The Insane Journey to Ubud

12/04

There’s a note in the room about how to protect yourself from crime (thieves, rape etc). Pretty serious stuff. It’s a long list of suggestions about how to stay safe, and then at the end, in capitals it says: ‘HAVE A NICE STAY.’ Quite amusing.

I’m trying to be more positive today. My headache has cleared up. On my hunt for breakfast I tried to absorb the crazy culture. The noise, the hustle and bustle and strong smell of incense. The banana milkshake with my fruit, yogurt and cereals went down a treat. One fruit was the brightest purple that my eyes have ever seen – literally glowing. It was a pitaya fruit – something I have never tried before.

If you read my last blog post, you’ll be up to date with my sketchy transport booking to Ubud. My bus is supposed to arrive at 1pm (I think it’s a bus?). At 12.45 I was waiting at the lobby entrance.

1pm: I start pacing around a bit.

1.10: I ask reception if they know what the deal is. Lovely man gives the phone number a call. “This is not valid number” he says. Oh dear…

1.20: He tries to call again. No answer. Ah man, I’ve been scammed! Knew I shouldn’t have paid yesterday. What a tit.

The nice man at reception suggests that I walk down the dodgy street to where I made the booking and ask them what the deal is. He said he would look after my luggage and ask the bus to wait if it arrives.

I found the little lady that sold me the ticket yesterday. She becomes angry when I ask her where the bus is, aggressively shooing me away. “Back to hotel! Back to hotel!” She shouts.

I’m frustrated at my vulnerability. I know it’s not the end of the world – I’ll just book an overpriced taxi. But it felt a bit upsetting that I had been scammed. The kind man at reception sees that I look upset and worried. He takes the ticket from me and vanishes around the corner. Aw, my little hero, I think to myself. Then, out of nowhere, another man comes up to me and says “Ubud? One person?” YES! My bus! But shit! Where did the receptionist go with that darn ticket!?

What a nightmare. We eventually find him. All good. I follow transport man around the corner, expecting to see a bus for my 1hour 30 ride to Ubud.

It is not a bus.

It is a sketchy little scooter.

Oh hell no.

He throws my backpack over the handlebars, and taps the seat behind him. “Quick, quick. We go now.”

It all happened so fast. I should not be doing this. This is not ok. Mum would be fuming. Does my travel insurance even cover this if I fall!? A thousand thoughts whizz through my mind…

Oops. I’m on. No helmet and I’m wearing flip flops. This is not ok. I cling on for dear life as we go through the chaotic dodgy street, where people drive like they are playing a video game.

“I thought it was a bus!” I call over his shoulder.

“We go find bus now. Bus on main road.”

“Did it forget me?” I ask.

He laughs. “Yes, yes. Bus forget you! We try find it now.”

Me, my luggage and my little scooter man weave in and out of the traffic, on the race to catch my bus. Eventually, we find it. I’m alive!

There is one seat left. It’s jam-packed and people have to get out and move around luggage so that me and my bags can fit too. Squeezed in tightly, we’re off to Ubud! Hurrah!

***

When we got to Ubud, the smart thing would have been to get a taxi to my hotel. Easy peasy. No dramas. Instead, foolish, cocky Liv decides to walk. I’m confident I know the way and that it won’t take that long.

Rooky error. It was so far. But you know when you start something, you think: oh well I might as well finish it… I’ve got this far. I was also thinking, I’m already dripping with sweat, might as well continue. I know I’ve said in my past blog posts “this is the sweatiest I’ve ever been.” WRONG. I was young and naive. THIS, without a doubt is the sweatiest I’ve ever been. My back was like a waterfall and my face – it was like someone was constantly pouring a bottle of water above my head. I was soaked. I’d walked for ages and my back and calves were killing. I must have gone the wrong way. I asked a security guard and he pointed me in the other direction. For goodness sake. Another 20 mins or so, I couldn’t take anymore. The road I was on was very quiet and it was an extremely poor neighbourhood – many stray dogs and chickens running free. Looking very out of place, a nice looking gym appeared on the corner. I went in to get help.

The man at the gym was CONFIDENT I had gone the wrong way and I needed to be back where that security guard told me the wrong information. Feeling truly defeated, I was about to ask the desk to get me a taxi. Then, in my dizzy state, I did something pretty risky. A young-ish British looking guy was exiting the gym, getting on his scooter.

“Excuse me!” I called. “Could you please give me a lift!?” (What am I doing!?)

He was lovely and all was well. Felt like a scooter pro. He kindly dropped me at the hotel.

Oh my god it’s the wrong hotel.

“Don’t worry, I drive you” said the man at reception. Exhausted, I clamber onto the back of my THIRD scooter of the day. Hilarious.

Finally, I arrive at the correct destination. It’s paradise here. The exhausting / scary / stressful commute was worth it. Looking back on it now, I’ve already forgotten the sweat and pain. It’s just a funny memory. And now I’m chilling in my spa robe and being treated like a princess. LIFE IS GOOD.

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