It’s been an terrific 10 months. 312 days in Australia. The exciting East Coast, mellow Melbourne, Team Eugene and of course the Farming frenzy. It’s time to go. See the rest of the world! And to start it all of, I go to Indonesia! I knew that there would be a cultureshock. Australia, after all, is like a warm England. A Western country, easy. But Indonesia is such a part of Dutch history, it must’ve been westernized a bit. Besides, Bali is to Australia what Turkey is to many people in Europe. An easy, closeby, warm beach getaway.
I was wrong. There wás a shock. Hot, humid, and lots, LOTS of people in my face. That was my first impression after getting from the airport to a hotel. Now, after ten days of exploring Bali I can say that Bali seems like an island of extremes to me.
I spent the first two days in Kuta. Comparable to Salou or the other Spanish costas from a decade ago, I think. Buzzing with holidaying Australians, there’s lots of parties and everything is for sale. I love Bali t-shirts, charmbracelets, shells, magic mushrooms and surfboards. I can get anything from anyone.
After those two exhausting days of getting used to the humidity and saying no, learning to haggle and using a new foreign currency (€1 is 10,000 Indonesian Rupiah), I really wanted to get out of this maniac place of Kuta. Decided to go visit my parents’ friend near Ubud, which is the cultural capital of Bali anyway. He has quite a few houses on the island and insisted we’d stay at them. And so, there I was, in a beautiful private villa, with pool, close to the beach. One day we had a driver to explore the island with. He showed us some proven touristy places, from a very nice Water Palace to little monkeys in the forest, to a temple, overflown with tourists all trying to see this “sacred” place with sunset. Tanah Lot, yeah A Lot of people!!!
Of course we had to rent a scooter, and of course we got fined because I was such an obvious tourist-target (and I was blocking a car, right in front of the police guy, that didn’t help). We got lost, but found our way back to the villa and in the end we explored quite a bit by ourselves and we were sunburnt and tired. After enjoying the luxurious villa and the extremely friendly staff that helped us with everything for a week, it was time to go.
And now I find myself in another Balinese extreme. Nusa Lembongan, an island that obviously knows tourists very well, looking at all the hotels that are there and being built as we speak. Dozens of little touroperators want me to go diving with them, or snorkelling, or rent a scooter or… But, the island seems empty. There’s a few people at the beach, there’s a lot of people on a sort of cruiseship just off the coast but they are on a daytrip, and the restaurant don’t seem to fill up. It’s kind of creepy in a way, but a very nice opposite to the hectic streets of Bali. So, I enjoy the empty Coconut beach, I bask in the glorious sun, admire the quiet roads and marvel at the beautiful flowers. I wonder if I’ll see many people tomorrow at the renowned snorkel-spot on the other side of the island.
Two weeks in Indonesia already. Soon we’ll make our way to Java, to fly out to Thailand. For now, I leave you with a few pictures of the first days in this beautiful, busy, spectacular new world that’s called Bali.