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Making the most of it...

We had 9 days left in Indonesia before our planned flight out to Singapore from Bali. What should we do?

Knowing most of the Indonesian airlines were banned to fly to the EU due to safety standards (or lack of them) and the recent crash of the Lion Air flight in Bali and of course budget, we had already decided not to take internal flights in Indonesia (although it was pointed out that now might be the best time to fly as they would extra careful). This meant we were dependant on bus and ferries to travel which would eat into our time so we needed to decide how best to utilise the days we had left.

Dan was keen to climb Mt Rinjani, a volcano in Lombok with spectacular crater lakes. Despite his attempts to persuade me I had decided I had done enough trekking on this trip after my experience on Kinabalu. Not wanting him to miss out on the experience I insisted that he should do it without me. I would make my way back to Bali and meet him there a few days later, there was a painting I hadn't stopped thinking about since we left Ubud so maybe I could go and get that, do some yoga etc...

We started the journey back west together with an early start to get the 7 hour ferry back to Sape, Sambawa. After Dan nearly had a whole pot of tea spilt on him at breakfast we were wide awake, got our ticket and were on board. We really didn't want to leave Flores and if we had the money would quite happily have spent longer diving and exploring here.

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We were the only people to sit in the top deck this time and spent most of the journey dozing in the shade. All the excitement and diving of the last couple of days had caught up with us. That was until it started to chuck it down!!

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We had no problems getting the smaller bus from Sape to Bima. Once there we had an hour to wait for the bigger bus so decided to grab some food outside the bus station. As we sat down for some bakso (meatballs) and noodles I noticed a group of giggling school girls had come in after us. We could tell they were talking about us and as we were leaving a couple of them ran out and asked to talk to us to practice their English. They were very sweet asking if we liked the meatballs, what our names were, where we were from etc... We found out it was one of the girls birthdays and they were delighted if not a bit surprised when we both burst into song doing our best rendition of Happy Birthday. Knowing that the story of their chat with us would be the talk of the playground the next day we had a spring in our step as we made our way back to the bus.

To our surprise it left a bit early which is unheard of! Although within a few seconds we realised that another couple who we had seen put their bags on the bus weren't there! Dan jumped up to let the driver know as we pulled out of the bus station, who said "dont worry, we come back". We didn't get back for near an hour as we had gone to pick up a big group of students. Despite the bus disappearing for so long with their bags the couple were calm when they got onboard and said that it was an opportunity for them to learn to trust other people. I think I might have handled it a little differently...by freaking out!

The rest of the journey back was much like before bombing it through the dark whilst holding on for dear life, only this time we had the addition of bombing local dance music that apparently is appropriate the play on a night bus to help sooth customers to sleep. It added a bit more intensity to the ride!

Its fair to say we were shattered when we arrived in Mataram, Lombok the next morning and crashed out in our hotel room.

We organised tickets for the Rinjani trek and worked out how I would get back to Ubud. Dans trek would be 3 days long and we planned for us to meet up in Sanur Bali on 19th May. Dan would need to leave for his trip at 5am so we didn't do much in Mataram, although I don't think there is much there other than the mall.

I have a vague memory of Dan leaving in the morning but didn't really wake up. My pick up was at 11am to go back to Lambur harbour to get on one of the large ferries to Bali. The ferry left at midday and took about 5 hours (apparently one leaves every hour). It was an wasy trip and just taking in the views from the deck and reading. I was in the middle of an adventure with Sherlock Holmes when I heard gasps and the sound of splashing from the other side of the deck. Everyone ran to see what the commotion dreading that someone had fallen overboard...but was met with the oddest view of a huge fish flapping around on deck that a man had caught off the side of the ferry! Someone was going to have a good dinner that night!

Arriving at the harbour in Bali a shared car was waiting to take tourists to Ubud. I met a girl from Sweden who was travelling on her own. We had a great chat in the car and I said she could come with me and maybe Wena would have another room for her. Unfortunately Wena was fully booked as he had a group of volunteers staying and I had the last room. We went our separate ways but somehow forgot to get contact details. Woops!

It was great to be back in Ubud and to be somewhere so familiar that I didnt mind being on my own. I settled in for a Bintang at Bar Luna and some good music.

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For the next 3 days I settled back into the routine of yoga in the morning at Radiantly alive, walking around Ubud and catching up on the blog.

One morning I was woken up by Wena knocking at the door. He said I had to get out of the room as the government was coming round the fumigate the rooms, if I was asleep I would breath in too much poison and potentially die! Turns out there had been several cases of malaria and so they were determined to get rid of all the mosquitoes.

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It sounded like there was a helicopter coming but it was a guy with what looked like a leaf blower, but instead of air it was poison being pumped out. We gathered out of the way and covered our faces as he went from room to room. In no time you could see all the insects that live in the thatched roofs trying to escape. Most didn't get away and dead ants, mosquitoes and cockroaches were raining down on us!

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Distracted by the deluge of bugs I almost missed the morning yoga class. The fumigation followed there too and halfway through class the studio filled with the poisonous smoke. Not your normal lesson!

Whilst back in Ubud I was also reunited with Aron from BAWA and we had a fun time catching up and meeting his friend Komang.

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One night I was waiting to meet Aron in Dewa, a local warung with great food. I started chatting with a local man, also called Dewa (not THE Dewa, but they are close firends).He was interested to find out what I was doing in Bali. He told me that we had a lot more independence to travel. I initially thought that this was because we were financially more able to do so but the reason he gave had nothing to do with finances but was because of the strong sense of community. He said that he could never be more than a month away from his community and would even feel uncomfortable after a couple of weeks. Everyone is so involved in each others lives, and there is a great sense of responsibility for each other. As an elder, people often sought his advice. It was great to get some more insights into how people live here.

I was glad I had been able to come back to Ubud, oh and I managed to get my painting but forgot to take a photo so you ll just have to see it when its eventually up on a wall back in the UK :)

Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 21:45 Archived in Indonesia

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