Hello Bali, Hello Culture Shock, Hello Caitlin

10/04

My flight out of Cairns was at 11pm. I was a little worried to be arriving in Bali at 2 in the morning, but I had informed my hotel and had researched the legit taxi company (Bluebird – blue cars with bird logo). Apparently many blue cars pretend to be taxis, so you must be sure they have the logo and polo shirts too.

The experience was less stressful because a couple of friends that I had made from the East Coast (Ronnie & Jade) were on my flight too. I also met a gem of a girl on the bus to the airport – Monica from New York.

The flight was bloody freezing! I asked one of the air stewards if my air con was playing up because I was so cold. He furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me like I was insane. “Mam, it’s 24 degrees.”

He lies.

Touched down safely. Wooooo Bali!

The baggage claim from Cairns was shoulder to shoulder jam-packed by a massive group of Asians. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man shouted something and then about 300+ Asians scuttled to a different belt. Too funny. How had all 300 misread ‘Cairns?’

Declaration and security was so relaxed. I had declared drugs (prescriptions) and the man didn’t even look at it.

Found an ATM and drew out 600,000. That sounds mad doesn’t it? But that’s only 60 Australian dollars therefore that’s only 30 British pounds. My taxi was 100,000 to Legian, so $10, so Β£5. It’s hilarious to check your bank balance and see you’re a multi-millionaire.

I’m staying the first two nights in Legian (just north of Kuta). I’d been advised by loads of people not to stay in Kuta. It has very little culture and is basically full of Australian holiday-makers or people wanting a boozy holiday on the cheap (basically the Indonesian version of Magaluf).

Arrived safely in Legian at 3am.

11/04

Lovely to wake up in my own room. The bed is HUGE and so comfy. Unfortunately the street I’m on is a little dodgy. I’m also in an area that’s much busier than I’d like. It’s a one lane street but with traffic coming both ways. SO MUCH traffic! SO many scooters. When two cars come head to head, the continuous stream of motorbikes and scooters continue to weave in and out. Beep beep!

Everywhere you go in Bali you can find women sitting around chatting while mechanically putting together quite artistic small baskets/ trays made from palm leaves then filling them with either rice, flowers or fruits. I’ve even seen some with an Oreo biscuit in! You’ll find these small offerings laying around- on pavements, roads, in front of shops, restaurants and houses. It’s sometimes actually rather difficult just to walk without accidentally stepping on them! But these little baskets of flowers and incense sticks are also what make Bali so wonderfully unique and fragrant. I asked one woman if she could explain to me herself what they are for. “It is for the spirits. It is to keep shop safe, peaceful and happy.”

I’m walking through the busy, smoky market streets, trying to get my bearings, looking for somewhere for breakfast. I guess I’m not as tanned as I thought I was… I’m constantly being pestered – many asking for photos with me and my white skin. No babe, not today.

One man grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. That was not ideal.

You walk two steps and then someone will jump in front of you.

“Transport?”

“Sunglasses for pretty lady?”

“Very nice clothes.”

“Transport? Transport? I give transport for you. Special price.”

Ah, get me to Ubud. I just wanna do yoga & chill & eat good food.

The buzz of it all and the lack of sleep and food gave me a killer headache. Dizzy, and ignoring the pesting, I walk into a girl.

IT’S CAITLIN (a friend I met in New Zealand whilst doing Kiwi Experience). This is too weird. What makes it more bizarre is that we have already bumped into each other at Melbourne train station. Did somebody say small world?

Had a gorgeous breakfast with Caitlin, and later on we walked along Legian beach, before my headache couldn’t take much more and I had to have a lie down.

Chilled in my Queen-sized bed with a take out Indonesian rice dish.

I can’t wait to venture to Ubud tomorrow! Wifi was touch and go but I managed to book a couple of nights there. I also booked my transport from a pretty sketchy stall on my dodgy street. The woman barely spoke English. Looking back on it, I probably shouldn’t have paid there and then. But I have some make-shift receipt that doesn’t quite make sense so let’s hope that works…

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