Bali Belly, Bananas and Beautiful People

Warning: this first part of the post will be pretty grim. I could have skipped it out and continued to talk about the turquoise ocean and my daily yoga. But I want this blog to be a realistic picture of my time travelling. So if you don’t want to read about my unfortunate bowel movements, close the tab, go walk the dog, do some photocopying at work, or make a cup of tea.

23/04

I have the shits. Sounds awfully crude, I apologise. I have been seven times in the last hour and this is definitely not ok. I wanted to man it out and just get out whatever was upsetting my stomach, but by the eighth sprint to the bathroom, enough was enough. Dosed up on Imodium. Thankfully, that stopped the ordeal instantly, but I felt pretty fragile for the rest of the day. Life of a traveller, ey?

I couldn’t stomach anything to eat. But I asked Eddie (who works at the local bar) what drink he recommends for a bad stomach.

Eddie is either 19 or 24 (he told me both!) He has glowing chocolate skin, a chiseled face and a thick, Indonesian accent.

“Papaya. Papaya juice very good. Yes. Good for…stomach. Clean stomach. Makes more poo poo.”

“No!” I screeched. “No more poo poo!!!”

“No more poo poo?”

“No more poo poo.”

“Sorry. My English. I no understand.”

I paused momentarily, thinking of how I could maybe explain without sounding too gross. Then I realised I couldn’t. “I have too much poo poo. What drink makes less poo poo?”

He finally understands and recommends a certain tea which he makes for me. Later on, mummy Roo makes me some plain toast as I don’t think I can face another curry. What a babe.

25/04

Before the poops started yesterday I was with the volunteering gang, turning recycled rubbish into arts and crafts goods. These will be sold tomorrow and the money raised will go to the local school. Happy days! Wearing the volunteering t-shirts, the locals would come up to us, and give us a hug and shake our hands. “Thank you very big! Thank you very big” one little man said, grinning from ear to ear.

I have now recovered and am feeling fab. I’m not sure how good it is to eat about 10 bananas a day though. (They put banana in EVERYTHING!) I also think they put something special in the iced coffees because they’re so addictive. Eilidh has already had 3 and it’s not even midday.

***

Got my sweat on walking to my ocean-view yoga class. I arrived early but didn’t have my swim suit or towel. I was that hot, I just dived into the pool, fully clothed. I dried off pretty quick. The class was AMAZING and I felt good for the rest of the day. I’d never done Yin yoga before. Rather than holding each pose for about 5 seconds, you hold it for FIVE MINUTES. It has a similar effect to acupuncture, creating a lot of heat in the muscles you are working. Man, you can really feel the burn – but the more you relax into it, the deeper you can stretch and then it feels incredible.

Good times continued with a delicious Gado Gado for din dins, then a bonfire on the beach. Eddie & Hero are the cutest. We sung songs with a guitar and ukulele – both English songs and Indonesian. I can’t get over how much I love the people here. Both me and Eilidh must say “I’m not leaving” at least 100 times a day.

Hero has a small, athletic frame. A baseball cap is glued to his thick black hair and his crooked smile is infectious – he never stops laughing.

Laughter continues as me and Eilidh go mental with all the bugs in our room. Howling and screeching with laughter, next door must have wondered what was going on. Hero, did you put something in our drinks!?

26/04

The hilarity continued into the next morning. We went for a dip in the beautiful sea but had a bit of a mare because we were in a seaweed section. Splashing around like a couple of seals, we soon came back onto the sand to sunbathe. Two gorgeous girls about 10metres to our left looked ever so graceful in the water: Peacefully floating on their backs, or diving up and down like a dolphin.

“We don’t look like that” said Eilidh. “How do they look so good?”

We squinted and stared at them for quite a bit. Then at exactly the same time:
“Let’s try be them.”

Unfortunately, we failed. Within 10 seconds of entering the water, a wave took my bikini and my boobs were out and Eilidh was flopping around like a whale.

Bikes, Powercuts and Happy People on Gili T

After the amazing climb up Mount Batur, our driver bought us some banana fritters to try. Sounds good, right? WRONG. I love fried banana at home, but this was something else. They were soggy and stodgy and what looked like grated white chocolate on top was not grated white chocolate. It was cheese. CHEESE ON DEEP FRIED BANANA. Why Bali, why? The food here so far has been amazing, but that right there, was just plain wrong.

17/04

Said goodbye to my little Eilidh this morning. Only known her a few days but it seems like years. People have asked, “Oh so you’re travelling together?”
“Nope. Just known each other 47 hours.”

Today I venture alone to an island just off Lombok: Gili Trawangan. There are 3 Gili Islands – Gili T (most popular), Gili Meno (smallest and most remote: perfect honeymoon destination) and Gili Air (not so busy as Gili T, not as untouched as Gili M). Even though Gili T is the largest – it’s still a very small island! It currently has a population of about 800 and is about 8km around the whole island.

I got a bus, then a boat and then asked directions to my hostel and got ever so sweaty. You sweat constantly here, you have to get used to it. All in all the journey went very smoothly and am proud of my navigation skills.

Gili T has no roads – the only way to get around is by foot / bicycle / horse and cart. There is one strip that is fairly busy with lots of bars, but apart from that, it’s ever so quiet and peaceful. I have instantly fallen in love with island life for that reason: peace. No engines, no hustle and bustle. Just seeing the odd smily pedestrian and saying hello.

I thought when booking my room on booking.com that I had my own double room. Almost, but not quite. I have my own double air bed. It’s squashed in a little hut so there is no floor space and the roof is so low, that even little me has to crouch. The shared outdoor toilets are quite dirty and the hose-like shower isn’t the best, but c’est la vie. It is backpacking after all.

18/04

Barely slept last night. Bed was awful. Also woken up at 5am to a the Islamic call to prayer on a loudspeaker (lasts about 10 minutes). It sounded like he was singing right on my shoulder. It must have woken up the whole island.

***

Headache / hydration / humidity made me feel ever so rough in the afternoon and it’s always when I feel rough that I miss home. I sat alone on the beach, staring at the calm turquoise waters, and listening to my music, getting a bit too into my thoughts. I miss my family – but I’m in such a beautiful place in the world. I miss my friends – but I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved by myself. I have got myself here and seen so many incredible things. Reflecting on some of those amazing moments, before I know it, my glossy eyes brighten and I smile as I see a group of Indonesian children, no older than six or seven, playing and splashing in the water by an anchored boat.

***

Yay, Ronnie and Jade have arrived!

19/04

Woken up at 5am again. Can’t be angry though, that’s how they live here. I saw a stunning sunrise at 6 this morning and thought, you know what, today is going to be a good day.

It was.

We rented bikes (Ronnie, Jade, Arne). We swam, drank coconuts and sun bathed. It was funny when I thought Ronnie was Jade (Ronnie is white and Jade is black). I had got up too quickly so I was a little dizzy.

“Wow Ron, you’ve really caught the sun today! Your tan looks great!”

Nope, it’s just a black girl.

Laughter and good times continued over lunch on the beach. I had a delicious local dish (Olah Olah – a veggie dish in a rich, tasty coconut sauce). The service on a chilled island is SO slow because nobody is in a rush. We were all so hungry and it felt like my stomach was eating itself as we waited in anticipation for our food to arrive.

Island life continues with several power cuts on a daily basis. Had my shower in the pitch black.

Island life strikes again as we meet up with Daisy and her sister to watch the sunset. The forever changing colours were breathtaking.

Thanks for such a wonderful time Gili T. Next stop, Gili Air! (I thought with my lack of husband I’d miss out Gili Meno).