I woke up in a bit of a panic – feeling nauseous and shaky. I think it’s mainly feeling sick with worry – earlier today I made a coffee in my room with tap water. I have been so careful with the water here – saying no to ice cubes, brushing my teeth with bottled water… However, in a moment of madness, I just didn’t think. So at 2 in the morning, I’m sat bolt upright in my luxurious Queen Sized bed, googling “is it safe to drink boiled tap water in Bali…”
Of course, as when googling any illness, there will always be a ‘MrPotatoHead79’ on some forum telling you that his sister’s friend’s cousin had the same symptoms as you do, and they died a horrible death.
Woke up feeling fit as a fiddle. Thank goodness! I reckon it was a momentary funny turn due to my crazy, stressful day (see previous blog post on my Insane Journey to Ubud). Now time to enjoy my luxurious bungalow. It’s only £20 a night and I’m being treated like a princess. The three course breakfast may be the best I’ve ever had – including a fluorescent fruit salad, banana pancakes and Indonesian black rice pudding. Note: not black pudding like in England, thank goodness. This is a sweet dish, made with Indonesian black rice, slowly warmed through with fresh coconut milk.
I’m in a hidden paradise. The beautiful pool is surrounded by tropical trees. There is no noise whatsoever, only the sound of cockerels in the morning or the occasional soft words from the kind Balinese: “can I get you anything, Miss Olivia?”
I can’t believe I’m backpacking right now.
I met a French couple here on their honeymoon: Classic. The wonderful staff bought them out a decorative chocolate cake, with ‘Happy Honeymoon” perfectly iced in rich cocoa. I think because I was chatting to them, they felt obliged to share it with me (winning). They were lovely people – they even invited me out to dinner with them that evening. I had to politely decline as I would have been the ultimate third wheel. IT’S YOUR HONEYMOON!!!
Balinese food continues to get more beautiful and more bizarre. This afternoon I tried an iced avocado coffee. I was sceptical, but I reckon it’s now my favourite chilled beverage. Fresh and creamy from the smooth avocado with swirls of strong coffee, spiralling through the glass: a taste sensation and also a work of art.
In the cafe, a guy from Canada started speaking to me. He was a borderline hippie and spoke about trying to “find himself.” Conversation was a tad awkward. I wanted to be an idiot, get out my compact mirror and go: “there you are!”
Out of nowhere, a dramatic thunderstorm hit Ubud. The rain was hard and warm and everything still looked glorious. I admired it on my balcony, and did some yoga. The chilled vibes continued when I went out for dinner alone and I sat crossed legged on decorative cushions, surrounded by candles. Loving life.
Time to stop the princess life and find myself a hostel. I can’t complain though – the hostel is ace! It’s in the middle of a rice paddy, it had a gorgeous pool and it’s super chilled and friendly. Speaking of friendly, became instant pals with a Scottish girl, Eilidh (pronounced Ay-ley, like Hayley without the H).
When we walked back after dinner together, on one street alone we were offered 17 taxis and an onion. Oh Bali.
This morning I went on a gorgeous / humid walk through the rice paddies then came back for brekki with Eilidh. Oh my god I’ve had the best day. Ronnie and Jade are now in Ubud too so we met up with them for a girly day full of smoothie bowls and putting our bargaining skills to the test at the crazy markets. A woman tried to sell me a top for 130,000. I eventually paid 40,000 (£2).
We had some laughs when ordering food. Like in Starbucks, they asked for our names. For giggles, I told them my name was Steve.
Time for an evening yoga class. It was all very stereotypical (in a good way). It was in a room that looked like a palace and the class was taken by a very spiritual, very bendy man. The class was 2 hours and I was definitely the worst, least flexible one there. Curse you, ‘running’ for giving me tight hamstrings! I LOVED the meditation bit at the end. The Master adjusted my posture by pulling my head and neck and I felt my spine grow about 6 inches.
Rushing into the class and then leaving in such a chilled, ‘spaced out’ state, I can’t believe it but I realised when back at the hostel that I didn’t pay. I ACCIDENTALLY STOLE YOGA. I hope I don’t get bad karma. I will have to go back for another class and pay double. I feel so bad.
Alarm went off at 2.30am. Today is the day I climb Mount Batur Volcano to watch the sunrise. I went with Ronnie, Jade and our new friend Arne. We had a lovely driver and a very sweet guide.
You get a bit warm walking up but you really feel the chill at the top. This, however, was the first time in my life I have been the one to deal with the cold the best – this was due to the fact that I didn’t really sweat – everyone else was dripping. In all honesty, I found the climb quite easy. Jade and Ronnie, however, had a bit of a sense of humour failure going up: “I’m never hiking again!!!” But like all hikers, once seeing the sunrise and the views at the top, they were proud and said it was well worth it. I was probably really irritating to them, being too upbeat on the way up at 4 in the morning.
It was a strange experience hiking up in the dark. Seeing nothing but your feet with your torch light. Then looking up and seeing a stream of torches leading up to the summit – they looked like a trail of stars – quite magical.
As the orange sun rose, I tried to capture its beauty with a photo. Then I took a few moments just to stare and admire it.
Our guide prepared breakfast for us at the top: banana sandwiches and a boiled egg. Not quite the exotic luxury I’ve been having the last few days, but who can complain when you’ve got a view of the Indonesian tangerine sun, creeping over volcanoes.