This is just a quick n’ dirty update. The internet connection is a bit dodgy & I’m bushed so I’m not going to write much…and no pics.
It’s around 4am in Bali. It took about 22 hours of travel to get here from Vancouver today. The first part of the journey was a 12 hour mediocre movie marathon to Singapore which actually flew by. A several hour layover in the Singapore airport dragged on and I slept a little on the 5 hour flight to Bali. It was a restless sleep despite the Valium I took. I only take Valium to help me sleep on planes or to cope with jet lag. I call it my travel drugs.
I traveled solo today. My friends are meeting me here later today. I don’t mind traveling by myself. I’ve done more of that then traveled with people. There are pro’s and con’s to both.
I enjoy the hours of time to think and be alone in my head, while being surrounded by other people. If they speak another language, even better. It’s company without requiring me to engage.
I arrived at the Bali airport and immediately recognized the familiar, unfamiliar smell. I’m always fascinated by the way different places smell. Hot, humid places have a somewhat musty, moldy smell. Earthy. Dirt.
I made it through their various lines for ‘Visa On Arrival’, customs, etc. along with about a hundred other weary new arrivals. Mostly Chinese. I used the bathroom in the airport and was delighted to find a squat toilet. I had grown fond of them while in India. It does feel more natural to squat than to sit. I noticed with amusement several cockroaches in the bathroom stall too. Ah, the little things I love about being in an exotic place.
I examined my new currency and figured out what I thought was a fair price for the taxi ride to my hotel. I wasn’t surprised when the first taxi driver quoted a ridiculously inflated price. This is always the game. I’ve been to India twice, Thailand five times, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, etc. The right price is usually about a quarter of what they first ask for. I don’t get angry. I’m amused. It’s not my first time at this rodeo. I’m polite but firm and I get the ride to my hotel for the price I had pre-decided on, which was still a little generous so I think everyone was happy.
A whole paragraph on taxi fare? This is a big part of traveling in places like this. The bargaining, haggling, the not getting ripped off. It’s a game and it’s part of their culture. It’s always a significant part of travel in places like this. It’s not like the US or Canada where the price is the price (usually).
The taxi driver was very sweet and made nice conversation on my way to the hotel. I was a little surprised at how run down things looked in the dead of night. A lot like some parts of India & Thailand. Wild dogs roamed the streets but that was about it for life. All the shabby shops & business’s shut up and quiet.
The hotel is beautiful. I usually travel on a shoestring budget but my friends wanted at least a 4 star place. The staff were waiting for me. Just me, a lone traveler at 4am. They brought me a welcome drink of delicious orange juice. A nice boy carried my bags to the room. The french doors overlook the pool which I can barely see in the dark. I can hear the breeze rustling in the palm trees.
I already feel a million miles away, physically and mentally. I did just respond to about a half dozen emails but I will request that if your email can wait until after April 15, I would appreciate if you didn’t send it until then. I hope to spend far less time than usual dealing with business email.
I’m going to shower, take some hippie drugs (melatonin mix from the health food store) to help reset my internal clock. I’m going to drift off as the sun is coming up and will likely be awoken early afternoon when my friends arrive.
So it begins.
I miss haggling. That and the squat toilets really bring me right back to Thailand. Have a fantastic trip!