#kindredspirit #alleycat #gillitrawangan #bali #indonesia #kitty #cat #love (at Mes Hijas)
The rice terraces of #riceterraces #ubud #bali #indonesia #adventure #travel #americanwoman #veganomad #lostgirl #explorer (at jl.hijas)
So. I’m finally in Borneo…It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write anything, what with drinking/getting into mischief/recovering from motorbike accidents, but I finally feel like I can slow down and “put pen to paper” as it were. So much has happened in the last week that I don’t really know where to begin.
I’ve met some of the most amazing young travelers since I began my journey. I’m not talking about the douchey, spring breakesque bro-hammers with their sports jerseys, tired american snapbacks and spoiled, skinny female counterparts; reeking of money and self-entitlement. Those motherfuckers were everywhere and I’ve been spending a majority of my time trying to get away from them. Them and couples. I swear to god, it’s couples retreat all over the place in Indonesia’s most well-known islands.
I’m talking about the other kind of travelers, sweet young things with sharp humor, open minds and refreshing viewpoints. Inspiring and humbling. They were also willing to let an old-timer like me tag along and I love them even more for that.
Anyways, after one or two or three (I’m not even sure) nights in Ubud, I decided to check out the idyllic little desert island that was Gilli T. An hour and a half boat ride later which was nice enough although I didn’t see any dolphins (not for lack of trying) and I was there. I took the first room I saw, set back from the dusty road that separated the beach from the shops, restaurants and bungalows.
Sitting on the welcome mat to my room was the most diseased and emaciated little calico I had ever seen in my life, with infected eyes, patchy fur, and a meow that could peel paint. She was my welcome wagon. I fell in love with her immediately. Us alley cats have to stick together, you know?
A day later and I was headed to Lombok with my German neighbor and his Italian buddy. Our plan was to rent motorbikes and tour the island, checking out some waterfalls along the way. What we actually ended up doing was renting motorbikes and touring the gravelly side of the road with various body parts. It was the first time I had been in that kind of accident, launched from the back of a motorbike like a pinball and landing really fucking hard, sliding along a couple of meters or so before finally coming to a stop.
In a later moment of self-reflection, I thought about how I had reacted in the thick of the situation, reckoning that you never really know how you’ll act until something like that actually happens to you. I had always thought of myself as kind of tough, you know, maybe even a little bit of a bad-ass. The kind of girl that could walk away from exploding cars without looking back, or hop up from a motorbike accident, dust myself off, and maybe give myself some stitches if I had to before calmly smoking a cigarette or taking a shot of whiskey.
Not so. Instead of hitting the ground running. I hit the ground in a fetal position, howling every expletive known to man, and waiting for someone to pick me up off the ground. My insides felt like they had been thrown into a blender on the high setting. Yellow spots floated around in my vision and my consciousness was trying really hard to get lost for a minute.
I spent the next hour alternately crying and laughing hysterically, wanting hugs, kisses on my ouchies and desperately wishing for my mother. So much for being a bad-ass.
When we finally got back to our bungalows, my German neighbor was lucky enough to know a traveler doctor who patched us up, and assured me that I would be okay.
The next day I woke up walking on sunshine for the simple reason that the previous nightmarish day was over.
After a few days of licking my wounds, drinking Bintangs and kicking it with the aforementioned youngbloods, I decided that I was over Gilli T - spring break edition, and booked the next boat back to Kuta. The morning of my departure I noticed that the ocean was unusually choppy and mused that it might be a rough boat ride back to Bali. I had no idea.
We were packed into the bottom hold of a little fast boat with broken air con. For the next hour and a half our boat lurched through vicious currents like a drunken dolphin, clearing the water and catching serious air more than a few times like our captain had a death wish. The locals swilled beer and cackled to each other in the stern of the ship while my fellow passengers sweated and vomited all over the place in the steamy, sweltering confines. If there was a highway to hell, I thought at the time, this is what it would be like. Through sheer iron will, clinging to whatever shreds of humor I had left, I somehow managed not to heave ho myself. Please believe that I held onto that like a badge of honor after being such a little bitch a few days before.
One day and two flights later and I find myself, thankfully, in Pontianak, a dusty, forgotten city on the western coast of Borneo and the entire other side of the country from Bali. I got in at around ten last night, belatedly realizing that I had entered hella Muslim country, after being ogled non-stop from the airport to my hotel room because I’m well…well-endowed and can somehow even make something as innocent as a T-shirt seem inappropriate.
