I glimpsed from the road. Epic. This is my favorite type of adventure: the unexpected kind.

Then we zoomed back to Ubud to partake in an Ecstatic Dance at the Yoga Barn. Bunch of western hippies in bali feeling at one with the dance. All normal, ya know? It was a little too harmonious for me while we were waiting and everyone was sitting experiencing the sitting position but the dancing was super fun and liberating, everyone just doing whatever. I would do it again. It released some of the stress I had been carrying around for the past few days with Elsie riding on a scooter for the first time and having her second fall earlier that day. She only had a few scrapes.IMG_5933

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