Bali Bummed: Wendy, Apple Tits & WTF Is In My Indonesian BBQ?

Last time, I wrote about Australia. Now, we’re off to Bali!

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“I am but a speck in the Balinese ocean. And I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”

A few days later than planned, we’re on the plane. Kids are pumped, Mom is relieved, Biffle and I are ready for sunshine. Except… we will be arriving at night. So… it’ll be hotel and sleep. BUT! The point is: We will wake up in paradise.

During the flight, I made friends with an Australian family who generously shared insider tips:

  1. Beach path is faster, but littered with panhandlers
  2. Politely say no and leave. Don’t get trapped in conversation
  3. Don’t eat street meat (feel like this is universal)
  4. Avoid beachside rentals (faulty equipment scam)
  5. Everything is unbelievably inexpensive
  6. Much as in the Sex and the City movie, don’t drink the water (or face poopy consequences)

Armed with ideas that may be in a guidebook I definitely didn’t read, I felt prepared to take on a country I only knew of because I read Eat, Pray, Love religiously. Here are the highlights from the best island land trip (because I once lived on a catamaran for two weeks in the Caribbean):

We spent nights under starlight, sharing a bungalow and using SkyGuide for the stars. Biffle attempted to convince me that the sun is opposite on the other half of the equator: sets East, rises West. I didn’t think that could possibly be right, but Biffle had been living there for the last year, so I spent the first full day incredibly disoriented. The pure conviction she had, even when faced with contradicting evidence, still makes me laugh.

Much of the trip involved general lazing next to the resort pool, because when it looks like this (complete with a swim up bar), do you really need much else?

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If you’re me: Yes, you really do. You need ocean waves and saltwater in your hair because it does miraculous, magical things to it.

We walked the panhandler-laden path frequently because I couldn’t stand being so close to the water and not taking full advantage. I’m an island child at heart, even if I grew up in landlocked Iowa.

We ran into the family from the airplane, who let us try their paddleboard so we could decide to do that or surf. I chose surf, and spent two entire afternoons swimming against the tide, falling off in excitement every time I stood up. It wasn’t surfing so much as practicing falling down really fast.

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On one surf excursion, we made two mistakes: First, engaging with Wendy (panhandler; probably not her real name); second, forgetting to find a launch-point landmark. The tide worked us down the beach, and we walked several kilometers in the wrong direction, surfboards in tow, trying to find our way back. On the exhausted trudge home, we ran into Wendy again, desperate to paint our bare nails and braid our hair. We declined, unfortunately leaving the impression she should try again when she saw us… which was nearly every day. After a few attempts, things turned sour, ending with her shout-insulting my braid as we left.

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Wendy came at me with some FIYAH.

We paid for (fake) henna tattoos from a sweet beach peddler named Mickey (also probably not his real name). I’d be mad, but *shrugs shoulders* I’m a naive, big-hearted sucker who realizes that’s how he makes his living, and he needs to put food on the table more than I care about whether my henna is “genuine.”

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Eh.

I experienced pseudo-sauna workouts because the resort gym had an AC wall unit that I couldn’t figure out how to operate. Biffle and I (unnecessarily) smuggled out several complimentary post-workout apples, pretending her ta-tas had miraculously grown overnight thanks to our new Balinese diet.

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Those lop-sided boobies are Granny Smith apples. “Granny boobies.”

I wrote my first foreign blog post after a terrible encounter with culinary cultural differences at a Starbucks, and (mostly) enjoyed a Balinesian BBQ and the wonder that is mystery meat on a stick (far too closely resembling baked cat food).

ewwwwwww

I met elephants named Helen and Bella, whom I loved on sight. Helen was our elephant buddy. Our eyes lit up, and in unison, Biffle and I mimicked, “Hi, I’m Helen,” a running joke from Bridesmaids we’d been using since the trip began.

hi i'm helen

We watched them spray water from their trucks and fed them fruit, trusting them not to crush our small bodies between their trunk hugs and foot lifts. I existed between awe and the excitement level of Cory and Shawn:

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AHH ELEPHANTS.

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And I had the most epic day… by myself. At another resort located on the ocean. All involving a pair of headphones, some wandering, an hour under the palm tree-dotted sunshine in a hammock, staring out at the ocean, letting the sun’s rays warm my pale skin.

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Bali was such an incredible experience. I’ve always felt like an island child, but this affirmed it. I felt so full-hearted and genuinely happy over almost nothing at all.

To quote an Instagram post I crafted at the end of my trip, “Bali rejuvenated my worn soul and gave me a reinvigorated sense of who I am, how much happiness can be found in life’s journey as a solo entity, and what I am capable of achieving when I forget everything else but the thoughts in my noggin and the drumbeat in my heart.”

Travel people. Near, far, wherever you are…

Okay, Celine Dion. But really. Take a trip somewhere new.

HBIC,

Bossey Boots

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