Today I put on every item of clean clothing I had in my backpack before exploring the dirty, sweaty concrete jungle of Pontianak and still was greeted by stares of amazement and impromptu hellos by surprised locals, who surely must be wondering what in the hell I’m doing here. Foreigners are nowhere in sight and they look at me like some kind of mythical creature, a unicorn maybe, although nowhere near as lovely.
Today, in the air-conditioned bliss of the local mega-mall, I had my first paparazzi moment ever when a darling family ran up to me and begged for a picture. At first I was taken aback, unsure if they were joking or wanted money or something, but no, they simply wanted a picture with the random and rare white girl. Afterwards, I felt ashamed at my initial reaction of suspicion and mistrust. They had been so sweet and silly and funny about it, I could’ve really had an awesome moment with them but I was just blindsided by something so unexpected. And everywhere I go is the same; smiling, blushing, friendly locals, excited to meet a foreigner in their town, practice their English, laugh at my pidgin Bahasan. Despite the gritty, less than pretty facade of Pontianak, I’m really enjoying myself. But then again, I’ve always loved the cutty spots, ugly on the outside but with many hidden gems.
Tomorrow I’m headed by longboat to Sukadana, to (hopefully) see some Orangutans, find a beach, and spend the last ten days of my journey counting grains of sand by day, stars at night, and perfecting my Bahasan.
A sick mural that some idiots scrawled all over, but still dope… #graffiti #art #kuta #bali #hiphop #culture #indonesia (at Gate C6 Terminal 1C Bandara Internasional Soekarno Hatta)
I just spent two hours writing a post and Tumblr decided to refresh my dashboard right before I posted it. Fuck. You. Tumblr
Balinese dancers in training :)
#ubud #bali #indonesia #travel #culture #adventure #americanwoman #vegannomad #lostgirl (at Laughing Buddha Bar ~ Ubud)
#sunset over the #southpacific #kuta #bali #indonesia #asia #travel #adventure #americanwoman #vegannomad #lostgirl (at Kuta Beach( Pantai Kuta))
Darling Japanese ladies #kuta #beach #bali #indonesia #asia #southpacific (at Kuta Beach( Pantai Kuta))
Is it really only my fourth full day in Indonesia?! It feels like it’s been a week at least. Spending three days in Jakarta wore on me, it was my first time in a city where you literally are not able to walk anywhere, without taking your life in your hands. Not because of crime, but because the sidewalks are busted and piled with trash, the streets packed with carts, motorbikes, trucks and taxis, the gutters streaming with vile refuse. It was sit in my little cell of a hotel room, or walk outside to take a cab. It felt like three days of solitary confinement. But the people were wonderful, some of the sweetest and most obliging I’ve ever encountered in Asia.
And that warmth continues here in Bali. When I arrived last night, I was disappointed to find that the room I had reserved online was, yes I’ll say it, a dump. But next door was a wonderful little home stay with brightly painted walls, a lush courtyard and swimming pool for the same price. So I moved. Now imma happy girl. For all the sweetness, I could do without the interrogation that happens with every introduction- How old are you? Are you married? Do you have any children?- followed by pitying looks when I tell them I’m pushing forty, single and childless. The looks seem to say- You will die alone, unloved and unremembered, you poor old lady. I know it’s a cultural thing but my already battered ego can only take so much. Despite all that, I’m loving the friendliness, the wide smiles, the courteous nature.
In other news, I remember why sobriety is so hard for me; I think, think, think too, too, too much, much, much. It’s hard to deal with so many thoughts and feelings instead of just popping some pills, smoking some weed, drinking some whiskey, and telling my brain to shut the fuck up. The creative juices are flowing though, so that is something at least. Unlike most artistic types, I do my best work sober.
I’m also in the market for some buddies to pal around with while I’m here in Bali, so I’ve been trying to be friendly and charming without coming off weird or desperate, something that I’ve never been good at. Making eye contact without staring, saying hello but not too loudly, smiling without it turning into a shit-eating grin. Practice makes perfect, I guess… It goes without saying, that the locals are much friendlier than the travelers I’ve encountered, whether or not they want something from me.
Today, I’m being hella lazy. I’ve had my second cup of coffee in as many hours, lounging at this lovely place called The Balcony and I’m in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything.