Monday, October 26, 2015

Bali, Indonesia: I'm in Bali-dise!!

Ok, I realize Bali-dise doesn't really sound like paradise at all, but it just seemed to be such an appropriate word.  Anyways, I'm here! (Ok, I've been here a couple days, but the combo of terrible wifi at my Bali hotel + beachbeachbeach + currently on a tiny Indonesian island that has no electricity = falling off the blogging wagon temporarily).  But here I am and ready to update!

What It's All About:
Bali is a gorgeous island paradise - it's one of the most well-known islands of Indonesia's thousands (it's a big, main one).  It's actually quite a big island, and there are tons of cities/neighborhoods you can stay in depending on what kind of vibe you're looking for.  I stayed in the city of Kuta/Legian, which is one of the most developed and touristy and very close to the airport.

Bali's Jimbaran Beach
Bali is absolutely beautiful and has been such a great place to unwind - there's a million things to do here, beautiful beaches and culture galore, and it's incredibly developed for tourism. If you can overlook the fact that it seems to be Australia's own personal Cancun (they are everywhereeeeeeeee), and you will get hounded/harassed in the street 24/7 by people offering taxis, motorbike rentals, massages, clothes, boats, surfing lessons, froyo, food, sarongs, magic mushrooms, etc. etc.; it's paradise.
Dare to tell me that Bali-dise isn't the perfect word for this photo

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Peace out, haze! Flew out from Penang to Bali.
Byeeeeee, Malaysian haze! Though I did momentarily wonder how the pilot could see where he was going...
And Baliiiiii, I'm here! Yes, I may have booked it to the beach as fast as possible.
My beautiful hotel, which was $30/night. Why do people even bother honeymooning in Tahiti and its $500/night hotel rooms!?!
Met back up with Kat, who had been chilling in Bali while I was in Penang.  And we obviously got matching hot pink sunnies.
Beach time is never complete without coconuts...
...and sunset yoga pics. Guess who can be as basic as they want to on their own blog
  • The biggest thing I was dying to do was surfing. I took surfing lessons in San Diego a long time ago, and I wasn't terrible at it, and I loved it. Yes, those reasons are correlated. The area I was staying, Kuta/Legian, is known for its ginormous waves. So the next morning, Kat and I headed to a surf lesson.  Our instructor was named Em, and he was the best.
And the surfing people gave us photos! Given how many times we fell down, their photographer must have been a pro to catch some of these
Oops never mind, here's me falling down
  • It was so unbelievably fun, and the hours zoomed by. And about half the ocean went up my nose and I sunburnt my face to a hot pink crisp, but it was totally worth it. 
  • Everything in Bali is amazingly cheap: $6 massages, $5 pedicures, all the cheap clothing you could want, and $4 Nasi Goreng (delish Balinese fried rice).  I think I was involved in every single one of these over the weekend.
    I also maybe spent half the weekend drinking watermelon juices or head-sized coconuts
  • Day 3 of Bali-dise, Kat and I hired a personal driver to zoom us to other parts of the island.
First up was Nusa Dua Beach in the South of Bali - gorgeously white sand and warm pretty water
    Nusa Dua and its crystal-clear waters. Photos like this are what happens when you travel with a baller photographer friend.
    • After Nusa Dua, we drove out to Tanjung Benoa, where we were given a choice of water activities. Kat and I chose snorkeling, which was the most incredible snorkeling ever. A boat shuttled us out farther into the harbor, and we were given bags of bread to feed the fish and dropped into the water. I have seriously never seen so many gorgeously vibrant, pretty, colorful, tropical fish in my entire life, √† la Finding Nemo in real life. And jellyfish!  It may have helped that our boat driver kept dropping bread crumbs into the water - the fish would swarm to eat them, and there were literally HUNDREDS of every color, shape and size all around us. It was ridiculous. Only downside is the water was super choppy, so we kept getting washed around to and fro, and then I got a little nauseous from getting knocked around. But overall, one of the coolest, coolest things. 
    Boat ride out, snorkel in hand
    •  And then we had a romantic oceanside lunch at Jimbaran Bay. This beach was my favorite of all - there were so few people, the waves were huge, and the sand was like powder. 
    Location of romantic beachside lunch. The restaurant let you come inside and choose your fish to be fried. 
    And then these guys came by to serenade us, just to up the romance factor. When asked if they could play Taylor (not by me this time, I swear!), they rounded to the closest thing and played Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years", which is one of the prettiest songs of all time. It was perfect listening to this man singing it in his Indonesian accent.
    Jimbaran Beach, you are my fave
    • We topped off the night with a sunset visit to Uluwatu Temple, or the Water Temple.  It's set on the side of a cliff where you can look out on the ocean, and the views are completely breathtaking.  Only downside, I was promised monkeys (they apparently like to steal your stuff) and there were none. I think I was the only person in all of Uluwatu that was disappointed by this.
    One side of Uluwatu Temple
    The main area of Uluwatu Temple. There were all these winding pathways right alongside the ocean and it was beyond pretty. Also, the waves crashing against the cliffs below = magic.
    Oh, there was also a temple part itself. Strangest thing, they made you wear sarongs to enter the temple (both males and females), but didn't seem to care what was going on with your top situation. There were girls in tiny crop tops and such, which was apparently ok, but the sarongs had to go below your knees. Weird. Maybe the Indonesian think knees are especially disrespectful?
    • And then there was a traditional fire dance at the temple!  It's called the Kecak dance, and it tells a story accompanied by dancers and chanters and FIRE. Connie cliffnotes version: A queen wants a golden deer and sends the king to catch it, leading her to be kidnapped (since the king is gone trying to catch that darn deer). The king then has to enlist the help of a bunch of magic monkey warriors to go save her, and they are successful, but they end up destroying a lot of stuff and causing mayhem.  I personally believe the queen should have had to suffer for her own poor life choices, but that's not the way the story goes.
    Sun is setting, and the fires are lit
    These men were everything - the soundtrack (which is basically them chanting "Chachachachachacha" over and over), the background actors, the props, etc. 
    Here's the happy queen and king before she makes the terrible decision that she HAS TO have a golden deer in her life 
    Here is where the queen gets kidnapped by a man in a giant beard and red face 
    Here is the clever white monkey warrior rescuing said queen
    AND THIS WAS THE CRAZIEST PART OF ALL. The white monkey warrior is caught and they try to burn him to death. And he escapes by KICKING THE FIRE BALLS. WITH HIS BARE FEET. ALL OF THEM. Like, he was kicking these fire balls left and right and they would go FLYING like 20 feet into the air and almost hit people (who had to duck) and objects and such. How they didn't set the entire temple and/or a person on fire is beyond me.
    And here is a photo of me with the dancers

    Sadly, Balinesian paradise had to eventually come to an end.  I would love to come back someday, continue to pay $30/night for hotel rooms, and visit all the lovely parts of Bali I didn't get to see!  Apparently there's gorgeous rice terraces in Ubud (my favorite crop, obv) and a place nicknamed Monkey Forest where there are THOUSANDS OF MONKEYS that run rampant and steal your things and climb all over you.  Sounds like a dream.

    This also marked the end of the Kat & Connie adventures, as Kat headed back home to the States and I am off to the tiny beautiful Indonesian islands called the Gili Islands!

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