Bali . A place that at times, has no rules. In fact, the bizarre sight of a 12 year old girl riding around on a motorbike with a beaten up pair of thongs and no helmet is a common occurrence. Here is my experience in the land of Dreams.
Thank god that trip was over. A six and a half hour journey may not seem long to most people, but I don't like flying to be honest. There's no leg room at times and I get claustrophobic easily.
First impressions last. As I lugged my suitcases and surfboard out of the terminal I was surrounded by 10, 15, even 20 cab drivers. "Brother, where you need to go?", "I take you brother no problem, give me your bag". The heat and mugginess, and the smell of Balinese Cigarettes was potent. I had definitely arrived, and this was going to take some getting used to.
Chaos on the roads. My drive to the Villa was an experience in itself. Motorbikes and Vespas wiz past at lightening speed, with travellers zipping in and out of traffic in one way streets. Anything goes really. If there's a traffic jam up ahead, no issue. Use the footpath instead. All the streets also look the same. If you're a first time traveller, it's hard to know where you're going, and the broken language barrier with the locals at times is proving to be quite difficult.
Finally I had arrived. Relaxation. I was greeted with a Cold Bintang (Local Beer) by the very lovely Villa staff who took my bags from me and showed me around the place. The place was great, we had our own private pool with a water fountain and a large outdoor living space, connected to outdoor speakers and a large LCD T.V.
Time to explore. A friend of mine had told me "The only way to get around in Bali is by hiring a Bike, you've gotta' do it!". I went straight to reception and asked to hire a Vespa. I managed to barter with the lady and hired a bike for 10 days straight for a total of 300,000 Rupiah (Approximately 30 AUD). Thats right, 3 dollars a day. Oh, and don't stress if you don't have a license. As long as you've got the right amount of money, you're good to go. Driving on the roads was frightening at first, but I got used to it pretty quick. You've just got to follow the pack, literally. I managed to find myself at a lovely stretch of restaurants along the beach in Legian, where I parked my bike and began to explore.
The locals. They're amazing people. After being in Bali for only 3 days, i'd become quite friendly with plenty of locals. They're always down to help you out if you need anything and show you the best places to eat, drink, and party. However, sometimes it does come at a cost. On the fourth day I decided to hire a driver, Katut. For 4,000,000 Rupiah, Katut drove me to all the amazing surf beaches for the entire day. We visited Canggu, Sanur, Uluwatu and Padang-Padang, a popular surf destination where they hold the Ripcurl Pro. Hearing about Katut's life really inspired me. "How often do you work, mate?". Sheepishly giggling under his breath, Katut replied, "Brother, when do I not work. I work whenever the customer want me to work. It is good for me though, I can support my family". He lives around a 1.5 hour drive from Seminyak, the popular tourist destination, with his wife, daughter, and 3 kids. His average pay for an entire days work is around 20-35 dollars, depending on his workload. Inspiring stuff.
The nightlife. This is when Bali comes alive. The famous Kuta Strip is filled with Clubs, Bars and Pubs. You need to have your wits about you however, as the strip is filled with all types of characters.